bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free VST Host Applications

33

bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free VST Host Applications
After covering numerous free VST plugins so far in our bpb Freeware Studio series (aka Free VST Plugins Directory), now would be the right time to take a look at the best free VST host applications currently available.

Various different types of VST host apps were included in the list, from fairly basic ones useful for plugin testing, to modular DAWs, trackers, and some full-featured live performance hosts.

Free VST Host Applications

Follow the links for screenshots & download info:

People often mention Reaper as a free VST host, but please note that Reaper is actually commercial software with a 30-day trial period. Although the actual software installation never expires, you should purchase a licence if you use it longer than 30 days (there is however Reaper v0.999 which is still available for free, many thanks to vian for sharing the info in the comments!).

MuLab FREE is my favorite freeware VST host application. Even with the 4-track limit of the free version, it is still a very powerful modular VST host which will let you create some crazy FX and instrument chains using your favorite VSTs.

Podium Free is without a doubt your best choice if you’re looking for a full-featured freeware DAW. The only serious limitation of the free version is that it uses a single CPU core, but the amount of features available at no cost is simply insane. It is very stable, perfectly designed, and definitely worth checking out (as well as the Pro version).

Podium FREE by Zynewave.

Podium FREE by Zynewave.

Usine Free, LiveProfessor, Rack PerformerVstBoard and Cantabile Lite are VST hosts suitable for live use, Usine currently being the most popular one.

Psycle is a free tracker which also works as a VST host. I must admit i’m not very experienced with trackers, but I know there are many people who don’t use sequencers at all and go for trackers instead, so this one’s for them.

SAVIHost, MiniHost and VSTHost are lightweight and easy to use VST host applications, perfect for quickly testing new VST plugins.

KRISTAL Audio Engine is an interesting 16-track sequencer which can load VST effects, but unfortunately doesn’t support MIDI, hence no VST instruments can be used.

Feel free to leave comments suggesting other free VST host applications I may have missed and I’ll include them in the list.

http://youtu.be/ChYL5Y5M7zs

Many thanks to Ronnie for suggesting LMMS, a free cross-platform VST host application which is a great alternative to commercial loop-based programs like FL Studio, Greg for suggesting Jeskola Buzz and DarkWave Studio, two pretty awesome free VST hosts (and also Scooty!), bonzo for suggesting OpenMPT, Alex_HS for suggesting Macaw, and gropkcor for suggesting Rax’n’Trax! Finally, a big thank you to satt for suggesting Tunafish, a lovely old school sequencer!

Get Driven Machine Drums For Just $77!
Share it like a boss.

About The Author

Tomislav is a journalist, music producer and web designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the owner and editor-in-chief here at Bedroom Producers Blog.

Leave a Reply

33 Comments on "bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free VST Host Applications"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
satt
satt
5 years 1 month ago

How about Tunafish from brambos? http://www.brambos.com/archive.html

Alex_HS
Alex_HS
5 years 10 days ago

Another free DAW in collection – Macaw (formerly called Oscillastation, Rocktave and DeltaSP) is
http://www.hitsquad.com/smm/programs/Macaw/
http://code.google.com/p/macaw/

Jazzigula
Jazzigula
4 years 11 months ago

Mulab is the one I started with. It is especially comfortable for rookies…Fancy exspensive softwares can learn much about some great concepts inside of Mulab (sequence on a track does’t have to be send on same chanel as that track etc.)…

rusk
rusk
4 years 11 months ago

qtractor becomes more and more useful DAW with VST support.

Windows
Windows
4 years 9 months ago

i enjoy this post greatly. ill be coming laterfor future readsthanks.

João Camacho
4 years 8 months ago

hello,

great list some i didn’t know and are incredibly good as liveprofessor and cantabile.

