Best Free VST Plugins Of 2020

80

Bedroom Producers Blog announces the best free VST plugins of 2020.

Instead of writing a massive article with 20+ freebies, I had to do something different this year (click here to learn why). This year, BPB selected the five best entries in five different categories:

Also, be sure to check out the Honorable Mentions section, where I listed a few more must-have free VST plugins from 2020.

So, if your plan was to sleep through the entire 2020 (totally understandable!) and you just woke up, this article is here to inform you that some quite amazing free VSTs were released in the meanwhile.

These are the best free VST plugins of 2020.


Best FREE VST Synthesizer 2020: Vital Basic

Free VST Plugins 2020: Vital Basic

Vital Basic is a free VST plugin by Matt Tytel, the developer behind Helm. Its synthesis engine rivals today’s best-selling virtual instruments like Xfer Serum and NI Massive while delivering a revolutionary user interface and an unmatchable price tag.

The basic version of Vital is, and will always be, free. You can pay $25 or more to get additional presets, more wavetables, and exclusive perks. A $5 subscription is also available, bringing priority support and first-access to new features and updates.

Back to the free Vital Basic plugin, its feature set is identical to the paid editions. You’re getting an insanely powerful wavetable synthesizer with virtually unlimited modulation capabilities. It also includes a waveform editor, built-in effects, unison, and a state-of-the-art user interface that makes Vital much easier to use than the feature set might suggest.

Vital is the best free VST instrument of 2020. Download it for free and unleash the power of wavetable synthesis in your DAW.

More info: Vital Basic

↑ Back to top


Best FREE VST Effect Of 2020: Valhalla Supermassive

Free VST Plugins 2020: Valhalla Supermassive

Valhalla Supermassive is a free delay VST plugin developed by the reverb gods at Valhalla DSP. However, describing Supermassive purely as a delay effect is a massive understatement.

If your audio craves enormous virtual spaces with never-ending echoes and infinite reflections, Valhalla Supermassive is the ticket to paradise. The plugin uses Valhalla DSP’s experimental delay and reverb algorithms, delivering gigantic atmospheres that are hard to find elsewhere.

Valhalla Supermassive is my favorite free VST effect of 2020. It deserves a place in any sound designer’s VST plugin arsenal.

Be sure to check out the Valhalla Space Modulator plugin, too. It is another magnificent freebie that Valhalla DSP released this year.

More info: Valhalla Supermassive

↑ Back to top


Best FREE VST Host 2020: Waveform Free

Best Free VST Host 2020: Waveform Free

Waveform Free is a free digital audio workstation by Tracktion Corporation. First announced at NAMM 2020 and released a few months later, Waveform Free joined Cakewalk by Bandlab is one of the best free DAW applications on the market.

Building on the foundation set by Tracktion’s previous DAWs, Waveform Free brings more than a handful of new features. It delivers Tracktion’s signature efficient workflow while introducing a full-blown mixer, a plugin sandbox, a pattern generator, and more.

Tracktion also offers a paid version of Waveform Free called Waveform Pro (starting at $69). It adds more virtual instruments, more effects, advanced arrangement tools, plugin macros, video playback functionality, and premium support.

If you’re an electronic musician looking for the perfect first DAW, Waveform’s free edition is well worth considering. Of course, Waveform Free can also host VST plugins so that you can put your entire arsenal of virtual instruments and effects to good use.

Waveform Free is my favorite free production music software of 2020.

More info: Waveform Free

↑ Back to top


Most Improved VST Plugin 2020: Sitala

Most Improved VST Plugin 2020: Sitala

It’s easy to disregard Sitala as “too simple” of a plugin to be taken seriously. But the simplicity is what makes this freeware drum sampler by Decomposer so unique.

Sitala is a drum sampler plugin with sixteen channels. It is optimized for a super-fast workflow. You can load the samples via drag-and-drop and apply tweaks like pitch and envelope adjustments on the fly.

In late 2020, the developer officially released the 1.0 version of Sitala, following a lengthy public beta testing period. The new version of the plugin added sample trimming and beat slicing to the feature list, making Sitala a must-have production tool in any beat maker’s arsenal.

If you’re looking for a freeware drum sampler that will speed up your beat making workflow, look no further than Sitala. It was my favorite VST plugin update of 2020.

