Here are my 10 best free vst plugins for music producers in 2022. Whether you are a new producer – or you’ve been doing it a while – all of these plugins will be a great addition to your collection.
We’re going to be covering some instrument devices and some effects devices, too, including: Synths, samplers, saturators, limiters and more besides.
I’m also going to show you how to use them, and how you can use them to create a track from scratch…
1. Komplete Start – Native Instruments
Native Instruments Komplete Start is a fantastic tool if you’ve got no synths or other instruments.
It includes 7 free synthesizers, 9 sampled instruments and you also get some effects thrown in as well.
2. Labs – Spitfire Audio
Spitfire Audio have got some great-sounding premium sampled instruments, but LABS is their free version, with a big selection of high-quality packs for you to download.
It’s a great plug-in for realistic sounding instruments (such as piano and strings) but also has some more interesting experimental sounds.
3. Vital – Matt Tytel
Vital is sort of like a competitor to Serum, but it’s completely free. If you’re wanting to create some interesting wavetable synth sounds with lots of movement, then this is a must.
It has loads of presets included, and its modulation and effects options are very powerful.
(If you have the EDM Tips Creative Toolkit, we’ve also got some Vital presets included in that).
4. TyrellN6 – u-he
u-He are the guys that make Diva (used by Ben Böhmer and many other producers), which is an incredible synth but costs money.
The Tyrell N6 is a completely free synth that you can download from their website, and – whilst not as powerful as Diva – is capable of creating some lovely, warm analogue sounds.
This is more of a classic-sounding synth than, for example, Vital. It’s got classic hardware oscillator routing and a nice analogue feel to it – kind of like Sylenth1 in some ways.
5. Surge – Open Source
The next free synth I’m going to recommend (and this is the last of our synthesizers, I promise!), is the Surge.
This certainly isn’t as pretty as the others, but it’s an incredibly powerful digital synth. It’s got waaaaay more routing options than the Tyrell, but it’s going to give you more of a digital sound and give you lots of scope for experimental sound design.
It has many controls are you’ve actually got two scenes as well that you can kind of meld into each other as well as all the effects.
This is a really powerful synth and it’s definitely worth getting if you’re interested in sound design.
6. Saturation Knob – Softube
Next we are going to go on to the first of the effects plug-ins, and this is an absolute classic – the Softube Saturation Knob. This adds harmonics to a sound. It’s going to fatten it up, and make it pop through the mix a bit more.
7. Super Massive – Valhalla
The next free plugin I recommend is amazing. It’s from Valhalla who make fantastic premium reverbs.
They’ve got a couple of free ones that you can download as well, and Valhalla’s Super Massive is one of them.
This plugin can create some really interesting creative reverb and delay type effects.
Just scroll through the presets and choose the one you like the sound of. Instant yes!
8. Pancake – Cableguys
Let’s go on to the next free effects plugin and it’s the Pancake by Cableguys. These are the guys that make Shaper Box and they’ve absolutely nailed the game when it comes to being able to modulate sounds after you’ve created them.
The Pancake works with panning and the stereo field (as you would expect), but you can get some pretty interesting sounds that are just going to create more interest and movement to your music.
9. Loudness Meter – Youlean
Next we’re going to look at a really useful metering tool. This is the YouLean Loudness Meter and when you’re mastering and you want to get a comparably loud mix to your reference tracks this is an incredible tool.
So, go to the mastering channel and put one on the end of the chain. Open it up and see what’s going on.
Needless to say it’s really useful. You can just resize the window but what we’re looking for here is the integrated LUFS value predominantly and we’re also looking for the true peak max.
When you’re mastering your track you can throw one of these Youlean loudness meters on your reference track and then you can try and get a comparable loudness like for like with the same genre of music.
10. LoudMax Mastering Limiter – Thomas Mundt
One of the things that I think lets Ableton down is the limiter – you can’t get it that loud without it sounding a bit squashed and distorted.
The LoudMax by Thomas Mundt allows you to get more clarity and definition in your mastered track.
The CamelCrusher is a bonus plugin I recommend – and the reason it is a bonus free plugin is because the graphical user interface doesn’t really work properly on MacOS (although it does in Windows).
However, you can still access the controls in both operating systems.
The CamelCrusher is a saturator, a filter and a compressor all in one – it’s a really great plug-in for fattening up sounds.
So, there you go guys – they are my top 10 free vst plugins that i recommend checking out in 2022.
Now, just grabbing plugins isn’t going to make your music sound better – you have to know exactly how to use them, in what order and to what degree.
I’ve actually put together some free training that’s going to show you exactly how to do that – it’s my Radio Ready Workshop
This workshop has now helped thousands of bedroom music producers – just like you – get their music finished and get it to a professional standard.
Some of the people who have gone through this workshop are now signed to some of the world’s biggest labels, so it does really work.
You can join it – for free – by clicking here: edmtips.com/workshop