The 40 Best Free VST Plugins in 2024

Music Gear
best free vst plugins

These days, there are more free plugins out there than many producers can keep up with.

So we decided to dig through the latest and best options, use them in our studio tests, and compile our favorites here.

It’s a fresh, fully up-to-date list that will save you tons of time, and it’s worth bookmarking to keep up with new recommendations.

We’ve organized it by major categories and subcategories, so feel free to use the tables of contents to get around. Enjoy!

Best free effects plugins

1. Best free reverb plugin:
Valhalla Supermassive

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Overview of Supermassive

Type:Shimmer reverb/delay
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

⭐️ Check out our extended list of the best free reverb plugins

We know that pretty much everyone tends to recommend Supermassive as both a free reverb and delay. To be honest, this is good example of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

It is a much-beloved classic for a reason, and it’ll take you from simple delays all the way to ambient shimmers and massive reverberations. If you haven’t used it yet, you should!

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2. Best free delay plugin:
Sixth Sample Deelay

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Overview of Deelay

Type:Multi-purpose delay
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Format:VST, AAX, AU

⭐️ Check out our extended list of the best free delay plugins

We’ve been using Deelay quite a lot since covering it in our dedicated list of free delays. Even now, we’re still surprised it’s free.

It gives you all the functionality you could want in an all-rounder workhorse delay, and its interface is very elegantly designed. Top marks for usability, functionality, and value.

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3. Best free EQ plugin:
TDR Nova

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Overview of Nova

Type:Dynamic EQ
Operating System:macOS, Windows
Format:VST, AU, AAX

⭐️ Check out our extended list of the best free EQ plugins

The main factor that makes Nova our favorite free EQ is that it manages to balance technical proficiency with simplicity.

It packs a great value in terms of its features, clarity of sound, and reliability, but it’s also unlikely to intimidate or overwhelm beginners. Highly recommended.

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4. Best free chorus plugin:
Acon Digital Multiply

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Overview of Multiply

Type:Phase-randomizing chorus
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & 64 bit Intel)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Multiply positions itself as a novel and innovative approach to chorus, and this really came through in our testing sessions.

Its unique “phase randomizing” technique, built-in EQ, and modulation controls all made it highly adept at widening and enhancing the stereo image of vocal and instrument sounds.

We think this one is essential for anyone who appreciates chorus.

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5. Best free flanger plugin:
Imaginando DLYM

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Overview of DLYM

Type:Flanger-chorus combo
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
iOS
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AUv3

While DLYM functions as both a chorus and a flanger, we found that it performs especially well in the latter category.

It’s capable of a respectable range of effects, from subtle doubling and stereo enhancement to jet-engine style sweeps and even shallow delays and comb filtering.

We were especially keen on the sound of its analog mode, and we love that it includes sample-and-hold options for its LFO, something you don’t often see in a modulation effect.

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6. Best free phaser plugin:
Full Bucket Phaser

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Overview of Full Bucket Phaser

Type:BBD phaser emulation
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, CLAP

Full Bucket Phaser is a great-sounding emulation of classic BBD phaser units. It specializes in delivering that classic “seasick” sound that’s ideal for psychedelic guitars and synths.

Testing this one out was a delight, and we think everyone should give it a go.

If you want a free phaser plugin whose sound is a bit more modern and less in-your-face (and you’re on an Intel Mac or PC), try Adam Szabo Phazor.

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7. Best free tremolo plugin:
Solider Sound S Pulser

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Overview of S Pulser

Type:Mid/side tremolo
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

You may assume that tremolo is such a simple effect that it wouldn’t need much innovation, but S Pulser will make you think twice.

The hook is that it allows you to separately apply tremolo to the mid and side components of the stereo field.

We were pleasantly surprised at the interesting effects we could get on vocals, guitars, lead synth, and pads. Definitely worth a look.

