In fact, VST plugins that can be obtained for free are an extremely voluminous topic, from which it is difficult to make a compact and maximally informative excerpt. And it would be very cool to click them all, check for performance, and even intelligently document them — since most plug-ins from enthusiasts are not equipped with a demonstration of their work, which is sad and inconvenient. But such a volume of thankless work will obviously take more than one week.
Therefore, in this post, I will only limit myself to a few recommendations and a brief overview of the sites where you can download these very free VST. And in the future, I will try to continue a series of articles on this topic, as I find something interesting and try it out in action. So far, I can only share my set of VST that I use in the current live setup, and a pack of plugins that I used when mixing Snail’s Race. But I’m getting deeper and deeper into this area and I don’t stop being surprised by the really cool things I’ve found.
Also, I don’t want to go too deep into plugins distributed for free by famous manufacturers (Native, Izotope, etc.) and shareware that come bundled with this or that music equipment (audio interfaces, midi controllers, etc.). By default, I advise you to read all the offers and activate all available licenses-there are also a lot of good, useful and interesting things there.
Well, today’s heroes of the post are the Plugins4Free sites – https://plugins4free.com/and PluginBoutique https://www.pluginboutique.com/. Each of them has its own peculiarities, disadvantages and surprisingly not so much duplicated content.
What I like most about this resource is that you don’t have to download any additional software clients, register an account or enter registration keys — you download, install and that’s it!
All VST are divided into groups: Effects, Instruments, Midi and DAW (plus there is a section with new products). Effects, instruments and Midi, in turn, are also divided into subgroups according to their purpose: compressors, saturation, drums, and so on.
It is convenient to search and sort: you can find the plugin by name or by the name of the manufacturer, you can sort it by rating / download date / operating system.
In fact, the ratings are not always worth paying attention to, because often the rating is underestimated by people who did not understand the installation/management, or vice versa overestimated — for nothing (especially if the plugin was added recently). But you can get some useful information from the comments (but rarely).
Sorting by operating system is extremely necessary, because there are a lot of old VST’s that exist only in the version for a 32-bit OS. Be careful!
I am also glad that the site is alive and new products appear quite often. And the most interested and responsible developers update the versions of their already posted plugins.
On my own behalf, I want to add that sometimes it is very useful to visit the manufacturers ‘ websites (which are always indicated in the VST description) — you can often find something else useful there. For example, Chokehold has several other cool plugins and samples on its website, and SNFK Music has several free libraries of presets for Vital (this is such a free and very impressive synthesizer-an alternative to the popular Serum. But there are very few applicable presets in the free version, and for those who, like me, do not know how to set up synths, this is just a godsend)!
In general, I really like this site and can recommend it to anyone who is interested in free alternatives to expensive VST from large companies. The only negative that I can note: these are often scant descriptions and the lack of video/audio with a demonstration of the capabilities. But this is already on the conscience of the plugin developers.
Well, this site is less convenient than Plugins4free: firstly, it is necessary to register an account; secondly, each plugin (even free) can be downloaded only through the procedure: add to cart-make a purchase-download. And in some cases, a license key is also issued (later, it is stored on your account in the downloads section); thirdly, there are some bugs and shortcomings in site navigation.
Actually, this site is more focused on paid offers, and the section with free content is like a nice addition to it. It is easy to find it: in the upper panel of the FREE menu and in it a submenu for its functional purpose.
Judging by what I saw, this Free-section has not really got new products in a year and its abandonment is felt. But, here you can still find some things that are not available on Plugins4free, although sometimes it is more convenient to download what you find directly from the manufacturer’s website (and here they do not indulge in links). But there are tools for Kontakt, for example. In general, at least for informational purposes (and possible discounts on paid plugins), you should visit this site.
My pack of Vst instruments.
I will not provide this article with additional images or videos, because you always hear the sounds of these instruments on my streams. Therefore, I will limit myself to links and a small comment.
Here’s what I use:
VSCO2 Rompler – https://plugins4free.com/plugin/2734/
This is a whole collection of 25 instruments with samples recorded live. Some of them can also be found as a separate plugin.
From here I take the sounds of the piano, trumpet and string quartets.
An important point: some of the instruments in this bundle are recorded in stereo, and therefore some notes do not sound in the center, but are scattered around the panorama. Therefore, in order for everything to sound in the center, it will be necessary to resignthe channel into mono (there is no such built-in function in the plugin).
DSK Saxophones – https://plugins4free.com/plugin/2160/
It is very difficult to find a decent-sounding saxophone and I have tried a huge bunch of plug-ins, but only the sound of this unit does not bother me. However, Soprano still doesn’t sound very good, but you can squeeze something out of Tenor in combination with a reverb.
Free Labs Spitfire Audio – https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/#category=&search=&new=true
burlenie_govn told me about this thing, for which I thank him very much!
In fact, this is one instrument and a large library of presets for it, which must be downloaded separately. I ampleased with the sound quality, descriptions with audio files and the number of available presets!
First you need to register an account and download a special client, through which the download-installation will be carried out.
It is worth noting that most of the sounds are quite specific (although there is a whole expanse of space for ambient lovers), so to speak, cinematic. In general, from here I took pads (at the moment I don’t use any specific one, but I try different ones) and a “live” drum kit (Percussion preset! In the Drums preset, there is a strong volume imbalance between the snare/kickand the cymbals). About the drums, perhaps, Ishould make a separate post at all, because it is also difficult to find something universal here, and I have rummaged through a huge bunch of different instruments that I can tell you more about. The disadvantage of this drum kit is that it is impossible to adjust the volume and panorama of individual drums.
Actually, this is my entire set of used Vst, with the exception of a couple of synthesizers from standard Ableton instruments, a Hybrid synthesizer (which comes with the Akai Mpk Mini and I don’t really like it) and some synths from the free set from Native. But my relationship with synths is complicated, so I still can’t find suitable ones that I would stop at.
In the next release, I plan to actively use the processing effects from enthusiastic developers, so after working with them and making an impression, I will definitely share it with you! So far, I can recommend paying attention to the developer of Analog Obsession, which consistently publishes and updates its versions of emulations of famous analog devices. His works can be found both on Plugins4free and on Patreon https://www.patreon.com/analogobsession — all posts are open there, you do not need to pay!