You might like also:
Bidule: http://www.plogue.com/products/bidule/ (modular audio)
AudioMulch: http://www.audiomulch.com/ (modular audio)
energyXT: http://www.energy-xt.com/ (VST host)
Renoise: http://www.renoise.com/ (tracker)

not all are free as some on your list, but they deserve a look

Tracing Arcs
4 years 7 months ago

I was able to d/load a free version of Samplitude Silver Soundcloud edition last year from the apps section at Soundcloud. Comes with vst effex etc, and seems pretty comprehensive (with limitations ) for a freebie.
http://soundcloud.com/apps/samplitude-soundcloud

Rose Holiday
Rose Holiday
4 years 2 hours ago

Hi: I just purchased an Akai Professional LPK25. I only want to use it as a keyboard (for now anyway.) Can you tell me which freebie would be the best choice for me? I am completely brain dead when it comes to midi, so the easiest one to learn would be great!!! Thx in advance!!!

Godly
Godly
3 years 4 months ago

I’m missing BloXpander in the list, seems very promising also?
http://www.eareckon.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49&Itemid=54&lang=en

bmovie
bmovie
3 years 3 months ago

The latest version of Giada Loop Machine, an open source live sampler/looper/drum machine/VST host, added a VSTi support and a new piano roll module:
http://www.giadamusic.com/
Looks cool!

Doug Cox
2 years 10 months ago

My free Windows MIDI Sequencer (almost a DAW) PianoRollComposer is at
http://jdmcox.com/

Arnerd
Arnerd
2 years 5 months ago

Nice blog! Im looking for something like this, but i need some advice …

I run dj software Traktor on my windows laptop
I want to host some VSTs to route my audio in from traktor.

Preferably i want to change the values in the VST with an iPad, is this possible?

Thx!

gray
gray
2 years 1 month ago

http://vb-audio.pagesperso-orange.fr/us/resources/vst_scanner/vst_scanner.htm

this is a bit old but looks pretty interesting, not only will it scan vst plugins on windows but it’ll let you test them out

Aelfric
Aelfric
2 years 3 days ago

As a free DAW for Mac, I’m surprised Apple’s Garageband isn’t listed—Apple made it free some time ago.

Also a coupple of updates to the Mastering Tools page (the comments are closed on that page):

• Photosounder SplineEQ is now available on the Mac.
• Pleasurize Music Foundation TT Dynamic Range Meter now requires a US$30 membership to access the download. Technically the download is still free, but requiring a paid membership first isn’t really in the spirit of free software.

Diego
Diego
1 year 10 months ago

Just to say that MACAW is an excelent DAW from the last versions. Is portable, support VST/i, has a goo wave editor and plugins. It has also a little whiff of pro application.
https://sites.google.com/site/turboloops/home

Petersen
Petersen
1 year 9 months ago

Please note that for VSTHost any commercial (in your studio?) or public (a public performance?) use is strictly forbidden by the licence. I also don’t see any way to buy a commercial license. An excerpt from the license:

This free VSTHost is intended exclusively for private use. You may copy the complete program package and pass it on to others for private use only.

The free VSTHost may not be used for commercial or professional purposes.

Breakoutbox
Breakoutbox
1 year 7 months ago
Wolfgang
Wolfgang
1 year 3 months ago

In your blog about “What is a VST plug-in” you write: “Assuming that you’re happy with your hardware setup”. Can you spend some words about a typical / good hardware setup? Windows / Mac ? Many thanks.

Frank
Frank
1 year 1 month ago

Samplitude Pro X Silver is a wonderful free DAW. It has a great set of effects, as well as Revolta synth, and of course, there’s VST/VSTI support. The only serious limitation is that it only allows up to 8 tracks per project.
Please update the link: http://pro.magix.com/en/samplitude/miditech-english.730.html

Wing Yee
Wing Yee
6 months 5 days ago

Cantabile Version 1.2 Full is now Free! Though this version only support 32 bits but it has many of the main features as their latest Version 3 minus a few fancy extras you can do without.

https://www.cantabilesoftware.com/download/

wpDiscuz