If you’re ready to level up your music production game without spending a dime, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s be honest, oftentimes our aspirations don’t exactly match our budget…
That’s where the 14 best free VST instruments of 2023 come into play!
Whether you’re a bedroom producer or an experienced professional, these free virtual instruments will inspire your creativity and help you achieve the sound you’ve been dreaming of.
We’ll cover everything from powerful synths and realistic acoustic guitars to punchy drum machines and mesmerizing ambient soundscapes.
Within this article, we will:
- Explore an amazing collection of free VST instruments ✓
- Delve into versatile virtual instruments for all genres & styles ✓
- Divulge professional tips to maximize each VST’s potential ✓
- Learn about extra tools that can take your music to new heights ✓
So, buckle up and get ready to explore the vast world of free VST instruments.
Let’s dive in…
Table of Contents
- What is a VST Instrument?
- #1: Spitfire Labs by Spitfire Audio – Best Dynamic Option
- #2: Native Instruments Komplete Start – Best All-In-One Bundle
- #3: U-he TyrellN6 – Best Vintage Synth
- #4: Dexed by Digital Suburban – Best FM Synth
- #5: Ample Bass P Lite II by Ample Sound – Best Bass Guitar
- #6: Sound Magic Piano One – Best Acoustic Piano Emulation
- #7: Vital by Audio Vital – Best Wavetable Synth
- #8: AAS Player by Applied Acoustics System – Best Sound Bank Player
- #9: U-he Zebralette – Best Beginner-Friendly Synth
- #10: MiniSpillage by AudioSpillage – Best Compact Drum Synth
- 11: Ample Guitar M II Lite by Ample Sound – Best Acoustic Guitar Emulation
- #12: Sinnah by NUSofting – Best Experimental Synth
- #13: Love-Fi 2 Lite by Quiet Music – Best Ambient and Chillout Synth
- Final Thoughts: Best Free VST Plugins
What is a VST Instrument?
Before we dive into the list of free VST plugins, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what a VST instrument is.
VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology, a software interface that integrates audio synthesizers and effects plugins seamlessly with digital audio workstations (DAWs).
VST instruments (often referred to as VSTis) are virtual instruments that can generate sounds or emulate real instruments.
They allow you to create diverse and dynamic music without having to buy and maintain expensive hardware.
Now that we’ve got that covered, let’s get to the good stuff: the best free VST plugins you have to experience to believe.
#1: Spitfire Labs by Spitfire Audio – Best Dynamic Option
Spitfire Labs is a collection of free VST plugins that will blow your mind with its high-quality, unique sounds.
This virtual studio technology powerhouse offers a wide range of instruments, from delicate pianos to ethereal strings, and everything in between.
The user interface is clean and easy to navigate, making it perfect for expert producers and those who are just learning how to become music producers.
One of the standout qualities of Spitfire Audio Labs is the exceptional sound quality found within this VST plugin collection.
Each instrument within this collection of free VST plugins is meticulously recorded and crafted.
Meaning, you’ll have access to some of the most dynamic and captivating sounds in the industry.
Whether you’re scoring a film or producing electronic music, Spitfire Labs has got you covered.
In addition to its impressive sound quality, Spitfire Labs is regularly updated with new instruments.
This will ensure that you always have fresh and inspiring sounds at your disposal.
This ongoing commitment to innovation makes it a must-have for any serious music producer. Other free plugins just can’t compare.
- Wide range of instruments
- High-quality, unique sounds
- Clean and intuitive UI
- Regularly updated with new sounds
To get the most out of this free VST plugin, make sure you download all available instruments and keep an eye out for new additions.
This will ensure you have a diverse palette of sounds to choose from, sparking your creativity and keeping your productions fresh.
#2: Native Instruments Komplete Start – Best All-In-One Bundle
Native Instruments Komplete Start is a free VST plugin bundle that includes over 2,000 studio-quality sounds, perfect for kickstarting your music production journey.
This free VST plugin bundle offers a variety of sampled instruments, synths, and effects, giving you a solid foundation for producing any genre.
The beauty of Komplete Start (and Native Instruments in general) lies in its versatility.
You’ll find everything from classic drum machines and vintage synths to orchestral sounds and world instruments.
Its user interface is sleek and intuitive, making it easy to browse through the vast collection and find the perfect sounds for your projects.
Native Instruments Komplete Start also includes a selection of free VST plugins from Native Instruments’ popular virtual instruments, like Massive, Monark, and Kontakt.
This means you’ll have access to some of the best free VST plugins available, providing a comprehensive toolkit for all your music production needs.
