Making music can sometimes be a slightly costly passion or pastime. Music producers are always trying to find the next best plugin or VST to get the most out of their mixes or compositions. While most top-of-the-range products are reliable, their asking price may be too high for some creators. However, you'll be happy to know that there are a fair amount of free VSTs that offer competitive performance and quality. We’ve listed some of the hottest and most essential free VSTs of 2022 to give your next project a healthy head start. These VSTs range from instruments to effects units and should work across most major DAW’s.
No song is ever complete without the perfect kick drum sound. Producers can often waste a lot of time and effort searching through kick samples, but thanks to WA Production, there is a healthy alternative. KSHMR Essentials Kick is a multi-fx plugin that focuses on shaping your kick drum. The straightforward GUI hosts 8 parameters that you can tweak with a single knob.
Sub - Enhances or reduces the lower and sub frequencies of your kick
Mid - Adjusts the mid-frequency response of your kick
Air - Controls the high-end frequency response of your kick sample
Transient - Uses transient shaping to add or reduce punchiness to your kick
Tape - Introduces saturation and distortion to your sample for extra harmonic quality
Pressure - A multiband compressor that is great for more meticulous kick shaping.
Compression - A simple compressor to enhance your kick’s dynamic and punch
Width - Can either narrow or widen your kick drum for accurate stereo imaging
There aren’t many devices like this one on the current market, and it will save producers precious hours of searching for the right kick by simply allowing them to custom shape one. The workflow of KSHMR Essentials Kick is fast and intuitive, and you should have no problem figuring out how to get your kick drum thumping just right.
If you haven’t noticed the name Valhalla dropping in your favorite producer’s videos, chances are you weren’t paying attention. Valhalla has developed a series of unique and lush-sounding spatial effects units that are simple and incredibly CPU friendly. The developers offer a handful of paid plugins, as well as three free ones to give users a taste of their amazing sound quality:
Supermassive - Strangely, this is one of Valhalla’s free VSTs, as it’s certainly one of their finest. This device is essentially a reverb/delay unit on steroids. The plugin is designed to generate extensive reverbs and delays to make anything sound like it’s drifting in a giant echo chamber.
Freq Echo - This device combines echo simulations with frequency shifters to create some stunning coloring effects. Users can dial in either effect independently and also have access to a healthy list of the stock presets.
Space Modulator - Valhalla’s humble but colorful flange device. This device is wonderful if you’re looking for some trippy doubling or echo effects. The effect sounds great on vocals, drums, guitars, and even some bass instruments.
Mixing and mastering is an often neglected stage of the music production process. Many producers have the ability to compose insane arrangements but lack the ear to bring their mixes to their full potential. Youlean’s Loudness Meter is one of the finest helping hands in any producer or ix engineers toolkit. A spectrum analyzer provides users with real-time feedback on the gain and frequency responses of their mixes. Users can also make use of the LUF’s presets to optimize their audio for all the major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, and even radio. The concept of loudness can easily go over the heads of many producers and composers, and this makes Youlean an incredibly handy tool for ensuring that your mixes maintain a chart-topping quality.
Gatelab is a must-have for any producers or mixers that like using volume automation for their tracks. The device operates primarily using a step sequencer, each with its own respective automation envelope. Gatelab has two main modes - Gate Mode simply switches the volume off according to your sequence, while Flow mode allows you to dial in variable automation. There are toggles to adjust the step rate, as well as to switch between stereo and mono mode. Users can also route midi into the device to sync alongside other elements of their mix in real-time. Gatelab is wonderfully easy to use and sounds impressive over instruments like synths, pads, percussions, and hi-hats.
Is there really any limit to the number of instruments one should have? The short answer is no, and Decent Sampler’s stunning collection of sounds is one of the finest sonic toolkits to come out this year. Users can download the Decent Sampler instrument for free, and then choose from a wide selection of individual instrument patches to download for use. This system is especially handy for anyone trying to save on hard drive space, as you’ll only have to download the sounds you need, and can remove them once you’re done. The library of instruments on the Decent Samples site works for a vast array of genres and ranges from melodic creations like harps and pianos to synths and percussive instruments. Users can also patch some of the Decent Samples instruments into their Kontakt player if they possess one.
While you can conquer a large amount of mic and production obstacles using free plugins, it’s always healthy to try and invest some money into the appropriate VSTs. Certain VSTs have a price tag for a reason and can come with exclusive features that will heavily step your production game up. In the meantime, enjoy the list of plugins we’ve listed above. Each of these devices offers incredible quality and efficiency and the fact that they’re free makes them an absolute steal. Thanks for reading through our list of the top free plugins of 2022.