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8. Best free bitcrusher plugin:
Tritik Krush

🧠 Hot tip

For an even more powerful way to distort and degrade your sounds, we're big fans of Eventide Crush Station.
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Overview of Krush

Type:Bitcrusher & filter
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Bitcrushing can be a very genre-specific effect — you probably either use it all the time or not at all.

What’s nice about Krush is that it’s designed to be a kind of Swiss Army knife for signal degradation and distortion.

So, even if you’re not usually partial to bitcrushing, you might find (as we did) that this plugin can crunch up your signals in both subtle and extreme ways — and it always sounds great.

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9. Best free distortion plugin:
Nembrini Audio Black Distortion

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Overview of Black Distortion

Type:Distortion pedal emulation
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Speaking of crunch, if you’ve ever wanted a plugin emulation of the famous RAT pedal, Nembrini Audio’s Black Distortion is a go-to for many producers and guitarists.

We, of course, put it through its paces with guitar recordings and it performed beautifully, delivering a rich and well-defined distortion while sounding pretty close to the original.

It also handles synths and keys quite nicely. It’s a great emulation to have in the virtual pedal board.

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10. Best free saturation plugin:
Sampleson Overheat

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Overview of Overheat

Type:Analog-modeled saturation
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU

It may not seem like there’s a meaningful distinction between distortion and saturation, but there is!

While Nembrini Black Distortion and even Tritik Krush can rip apart your signals with great results, Sampleson Overheat is our pick when it comes to thickening up your sounds in a less extreme way.

Its tube-like character manages to embrace just about any signal you throw at it, providing both subtle enhancements in presence and powerful overdriving. We loved what it did to our drum sounds.

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11. Best free compressor plugin:
Audio Damage Rough Rider 3

🧠 Hot tip

While Rough Rider 3 is specialized for characterful compression, we tend to reach for Klevgrand Korvpressor when we want something that's just as easy to use but more versatile in application.
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Overview of Rough Rider 3

Type:Character compressor
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
iOS
Linux
Format:VST3, AU, AAX, CLAP, LV2, AUv3

Rough Rider has been one of Audio Damage’s most popular plugins for years.

Keep in mind that this is not a technical, transparent, mastering-oriented compressor. It’s built for thickness, power, and character — especially when it comes to drums and breaks.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, you should definitely try it out.

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12. Best free limiter plugin:
George Yohng W1 Limiter

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Overview of W1 Limiter

Type:Professional-grade limiter
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

W1 is famous for its accuracy in emulating the L1 and L2 limiter plugins by Waves.

To experience this for ourselves, we ran a few test sessions with a variety of signals, from drum busses to master channels and various tracked instruments.

Side-by-side with its Waves counterpart, W1 certainly delivered as a top-notch tool for limiting and maximizing.

It’s pretty hard to beat the value of this one when it comes to transparent limiters for both mixing and mastering.

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13. Best free filter plugin:
Audiomodern Filterstep

🧠 Hot tip

As much as we enjoyed Filterstep, our top filter plugin in terms of value-for-price is AudioThing Valves. It's fantastic for both analog-modeled filtering and tube-style distortion.
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Overview of Filterstep

Type:Gate-sequenced multimode filter
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
iOS
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

We really enjoyed using Filterstep on a wider variety of sounds than we expected (people should try using sequenced filters on guitar more often), and we loved how easy it was to use.

It allows you to modulate its filters with a versatile, fader-style step sequencer. Plus, it throws in a handy randomization feature to get ideas going fast.

It’s the kind of filtering tool that won’t come free with your DAW, and this (in addition to its general high standard of quality) was the main reason for making it our pick in this category.

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14. Best free multi-effect plugin:
Spectral Plugins Spacer

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Overview of Spacer

Type:Spatial/granular/enhancement effects
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Spacer is one of three tools developed by Spectral Plugins, a company that shut down their operations in 2024 and released all of their products for free.

As a result, you’re likely getting even more value than usual for this one, and it also happens to be unique as a multi-effect tool. It’s by far one of our favorite freebies out there.

