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VST Effects Plugins: 16 Mind-Blowing VST Effects Plugins

Welcome to the ultimate list of VST effects plugins that every music producer should have in their arsenal.


After reading this extensive article, you’ll never need another list of VST plugins again, as they cover all the bases.


These VST effects plugins will elevate your music production to new heights, and make your music sound super pristine and professional.


In this article, you’ll learn:


  • What a VST is and why it’s essential in music production ✓
  • The #1 VST effects plugin of 2023 ✓
  • The top 10 best VST effects plugins of all time ✓
  • The 5 best free VST effects plugins ✓
  • Advanced tips to make the most out of these VST effects plugins ✓


So, buckle up and get ready to transform your music production game with these fantastic paid and free VST plugins!


Table of Contents

What is a VST?


What is a VST - Unison


A Virtual Studio Technology (VST) is an audio plug-in software interface that integrates software synthesizers and effects units into digital audio workstations.


It uses digital signal processing, originally meant to simulate traditional recording studio hardware in software form.


Since then, it has evolved into a thriving market comprised of developers determined to create algorithms no hardware unit could ever replicate.


They have certainly succeeded in implementing code that breaks new ground.


Such advancements have been made and combined to create, for example, a wavetable from a JPEG image.


Or, in the case of effects, such as an impulse response reverb unit, samples are used to recreate and possess the ambiance of the space it was recorded in.


Most digital audio workstations come with some built-in capabilities to add effects and fine-tune your mix.


And over the years, digital audio workstations have integrated better, fully-featured stock processors.


However, the best virtual studio technology effects plugins, like the following, allow you to take it to the next level.


NOTE: All the included VST plugins and free VST plugins are not only available in VST format, but AU/AXX as well.


The Best VST Effects Plugin of 2023 (Free!): Zen Master by Unison Audio


Zen Master Stack TinyPNG - Unison


Every beat maker in the world knows the crucial role of free VST plugins in achieving that perfect sound and unique vibe.


Zen Master by Unison Audio is one such game-changing free plugin that’s got every music producer talking.


Zen Master is an exceptional tool designed to infuse a warm, vintage and Lo-Fi feel into your music 一 effortlessly transforming any sound into a nostalgic, retro masterpiece in just under 3 seconds.


It has a simple and easy-to-use interface, equipped with only five knobs, but don’t let that fool you.


Each knob is a world of sound transformation unto itself.


#1. The Hypnosis knob 一 Your ticket to a world of mesmerizing sound alteration.


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This knob applies a one-of-a-kind detune and width effect, a product of meticulous testing and refining.


Turning this knob feels like twisting your reality, as you hear your beats morph into something entirely new.


This is how Zen Master reels you into its magic, turning an ordinary sound into a transcendent experience.


#2. The Imbalance knob 一 Designed to add a human touch to your beats.


Imbalance 2 - Unison


This knob applies tape-modeled pitch wobbling, transporting your sound back in time.


It makes your beats dance with a retro feel, so every note you play sounds like an old vinyl record spinning on a classic turntable.


#3. The Electrify knob 一 A ticket to the classic Lo-Fi style.


Electrify 2 - Unison


This knob applies calculated bit-crushing, degrading your sounds to perfection.


It brings an element of rawness to your music, making your beats feel gritty and edgy.


#4. The Vinyl knob 一 Offers three distinct signature noises: vinyl, crackle, or white.


Vinyl 2 - Unison


Each noise has a unique personality and adds a vintage vibe to your sound.


It’s like pouring old-school magic into your music, instantly transporting your listeners back to another era.


#5. The Ascend knob 一 Applies majestic reverb, the perfect blend of spacious, warm, and clean-sounding.


Ascend 2 - Unison


This is the finishing touch to your Lo-Fi sound, adding an ethereal feel that makes your music resonate on a deeper level.


All around, this plugin is revolutionizing the game when it comes to Lofi plugins, and for good reason.


Even the former best VST plugins would be impressed.


Standout Features:


Zen Master Stack TinyPNG - Unison


  • Unique Lo-Fi, Warm, and Vintage sound character
  • Instant Inspiration with real-time sound transformation
  • Simple & Easy to use with only five knobs
  • Hybrid of Analog/Digital Modelled Effects
  • Compatible with all DAWs, both Mac & PC
  • The best of the free VST plugins


The 10 Best VST Plugins of All Time (Paid Plugins)


Now that we’ve covered what a VST is, let’s dive into the fun stuff: the best VST effects plugins in the world.


