Helm Free VST/AU/AAX Synthesizer By Matt Tytel


Matt Tytel has announced the release of Helm, an open source virtual analogue synthesizer that runs as a VST/AU/AAX plugin on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.

Helm is still a work in progress, but the plugin definitely looks very promising at this point. It is a free multi-platform virtual synthesizer developed by Matt Tytel, packing a rather capable synthesis engine underneath a very nice looking GUI. Seriously, the GUI is one of the best I’ve seen lately among freeware releases, sporting a soothing color palette and fresh material design style shadows underneath the knobs. It is a joy to look at and perfectly suitable for long preset programming sessions.

See also: Best Free Virtual Analog Synthesizers!

The overall sound quality of Helm’s synthesis engine is also very good, however what’s even better is the fact that the instrument comes with a couple of features we don’t usually see in freeware synthesizers. The formant filter section and the stutter effect module can lead to some surprisingly neat results when used in tandem, especially if you’re looking for rhythmic sequences and noises suitable for use in modern electronic music. Also, the modulation controls are perfectly laid-out across the interface and it’s easy to connect different elements of the sound engine, as well as to figure out what target is being modulated by which modulation source.

Helm is free software, which means that you can take a look at the source code (available on the developer’s website) and study it or even modify it to your liking. If you’d like to show support for Matt Tytel’s work on Helm, you can send a donation through the developer’s website, or purchase a set of Helm synthesizer vinyl stickers.

The plugin still has stability issues on certain systems, however the developer is constantly working on releasing maintenance updates containing the latest bug fixes. Helm works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux, with support for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. We’re curious to see how this rather interesting virtual instrument will be developed in the future, but either way it’s one of the nicest surprises in the plugin world this summer. At the moment, it is a strong contender for one of the top five spots in 2015’s edition of our annual freeware VST plugins round-up.


Helm is available for free download via Matt Tytel’s website (4.9 MB download size, MSI installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows, Mac OS & Linux).

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. I love the interface, and it seems pretty flexible !
    I love the fact it is open source.
    For sure, a project to follow !

  2. There’s this strange ringing /distortion – ish artifact coming from the oscillators for some reason. Not sure what that could be. Other than that, its a pretty cool synth nonetheless. Love the waveform shapes aswell.

  3. Scarbro Eddie C.


    I know what your thinking…. it’s Cpu intensive, won’t open in host DAW (MPC in my case), in fact it crashes my DAW everytime…

    Lol its free. Free doesn’t equal perfect. I was initially upset as can be, but that didn’t last long. I look forward to learning how to code/program. It’s pretty cool when the developer encourages the community as a whole with the intention of building a better VST.

  4. Thistlefarmer


    Despite indications on the download site, Helm is not currently (v0_6_0) available as AAX. Developer Matt Tytel hopes to have it ready for the “next” version.

  5. Very nice, partly very intuitive. But I don’t get the LFO’s working, don’t understand the idea of apllying them. I still don’t understand the idea behind the helmets and subsequent background lighting ; what does green mean, what does blue mean, and what does the highlighting mean?

    Like CYFE said and even worse in my opinion, the volume, especially of the (horrible) preset is almost ear-damaging. Be careful!

    • The helmets are a way to modify the sound. You can click the helmet on say one of those lfo’s at the bottom, and change a parameter while the background lighting is different. The parameter will then change at the tempo of the “helmet” you attached it to. And you can do that in all sorts of combinations.

  6. I have just tried it yesterday, and it looks great.
    The GUI is very good, modern, simple, clear, great work for this.
    I am not pro but the first sounds i got from it were interesting. I will now use it more intensively.
    I use Win10 64 bit & Ableton, no problem.

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      A quote from the product page: “Helm is Free Software. This means you are free to run Helm anywhere without the pains of DRM, you can study and change the source code and redistribute exact or modified copies of Helm.”

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