Being able to chain together a variety of reverb, delay, and granular effects allowed us to make some stunning and unique sounds in our tests, especially with vocals and pads.

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15. Best free lo-fi effect plugin:
Caelum Audio Tape Cassette 2

🧠 Hot tip

Of all the tape emulation plugins we've used, the one we're most impressed by is Baby Audio TAIP, which uses AI to capture the character of tape with excellent accuracy and detail.
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Overview of Tape Cassette 2

Type:Cassette tape emulation
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST3, AU, AAX, AUv3

There are tons of uses for tape-style lo-fi effects, from the more obvious lo-fi hip-hop sounds to saturation of drums and more.

Caelum Audio Tape Cassette 2 is a free plugin that covers it all, and it sounds great.

While it’s not the most powerful or accurate tape emulation we’ve heard, it gets the job done on both individual instrument sounds and the master bus.

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Best free instrument plugins

1. Best free hybrid synth plugin:
Surge XT

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Overview of Surge XT

Type:Multi-engine hybrid synth
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Linux (64 bit)
Format:VST3, AU, CLAP, LV2

Surge is one of the more famous free plugins available today.

It would easily be our desert-island free synth plugin, as it does just about everything you could want a synth to do, and more.

Its interface may seem a bit dense, but once you get the hang of it, Surge could likely become your main workhorse for everything from bass to leads, pads, and beyond.

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2. Best free FM synth plugin:
Digital Suburban Dexed

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Overview of Dexed

Type:DX7-style FM synth
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Linux (64 bit)
Format:VST3, AU, LV2

If you don’t feel compelled to learn FM synthesis in depth, but still want to take advantage of its signature sound, we have a free plugin recommendation with your name on it.

Because it’s a one-to-one emulation of the famed DX7, Dexed can load DX7 presets, of which there are countless thousands online.

Whether you want to use it for learning FM synthesis or as a preset machine for iconic sounds, you should definitely pick this one up.

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3. Best free wavetable synth plugin:
Vital Audio Vital

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Overview of Vital

Type:Spectral warping wavetable synth
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Linux (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, LV2

Vital is a relatively recent contender in the plugin game, and it’s quickly gained traction as an intuitive and high-quality synth plugin with some unique features.

Among these features are interesting spectral transformations of its wavetables and a text-to-wavetable generator.

The extent of its feature set is limited depending on what version you get, but even the free license provides a highly powerful synth that anyone should give a try.

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4. Best free analog modeling synth plugin:
TAL-Noisemaker

🧠 Hot tip

When a more versatile library of analog synth sounds is needed, we often recommend Arturia Analog Lab Intro. It punches well above its weight in terms of variety and quality.
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Overview of Noisemaker

Type:Analog synth emulation
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & 64 bit Intel)
Windows (64 bit)
Linux (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX, CLAP

Sometimes you just need a no-nonsense analog-modeled synth plugin that gives you great-sounding results as quickly as possible.

TAL-Noisemaker has played this role for countless producers over the years, and it’s easily one of the most well-known free plugins out there today.

You can’t really go wrong with anything from TAL, so pick this one up and keep it at the ready for classic analog synth duties.

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5. Best free bass synth plugin:
u-he TyrellN6

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Overview of TyrellN6

Type:Analog synth emulation
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64/32 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Linux
Format:VST, AU, AUv3, AAX

While TyrellN6 is fully capable as a polysynth, we created a bass synth category on our list just so that we could include it. That’s how great it is.

We find that it’s particularly suited for bass because of the thickness that its suboscillator delivers. There’s also something about the envelopes and the filters that give it an overall fullness and power that we really appreciate.

It’s not trying to be a Minimoog or a Pro-One, but it’ll definitely get you into that territory. Highly recommended.

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6. Best free sampler plugin:
CWITEC TX16Wx

🧠 Hot tip

For a step-up in power and a wealth of excellent included sample material, IK Multimedia SampleTank 4 LE is often our go-to sampling workstation.
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Overview of TX16Wx

Type:Multi-timbral, polyphonic sampler
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX, CLAP

Now that Decomposer Sitala is no longer free, it doesn’t qualify for this list (though it is, on our opinion, worth the $20 price tag).