#1. Sound Doctor by Unison Audio: Best Creative VST Effects Plugin


Sound Doctor Double Shot - Unison


Sound Doctor by Unison Audio is an innovative VST effects plugin that brings a whole new level of creativity to your music production.


With its intuitive user interface and powerful features, Sound Doctor allows you to shape and manipulate your audio in ways you never thought possible.


You simply:


1. Select your preferred style and formula (there are endless options)


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2. Press the generate button to instantly produce a perfect FX chain


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3. Customize any way you’d like


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Don’t let its simplicity fool you though, Sound Doctor’s algorithm is so complex it would take a day to explain.


It combines hundreds of FX chains, modeled off the most successful songs in existence.


Plus, the fact that there’s an unlimited amount of insane FX chains will ensure you’re never short of inspiration.


They even give you the opportunity to randomly generate them, so you can experiment and challenge yourself (creatively) as well.


Sound Doctor also comes with every single processing style you could possibly think of, including aggressive, clean, dirty, lo-fi, etc.


You’re provided with the means to morph any sound into exactly what you hear in your head.


One of the standout features of Sound Doctor is its modular signal chain.


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This allows you to mix and match various effects modules, providing you with endless possibilities for creating unique music.


With a range of available effects, from distortion and filtering to pitch shifting and modulation, the Sound Doctor has something for all audio professionals.


Speaking of pitch-shifting, make sure to check out the insane list of the best pitch-shifter plugins in the game.


The interface is designed with simplicity and efficiency in mind, allowing you to quickly access the tools and features you need.


The preset manager is particularly useful, with a vast selection of presets that cater to different styles and genres.


This means you can start experimenting with the plugin immediately, without having to spend endless hours tweaking extreme settings.


Standout Features:


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  • Modular signal chain for versatile sound design
  • Wide range of effects modules
  • Unlimited amount of FX chains
  • Preset manager with a vast selection of presets for different styles & genres
  • Advanced modulation options for precise control over effect parameters


#2. Mangler by Unison Audio: Best Distortion VST Effects Plugin


Mangler Pack - Unison


When it comes to distortion VST effects plugins, Mangler by Unison Audio stands out from the crowd.


With its unique approach to distortion and sound manipulation, Mangler delivers a powerful tool for music producers.


Especially if you’re seeking to add grit, warmth, and character to your tracks.


Containing only 4 knobs, this VST effect plugin is super easy to use, and 100% user-friendly.


The 4 knobs you’ll have access to are:


  • The ‘Mangle’ knob 一 This knob applies the one-of-a-kind, hybrid distortion and compression effect. It’s very straightforward and will blow your mind.


Mangle1 - Unison


  • The ‘Destroy’ knob 一 This knob applies the most aggressive analog distortion around. It will absolutely melt the faces of your listeners. Once they pick their faces up, you can guarantee they’ll press that repeat button repeatedly.


Destroy 1 - Unison


  • The ‘Bite’ knob 一 This knob applies spicy bit-crushing, which blesses your sounds with that extra edge and unique quality you’re looking for.


Bite 1 - Unison


  • The ‘Expand’ knob 一 This knob applies pristine-quality stereo width. It will provide you with that ultra-wide sound that shines through your mix in any situation.


Expand 1 - Unison


Mangler’s distinctive sound comes from its blend of multiple distortion algorithms, allowing you to achieve a wide variety of tones and textures.


Whether you’re looking for subtle saturation or extreme distortion, Mangler has you covered.


One of the key features of Mangler is its flexible routing options.


This allows you to apply distortion to specific parts of your audio signal, giving you more control over the final sound.


Additionally, the plugin offers a built-in resonant filter, which can be used to further shape and sculpt your audio.


The user interface of Mangler is both visually appealing and simple to use.


It’s easy to navigate, with all the essential controls readily accessible.


This makes it a breeze to dial in your desired sound, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned music producer.


Plus, this VST effect plugin is ideal for beefing up hip hop drums… and we’re not talking Mcdonald’s value menu beef, we’re talking filet mignon.


Standout Features:


Mangler - Unison


  • A unique blend of multiple distortion algorithms
  • Flexible routing options for targeted distortion
  • Built-in resonant filter for additional sound shaping
  • User-friendly interface for easy navigation and control


#3. Decapitator by Soundtoys: Best Saturation VST Effects Plugin


Decapitator 1 - Unison


Decapitator by Soundtoys is a versatile saturation VST effects plugin that has become a staple in the music production world.


With its ability to add warmth, depth, and character to your audio, Decapitator is perfect for producers looking to give their tracks a professional and polished sound.


