The top free VST plugins in 2021

What are the best free VST plugins out there right now? Everyone has a favourite. We’ve found 6 top free plugins to bring something new to your music producing.

Producers of all kinds are lucky to be living at a time when there’s so many delicious free plugins available to download, ripe for stuffing any DAW fill to the brim. Falling into a rabbit hole hunting out free VSTs can get overwhelming, fast.

It’s sometimes hard to separate the good from the bad and the ugly – while there’s thousands of free music software plugins out there for producers and musicians, they need to be stable and from a reliable source.

As a taster, here are six of the best free VST plugins available now, from great virtual instruments to stunning effect plugins. Let’s dive in.


Tape Cassette 2
Image Credit: Caelum Audio

Lo-fi hip-hop and bedroom pop sounds are still all the rage. Luckily you can get the perfect vintage dreaminess and add a warm classic sound with the Tape Cassette 2 free plugin.

An update on Tape Cassette 1, Caelum Audio’s free VST can be used on your entire track or on individual channels for a hit of nostalgia. Mess around with your synths for added experimental textures and create cosmic soundscapes.

Features:

  • Selectable Type 1 Cassette Impulse Response (IR)
  • Dynamic saturation curve algorithm implementing hysteresis and including oversampling
  • Wow & Flutter engines rebuilt to focus on smoother emulation
  • Real sampled noise from a Type 1 Cassette
  • Low Pass range increased down to 5kHz

Get the Tape Cassette 2 free plugin and find out more here.


Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover
Image Credit: Spitfire Audio

Get every exquisite sound of the BBC Symphony Orchestra within a simple free plugin from Spitfire Audio that’s compatible with all major DAWs.

No more tinny, fake-sounding virtual orchestral instruments. Fill in a simple survey and you’re on the list for a huge free 33-strong orchestral instrument library worth waiting the 14 day online delivery for. The sounds work as individual instruments in your DAW.

Ever wondered how to be a classical music producer? Now’s your chance.

Get the BBC Symphony Orchestral library free from Spitfire Audio here.


DearVR Micro

Whack your headphones on to experience the 3D capabilities of the DearVR Micro free plugin. A collaboration between Sennheiser and DearVR, the Micro is the redesigned successor to the previous AMBEO Orbit plugin.

The updated plugin has got full 360° panning, immersing you directly in the middle of your track. Put your sounds anywhere in the stereo field – not just left and right but above your head and behind you. Freaky and completely free.

Features:

  • Full 360° panner
  • Highest audio quality using Dear Reality’s advanced HRTF filters
  • Azimuth and Elevation control
  • Width control
  • Adding spatial accuracy by defining shoebox-shaped binaural room reflections
  • Five different wall materials to control the reflection timbre
  • Focus parameter using the patented AMBEO Clarity algorithm for a maximum spectral balance
  • HRTF selection to choose Sennheiser AMBEO Orbit HRTFs
  • Support for mono and stereo input signals

Download DearVR Micro VST free here.


Diablo Lite
Image Credit: Cymatics

Cymatic’s Diablo Lite free plugin beefs up your 808s, enhancing drums to cut through your mix. The Punch transient shaper and clipper features make the loudness of sounds hit so much harder, making your kicks smack just as powerfully as you dreamt they would, without affecting the .dB. Get your teeth into that.

Find out more and get the Diablo Lite plugin free here.


Satellite Plugins 2.0

This collaboration plugin lets you work with anyone in any DAW at any time, so you can work together without bouncing tracks. The audio or MIDI recorded into the Satellite Plugins 2.0 plugin automatically syncs between producers working within major DAWs. You can work together in real time and easily export audio.

Especially valuable at the moment, when remote working is the norm for so many musicians.

Features:

  • Collaborate with anyone, anywhere, within your own DAW
  • Connect Ableton, Logic Pro X, FL Studio, Cubase, Studio One, Bitwig, Pro Tools, Reason, Reaper, GarageBand and Digital Performer DAWs through Satellite Plugins 2.0
  • Invite collaborators to your session, record and export audio and MIDI
  • Assign Host, Co-Host, VIP+, VIP and Viewer permissions to determine who can upload/download tracks and invite others to the session
  • Use Satellite Plugins 2.0 in your streams on Twitch and YouTube and invite your audience to collaborate
  • Back-up your sessions seamlessly to the cloud
  • Perfect for remote session work, bands, and mixing/mastering engineers

Satellite Plugins 2.0 is free for a limited time so grab it quick here – apologies if you’ve missed the boat!


TAL-Chorus-LX
Image Credit: TAL Software

A cheeky little free VST. Small, simple but effective – turn the stereo width and wet/dry knobs and press the two buttons to recreate the chorus from the classic Roland Juno-60 synth. Two settings, one to add a subtler texture and the other a richer sound, together faithfully recreating the much-loved synth.

Get the TAL-Chorus-LX plugin free here.


Hungry for more free plugins? Of course you are. Check out these great free synth plugins, top free guitar and bass VSTs, best free mixing and mastering plugins and best free effects plugins.

And there’s far more besides… what’s your favourite free plugin? Show off your knowledge in the comments.


Want everyone to hear how incredible those VSTs sound in your finished tracks? RouteNote can get your songs onto all the major streaming services and stores. Before you know it you’ll be earning money from your music – and the best part is, it’s free. Find out more here.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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