So, in lieu of that go-to, we can more than happily recommend TX16Wx. Unlike Sitala, it’s more of a full-fledged sample workstation.

If you don’t gel with its workflow, your DAW almost certainly has an excellent built-in sampler, so that would be our other recommendation.

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7. Best free multi-purpose plugin:
NI Kontakt PlayerReaktor Player

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Overview of Kontakt Player & Reaktor Player

Type:Multi-purpose instrument platform
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, AU, AAX

Both Kontakt (a sample-based instrument platform) and Reaktor (a design environment for instruments and effects) have been flagship products of Native Instruments for decades.

Fortunately, you can download free versions of both of them — Kontakt Player and Reaktor Player. Their main limitation is that only certain instruments and effects can be used, and you can’t modify them or build your own.

Still, you gain access to a wide range of excellent instruments and effects, as long as they’re Player-compatible.

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8. Best free acoustic drums plugin:
Spitfire LABS Drums

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Overview of LABS Drums

Type:Multi-sampled drum & percussion instrument
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Spitfire Audio is an industry-leader when it comes to sample-based instruments.

While most of their products are quite expensive, they also offer an impressive number of free instruments under the LABS series.

They have a couple of acoustic drum sets under this banner, but Drums is our favorite. And, as you’ll see later in the list, this isn’t the only Spitfire freebie we hold in high regard.

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9. Best free drum synth plugin:
AudioSpillage MiniSpillage

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Overview of MiniSpillage

Type:Multi-engine algorithmic drum synth
Operating System:macOS (Intel 64 bit)
Format:AU

MiniSpillage is the stripped-down free version of the developer’s flagship instrument, DrumSpillage.

It limits the number of available channels to two and provides three drum synthesis models: Bass Drum, Hi-Hat, and Wood.

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this freebie, though — all of these models pack a ton of versatility and the overall sound quality is excellent.

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10. Best free analog drum machine plugin:
Sampleson SUB

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Overview of SUB

Type:Classic analog-modeled drum machine
Operating System:macOS (Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, AU

Sampleson SUB offers a simple yet effective emulation of classic analog drum machines and is very easy to use.

While its parameters are quite limited, it’s not aiming to be a sound design tool. Instead, it’ll get you old-school drum sounds with no muss and no fuss.

We found that it responds very well to distortion and saturation, so we recommend running this though Sampleson Overheat or a similar plug for added grit.

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11. Best free kick drum synth plugin:
Chowdhury DSP CHOW Kick

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Overview of CHOW Kick

Type:Analog-modeling kick drum synth
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
iOS
Linux
Format:VST, VST3, AU, LV2

CHOW Kick emulates the kick drum circuit design you’d find in many early drum machines — a resonant filter stimulated by a pulse.

It doesn’t follow the more modern paradigm of kick synthesis (i.e. an oscillator and amplifier controlled by independent envelopes), so it took us a little bit of time to get used to in our tests.

However, once we got the hang of it, we were surprised by how punchy and powerful the results could be. This is definitely worth picking up.

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12. Best free piano plugin:
Spitfire LABS Soft Piano

🧠 Hot tip

Spitfire's Originals Intimate Grand Piano is among the plugins bundled with LANDR Studio. This one will take you further than the LABS piano libraries in terms of versatility, nuance, and realism.
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Overview of LABS Soft Piano

Type:Multi-sampled virtual piano
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

As promised, here’s our second shoutout to Spitfire. Not unlike Drums, Soft Piano is just one of multiple piano instruments you can get in LABS.

They’re all well worth checking out, but we found that this one was the best starting point.

Because of this piano’s intentionally dampened sound, it’s not ideal for powerful, upfront chords and impactful textures. But for subdued, natural-sounding piano duties, it’s gorgeous.