This VST effects plugin is modeled after five different analog saturation devices, each with its unique sound and characteristics.


This allows you to achieve a wide range of tonal colors, from subtle warmth to aggressive distortion.


Decapitator’s simple interface makes it easy to achieve the perfect sound with just a few clicks.


  • The Drive control Adjusts the input gain and determines the level of saturation.


Decapitator Drive - Unison


Speaking of saturation, if you’re looking for the best saturation plugins around, we’ve got you covered.


  • The Tone control Shapes the sound by adjusting the balance between dark and bright harmonics.


Tone - Unison


The Mix knob, of course, lets you blend the wet and dry signals, giving you even more control over the final sound.


In addition to its saturation capabilities, Decapitator also features a built-in high-pass filter and low-pass filter.


These allow you to focus the saturation on specific frequency ranges, giving you even more control over your audio.


Decapitator Punish Button - Unison


One of the standout features of Decapitator is the Punish button, which pushes the plugin into extreme distortion territory.


This is, by far, the dopest parameter of this VST effect plugin.


Activating the Punish button increases the input gain and saturation, adding a level of aggression and intensity to your audio that can help it cut through the mix.


Another unique feature of this VST effects plugin is the Thump parameter, which emphasizes the low-frequency content of your audio.


Decaptitator Thump - Unison


By adjusting the Thump control, you can add extra warmth and weight to your bass, kick drum, or other low-frequency elements in your mix.


With Decapitator, you can easily add warmth, character, and intensity to your audio tracks.


This makes it a must-have VST effects plugin for producers seeking professional sound quality and creative control.


Standout Features:


Decapitator Last - Unison


  • Modeled after five different classic analog saturation devices
  • Intuitive controls for Drive and Tone
  • Punish button for extreme distortion and intensity
  • Thump parameter for added warmth and low-frequency emphasis


#4. Waves H-Reverb: Best Reverb VST Effects Plugin


VST effects


When it comes to reverb VST effects plugins, Waves H-Reverb is hard to beat.


H-Reverb offers a fusion of classic reverb sounds and cutting-edge features.


This makes it a go-to choice for music producers seeking a professional and versatile reverb plugin.


Speaking of reverb plugins, if you’re looking for the best reverb plugins on the planet (including this one), look no further.


One of the standout features of H-Reverb is its innovative FIR engine 一 which allows for rich and smooth reverb tails without the common issues of modal resonances or metallic artifacts.


This results in a natural and organic reverb sound that sits beautifully in your mix.


H-Reverb also offers a wide range of controls, allowing you to fine-tune every aspect of the reverb sound.


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From early reflections and decay time to damping and diffusion, H-Reverb gives you the tools you need to craft the perfect reverb for your track.


The H-Reverb is very rare, in that its signal path is designed to sound uniquely analog while containing a digital foundation.


This VST effects plugin is the only 1 in the H-Series that is equipped with functionality traditionally unique to synthesizers.


It’s not only equipped with traditional modulation capabilities but has FM/AM modulation onboard as well.


H Reverb4 - Unison


Meaning, you’re able to:


  1. Take a source such as an LFO and modulate it to a specific destination (pitch, volume) to create a vibrato or tremolo.
  2. Modulate the reverb with its own output/input, which is super rare for a reverb to have available.


And that’s barely scratching the surface!


The interface is clean and intuitive, with all the essential controls clearly labeled and easily accessible.


You’d be hard-pressed to find in any other reverb of its kind


All of this is accomplished in true Waves fashion: without muddying up your mix.


Speaking of muddying up a mix, if you want to find out the absolute worst mixing mistakes you can possibly make, we’ve got you covered.


On the other hand, if you’re looking for the absolute best mixing plugins available today, we’ve got you covered on that end too.


Standout Features:


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  • Innovative FIR engine for smooth and natural reverb tails
  • Comprehensive control over all aspects of the reverb sound
  • Clean and intuitive user interface
  • Professionally designed presets for various styles and genres


#5. Valhalla VintageVerb: Best Vintage VST Effects Plugin


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Valhalla VintageVerb is a powerful and versatile reverb VST effects plugin that emulates the sound of classic hardware reverb units from the 1970s and 1980s.


With its lush, warm, and dense reverb tails, VintageVerb is perfect for music producers looking to add a touch of nostalgia and character to their tracks.


It’s also one of the best analog echo emulation VST plugins around too.


The plugin offers a range of reverb algorithms, each with its unique sound and characteristics.


