We’re continuing the bpb Freeware Studio series with a list of the best free sampler VSTi/AU plugins for Windows and Mac.
Follow the links for download info, demo videos and screenshots:
- bs-0 by bismark (Mac, Windows)
- Highlife by discoDSP (Linux, Windows)
- LinuxSampler by The LinuxSampler Project (Linux, Windows)
- SFZ Sample Player by Cakewalk (Windows)
- Shortcircuit 1 by Vember Audio (Windows)
- TX16Wx by CWI Technology (Mac, Windows)
If I had to pick one freeware sampler VSTi for my studio, it would definitely be Shortcircuit (make sure you get v1.1.2). Once a very pricey piece of commercial software, this plugin was built by a talented developer who later worked for Ableton and now develops Bitwig Studio. Simply put, Shortcircuit is a powerhorse sampler with pretty much all the features you’d need in a sampler plugin, and then some. It’s multitibral, supports multiple outputs, and works with WAV, SFZ, SF2, Akai, REX, and a bunch of other formats. If you’re a Reaper user, you’ll find some shortcircuit goodies here.
Highlife is another very good freeware sampler, with one very special feature – it can be used to automatically convert VST instrument patches into multisample libraries and export them in SFZ format (here’s a video demo for that). So, if you have a virtual instrument that is taking up a large amount of CPU, you can load it up in Higlife and thus significantly reduce the CPU load! Other than that, it works with standard WAV files and can also load SFZ and Akai libraries.
TX16Wx is a powerful freeware sampler for Windows, inspired by older hardware sampler designs. Probably not everyone will be a fan of the classic hardware-style workflow (it took me quite a while to figure out how it works so I eventually had to reach for the manual), but it does come with certain advantages and can actually be quite fun. Without any doubt, TX16Wx is a very powerful tool once you become skilled at using it. The plugin can work with WAV, SF2, and AIFF files.
That’s all for this edition of bpb Freeware Studio! Feel free to suggest your own favorite sampler in the comments and please support BPB by spreading the word about your favorite articles! Thanks!