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13. Best free Rhodes piano plugin:
NoiseAsh Sweetcase

🧠 Hot tip

AAS Lounge Lizard emulates electric piano with physical modeling synthesis for even greater accuracy and expressiveness. The AAS Session Bundle offers a great introduction to this impressive instrument.
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Overview of Sweetcase

Type:Multi-sampled virtual electric piano
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST3, AU, AAX

Sweetcase is a straightforward, sample-based electric piano emulation that took us by surprise.

It sounds great and it responds to velocity with pretty convincing dynamics. The tremolo and other modulation options also help to dial in that iconic, soulful sound with ease.

While it’s not quite as high in quality, nuance, and expressiveness as some commercial plugs, it’s certainly our favorite free option.

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14. Best free virtual guitar plugin:
Spitfire LABS Guitars

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Overview of LABS Guitars

Type:Multi-sampled virtual guitar
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Yes, we are once again reaching for Spitfire LABS, this time for our free guitar plugin of choice.

And, unsurprisingly, there are quite a few guitar options in the library, both electric and acoustic.

It’s not easy to get virtual guitars right, but our test sessions found that all of these performed beautifully. We recommend exploring each one.

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15. Best free orchestral plugin:
Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover

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Overview of BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover

Type:Multi-sampled virtual orchestra
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

Trust us, we wouldn’t include so many Spitfire plugins on this list if we didn’t genuinely believe they make some of the best free sample-based instruments available today.

Compared to its expensive full version, this one is indeed limited in sample quantity, mic placement, articulations, and other factors.

Despite this, it offers an excellent value in terms of sound quality. In case it’s not enough, there are also orchestral options in LABS that are just as representative of Spitfire’s expertise.

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Best free MIDI plugins

🧠 Hot tip

Some of the best MIDI sequencing tools are built right into your DAW. Ableton Live 12 came with some serious MIDI upgrades, and many of these additions also come with Live 12 Lite.

1. HY MIDI Sequencer Plugins

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Overview of HY MIDI Sequencer Plugins

Type:Various MIDI sequencing & processing tools
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Linux (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU

HY-Plugins makes some of the finest MIDI-specialized plugins out there. They manage to balance depth, versatility, and user-friendliness in a way that we feel is rare.

Fortunately for those on a tight budget, the developer gives you the choice between fully-paid versions, restricted demo versions, and modified free versions of all their products.

We spent a lot of time with these and feel they’re all worth exploring. Grab all the free versions and we’re certain you’ll be able to cook up some fantastic drum sequences, melodies, chords, and more.

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2. CodeFN42 Plugins

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Overview of CodeFN42 Plugins

Type:Various MIDI sequencing & processing tools
Operating System:Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST

CodeFN42 is another developer who has clearly invested a lot of time and energy into the realm of MIDI sequencing and processing. 

Even more impressive is the fact that each and every one of their plugins is free.

Mac users will unfortunately miss out on these, but if you’re on Windows, they’re the go-to free MIDI plugins to reach for.

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3. Harvest Mini

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Overview of Harvest Mini

Type:Generative MIDI chord/melodic/drum sequencer
Operating System:macOS (Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, AU

Sometimes the sign of a great sequencer isn’t how complex and technically sophisticated it is (at least on the outside) but how easy it makes the process of coming up with usable sequences.

Harvest MINI is a deceptively simple tool that get top marks from us in that regard. From drum loops to chords and melodies, it specializes in generating patterns through randomization, manual input, and interesting combinations of the two.

If you’re looking for a free MIDI plugin that is intuitive, well-designed, and useful for fast generation of ideas, this would be our top recommendation.

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4. Audiomodern Gatelab

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Overview of Gatelab

Type:Sequenced gate effect w/ MIDI output
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
iOS
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

We really enjoyed exploring Audiomodern’s Filterstep plugin, so we also grabbed Gatelab to mess around with out of curiosity.

Once we found out that it outputs MIDI, however, we realized it easily qualifies as a sequencer for other devices.