  • Concert Hall 一 Huge spatial image, adjustable echo density, and lush chorusing modulation.
  • Bright Hall 一 Similar to the concert hall, but with a brighter (initial) sound, and deeper, more lush modulation.
  • Plate 一 Highly diffuse, bright initial sound, high echo density, lush chorused modulation.
  • Room 一 Medium diffusion/early echo density. Somewhat darker sound, and chorused modulation.
  • Random Space 一 Generates deep and wide reverbs, with a slow attack, and more diffusion than in the late ‘80s.
  • Chorus Space 一 Similar to random space, except the delay randomization is replaced by lush chorused modulation.
  • Ambiance 一 Combines time-varying randomized early reflections with a full-featured reverb tail; controlled by the Attack knob.


The user interface is simple and easy to use, with all the essential controls readily available.


The Decay control lets you adjust the reverb tail’s length, while the Size knob alters the perceived size of the virtual space.


The Mix control allows you to blend the dry and wet signals, ensuring the perfect balance in your mix.


In addition to its vintage charm, Valhalla VintageVerb also features a unique “Color” control,


This lets you switch between three different reverb modes:


The 1970s Replicates the reduced bandwidth of the earliest digital reverberators (10 kHz maximum output frequency).


VintageVerb 1970 - Unison


The 1980s  Full bandwidth/sampling rate, for a brighter sound.


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NOW 一 Full bandwidth/sampling rate. Modulation is clear and colorless, as opposed to the funky artifacts of the 1970s/1980s modes.


VintageVerb Now - Unison


These allow you to fine-tune the character of the reverb and achieve a sound that ranges from classic and warm to modern and clean.


Aside from its breathtaking sound and vast features, the level of user-friendliness is unmatched.


You won’t have to sacrifice any complexity/functionality, and it won’t make your head spin in the process…


Which, I’m sure you know, is super difficult to pull off.


I recommend you throw it in your session and set the general settings.


Once you’re satisfied, switch through its various algorithms and listen to its sonic range.


This is superior to flipping through the presets, as you’re able to hear each algorithm in the form you plan to apply it.


Standout Features:


VintageVerb2 - Unison


  • Emulates the sound of classic hardware reverb units
  • Wide range of reverb algorithms for various situations
  • Simple and easy-to-use interface
  • Unique “Color” control for adjusting the reverb’s character


#6. FabFilter Timeless 3: Best Delay Plugin


Timeless1 - Unison


FabFilter Timeless 3 is a powerful and versatile delay VST effects plugin that offers a unique blend of classic analog delay sounds and modern digital features.


It’s one of the most versatile, modern VST plugins available on the market today.


With its rich and warm delays, Timeless 3 is perfect for music producers looking to add depth and dimension to their tracks.


The plugin features a dual delay line with independent controls for each delay, allowing you to create complex and intricate delay patterns.


Timeless Parallel - Unison


The feedback section offers a range of options, from traditional tape-style feedback to more experimental and creative effects.


Timeless 3 also includes a powerful modulation section, which allows you to modulate various delay parameters, such as time, feedback, and panning.


This opens up a world of possibilities for creating unique and evolving delay textures.


There are also plenty of visual aids to help you see what you’re hearing, such as:


  • Pulsating delay tap lines
  • The filter section spectrograph
  • Drag & Drop MOD Matrix
  • Available destinations for just about every parameter imaginable
  • Visual feedback for all modulation that’s occurring (in real-time)


Part of Timeless 3’s appeal is the playability provided by its visual feedback.


This allows an unexpected, overwhelming output to be logically broken down.


Timeless2 - Unison


Paired with its MID/SIDE capabilities, the sonic range that can be achieved through this VST effects plugin is staggering, to say the least.


Plus, the built-in preset manager features a range of professionally designed presets, catering to different styles and genres, including hip-hop subgenres.


Timeless 3’s interface is clean, organized, concise, and tidy.


And the undo/redo & A/B comparison options don’t hurt either.


Even if you’ve got a ton of modulation and echo plugins, this VST effects plugin should not be overlooked.


Standout Features:


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  • Dual delay line with independent controls for each delay
  • Flexible feedback options for traditional and creative effects
  • Powerful modulation section for evolving delay textures
  • Professionally designed presets for various styles and genres


#7. Driver by Native Instruments: Best Filter VST Effects Plugin


Driver - Unison


Driver by Native Instruments is a powerful and versatile filter and distortion VST effects plugin that offers a wide range of creative possibilities.


Combining a resonant filter, an envelope follower, and a distortion unit, Driver allows you to add character, movement, and warmth to your audio tracks with ease.