More info: Sitala

↑ Back to top


Most Improved VST Developer 2020: Analog Obsession

Most Improved VST Developer 2020: Analog Obsession

Analog Obsession re-released all of their VST plugins as pay-what-you-want in early 2020. You can download the plugins for free or support the developer via Patreon.

In the past, there was a lot of talk about Analog Obsession’s plugins showing promise but not being good enough to rival the very best out there. However, a lot has changed since then, and Analog Obsession now develops audio effects that are more polished and well-made than ever before.

If you’re looking for freely downloadable plugins inspired by legendary analog gear, check out Analog Obsession’s page for some cool gear. Chances are you’ll find more than a few keepers.

Analog Obsession gets the “most improved VST plugin developer of 2020” award. Check them out and consider supporting that work.

On that note, with everything that happened in 2020, it is now more important than ever to support independent developers and sound designers. If there’s a donation button on your favorite VST plugin vendor’s website, now is the time to click it.

More info: Analog Obsession

↑ Back to top


Best FREE VST Plugins 2020: Honorable Mentions

There were so many free VSTs released this year that it’s almost impossible to mention them all in one article. Be sure to check out the Software News section to find all the best freebies from 2020.

I listed some of my favorite free VST plugins from 2020 below (this section of the article is still under construction. I will add more VST plugins later today).

Pendulate by Newfangled Audio

Pendulate by Newfangled Audio

Pendulate is an innovative virtual monophonic synthesizer by Newfangled Audio. It uses a new oscillator technology based on the physics properties of a double pendulum.

This chaotic freeware synthesizer is an excellent source of dark electronic pulses, glitchy bass tones, and synthetic soundscapes drizzled with static noises. Sure, you can use Pendulate to produce some more musical and mellow sounds, but dark and glitchy electronica is simply the nature of this beast.

More info: Pendulate


BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover by Spitfire Audio

BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover by Spitfire Audio

Spitfire Audio’s new BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover is arguably the best orchestral virtual instrument for beginners. It costs €49, but you can get it for free by filling out a survey on Spitfire Audio’s website.

You’re getting 33 orchestral patches that use Spitfire Audio’s state-of-the-art sampling. Download this one right away if your sound arsenal lacks strings, brass, woodwinds, and orchestral percussion.

More info: BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover


Odin 2 by TheWaveWarden

Odin 2 by TheWaveWarden

Odin 2 is a monstrous cross-platform hybrid virtual synthesizer for Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is a 12-voice polyphonic beast with a flexible synthesis engine and “endless modulation capabilities.”

There are too many features to count, but here’s a quick look at some of the highlights.

Odin 2 has three oscillator slots, each capable of hosting one of the eleven (!) available oscillator types. It also has a wavetable oscillator, an FM oscillator, a chiptune oscillator, a vector oscillator, and even an oscillator that lets you draw custom waveforms.

More info: Odin 2


TDR Molotok by Tokyo Dawn Labs

TDR Molotok by Tokyo Dawn Records

TDR Molotok is based on the legendary Molot freeware compressor by Vladislav Goncharov. He is also the same developer who released Limiter №6, another “Hall of Fame” freeware plugin (and one of the best free limiter VST plugins ever).

You can use TDR Molotok to add grit and character to drums, bass guitars, and mix busses. Or, go completely crazy with it and use it as a hammer for smashing drum loops into pieces (after all, the word Molotok means “Small Hammer” in Russian).

More info: TDR Molotok


CHOW Tape Model by Jatin Chowdhury

CHOW Tape Model by Jatin Chowdhury

CHOW Tape Model is an incredibly well-made tape emulation plugin. It simulates multiple properties of reel-to-reel tape, from analog saturation to pitch inconsistencies and noise.

The software is based on a physical model of an analog tape machine that was developed as a class project for Music 420 at Stanford University. Although the plugin was initially intended to model the Sony TC-260 tape machine, the algorithm was later changed to be a more flexible simulation of a wider variety of analog reel-to-reel machines.

More info: CHOW Tape Model


HY-Poly Free by HY-Plugins

HY-Poly Free by HY-Plugins

HY-Poly Free is a freeware polyphonic virtual synthesizer by HY-Plugins. It features a pair of oscillators with vibrato and sync capabilities, a sub-oscillator, a noise generator, dual multi-mode filters (low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass), four envelopes, dual LFOs, S&H, three sequencers, and three effects (delay, chorus, and a utility effect).