Because the sequencer is fader-style like Filterstep, we recommend exploring it as a kind of sequenced modulation source for parameters in your virtual or hardware instruments.

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5. HoRNet HATEFISh RhyGenerator One

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Overview of RhyGenerator One

Type:Euclidean sequencer
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST, VST3, AU, AAX

While there are free euclidean sequencers that require Max for Live, the options are a bit more scarce outside of that platform.

Fortunately, HoRNet Plugins and music artist HATEFISh have stepped up to the plate in this regard and provided a free, stripped-down version of the RhyGenerator euclidean sequencer plugin.

It’s simple, it’s easy to use, and it’s especially handy for learning how euclidean sequencing works and what it can do. We recommend giving it a try.

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6. Sonisto Rhythm and Pitch Generator

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Overview of Rhythm and Pitch Generator

Type:Generative sequencer/arpeggiator
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64/32 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Format:VST, AU

RAPG is a unique free sequencer from plugin marketplace Sonisto. Unlike many other sequencer plugins, it can be clocked at audio-rates, which allows you to use it either as a sound source.

This one rewards experimentation and exploration, though we weren’t crazy about the interface. Additionally, the process of acquiring and installing the plugin was frustratingly convoluted, so be warned.

That being said, if you’re easily inspired by unusual generative sequencing tools, you might find this one particularly intriguing.

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7. OMG Instruments BlueArp

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Overview of BlueArp

Type:MIDI sequencer/arpeggiator
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64/32 bit)
Windows (64/32 bit)
Format:VST, AU

BlueArp’s interface took us a bit of time to learn, but we found that once we had a handle on it, we could craft excellent arpeggios and chord sequences.

It can also be used for drum sequencing, but we found that this wasn’t its strong suit in comparison to the great results we got on the melodic side of things.

We’d especially recommend it if you produce dance music that’s heavy on melody and chord progressions — this thing makes a killer arp for trance tunes.

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8. Mucoder Hypercyclic

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Overview of Hypercyclic

Type:LFO-based arpeggiator/sequencer/gate effect
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Linux (64 bit)
Format:VST, AU

The more common way to approach MIDI composition is with step sequencing, but Hypercyclic takes a different route.

Instead, it’s a tool that allows you to sculpt modulation parameters to generate interesting and sometimes unpredictable sequences. It even works as a gate effect.

If you’re inspired by uncommon methods for pattern generation, it might be what you’re looking for.

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9. Dodo MIDI 2

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Overview of Dodo MIDI 2

Type:Real-time voice/audio to MIDI
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST3

If you’re in need of a free plugin that will help you generate melodic and rhythmic MIDI with your voice or other sound sources, Dodo MIDI 2 is a great option.

Many DAWs come with audio-to-MIDI conversion built in, but not all of them are designed for real-time performance.

Dodo MIDI 2 actually is, and we found that as long as we set it up according to the developer’s recommendations, the results were surprisingly accurate and dependable.

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10. Stochas

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Overview of Stochas

Type:Probabilistic polyrhythmic MIDI sequencer
Operating System:macOS (Apple Silicon & Intel 64 bit)
Windows (64 bit)
Format:VST3

Some of the most interesting MIDI tools are the ones that make it easy to dial in just the right amount of musical randomness and variation.

Stochas is a great free plugin for accomplishing exactly that. It allows you to program steps with various degrees of probability, create evolving polyrhythms, infuse your patterns with humanized groove, and more.

Don’t be fooled by its old-school interface — we found it intuitive, powerful, and flexible. Definitely a useful option for those who crave a dynamic approach to MIDI.

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Devon Hansen

Devon Hansen is a producer, DJ, and writer with 20 years of experience in electronic music production. Having worked under various names and in a wide range of styles, Devon has performed several editions of MUTEK Montreal and has released music with labels in North America, the UK, and Japan. When not working on creative projects or playing tunes on Montreal’s n10.as radio, Devon can be found watching movies, cooking, and reading too much about gear.

@Devon Hansen

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