These are the best free VST effects plugins that can be used with FL Studio, Reason, Ableton Live, and other VST-supported music software.
This roundup of free effects plugins includes lists of features, screenshots, and videos.
What Is A VST Effects Plugin?
A VST effects plugin is an audio effects plugin that you can use with a VST-supported DAW. These plugins can apply audio effects to an audio track, such as reverb or distortion. There is a wide variety of audio effects plugins, such as equalizers, filters, delays, chorus, pitch correction, and more.
VST effect plugins are typically used to alter the sound of an audio recording, such as vocals, instruments, and drums. A plugin can have a number of controls for adjusting the sound, which can be applied to different frequency bands within the track.
It’s great to experiment with different audio effects to create new sounds. I’ve tried hundreds of free VST plugins, and these are some of the leading free effects plugins available.
Best VST Effects Plugins
I have included the best free effect plugins that work for Windows and Mac.
- Cableguys Pancake 2
- Tritik Krush
- Spaceship Delay
- Valhalla Freq Echo
- Glitch 2
- Ozone Imager V2
- Pecheneg Tremolo
- Blue Cats Phase
- BPB Saturator
- Izotope Vinyl
- MuTools MuVerb
- TDR VOS SlickEQ
- Baby Comeback
Tutorial: How to Install VST Plugins
Instructions: Click the links below to visit each effect VST plugin. Look around each website for the download link or button. Do not install any suspicious software.
1. Cableguys Pancake 2
PanCake is a free, flexible panning modulation. You can construct your own modulation curves. They can be easily drawn using soft or hard control points, thus producing gentle transitions or sharp bends in the waveform.
Cableguys Pancake 2 | PC & Mac
Cableguys Pancake 2 Preview
2. Tritik Krush
With its bit-crushing and downsampling algorithms, Krush combines the crispy taste of the digital realm with the warmth of its drive stage and analog-modeled resonant filters.
A modulation section allows you to quickly add extra life to the sound by modulating any parameter.
- Crunchy drive stage
- Bit depth reduction
- Sample rate reduction
- Analog-modeled resonant filters (low-pass and high-pass)
Tritik Krush | PC / Mac / AU / AAX
3. Spaceship Delay
Spaceship Delay is a delay audio effect featuring classic modern and vintage-sounding delays with the following features:
- Three delay modes
- Standard delay effects controls
- A modulation section
- Attack control
- Spring reverb
- Advanced filtering section
- Modelling section
Spaceship | PC & Mac
4. Valhalla Freq Echo VST Effects Plugin
This is a perfect free effect plugin for giving your music that psychedelic edge. It has a Bode-style frequency shifter, analog echo emulation, and chorusing and double-tracking effects.
- Frequency shifter
- Analog echo emulation
- Chorusing and double-tracking effects
Valhalla | PC & Mac
TAL-Chorus-LX is a famous chorus effect plugin used by musicians around the world. It comes in 2 different modes and has a Dry/Wet control. You can also control the volume with a knob.
It only supports stereo channels. This is your free effects plugin if you’re looking for a Juno-60 chorus emulation. It is sure to add depth and richness to your tracks.
- 2 different modes
- Dry/wet control
- Volume knob
TAL-Chorus-LX | PC & Mac / Linux
6. Glitch 2
Check out Glitch if you’re looking to add some edge and excitement to your music.
It is a powerful audio effect plugin that lets you create radical new sounds and rhythms by mangling your audio in various ways.
It comes with a multi-lane sequence that allows you to trigger various effects in a rhythmic, musical way.
You can also control the mix, filter, pan, and volume of each effect module to create just the right sound.
All of the effects are tempo-synced, so they’ll always stay in time with your music.
This is a great app for creating powerful, dynamic soundscapes. Be sure to check it out.
- Create new sounds and rhythms by mangling your audio
- Multi-lane sequencer
- Control the mix, filter, pan, and volume of each effect module
- All effects are tempo-synced
Glitch 2 | PC
7. Ozone Imager V2
Ozone Imager is an easy-to-use tool for controlling the width and stereo of your tracks. It includes 3 different vectorscope meters, which show you the stereo field of your track in real time.
You can also easily widen or narrow your sounds to fit them into any mix.
- 3 different vectorscope meters
- Controls the width and stereo of your tracks
- Easily widen or narrow your sounds
Ozone Imager V2 | PC & Mac
Wider is a perfect tool for increasing the stereo image of any mono signal. Its easy-to-use interface means that you’ll get the most out of it with just a few clicks.
By increasing the stereo image, you’ll be able to hear your music in a whole new way.