One of HY-Poly Free’s coolest features is the oscillator’s ability to morph between the saw and pulse waveshapes, with adjustable pulse width. Another highlight is the modulation infrastructure, where almost every parameter can be modulated using one of HY-Poly’s own generators or an external source.

More info: HY-Poly Free


VariSpeed by GSi

VariSpeed by GSi

I’m a huge fan of analog delays, which is probably why VariSpeed by GSi is one of my favorite free VST plugins of 2020. It emulates the Copicat IC400, a legendary analog tape delay unit by Watkins.

The feature that made the Copicat IC400 so unique back in the day was its variable-speed belt drive motor. The motor made it possible to change the tape delay speed, which is something we take for granted nowadays.

That said, the VariSpeed plugin delivers all the charm and dirt of vintage analog delays. Guaranteed fun if you like experimenting with long feedback delays, swirly echoes, and pitch automation.

More info: VariSpeed


BPB Dirty Filter

BPB Dirty Filter by Bedroom Producers Blog

Here’s a closer look at BPB Dirty Filter.

I’m not the bragging type, but designing and releasing free VST plugins on Bedroom Producers Blog was one of my major goals. That is why I can’t resist the temptation to include BPB Dirty Filter on this list.

BPB Dirty Filter is Bedroom Producers Blog’s very own distortion and sound design weapon. Use it to add character and grit to drums loops, bass riffs, synths, or even vocals. Make your drums sounds like they were recorded in the 60s, or apply some crunchy resonance to your virtual synths.

The plugin combines tube-style distortion with a pair of resonant filters. The results can range from subtle parallel processing to all-out audio destruction, depending on your settings.

BPB Dirty Filter isn’t the only freeware VST plugin we released this year. It was followed by BPB Saturator, a more nuanced plugin for tape and tube saturation.

More info: BPB Dirty Filter


Hey Tomislav, where’s the Top 20?

Long-time BPB readers will notice that 2020’s free VST plugin roundup is shorter than the previous entries.

The reason for this is that I’m going through some personal difficulties at the moment, and there’s not enough time available to write the epic article that I’d typically publish at this time of the year.

I would also like to apologize for not covering some of the freebies and deals that appeared in the past few days. Thanks to all of you who posted comments and kept sending me emails about the latest freebies. You rock!

Don’t worry, though.

BPB will be back stronger than ever in 2021. There are just a few things that I need to sort out in the meanwhile.

My thoughts on 2020

While 2020 has been a terrible year globally, I can’t help but notice that it led to some quite extraordinary things happening in our little virtual music producer community.

First of all, being stuck at home, terrible as it is, also meant that people could spend more time on their favorite hobbies. For many of us, making music is the creative valve that keeps us going, but we don’t devote nearly enough time to it. I can bet that hundreds of thousands of people around the world made their first music this year. That can’t be bad news (unless you’re my neighbor).

Also, I could devote a lot more time to writing articles, creating new content, and generally improving Bedroom Producers Blog. As a personal highlight, I designed and released two freeware plugins, BPB Dirty Filter and BPB Saturator (thanks to the developers for their fantastic work on the code). For me, designing a couple of plugins and publishing them on BPB was a dream come true.

I also have to thank all of YOU who are reading this and posting comments on Bedroom Producers Blog. Our community has grown so much in 2020, and I will do my best to help us grow even more next year. I’m looking into new ways to help us connect outside the comments section – more news on that coming early next year.

And finally, in my ten years of writing about music production software on Bedroom Producers Blog, I have never witnessed so many developers stepping up and offering their paid products for free. I won’t name any names here, simply because it wouldn’t be possible not to leave someone out, and that wouldn’t be fair.

The music software industry, as an entity, was astoundingly generous and supportive this year, making this difficult period at least somewhat easier for everyone. From major software companies to independent developers and sound designers, everyone was at the top of their generosity game.

Here is a heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone, every developer, every sound designer, every music lover, and every kind and creative soul who tried to make 2020 easier for others.

Thanks for reading BPB. See you again in 2021!

Share this article. ♥️

About Author

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

80 Comments

  1. Sad to hear about your troubles, Tomislav! You have my sympathies and prayers! Take it easy, take care of yourself (and possibly others) and have a great ending to this enormously troubling year to begin the new one fresh and healthy!!!