At the heart of Driver is its resonant filter, which provides a range of filter types, including:


  • Low-pass
  • High-pass
  • Band-pass
  • Notch filters


The filter’s resonance control allows you to dial in the perfect amount of emphasis on the cutoff frequency.


Therefore, you can create everything from subtle filter sweeps to intense, self-oscillating effects.


The filter can also be modulated by the envelope follower, which tracks the amplitude of the incoming audio signal and uses it to control the filter cutoff.


This allows you to create dynamic, expressive filter effects that respond to the natural rhythm and dynamics of your audio.


Driver’s distortion unit delivers a wide range of distortion types, from subtle analog style saturation to extreme, aggressive distortion.


  • The Drive control Allows you to easily and effortlessly adjust the intensity of the distortion.


Driver Drive - Unison


  • The Color control 一 Lets you shape the harmonic content & character of the distortion.


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This ranges from warm and smooth to bright and biting.


This VST effects plugin also features a Mix control, which allows you to blend the processed signal with the dry signal.


It gives you precise control over the balance between the distorted and filtered sound and the original audio.


Driver by Native Instruments is an essential VST effects plugin for music producers seeking powerful and creative filter and distortion tools.


Speaking of VST effects plugins, if you’re searching for the most epic vocal effects VST on the planet, search no more.


Standout Features:


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  • Versatile resonant filter with multiple filter types
  • Envelope follower for dynamic, responsive filter modulation
  • Wide range of distortion types with Drive and Color controls
  • Mix control for precise blending of processed and dry signals


#8. Trash 2 by iZotope: Best Multi-Effects VST Effects Plugin


Trash1 - Unison


Trash 2 by iZotope is a powerful and versatile multi-effects VST effects plugin that offers a unique combination of distortion, filtering, and modulation capabilities.


With its comprehensive sound-shaping tools, Trash 2 is perfect for music producers looking to add grit, warmth, and character to their tracks.


Similar to the original version, the chain and signal flow from module to module are user-adjustable (via the Graph page).


Timeless Graph - Unison


However, Trash 2’s two main filters, which function more on the order of an EQ, are now identical and include modulation capabilities.


Side note, if you’re looking for the absolute best EQ plugins on the planet, we’ve got you covered.


They’re both parametric and include 6 bands with over 20 filter types to choose from (per band); including 2 vowel shapes.


Mind you, this is in addition to the high/low shelving output filter.


Therefore, seven distortion algorithm categories are now available:


  1. Distort
  2. Drive
  3. Faulty
  4. Fuzz
  5. Heavy
  6. Retro
  7. Saturate


Trash 2’s most significant new feature is the waveshaping window, which enables fully-customizable distortion curves.


Trash2 - Unison


From subtle saturation to aggressive distortion, Trash 2 has you covered.


In addition to its distortion capabilities, Trash 2 also offers a flexible multi-band filter section.


With its range of filter types and extensive modulation options, you can create complex and evolving filter effects that add depth and movement to your tracks.


The plugin also includes a powerful convolution engine, which allows you to apply realistic reverb and space effects to your audio.


With a vast selection of impulse responses, Trash 2 can transform your tracks with the sound of real-world spaces and hardware units.


Standout Features:


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  • Dual-stage distortion engine for a wide range of tonal colors
  • Flexible multi-band filter section with extensive modulation options
  • Convolution engine for realistic reverb and space effects
  • Professionally designed presets for various styles and genres


#9. Kaleidoscopes by Waves: Best Modulation VST Effects Plugin


Kaleidoscopes - Unison


Kaleidoscopes by Waves is a super suite of analog-inspired modulation effects.


This VST effects plugin doesn’t just include one type of commonly-used modulation, but all of them.


Since it is based on and inspired by some of the most coveted processing hardware ever developed, it’s super unique.


It doesn’t possess any of the traditional analog limitations or repercussions, crazy, right?


The effects are color-coded to make it clear whether you’re running two ‘matched’ effects or different ones side by side.


Each engine also features its own power button 一 top left and bottom right.


They make it easier to hear the results that just one of your effects is having as you manipulate your source-sound layers.


Phaser, for instance, provides 4 rotary dials.


With them, you can choose/alter the speed, resonance amount, width & mix level.


For the modulation options, you have:


  • Sine
  • Triangle
  • Absolute (Rectified) Sine 
  • Random


These are all LFO waveforms that provide a ‘shape,’ which can be assigned to your (chosen) effect type and their associated parameters.


It’s also possible to select a side-chain input, or target source, which leads to a wide variety of possible treatments.