It is one of the best effects plugins for giving your tracks a wider sound that will fill up the entire mix.
I particularly like this plugin for its straightforward interface and wide range of features.
- Simple interface
- Increases stereo image
- Mono compatible
- Great with virtual Instrument plugins
Wider | PC & Mac
9. Pecheneg Tremolo
The Pecheneg Tremolo effect is a perfect addition to any music producer’s toolkit. It’s simple to use and provides flawless sound quality.
This tremolo effect is a must-have whether you’re a beginner or a pro.
- Simple to use
- Flawless sound quality
- Perfect for any music producer
Pecheneg Tremolo | PC & Mac
10. Blue Cats Phase
Blue Cats Phaser is a multi-stage analog-style phaser effect. It can have up to 32 phasing stages and features stereo spread control and sine or triangle LFO shapes.
These make it perfect for creating rich, full phaser effects.
The add-on also has in or out-of-phase feedforward and feedback paths.
You can create a wide variety of phaser sounds with this software. It is one of the best free plugins for creating phaser effects.
- Up to 32 phasing stages
- Stereo spread control
- Sine or triangle LFO shapes
- In or out-of-phase feedforward and feedback paths
Blue Cats Phase | PC & Mac
If you’re looking for an awesome vintage fuzz pedal emulation, look no further than FuzzPlus3.
FuzzPlus3 has a resonant low-pass filter that gives it a unique sound, and the animated procedural OpenGL-based user interface is just icing on the cake.
The cross-platform XML-based preset system makes it easy to get started with FuzzPlus3.
It is one of the best VST effects plugins for creating fuzz pedal effects. You don’t want to miss out on this one.
- Vintage fuzz pedal emulation
- Resonant low-pass filter
- Animated procedural OpenGL-based user interface
- Cross-platform XML-based preset system
FuzzPlus3 | PC & Mac
12. BPB Saturator
BPB Saturator is a high-quality, free saturation plugin. BPB Saturator features two different types of analog-style saturation that you can use to add some extra warmth and character to your tracks.
The first is a tube saturation algorithm that can add some subtle harmonic distortion to your sounds.
The second is a tape saturation algorithm that can be used to add some grit and grunge to your tracks.
Both of these algorithms are great and can be used to add some extra depth and dimension to your tracks.
- Two different types of saturation: tube and tape
- Both algorithms sound great
- It can add extra depth and dimension to your tracks
- Very simple to use
BPB Saturator | PC
13. Izotope Vinyl
Izotope Vinyl gives your tracks the same characteristics without all the hassle. With just a few clicks, you can add that dusty, lo-fi effect to your music.
It can saturate your sound and make it sound like it was recorded in the late ’80s.
The user interface is clean and simple, making it easy to get the sound you want.
It is light on your CPU, so you can use it on multiple tracks without bogging down your computer.
- Lo-fi effect
- The user interface is clean and simple
- Light on your CPU
Izotope Vinyl | PC & Mac
14. MuTools MuVerb
This is a reverb plugin that adds reverberation to the incoming audio. It is integrated into MuLab and has very nice-sounding reverb effects.
It is also very simple to use and has a user-friendly interface.
You’re sure to be impressed with the sound quality of this program.
- Free reverb effects
- Adds reverberation to audio
- Very simple to use
MuTools MuVerb | PC & Mac
15. TDR VOS SlickEQ
This is an EQ plugin with a sleek and modern design. It is easy to use, with an intuitive layout that makes it simple to tweak the EQ settings.
It has three bands, a high-pass filter, and four different EQ models to choose from.
Its saturation algorithms are top-notch, and the loudness-compensated auto gain control is very effective. The plugin also has stereo and sum/difference processing options.
It is great for those who want to fine-tune their audio projects.
- 3 bands
- 4 different EQ models
- High-pass filter
- Loudness-compensated auto-gain control
SlickEQ | PC & Mac
HY-Phaser is a must-have effect for any musician. It’s easy to use, and its randomize button makes it simple to create new and interesting sounds.
Its preset manager ensures that you can always find the perfect sound for your music.
- Easy to use
- Randomize button
- Preset manager
HY-Phaser | PC & Mac
Hysteresis is a delay effect with a stutter, perfect for creative musicians and sound designers.
- Lowpass filter
- Modulation effects
- 100+ factory presets
Hysteresis | PC & Mac
OrilRiver is an algorithmic reverb that simulates the reverberation of a small room and a great hall. It has 12 variations of the early reflections and 5 variations of the reverb tail.
