Are you looking for free VST plugins? You’re certainly in the right place! On this page, you’ll find the core part of BPB – a constantly updated directory of essential freeware VST instruments and effects for Windows and Mac (formerly known as BPB Freeware Studio).
Alternatively, you can browse through all the freeware tools (including free VST plugins, free VST hosts, free audio editors, etc) which have been featured in our News section so far, by visiting the Free Software Archive on BPB.
Free VST Plugins Directory
Part 1: Best Free VST Host Applications
A selection of free audio editors and applications which can host VST plugins (including DAWs, sequencers, live hosts and trackers):
Part 2: Best Freeware VST Effects
A selection of freeware effects in VST/AU plugin formats:
- Auto-Tune (Pitch Correction)
- Chorus (coming soon)
- Compressor (Bus/Channel)
- Compressor (Multiband)
- Compressor (Sidechain)
- Distortion (coming soon)
- EQ (Graphic)
- EQ (Linear-Phase)
- EQ (Parametric)
- Flanger (coming soon)
- Gate (Noise Gate)
- Guitar Amp
- Guitar Cab (coming soon)
- Mastering Tools
- Reverb (Algorithmic)
- Reverb (Convolution) (coming soon)
- Saturation (Console/Tape/Tube)
- Stereo Enhancer
- Transient Shaper
Part 3: Best Freeware VST Instruments
A selection of freeware instruments in VSTi/AU plugin format:
- Drum Machine/Synth
- Piano (Acoustic) (coming soon)
- Piano (Electric)
- Sound Module/Workstation
- Soundfont Player
- String Machine
- Synthesizer (Emulation)
- Synthesizer (FM)
- Synthesizer (Modular) (coming soon)
- Synthesizer (Subtractive/VA)
Part 4: Best Freeware VST Utilities
Other useful free VST/AU plugins:
What Are VST Plugins?
In case you’ve never used VST plugins before, here’s a brief introduction. The acronym VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology. It is a special kind of software interface which allows the user to load 3rd party audio effects and virtual instruments as plugins inside a VST compatible DAW program (Digital Audio Workstation). The technology was first introduced by Steinberg back in 1996 and has made a huge impact on the way we make music today.
So, a VST plugin is basically a VST effect or a VST instrument intended for use in a host program which supports Virtual Studio Technology. It allows us to expand our software studio with plugins, the same way we would use hardware effects and instruments in a real studio. There are literally thousands of VSTs out there available for free download and use, as well as several quite powerful freeware host applications which can be used to create music using VST technology.
Building Your VST Collection
Your computer is the central part of your digital music studio. Assuming that you’re happy with your hardware setup, the next task is to install a collection of software which will allow you to record and produce music in the best way possible. Choosing the right audio software and learning how to use it should be your highest priority!
Step 1: The DAW
The first step when building your software studio is to choose the right DAW for you. Whether you decide to use free software or a commercial program is up to you (and your budget), but I suggest you to try the demo versions of all VST hosts which you find interesting before making the final decision. The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing your DAW is the workflow. Do you find the application intuitive? Does the user interface seem logical to you? Does the application offer all of the functionality you’ll need during your music production endeavors?
If you’re looking for free software, take a look at the free DAWs article in the directory section above. You’ll find a nice selection of freeware VST hosts, although the program which stands out among the crowd is Podium Free by Zynewave. It is the finest freeware host application in the world today, in my opinion. The only significant limitation of this DAW is that it doesn’t support multi-core processing of data. Otherwise, it’s a great program to use as the core of your virtual studio.
If we take both the price and functionality into account, the smartest choice is still Reaper by Cockos. A bit hard to understand at first, but an incredible program overall. Make sure that you’ve read the manual and took the time to set up the user interface according to your needs before getting into serious music production with Reaper. You’ll be far more productive once you get to fully understand this great VST host!
Step 2: Choosing the right VST plugins
Once you’ve picked your DAW, you’re all set to start building your collection of VST plugins. Be careful, though! The biggest mistake people make when discovering VST technology and the world of freeware VSTs is downloading hundreds of freeware plugins and installing them on their computer without any real testing. This is extremely bad for your workflow and productivity! Imagine all the clutter and chaos in a real world studio with hundreds of hardware instruments and effects which no one ever uses. You don’t need such a mess in your virtual studio!
Instead, be patient when choosing your virtual instruments and effects. This page is a great place to start, as I’ve tried to list only the best free VST plugins in each category.
What you really need is a streamlined collection of audio software which will cover all of your music production needs. Take the time to examine the plugins on offer and pick only the ones you really need. Limit yourself to no more than three virtual compressors, equalizers, synthesizers, etc. Install only the tools which best suit your workflow and learn how to use them. Read the manuals, watch the video tutorials and spend some time experimenting with your software tools.
Also, keep your plugins up to date. Developers often release updated versions of their freeware plugins, which include important bug fixes and additional features. Keep an eye on the News section on BPB to stay informed about the latest updates of popular freeware tools. Consider signing up to our email newsletter (check out the signup form in the right sidebar) to receive the latest freeware news straight to your Inbox.
I hope that our directory of VST plugins will help you find the best freeware tools for your software studio. Feel free to take part in this project by leaving your own suggestions and other feedback in the comments section below, or on any of the linked pages.
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Written by Tomislav Zlatic.Share This! ♥ :