- Over 2,000 high-quality sounds
- Wide variety of instruments and effects
- Sleek and intuitive UI
- Perfect for producers of all genre
To make the most of Komplete Start, spend some time exploring the diverse range of sounds and instruments.
Familiarize yourself with the various components of the free VSTs bundle.
Don’t be afraid to layer sounds and experiment with effects to create unique music and dynamic productions.
#3: U-he TyrellN6 – Best Vintage Synth
U-he TyrellN6 is a free VST plugin that emulates the classic Roland Juno-60, a legendary analog synth from the 1980s.
This powerful virtual instrument delivers the rich, warm tones of the original hardware synth.
It’s a must-have if you want to add a touch of nostalgia to your tracks.
TyrellN6 comes with an impressive array of presets, allowing you to dive right into those iconic synth sounds.
The layout is reminiscent of the original hardware, with a clean and straightforward setup that makes it easy to tweak parameters and sculpt your sound.
What sets TyrellN6 apart from other free instruments is its immaculate attention to detail.
U-he has gone above and beyond to ensure that the free version accurately captures the essence of the original Juno-60.
Other VST plugins that replicate the original hardware pale in comparison.
- Emulates the classic Roland Juno-60
- Rich, warm analog tones
- Straightforward UI
- A wide array of presets
To create unique sounds with TyrellN6, try using its built-in modulation capabilities, such as the LFO and envelope controls.
Experiment with different settings to breathe life into your synth patches and make them stand out in your mix.
#4: Dexed by Digital Suburban – Best FM Synth
Dexed is a free VST plugin that faithfully recreates the Yamaha DX7, one of the most iconic FM synthesizers of all time.
This free plugin brings the classic FM synthesis of the 1980s into the modern age, making it perfect for incorporating a touch of retro charm and allure.
With its six-operator FM architecture and 32-algorithm layout, Dexed offers an incredible level of sonic flexibility.
Dexed comes loaded with a vast array of presets, giving you instant access to the DX7’s distinctive bell-like tones, punchy basses, and shimmering pads.
Other VST plugins, even paid VST plugins, really can’t compare.
What sets Dexed apart from other free VST instruments is its unparalleled compatibility with the original DX7 hardware.
You’re able to load and save DX7 SysEx patches, making it an invaluable tool for exploring the extensive sample library of sounds created for the original synthesizer.
This means you can tap into a virtually endless supply of classic FM sounds, giving your productions a timeless and distinctive character.
- Faithful recreation of the Yamaha DX7
- Six-operator FM architecture
- A vast array of presets
- Compatible with original DX7 SysEx patches
To unlock the full potential of Dexed, spend some time exploring the various FM algorithms and experimenting with different operator settings.
By understanding the nuances of FM synthesis, you’ll be able to create unique and complex sounds that truly impress.
If you know all about FM synthesis, but you’re a little shaky on subtractive synthesis, we’ve got you covered.
#5: Ample Bass P Lite II by Ample Sound – Best Bass Guitar
This free plugin offers a realistic and dynamic bass guitar experience, making it ideal for adding depth and groove.
The plugin features a meticulously sampled Fender Precision Bass, capturing the instrument’s rich, warm tones with incredible detail.
Ample Bass P Lite II also includes a selection of advanced features.
This includes an intelligent articulation system, built-in effects, and customizable playing techniques.
These powerful tools allow you to create authentic and expressive basslines that will bring your tracks to life.
- Meticulously sampled Fender Precision Bass
- Realistic and dynamic playing experience
- Clean and intuitive UI
- Advanced articulation system and effects
To achieve a more human feel in your basslines, use the intelligent articulation system and customizable playing techniques to add subtle variations in timing and dynamics.
This will make your bass parts sound more authentic and engaging.
Speaking of artificial intelligence, make sure to check out the Top 4 AI music generators of 2023.
#6: Sound Magic Piano One – Best Acoustic Piano Emulation
Piano One is a free VST instrument that delivers the rich and expressive sound of a Yamaha C7 grand piano.
This virtual instrument is awesome for adding a touch of elegance and sophistication to your tracks, without sacrificing quality or ease of use.
The plugin features a meticulously sampled Yamaha C7, capturing the instrument’s full dynamic range and tonal characteristics.
The UI is not confusing or complicated, allowing you to focus on creating beautiful melodies that will elevate your productions.
One of the standout qualities of Piano One is its advanced scripting, which ensures a realistic and responsive playing experience.
This attention to detail makes it easy to create expressive and nuanced piano performances that will captivate your listeners.