- 12 variations of reflections
- 5 variations of the reverb tail
- 3-band equalizer for the wet signal
- 2 graphical interfaces
OrilRiver | PC & Mac
If you’re looking for a way to add some lo-fi character to your music, HY-Lofi2 is for you. It features HP and LP filters and 4 demo presets to get you started.
The interface is also resizable, so you can make it as big or small as possible. If you’re looking for a lo-fi plugin, then HY-Lofi2 is worth installing.
- Resizable interface
- HP and LP filters
- 4 demo presets included
HY-Lofi2 | PC & Mac
Related: 30 Best LoFi VST Plugins
20. Baby Comeback
Baby Comeback is a delay/ducker that gives you four wet signal flavors: Wide, Analog, Saucey, and Cheap. It also has an on-board ducker that helps to thicken up your sound.
If you need an add-on to add depth and texture to your music, this is worth using. It is sure to become a staple in your production toolkit.
- 4 wet signal flavors
- On-board ducker
- Easy to use
- Free Version Demo of The Paid Version
Baby Comeback | PC & Mac
21. Blue Cat’s Chorus
This is a simple, single-voice program that emulates the sound of vintage chorus units. It has a stereo spread control, sine or triangle LFO shapes, and an in or out-of-phase mix control.
It is perfect for those who want to add a little bit of chorus to their sound without overcomplicating things.
- Simple, single-voice chorus
- Stereo spread control
- Sine or triangle LFO shapes
- In or out of phase mix control
Blue Cat’s Chorus | PC & Mac
22. Saturation Knob
Saturation Knob is a free distortion program that can add grit and character to your audio. It’s perfect for fattening up bass lines, adding harmonics and shimmer to vocals, or simply destroying your drum loop.
If you’re looking for a free distortion plugin, then Saturation Knob is worth checking out. It’s easy to use and can add some grit and character to your sound.
- Adds grit and character
- Fattens up bass lines
- Adds harmonics and shimmer to vocals
- Destroys drum loops
Saturation Knob | PC & Mac
23. OSL Chorus
OSL Chorus is a multi-purpose chorus effect modeled after the Juno 60’s onboard chorus.
It features an adjustable LFO rate and depth, an adjustable delay offset, and a low-pass filter to control the chorus brightness.
It also has separate dry and wet controls for precise mix levels, and all parameters can be automated from the host DAW. OSL Chorus supports stereo-to-stereo and mono-to-stereo.
- 2 separate channels for stereo-to-stereo and mono-to-stereo operation
- Adjustable LFO rate and depth
- Adjustable delay offset
- Control chorus brightness
- Dry/wet mix controls for precise level balancing
OSL Chorus | PC & Mac
Nova-67P is a powerful parametric equalizer plugin that can be used for compression.
It offers five bands of EQ, with an optional high-pass and low-pass filter.
The plugin also features full-band frequency-dependent and split-band compression.
With external side-chain support, this is a versatile tool that can be used in various mixing and mastering situations.
- Five bands of parametric EQ
- High-pass and low-pass filters
- Full-band frequency-dependent compression
- Split-band compression
- External side-chain support
Nova-67P | PC
24. Milli Vinylli
Milli Vinylli produces the nostalgic sound of vintage vinyl records. By adjusting each generator’s phase, level, and frequency, you can create your unique vinyl sound.
You can also add noise to create an old record’s clicks, dust, and friction.
- Vintage vinyl sound
- Adjust phase, level, and frequency
- Add noise for clicks, dust, and friction
Milli Vinylli | PC
Analog is a unique filter/distortion that perfectly recreates the warmth of liquid filters and analog distortion. With its bypass knob, you can easily add or remove the effect from your sound.
- Bypass knob
- Analog modeled filter
- Analog distortion
- Preset manager
Analog | PC
27. Nostalgic Saturation
This is a simple and easy-to-use plugin that helps in adding warmth, noise, and character to any music production. Its user-friendly interface makes it perfect for both beginners and pros.
You need to add the plugin to your DAW, and you’re good to go. It is one of the essential VST effects plugins out there. You don’t want to miss out on this great program.
- Add warmth, noise, and character to any music production
- Simple interface
Nostalgic Saturation | PC & AU
28. Tape Cassette 2
Tape Cassette 2 offers a nostalgic way to add warmth, noise, and character to your music.
Using the plugin, you can select from a variety of Type 1 Cassette IRs and control the dynamic saturation curve and flutter engines.
The plugin also includes real-world sampled noise from a Type 1 cassette, making it easy to recreate the sound of an old cassette tape.
