kHs ONE Synthesizer Is Now Discontinued And FREE!


Kilohearts announced that the kHs ONE ($19 value) virtual synthesizer is now discontinued. It is FREE to download from the developer’s website.

kHs ONE is a subtractive virtual synthesizer by Kilohearts. It features a straightforward but flexible virtual analog synthesis engine with two main oscillators and a sub-oscillator, two filters, three envelopes,  two LFOs, a couple of effects (chorus and delay), and a modulation matrix.

The synthesis engine can cover a broad range of sounds while remaining easy to use. In other words, kHs ONE isn’t as versatile as Vital or Surge XT, but it handles most sounds you’d expect from a subtractive synthesizer.

kHs ONE’s main advantage is its intuitive user interface. Kilohearts did such a great job with the control layout that kHs ONE is the perfect platform for learning subtractive synthesis. This plugin is an ideal starting point if you want to learn how to make synth patches from scratch.

That said, kHs ONE is more than just a well-organized interface. Its internal components sound fantastic. The oscillators and the filters are top quality, and you will probably notice that simple bass sounds and pads generated by kHs ONE sound juicier than what you’d get from most other VA synths.

It’s not precisely DIVA level of analog emulation, but kHs ONE sounds more organic than most other virtual analog synthesizers without putting too much strain on the CPU.

So, if you’re in the market for a great-sounding subtractive synthesizer that “sounds analog” and plays well with beginner synthesis enthusiasts, look no further than kHs ONE.

Usually, you’d have to pay $19 for a copy of kHs ONE, but Kilohearts decided to discontinue its development and offer the latest version as a free download. This means that kHs ONE won’t receive any updates in the future, and you can’t get technical support. On the other hand,  you can now use this excellent virtual instrument in your DAW for free.

Kilohearts posted a short note about discontinuing kHs One: “kHs ONE has been discontinued and is no longer available through the regular Kilohearts Installer. A stand-alone installer for the very last version of kHs ONE is available below. Please note that kHs ONE is not available in the VST3 format.”

The instrument should work well in most current digital audio workstations as long as they’re capable of hosting one of the supported plugin formats.

However, one aspect of kHs ONE that hasn’t aged quite well is the GUI size. It isn’t resizable, and you may find it too small to use comfortably on a high-resolution screen.

kHs ONE is available in 64-bit VST2, AAX, and Audio Unit plugin formats on Windows and macOS.

Download: kHs ONE (discontinued, free to download)


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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. After I checked out the free “Essentials Pack” by Kilohearts I was really impressed. I bought their convolver and
    I have an eye on phase plant, will buy it maybe when it goes on sale. Kilohearts is a great company. No hassle with activations and really quality freebies. It’s great to get khs ONE for free.

  2. Kilohearts One and the Essentials Pack effects are also free as Reason Rack extensions: AB

  3. Reminds me of Blaukraut Charlatan (not updated since 2015, sniff), but with more modulations and effects.
    Certainly not groundbreaking in any way, nowadays, but the VOX filter itself deserves a mention. Somehow a forgotten filter not present in many synths, that can be loads of fun.

  4. Kudos! KH rocks. Their free kh essentials suite is really great, too. In difference to other companies they give away their abandoned stuff instead of trying to keep selling it.

    There are a couple of others that do the same but most developers go another way with their old stuff. Just compare with what companies like Air Musictech or Izotope are doing. They sell their abandoned plugins for years to come while stopping any development, bugfixing or support in the background. Nor telling you, its discontinued.

    Others, nobmatter if izs plugins or samples, just disguise or rework old versions. Subtle changes in appearance or vst3 support, apple silicon support or even resizable GUI are marketed as a brand new version even if sound processing is basically the same. Or they keep rolling out new versions year for year, then blocking backward compatibility with license tricks (NI). Or they keep telling you, how old your shit is, even when it’s not (Waves).