    • I LOVE small UI in plugins. Surge takes 75% of my screen, glad I have 2 of them. I can put it in 75% scale but that makes text look a bit weird, but it’s useable.

  2. Tomislav, you’re a genius!

    I follow your blog for several years, and indeed it is continuously improving. Lots of great information and lots of freebies worth checking out. Thank you for all your dedication to this awesome work!

    Wishing a happy new year to you and your family!

  3. Thank you for this article and all the work you do everyday, this blog is the BIBLE of free VST and has helped me immensely with its suggestions!
    Hope things will better for you in the future.
    Happy new year!

  4. I wish you the best and keep healthy! Big thanks in name of the invisible users of your page (there are academics inclusive).

  5. Thanks for everything you find Tomislav!

    Never comment on these kinda things, but really appreciate the work you put in! The weekly email from BPB is always an exciting find!

    All the best!

  6. Dear Tomislav,

    I enjoy reading your blog and explore the stuff you recommend a lot. Thank you very much for all your work and efforts and always kind words and comments. I wish you all the best and hope your personal troubles are soon over. Have a good new year 2021!

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Peter! I hope 2021 will be better for everyone. Stay safe and happy new year! :)

  7. I ‘ve only discovered BPB lately and I feel sad that I hadn’t been aware of this awesome blog earlier.
    I can’t stress enough how interesting and helpful it has been. A true companion during this wicked year.
    I ‘m sorry to hear about the difficulties you ‘re facing currently and I hope that you will overcome them soon.
    Thank you.

    My warmest wishes to everyone. I hope that the coming year will compensate for the last one.
    Cheers from Greece!

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      Hi Nick, glad to have you on board! Welcome to BPB! Also, thanks for the kind words. Happy new year (and I’m hoping to visit Greece again sooner than later)!

  8. Thank you so much for all the articles you posted this year and in the past congrats on completing 10 year!!
    hope you get out of the problems soon !
    also very exited to see bpb in 2021 !

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      Hey Masked Tiger, everything will be fine. Also excited for 2021 and making BPB better than ever before. Thanks for your support and for being part of the BPB community!

    • Tomislav, I have been a follower for a number of years and sincerely appreciate the incredible value of your articles, reviews and newsposts through the years. I am having great fun with your Dirty Filter, btw. Keep it up, I hope things improve for you soon. Now I’m off to download some of these freebies. Cheers from Costa Rica

  9. Thankyou for still delivering the article during your struggles mate, your work is massively appreciated.

    Regarding Analog obsession I still believe his saturation model has a long way to go but his eq curves are good. just a shame that pulteq has such low internal headroom.

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      You’re welcome! I agree that Analog Obsession still has some work to do, but I respect how he changed the game in 2020.

  10. Michael Parker

    on

    Tomislav you are doing a great job with this website and I have checked it several times a week now for the last few years. Please know you and your contribution to music makers both pro and hobbyist is much appreciated. Cheers.

    • Tomislav Zlatic

      on

      Hi Michael, thanks for being a BPB reader. It is humbling to hear that my work here is useful to fellow musicians and music producers worldwide. Cheers and see you again in 2021!

  11. Hey Tomislav, I constantly visit this site for many years now and have found some amazing plugins because of your and your teams efforts. I hope that you quickly get through whatever you have to deal with right now and I really wish you the best.

  12. Big THX for this site and your great work!!! Not only a link list… No, your descriptions are gold and I like your opinion! You have a very good taste and everytime it’s 100 Prozent true! Stay save and healthy! And… The award for Analog Obsession is a great sign! Tunca had hard times and the changed to patreon was a very good decision. His work has improved a lot and he deserves it!

  13. Thanks for helping take the edge off 2020. Great blog, great community! Be well, and here’s hoping that 2021 is a better year. I care because you do…(Yeah, I stole that last bit.). Take good care Tomislav. Happy New Year BPB.

  14. Thank you for being a guide through the world of musical software for all these years! Do hope you`ll get through all your troubles and be stronger than ever. Happy New Year, man!

  15. Hope for the best for you Tomislav.
    Thanks for all of your help this year 💙 Big Respect to you & BPB.

    Best wishes in 2021, may it be a healthy & Happy New Year 👍

  16. Hoping you come through the tough times ok Tomislav. Thank you for your invaluable advice and insight.
    It’s very much appreciated brother.

    g

  17. You were a major part of my 2020! Sending good vibes to you! Thank you so much for all the work that improves my life.
    Happy 2k21!