- Type 1 cassette IRs
- Dynamic saturation curve
- Wow & flutter engines
- Real-world sampled
Tape Cassette 2 | PC & AU / iPad
29. Cocoa Delay
Cocoa Delay is a delay plugin with time drift, adjustable wet-level ducking, and a drive section.
It offers three pan modes (static, ping-pong, and circular) and comes with a help file.
You’re sure to be impressed with what this program provides for your music productions.
- Time drift
- Wet level ducking
- Drive section
- 3 pan modes
Cocoa Delay | PC
30. Szechuan Saturator
Szechuan Saturator is a saturation effect that modulates the function according to the input signal volume.
This can be either subtle or completely destructive, making it perfect for various music styles.
Szechuan Saturator works wonders on drums, synths, and entire mixes.
- Volume level-dependent function
- Saturation plugin
- Great for drums, synths, and mixes
Szechuan Saturator | PC & Mac
CamelCrusher is a suite of extremely powerful, free effects that will make your music productions sound professional and polished.
It has two different distortion types: a warm, analog-modeled resonant low-pass filter and a high-quality compressor with ‘Phat’ mode.
- Two different distortion types
- Warm, analog-modeled resonant low-pass filter
- High-quality compressor with ‘Phat’ mode
CamelCrusher | PC & AU
32. MH Thump
Thump is a great plugin for beefing up your kick drum with its ability to add low-end to percussive tracks. It can also help add low end to tom and snare tracks and other percussive sounds.
In addition, it can be used to re-create classic drum synth sounds like those from the TR-808.
- Add low-end to percussive tracks
- Help add low end to tom and snare tracks
- It can be used to re-create classic drum synth sounds
- Easy-to-use interface
MH Thump | PC & Mac
This is a transient processor with the ability to mix 8 channels of audio and provide up to 12 dB of output gain.
The Link to Output Gain feature allows the user to compensate for the output gain depending on the transient amount to achieve unity gain.
Bittersweet is great for those who need to process a lot of audio at once or who want more control over their transient processing. Don’t forget to give BitterSweet a try, as it’s worth a look.
- 8 channels of audio processing
- Up to 12 dB of output gain
- Link to output gain feature
- Transient amount control
BitterSweet | PC & Mac
33. Martin Eastwood Duet
Duet is a double-tracking/harmonizer effect vst developed to enhance vocals or instruments, such as guitars, by thickening the sound and adding a rich glossy sheen to your audio material.
Duet works by independently pitch-shifting the left and right inputs using a novel synchronous overlap and add technique, allowing pitch to be manipulated in real-time while still maintaining the time duration of the audio.
Martin Eastwood Duet | PC
34. Terry West Saturn Console
Saturn Console is a channel and bus enhancer.
- Saturation-based channel/Bus Compressor
- US pre-comp emulation.
- Crosstalk emulation (stereo only).
- Two CT modus.
- Fixed HP/LP filters.
- Input/meters boost.
- Drive bypass.
Terry West | PC
35. B Serrano IO Phaser
I/O Phaser is a stereo phaser. A sophisticated GUI envelope drives this effect. Duration is theoretically infinite,e so this envelope can run from 1 nanosecond to several minutes. The default time value is in seconds.
- 4, 8, or 12 stages.
- Advanced GUI envelope up to 32 stages.
- Loopable or 1 shot.
- Host-Bpm syncable.
- Individual curve type for each segment.
- High-precision editing.
B Serrano IO Phaser | PC
36. The Filtermate
Filtermate was built as a Rhythmic Filter module. It is designed to make automated or non-automated filter processing to any given audio material fed into it with just the minimum of controllers.
Filtermate | PC
37. JMT IntelliCrusher
IntelliCrusher is a bit crusher and a sample rate reducer.
It is intelligent because it can be modulated by different envelopes like volume, pitch, LFO, Gate, and even by MIDI with an Arpeggiator.
LFO and Gate can also be modulated by pitch tracking of the incoming audio signal.
- Controls for Bit, Samplerate, Quantize, and Smooth.
- Volume envelopes.
- Pitch envelopes.
- LFO (Oscillator).
- Audio-triggered gate.
JMT IntelliCrusher | PC
38. GVST GSnap
GSnap is an auto-tune effect. It can be used subtly to correct the pitch of a vocal or, with more extreme settings, to create a robot-voice effect.
For GSnap to work effectively, the input should be monophonic, at a reasonable level, and reasonably noise-free.
GSnap | PC & Mac
Marauder is a dynamic analog distortion.
- Analog-inspired distortion.
- Four unique gain stages.
- Goes from subtle to extreme.
- Organic, syrupy sounds.
- Contour your overdrive with a feedback-compressor-styled envelope.