    And then there are companies that start to market ‘legacy editions’. Look at what U-He is doing. It’s like in music software business legacy code is another word for vintage, when it’s a bad thing anywhere else. Zebra 2 Legacy Ed. will be in a 99$ sale forever, so they tell us. It is even license crippled, you won’t have an upgrade path to Zebra3, because it is such a great deal for itself 😄 What are they thinking? This is not a bashing of u-he, they are great and they have great freebies, but the legacy edition stuff is bs and no great customer experience will come out of it in 2023 and on.

    Be grateful for companies like KH!

    • So even if u-he calls Zebra 2 now Zebra legacy, all of this was pre-announced including the date and you were able to buy Zebra 2 regularly before and then you have an upgrade path. Also they claimed it would be cheaper then. So if you follow them you knew :)
      Also even if they call it legacy, all of their plugins are well maintained, no matter how old they are, even free ones like Podolski and Triple Cheese, they even got a UI upgrade some while ago and all run on M1 Mac.
      Show me another developer with this kind of maintenance for such a long time.

      • Yeah, I try to follow them, but i am not following them blindly :)
        u-he are indeed great in announcements: Zebra 3 was (re)announced many years ago (in 2017). Zebra 2 was already 10 years old then. Check KVR for the timeline and how the userbase reacted then, there are +5 year old threads on this topic with many frustated users. I guess most of their active users did not wait for Zebra 2 to become a legacy edition. Why not selling it for 200$ with an upgrade path? This is obviously intended for new users as a dead end and to make more money with an EOL product that is from 2007 (yes, Zebra 2 is really old). Newbies read Hans Zimmer and start to dream, yet the product is a dinosaur like massive x.

        And if you read my post correctly: I praised their freebies. That is not the point. Neither is the lack of maintenance. Again: No Bashing. Just asking what the strategy is (well, it an rhetorical question, I know, what their strategy is).

        You say, they innovate by doing M1 support and UI Upgrades. This is exactly(!) the ‘featureset’ I described in my post that large companies use to convince their userbase of their care and maintenance. It’s a camouflage of an update. No DSP, no oscillator will get an overhaul in the next years. Do you really think, u-he will spend significant resources on zebra 2 in the future? On a synth from 2007? Where is the money coming for this generosity? Are they doing it out of love :)

        • I agree with most of your points, but I’d like to add some points to the Zebra2 example.
          My understanding of it is Zebra3 will not be 100% preset-compatible with all the patches they put out before (a shame, really but… those things happen). So if you want/need those presets, you can still buy the Legacy bundle, which comes with ALL the presets banks. That’s more than 3000 previously commercial presets. Last update for Z2 was august 2021. It’s not a long-discontinued stale product. Last new feature is actually from nov 2019.The dev tools are recent, so they -could- still provide some support.

          Is it ideal? Hell no. Is it bad? Eye of the beholder…

          They could make it more clear that the upgrade path to Z3 is a burnt bridge on the website, that’s for sure. They’ll get salty emails at some point. ;-)

          If we’re playing the what-if game, I would have welcomed them giving away for free Z2, without any preset, and selling the preset bundle for the people who want them. But that is up to them, innit?
          signed, not-a-fanboy. :D

      • Got even the slightest bit of constructive criticism about Urs and u-he? Fear not! There will always be a u-he fanboy ready to jump in and defend them to the death!

        Lol seriously, u-he is great but Degreco made a valid point (in a respectful way, I might add) and there’s no need for anyone’s head to explode over it.

      • > Show me another developer with this kind of maintenance for such a long time.

        TAL is definitely up there. u-he and TAL are at the very top of my list, of the few companies I don’t ever regret buying from. And that’s saying a lot, I have trust issues.

    • ‘Subtle changes in appearance or vst3 support, apple silicon support or even resizable GUI are marketed as a brand new version even if sound processing is basically the same’

      ‘It’s like in music software business legacy code is another word for vintage, when it’s a bad thing anywhere else’

      First synths that come to mind are Sylenth1 and Spire

  5. If you need some more presets for this Cool Wav just made some and for free. Check out his channel on YouTube. Chickie Cha Bra

  6. I bought this back in November 2014. But great that the dev have decided to set it free, as they have stopped updating it. AFAIK the plugin was released back in summer 2011, so it has been around for a while.