The real ‘wow’ factor that separates this VST effects plugin from other VST plugins is its Duel cascade engines.


Kaleidoscopes2 - Unison


They allow you to ‘cascade’ any two effects for insane textures.


Either in series, for super-lush sounds, or in parallel to produce ultra-wide soundscapes. 


Intelligent (and assignable) triggers will dynamically respond to your real-time playing and input.


Kaleidoscopes4 - Unison


Consider this a threshold parameter that tells the processor when, and how to get to work.


You can choose ‘Rhythm’ or ‘Energy’ as a trigger method.


Meaning, you can enable either a repeating pattern or a sudden burst of volume to trigger the effect at a specified level.


The Sensitivity dial will determine the volume threshold point at which this occurs.


When you start comparing and contrasting one effect to another, this VST effects plugin is guaranteed to blow you away.


Kaleidoscope is super intuitive, not to mention fun, and offers unmatched flexibility and routeability.


As well as generates multiple, new and modernized flavors comprised of all the classic modulation effects you undoubtedly know and love.


Standout Features:


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  • Four classic analog modulation effects: phaser, flanger, chorus, and tremolo
  • Parallel and series modes for unique and complex modulation sounds
  • Advanced modulation controls, including dual LFOs and feedback
  • Rich stereo imaging for immersive and spacious effects


#10. Portal by Output: Best Granular VST Effects Plugin


Portal - Unison


Portal by Output is an innovative and cutting-edge VST effects plugin that allows you to manipulate and transform your audio in unique and creative ways.


By breaking your audio into small grains and processing them individually, Portal offers unparalleled control and flexibility.


At the core of Portal is its granular engine, which features a range of controls for adjusting the size, density, and pitch of the grains.


By manipulating these parameters, you can create a wide variety of textures & effects.


Ranging from subtle shimmering and stretching to extreme time-stretching and pitch-shifting.


Additionally, the plugin includes a powerful modulation section, with two LFOs and two envelopes that can be assigned to various parameters within the granular engine.


One of the standout features of Portal is its innovative effects section, which offers a variety of creative effects that can be applied to granular audio.


These effects include a stereo delay, a multi-mode filter, a compressor, and a reverb, among others.


Don’t forget to check out the best compressor plugins after you’re finished with this article.


By combining these effects with the granular engine, you can create truly unique & otherworldly sounds that elevate your music production and sound design projects.


Portal is a great effect to have enabled while flipping through presets of any of your favorite virtual instruments.


Speaking of VST instruments, if you’re looking for the Top 13 FREE VST instruments, look no further.


Portal Drums - Unison


The main page serves as a performance control interface:


  • The XY pad 一 Moves the 2 user-assignable Macro controllers next to it (in sequence).
  • The Reverse switch 一 Instantly kicks the output into reverse playback.
  • Faders 一 Adjust input, output, and global dry/wet mix levels.


Plus, when it comes to presets, there are over 250 of them, with a large user base of free presets available.


The ‘Grain Controls’ section offers meticulous manipulation of Portal’s revolutionary granulator engine.


Up to 16 grains are generated at a time, at a sampling rate adjustable from 1/64th to 1 bar.


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For applying effects to Portal without ever leaving the plugin, there are 7 modules that draw from classical effects.


Each contains its very own special spin:


  • Bit Reducer 一 Offers sample rate & bit depth reduction
  • Chorus 一 Can be modulated at up to 500Hz
  • Distortion 一 Features Soft, Hard, and Foldback Styles
  • Filter 一 Gives 12 & 24 high- and low-pass options. As well as overdrive and envelope following.
  • Phaser 一 Runs up to 32 stages. It can be switched to Barberpole mode as well.
  • Reverb 一 Offers a Freeze button, for capturing the tail and/or having it sustain indefinitely
  • Tempo-synced Grain Delay 一 Includes Stereo & Ping Pong modes, as well as HP/LP filters that route Portal’s output back into the audio input; creating a feedback loop.


Modulate them along with practically any other parameter, with the use of Portal’s MSEG Envelopes & Macros for optimal results.


Standout Features:


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  • Powerful granular engine with controls for grain size, density, and pitch
  • Advanced modulation section with LFOs and envelopes
  • Creative effects section for additional processing
  • Intuitive interface with real-time visualizer


The 5 Best Free Plugins


Now that we’ve covered the best VST plugins most intricate, let’s check out the best completely free VST Plugins.


Don’t be turned off by the terms “free VST plugins” or “the free version,” as these free VST plugins are truly remarkable.


