discoDSP Highlife Sampler Is Now FREE (Again) For Non-Commercial Use


discoDSP released an updated version (v1.4) of the Highlife sampler VST/AU plugin for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Highlife is now free for use in non-commercial projects.

The update celebrates discoDSP’s 20th company anniversary. Congratulations to the developer, and thanks for all the fantastic software (don’t miss discoDSP’s free OB-Xd synthesizer plugin).

Highlife is a performance-oriented sampler plugin with one outstanding feature – it can sample other VST plugins. In other words, you can turn your favorite virtual synthesizer patch into a multi-sampled library with a few clicks.

But why would you want to sample a virtual synthesizer?

There are multiple scenarios where this can be useful. For example, you can use this technique to reduce CPU usage in your project. Or, you can sample your friend’s virtual synthesizer (that you don’t own) and transfer those sounds to your DAW.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

Highlife can export the sampled sounds as an SFZ patch for quick and easy use later on. You can load those sounds in Highlife or other samplers like Zampler and Grace.

But let’s not forget that Highlife also works as a sample player. It loads WAV, MP3, RAW, and OGG audio files, handles various sampler formats (SFZ, SF2, and more), and supports auto-mapping. So, if you already own a collection of samples (who doesn’t nowadays), Highlife is one of the better options for loading and playing those sounds in your DAW.

Highlife doesn’t lack in the sound design department, either. You can manipulate the sounds using ADSR envelopes, filters, LFOs, and built-in effects. All the usual performance controls are present, too. You get portamento, pitch bend, poly/legato/mono playback, multiple sample loop types, up to 32 voices of polyphony, and more.

Some of you may remember that Highlife was already a freeware plugin back in the day. It later became a paid product (currently priced at $49), but discoDSP decided to make it a freebie again.

There’s a catch, though. Highlife is only free to use in non-commercial projects. So, you can load it in your DAW and have fun with sampling, but you’re asked to purchase the license if you’re using Highlife for real work.

Download: Highlife ($49, free for non-commercial use)

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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. Nice news.
    But we are currently in an environment where the sfz format and its corresponding free samplers are too convenient in terms of performance and potential.
    Looking at the sfz format specifications here, everyone can understand that the functions as various samplers can be reproduced.

    • There is also a graphical editor for DecentSampler on the horizon. My guess is that Decent Sampler will become THE format for freeware and lower cost libraries in the near future.

    • why wouldn t you pay for it, if you make money with it? it is affordable and the creators have to pay bills and feed their children too.

  2. VSTi sampling (Windows v1.4 only)
    Zero Delay Feedback Filters (R1.3)

    v1.4 is windows and 32bit only, so you can only load 32bit plugins in Highlife.
    R1.3 have both 32 and 64bit but can not load vsti’s.

    • This is what I feared, thanks for the clarification.
      Well, this is really the only usage I would have for this plugin; so it seems I am at the same level than when I was using it back in 2008 :)

      So basically I redownloaded the exact same copy as this one I had https://rekkerd.org/discodsp-highlife-now-freeware/

      I could give the v1.3 64bits a try, but I am not sure what I could do with it :)

  3. I think the NON-COMMERCIAL in the context of a library-less sampler means not to build instruments that then would be sold, not privating musicians to sell their music.

    • exactly… the only grounds for restricting usage would be “don’t sell the sfz file generated by the vst, unless you have a license!” as that is the only product that could share something (i.e. what links the open source sfz format with YOUR sounds) with the vst offered for download

  4. This is nice, but I get a feeling it is rather a long time since it was last updated, seeing the small GUI, is there any way to enlarge it?

    • Michal Ochedowski


      When I saw the installer dated at year 2014, I didn’t even bother trying this one. I was certain it wouldn’t be resizable.

  5. Hm, it seems like only the windows version supports vst sampling. Is there a way I can sample my vsts on a mac? Thanks!

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