Marauder | PC
40. Kuassa basiQ
basiQ is an acronym for Baxandall simulation equalizer. It is a 3-band equalizer plugin with photorealistic graphics from Kuassa, Inc.
As the name implies, the engine is modeled after a design of a classic equalizer well known for its smooth shelves and natural-sounding responses, which is similar to the tone control on hi-fi systems.
- Simple tone control with large Low, Mid, and High knobs
- Preset Management with 12 preset slots within a single bank
- Mono and Stereo are applicable
- Supports up to 96 kHz Sample Rate
- Compact and straightforward user interface
Kuassa basiQ | PC & Mac
The OwlSim is a simulation of the open-source OWL programmable effects pedal.
- Envelope shaping.
OwlSim | PC & Mac / Linux
42. HY-Plugins HY-Reso
HY-Reso is a filter effect VST plugin. The structure is based on MAM RS3. It has three parallel chained bandpass filters. LFO and Env Follower can modulate those filters.
- Re-sizable interface.
- Preset manager.
HY-Plugins HY-Reso | PC
Pitchproof can shift the pitch of the input. The effect combines old styles of pitch shifting with the quality you expect from modern effects.
The result is this pitch pedal simulation has most of what is great about guitar harmonizer pedals and still preserves the signal’s integrity.
Pitchproof | PC / Mac / AU
45. 2Rule SynthTrack
SynthTrack applies Filter ADSR and LFO effects to synths on flat chords or moving sound waves.
- 16 steps per pattern
- Host tempo synchronization
- HP BP LP Filter
- ADSR for Amplitude
- ADSR for Filter
- LFO Sinus Square Saw waves, tempo synchronized, triple EQ
- Push the button for the one-shot gate
- 26 Presets
2Rule SynthTrack | PC
46. TDR Nova
The TDR Nova plugin is a dynamic equalizer processor to help create professional audio and EQing virtual instruments.
TDR Nova | PC & Mac
The TAL-Reverb is a free open-source stereo plate reverb plugin with 20 presets that make it easy to get started. This is a popular Virtual Studio Technology plugin from a trusted brand.
Plugin | PC & Mac
48. Softube Saturation Knob
Softube Saturation Knob can help you add warmth and vintage saturation to audio.
Saturation Knob | PC & Mac
49. Klanghelm IVGI
The IVGI saturation plugin reacts dynamically to the input audio signal, delivering very soft and subtle saturation audio tracks.
- Free Version of Paid Plugin
- ASYM Mix
IVGI | PC & Mac
50. Izotope Vocal Doubler
Izotope Vocal Doubler adds a doubling effect to vocals to sound fuller.
Vocal Doubler | PC & Mac
51. Ignite Amps Pteq-X
The PTEq-X is a free EQ program with frequency precision.
Plugin | PC & Mac
52. Acon Audio Multiply
Acon Digital Multiply is a free chorus effect with a phase-randomizing filter.
Acon Audio Multiply | PC & Mac
In conclusion, the world of music production and sound design is constantly evolving. With completely free VST plugins available, it has never been easier to get started and achieve a professional sound.
From virtual instruments and convolution reverb effects to multiband compression and dynamic EQ, these free plugins cover a range of tools for enhancing your audio input. They also provide digital emulation of classic hardware and natural sounding effects, allowing you to get creative with your sound design.
What’s great about these free plugins is that they are available as free downloads, so you can start using them right away in your digital audio workstations.
They also come in both free versions and full-featured paid versions, so you can upgrade to more advanced versions as you progress in your music production journey.
The virtual studio technology (VST) plugins I’ve covered in this article sound great and are perfect for music producers, sound designers, and anyone looking to add professional sound to their tracks. With the ability to use them creatively, you can add unique effects and textures to your sound that will make your tracks stand out.
If you’re starting out, these free VST plugins can get you started without spending much money on expensive plugins. They’re a great way to experiment with different sounds and techniques and learn more about music production and sound design.
In summary, the free effects plugins I’ve covered in this article are a great place to start for anyone interested in music production, audio production, sound design, and music-making.
They provide a wide range of tools for enhancing your audio input and are completely free to download and use. With digital emulation of classic hardware and natural sounding effects, these plugins are a must-have for any music producer, audio engineer, or sound designer looking to achieve a professional sound.
These free VST plugins are all great free alternatives to paid plugins like the Abbey Road Plugin Collection by Waves, the Dimension Expander by Xfer Records, and paid plugins by Native Instruments, Ik Multimedia, and Newfangled Audio.
I hope you enjoy this list of the best free VST effects plugins.
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