  18. Thank you Tomislav. Your blog has been a huge help to me over the last decade. Take it easy, be kind to yourself, and have a healthy new year. Sending good vibes your way!

  19. Very sorry to read that you’re currently experiencing personal difficulties, Tomislav. I hope things get better for you soon.

    Thank you for this list, thank you for the free VSTs you’ve developed this year, and thank you for all that you do week after week. You are a good man and you’re absolutely invaluable to the music community.

    May 2021 be better for you! Cheers!

  20. Thanks for all the hard work thru this hot mess of a year. You are one of the best. All my best wishes for you and this community for 2021. Saludos desde Cuba.

  21. Sorry to hear of your troubles. I hope things are much better soon. I appreciate this fantastic blog you’ve cultivated. It’s seldom a day goes by that I don’t check out the site.

    All the best to you in 2021. Thanks so much for everything!

  22. APOCALYPSE BINGO 2020: Who had Tomislav Personal Difficulties for december? :-(
    Most Improved VST Developer 2020 <- oddly very specific category, but 100% agree.
    All my best, anyone.

  23. Another year for the Music Industry… What a year huh.
    Hopefully 2021 would be better for everyone!
    Cheers for the upcoming new opportunities for us!

  24. Thanks for all you do. It’s a superlative effort, and a succinct list like this one will actually help me to identify the best of what I’ve missed this year!

  25. Thank you so much Tomislav for everything you do. The amount of comments on your post should show you how each and every one of us is rooting for you. All the best!

  26. Hi Tomislav, I hope things will be better quickly for you.
    I wish you the best, BPB is my favorite music related site, I have been following you for years.

    Thanks for your work!

  27. Tomislav! Very sorry to hear about your troubles, you are an invaluable resource to this community! Best wishes to you, here’s hoping all your troubles clear up and you have an even happier new year!

  28. Tomislav, you have been a bright and shining light on my path!
    Thanks much.
    I hope and pray that your situation will be improved.
    All the best for the new year, 2021

  29. This site is so awesome! Thank you for all the work and recommendations (and the free plugs, haven’t fired up the Saturator yet, am excited!) Has really become my morning routine in this crazy year to make a cup of coffee and type the letter b into my browser and fire up the blog first thing. I personally like it when there is a break in posting for a few days, reminds me that real people are curating this stuff, which I appreciate! Cheers and happy new year!

  30. So, happy new year to everyone, and good luck to everyone who hadn’t that much last year!

    To make the good old 20+ list together, let’s get back to community source mode. So here is a short spontanious list of my favorites not already mentioned in the article (which contains wonderful entries again):

    Sequencers which complement each other:
    – HY-RPE2 (HY-Plugins)
    – Stochas (Audio Vitamins/Surge Team)

    VIs:
    – Fury-800 (also Tricent Mk III) (FBM)
    – HaNon B70 (Lostin70s)
    – CollaB3 (Sampleson)
    – Also check out PianoBook for wonderful homemade sampled instruments. Most in NI Kontakt, but contains also SFZ, Decent Sampler, Logic Sampler instruments or plain WAV samples

    Effects:
    – Squeezer (Martin Zuther)
    – The Great Escape (Musical Entropy)
    – Filterstep (Audiomodern)

    Cheers, Hannes

  31. Take care of yourself bud, thank you for all your work spreading knowledge about free plugins! The most exciting part about digital music has nothing to do with its raw sonic capabilities (though they are awesome) but rather with the possibility of lowering monetary barriers for people who want to get into making music and your blog exemplifies that.

    I hope the new year is better for you and us all

  32. Thanks for what you do for us Tomislav

    Hope your health issues will be resolved soon !

    Happy New Year and take care!

  33. Happy New Year Tomislav!!!
    I would like to personally to tell you that myself and all of the friends that are now hooked on BPB are immensely grateful for your time, dedication and the information that you share with us all !!!
    I have been a subscriber for 2+ years and I have produced roughly two song’s per week since then and I would say 75% of the plugins that I have used were suggested by you!!
    Thank you soooo much!!
    Papa Nicol.

Leave A Reply