#1. Spaceship Delay by Musical Entropy: Best Free VST Effects Plugin


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Spaceship Delay by Musical Entropy is an extremely versatile and flexible free plugin that offers a wide range of delay options for music producers.


With its high-quality sound and abundance of features, it stands out as one of the best free delay plugins available compared to other free VST plugins.


This free VST plugin provides a variety of customizable parameters, such as delay time, feedback, mix, and modulation.


You can also choose between three simple delay modes:


Spaceship Mode - Unison


  • Single Mode 一 In this mode, the delay is applied uniformly to the left and right channels of the audio signal.
  • Ping-Pong Mode 一 Creates a delay effect that bounces back & forth between the left & right channels of the audio signal.
  • Dual Mode 一 Allows you to set individual delay times for the left and right channels independently.


This free VST plugin has a modulation section that allows you to apply pitch modulation to the delayed signal.


Which adds depth and movement to the effect.


Additionally, you can sync the delay time to your DAW’s tempo, making it easy to create rhythmic delay effects that perfectly align with your music.


This free plugin also includes a built-in reverb and filter section, which allows you to further shape and enhance the sound of the delayed signal.


Standout Features:


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  • Free download & versatile delay options with single, ping-pong, and dual modes
  • Modulation section for pitch modulation of the delayed signal
  • Built-in reverb & filter for additional sound shaping
  • Tempo-sync capabilities for rhythmic delay effects


#2. Blindfold EQ by AudioThing: Best Free VST Vintage-Style EQ


Blindfold EQ - Unison


Blindfold EQ by AudioThing is a unique and innovative equalization plugin that encourages users to use their ears rather than relying on visual cues.


This free VST plugins interface is intentionally minimal, with no frequency or gain values displayed.


Instead, Blindfold EQ presents users with four simple knobs


  1. Low
  2. Mid1
  3. Mid2
  4. High


The unique design choice pushes you to trust your ears and make decisions based on what you hear.


As opposed to getting caught up in visual feedback or specific numbers.


This approach to equalization can lead to more intuitive and creative mixing decisions.


Other free VST plugins don’t usually offer this kind of viewpoint, so it’s very unique.


It forces you to focus on the sound itself rather than relying on a graphical representation of the EQ curve.


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Blindfold EQ is a fantastic tool for those looking to break free from traditional EQ workflows and develop their critical listening skills.


It offers four bands of equalization, with the Low and High bands being shelving filters, while Mid1 and Mid2 are bell-shaped filters, giving you a versatile range of tonal shaping options.


Blindfold EQ’s minimal interface belies its powerful capabilities.


Each band can be adjusted in a wide range of gain values, providing a great deal of flexibility when sculpting your sound.


Moreover, this free VST plugins high-quality processing ensures that your audio remains clean and transparent, even when applying extreme settings.


By removing the reliance on visual cues, Blindfold EQ offers a refreshing and inspiring approach to equalization.


Standout Features:


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  • Minimal interface with no frequency or gain values displayed
  • Encourages users to rely on their ears and develop critical listening skills
  • Four bands of equalization
  • High-quality processing for clean and transparent sound


#3. Pecheneg Tremolo: Best Free Tremolo VST Plugin


Tremolo - Unison


Pecheneg Tremolo is an outstanding tremolo effect plugin that offers a high level of control over the amplitude modulation of your audio signals.


The interface is straightforward, enabling you to create captivating tremolo effects that bring life and movement to your tracks.


This free effects plugin is designed to make experimentation with Tremolo settings easy.


The adjustable waveform shapes, including sine, triangle, saw, and square, give you the flexibility to shape the character of the tremolo effect to match your creative vision.


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This allows you to generate a wide range of tremolo sounds, from classic and smooth to more aggressive and cutting effects.


Pecheneg Tremolo also offers tempo-synced or free-running tremolo speeds, letting you dial in the perfect rhythmic pattern to complement your track.


This VST plugins phase shift control lets you create mesmerizing stereo tremolo effects by altering the phase difference between the left and right channels.


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This adds a sense of depth and width to your sound, enhancing the stereo image and making your tracks feel more immersive.


This free VST effects plugin also incorporates an envelope follower, which a lot of other free VSTs do not.


In other words, you can modulate the tremolo effect based on the audio input signal’s amplitude.


Resulting in more organic and dynamic tremolo effects that react to the music.