- Meticulously sampled Yamaha C7 grand piano
- Rich and expressive sound
- Advanced scripting for a realistic playing experience
Experiment with different settings to find the perfect balance between presence and ambiance.
#7: Vital by Audio Vital – Best Wavetable Synth
Vital is a free VST instrument that pushes the boundaries of wavetable synthesis, offering a powerful and flexible platform for creating cutting-edge electronic music.
With its stunning sound quality, intuitive interface, and extensive modulation capabilities, Vital is a must-have if you’re looking to explore new sonic territories.
The plugin comes loaded with a vast array of wavetables, giving you instant access to a diverse palette of sounds.
One of the standout features of Vital is its advanced modulation system, which allows you to create incredibly dynamic, expressive, unique sounds.
With an extensive range of LFOs, envelopes, and other modulation sources, you can bring your patches to life and make them evolve over time.
- Powerful and flexible wavetable synthesis
- Stunning sound quality
- Sleek and modern UI
- Extensive modulation capabilities
To create unique and evolving textures with Vital, try combining multiple modulation sources and routing them to various parameters in the synth.
Experiment with different wavetable positions, filter cutoffs, and effects to craft complex and dynamic sounds that will set your productions apart.
One free download of Vital can completely skyrocket your production game, so don’t overlook it.
#8: AAS Player by Applied Acoustics System – Best Sound Bank Player
AAS Player is a versatile and powerful free VST instrument that serves as a sound bank player for all of AAS’s incredible sound libraries.
This virtual instrument allows you to access a vast array of high-quality sounds without having to invest in the full versions of their products.
It’s perfect for exploring new sonic possibilities and expanding your sound palette.
The AAS Player comes packed with a selection of amazing presets from AAS’s renowned physical modeling plugins.
Meaning, you’ll have access to a diverse range of sounds that can be used in various genres, styles, and subgenres.
From stunningly realistic acoustic instruments to cutting-edge synthesized sounds, this free VST instrument has got you covered.
Plus, with its built-in effects and macro controls, you can easily tweak and customize the sounds to fit your creative vision.
- Versatile sound bank player for all AAS plugins
- Access to a diverse range of high-quality sounds
- Sleek and intuitive user interface
- Built-in effects and macro controls for easy sound customization
To make the most of the AAS Player, try layering different presets together to create unique and complex sounds.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with the macro controls and built-in effects to further shape and enhance your sound.
This can help you craft truly one-of-a-kind tracks that stand out from the crowd.
#9: U-he Zebralette – Best Beginner-Friendly Synth
U-he Zebralette is a free VST instrument that offers a streamlined and beginner-friendly introduction to the world of synthesizers.
This compact virtual instrument packs a powerful punch.
It’s perfect for beginners who want to learn the ropes of sound design without getting overwhelmed by complex features and interfaces.
The plugin is derived from its bigger sibling, U-he Zebra, and offers a single oscillator with a wide variety of waveshapes.
The UI is simple and easy to navigate, making it easy to tweak parameters and get a feel for how various settings affect the sound.
One of the standout features of Zebralette is its built-in arpeggiator and step sequencer, which allow you to create intricate and engaging patterns with ease.
This makes it an excellent choice for exploring the world of electronic music and experimenting with different rhythmic and melodic ideas.
- Streamlined and beginner-friendly interface
- Wide variety of waveshapes
- Built-in arpeggiator and step sequencer
- Derived from the acclaimed U-he Zebra
To get the most out of this free VST plugin, spend some time exploring the various waveshapes and modulation options.
Experiment with different oscillator settings and filter types to create a diverse range of sounds, from smooth pads to face-melting leads and everything in between.
#10: MiniSpillage by AudioSpillage – Best Compact Drum Synth
MiniSpillage is a free VST instrument that offers a compact and powerful drum synthesis solution for your music production needs.
With its intuitive interface and high-quality sounds, this virtual instrument is perfect for incorporating powerful, punchy, custom drums into your tracks.
MiniSpillage features three drum synthesis algorithms, including:
- Bass drum
- Wood drum
One of the standout features of MiniSpillage is its advanced modulation capabilities, which allow you to create dynamic and expressive drum patterns.
NOTE: Speaking of drum patterns, if you’re wondering how to create the sickest hip-hop drum pattern around, look no further.
By exploring different modulation settings within this free VST plugin, you can create unique and engaging rhythms that will bring your tracks to life.
- Compact and powerful drum synthesis
- Three drum synthesis algorithms
- Advanced modulation capabilities
To create a diverse range of drum sounds with MiniSpillage, experiment with different synthesis parameters and modulation settings.
Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries and create unconventional drum sounds that will add character and excitement to your tracks.
11: Ample Guitar M II Lite by Ample Sound – Best Acoustic Guitar Emulation
Ample Guitar M II Lite is a free VST instrument that delivers the authentic and expressive sound of a Martin D-41 acoustic guitar.
This free VST plugin offers a realistic and dynamic playing experience, so adding depth and warmth to your tracks with this free instrument is a cinch.
The plugin features a meticulously sampled Martin D-41, capturing the instrument’s rich and resonant tones with incredible detail.
Ample Guitar M II Lite also includes a selection of advanced features, such as an intelligent articulation system, built-in effects, and customizable playing techniques.
These powerful tools allow you to create authentic and expressive guitar parts that will bring your tracks to life.
If you’re looking for an additional free guitar offer, make sure to check out the Unison Beatmaker Guitar Pack (Free Teaser).
- Meticulously sampled instruments
- Realistic and dynamic playing experience
- Advanced articulation system and effects
To achieve a more human feel in your guitar parts, use the intelligent articulation system and customizable playing techniques to add subtle variations in timing and dynamics.
This will make your guitar parts sound more authentic and engaging.
#12: Sinnah by NUSofting – Best Experimental Synth
Sinnah is a free VST instrument that offers a unique and experimental approach to synthesis.
It makes discovering new sonic textures and innovative sounds an absolute breeze.
With its powerful oscillator and advanced modulation capabilities, Sinnah provides endless possibilities for sound design (even if you’re not a sound designer).
Sinnah features a single complex oscillator with a rich and diverse range of waveforms, as well as a built-in noise generator.
One of its most notable inclusions is the innovative delay matrix, which allows you to create intricate and evolving soundscapes.
Make sure to experiment with different delay settings and modulation sources within this free VST plugin.
This way, you can craft complex and captivating sounds that will set your productions apart.
- A unique and experimental approach to synthesis
- Single complex oscillator with diverse waveforms
- Sleek and modern user interface
- Innovative delay matrix for evolving soundscapes
To unlock this free VST instruments full potential, spend some time exploring the various modulation options and delay matrix settings.
By understanding the nuances of this experimental synth, you’ll be able to create unique and complex sounds that truly stand out in your productions.
#13: Love-Fi 2 Lite by Quiet Music – Best Ambient and Chillout Synth
Love-Fi 2 Lite is a free VST instrument that specializes in creating lush and atmospheric sounds.
If you’re looking to add a touch of ambiance and depth to your tracks, this is the ideal option for you.
With a wide range of presets and an intuitive interface, this virtual instrument is perfect for crafting chillout and ambient music.
This free VST plugin features a diverse selection of high-quality sounds, from ethereal pads and dreamy soundscapes to delicate plucks and soft percussive elements.
One of the standout features of Love-Fi 2 Lite is its built-in effects, which include a lush reverb, a versatile delay, and a powerful filter.
These effects allow you to further shape and enhance your sounds, creating immersive and captivating sonic textures.
- Specializes in lush and atmospheric sounds
- Wide range of presets for ambient and chillout music
- Straightforward user interface
- Built-in effects for added depth and character
When working with this free VST plugin, don’t be afraid to layer multiple sounds and experiment with the built-in effects to create rich and immersive soundscapes.
Use automation to add movement and depth to your tracks, making your ambient and chillout productions truly come alive.
Final Thoughts: Best Free VST Plugins
And there you have it – 14 of the best free VST instruments for 2023 that you absolutely need to check out for yourself to believe.
Each of these free VST instruments offers unique features and sounds that can inspire your creativity and elevate your music production game.
Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned pro, these free VST instruments can help you achieve the sound you’re looking for without breaking the bank.
So, go ahead and explore these fantastic free VST synths, and let your creativity run wild.
But wait… there’s more!
Before you go, I want to give you another free bonus, in addition to the best free VST plugins, that’ll help you create even more amazing tracks: The Unison Beatmaker Box (Free Teaser) pack.
It features a vast, professional-crafted collection of high-quality bass loops, melody loops, drum loops, and guitar loops that will blow your mind.
Plus, it includes all the matching audio stems & MIDI, so you can experiment endlessly.
With this pack, you’ll have all the essential tools you need to create captivating beats and rhythms that’ll get your listeners hooked.
Remember, the best music comes from experimentation and pushing boundaries.
So, don’t be afraid to dive into these free VST instruments and create something truly unique.
Until next time…