    • I had hopes for devs like reFX to set classics like Vanguard free, but they have actually released Vanguard 2 just before Christmas. almost 19 years after releasing the original Vanguard!

  7. *slaps the kHs ONE VST*
    “This baby can make one of the coolest sounding sounds with the Vox Filter and enough post processing”

    And honestly this simple vst is so phat asf out of the box!

    I remember this was given to me by a friend and It became my go-to synth for a long run! Making trance and old school sounds and even fake-bit with it due to its super simple waves, Also for that VOX Filter? That filter rocks!! It gives out super cool vox-ified sounds and modulating it with enough processing can make some cool Shibuya Pet Store sounding sounds!

    This plugin was a blast to play with and I salute to kHs for giving it away free as a legacy product with their essentials now~


  8. Would you consider the ultimate freedom and release the source code too. Those then interested could then do any fixes or provide additional features. Thanks for the release anyway.

  9. Not too impressed, there are several free synths that sound the same or better. For VA, you can’t beat discoDSP’s (not really “theirs”, to be honest) OB-Xd, or even Full Bucket Music’s synths (many of which are worthwhile). For a more full-featured synth, you have stuff like Surge or Vital. It makes sense that they would make it freely available, it’s basically run-of-the-mill at this point.

    • That’s extremely detractive and unkind. More devs should consider releasing discontinued synths as freeware rather than abandon them, and comments like this are unsupportive to the max.

      Full Bucket, while his synths are decent, doesn’t have filters or oscillators as fancy (or deeply modelled) as the ones here. OB-Xd, also nice, is more tailored towards a specific, loose, unstable type of sound, and again, filter/oscillator quality isn’t quite the same standard. It’s a pretty subjective comparison, you just like what you like, and that’s fine.

      And it’s just unfair to compare things to monsters like Surge or Vital, as those are extremely unique. Of course they’re better. There is essentially nothing free on that level, except for maybe Odin 2 and ZynAddSubFX. It’s quite rare to even find a free synth with a flexible mod matrix. Most free synths are pretty standard fixed designs with 2 or 3 oscillators.

  10. Had this for a long time and it always worked great but since it was removed from the KH installer, suddenly the stand alone install of KH One will not load in Reaper at all. Not sure what the issue is yet.

  11. I’m glad they made this free.

    There exists an immense graveyard of old synths that were abandoned, never to be seen again by anyone other than those who fly the black flag.

    So now it’s been liberated, freely available, forever, to those who want to use it. And unlike V-Station, it doesn’t require any license file download (which wont remain up forever!). So it appears safely preserved for any host that will continue to support 64-bit VST2.

    Unlike many commenters who are unimpressed with this synth, no doubt spoiled by incredible beasts, I can assure you that the components are high quality, and the modulation capabilities are flexible without being overwhelming.

    In the early days of VSTs, some of the worst sounding synths by today’s standards, costed real money. Atom Pro cost $30 USD in the year 2000. It had not a single LFO. SC-101 cost $40 USD in 2001, and sounded terrible and could blow out your speaker if you weren’t careful with the resonance (that’s not a good thing!). And Model-E cost a whopping $200 USD in the year 2000, and was ultimately an underwhelming, lifeless Minimoog emulation attempt.

    There are free synths that were far better than the commercial ones I just mentioned. The obvious example is Synth1. But in my honest opinion, the oscillators and filters in kHs One are much more livelier and dynamic than Synth1.

    It’s not a powerhouse, but it’s a great virtual analog. If this came out instead of Nord Lead in 1994, it would have an even greater legacy. Use it for classic analog sounds. Experiment with its surprisingly flexible modulations and filters. Use it to learn synthesis. It’s now free.

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