Standout Features:


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  • Adjustable waveform shapes
  • Tempo-synced or free-running tremolo speeds
  • Phase shift control for creating stereo tremolo effects
  • Envelope follower for dynamic, responsive tremolo modulation
  • Perfect for producers & sound designers alike


#4. TAL-Chorus-LX: Best Free Chorus VST Plugin


Tal Chorus2 - Unison


TAL-Chorus-LX is a phenomenal chorus effect plugin, inspired by the legendary Roland Juno-60 synthesizer’s onboard chorus.


This emulation captures the warm and lush sound of the original hardware unit, making it a fantastic tool for adding depth, width, and character to your audio track.


This best free effect plugins simplicity and exceptional sound quality make it one of the best must-have VST plugins around.


The user interface is streamlined and easy to use, featuring only three main controls: Mode I, Mode II, and a stereo-width knob.


Mode I and Mode II offer two distinct chorus modes that provide different levels of depth and modulation speed.


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  • Mode I 一 Delivers a more subtle chorus effect with a slower modulation rate.
  • Mode II 一 Offers a more pronounced chorus effect with a faster modulation rate.


TAL-Chorus-LX’s stereo width knob allows you to control the stereo spread of the effect.


This makes it possible to dial in the perfect amount of stereo separation to fit your mix.


Whether you want a subtle widening or a fully immersive stereo experience, TAL-Chorus-LX has got you covered.


The plugin’s low CPU usage and intuitive interface make it a practical and efficient choice for achieving professional-sounding chorus effects in your production or sound design projects.


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Standout Features:


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  • Modeled after the iconic Roland Juno-60 chorus
  • Two distinct chorus modes: Mode I and Mode II
  • Stereo width knob for precise control over stereo separation
  • Low CPU usage and streamlined interface; free software


#5. Tokyo Dawn Labs SlickEQ: Best Free EQ VST Plugin


Slick EQ - Unison


Tokyo Dawn Labs SlickEQ is a highly versatile equalizer plugin that offers a perfect balance between simplicity and flexibility.


This is why we’ve named it one of the best free VST plugins around.


It features a semi-parametric design with three independent EQ bands.


Therefore, you’re able to sculpt the frequency balance of your audio tracks with precision and ease.


  • The Low Band 一 Focuses on the bass frequencies.


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  • The Mid-Band 一 Tailored for shaping the body and clarity of your audio by targeting the midrange frequencies.
  • The High Band 一 Targets the treble frequencies.


Together, these bands work in harmony to help you craft the perfect frequency balance for your audio.


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Each of the three independent EQ bands in SlickEQ can be adjusted for frequency, gain, and Q (bandwidth).


Therefore, you’ll have complete control over your audio’s tonal balance.


The low and high bands can be switched between shelving and peaking modes, while the mid-band is always a peaking mode.


This flexibility allows you to apply subtle enhancements or perform more surgical EQ tasks as needed.


This free VST plugin also features a unique EQ saturation system that emulates the non-linear behavior of analog hardware, which other free plugins usually don’t offer.


SlickEQ3 - Unison


With four distinct saturation models, you can add character and warmth to your tracks, giving them an analog-like feel that is often sought after in digital productions.


SlickEQ includes an output gain control with an optional automatic gain compensation feature.


It helps ensure that your audio remains at a consistent level while making EQ adjustments.


This free effects plugin also offers advanced features, such as a high-pass filter with selectable slopes and a real-time spectrum analyzer.


Standout Features:


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  • Semi-parametric design with three independent EQ bands
  • Low & high bands can switch between shelving and peaking modes
  • Unique EQ saturation system with four distinct models (in the free version)
  • Advanced features like a high-pass filter & real-time spectrum analyzer


Best VST Plugins & Free VST Plugins: Final Thoughts


The world of VST plugins is vast and full of endless possibilities for producers, sound designers, and audio enthusiasts alike.


We’ve included powerful and feature-rich paid VST plugins like Soundtoys Decapitator, Waves H-Reverb, and Output’s Portal.


As well as the impressive and incredibly useful free VST plugins like Zen Master, Spaceship Delay, Glitch 2, and TDR VOS SlickEQ.


Therefore, there’s a virtual instrument or effect available for every need and style.


Exploring these VST plugins can inspire creativity, elevate your sound, and truly transform your music production process.


Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a newcomer to the world of digital audio workstations, incorporating these top VST plugins into your workflow will undoubtedly lead to more polished tracks.


They can help you sound more versed, pristine, and all-around professional.


If you don’t think 6 free VST effects plugins are enough, then we’ve got you covered!


In our Free VST Effects Plugins of 2023, we cover 15 completely different, just as impressive free VST plugins that will blow your mind.


Until next time…





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