There are some truly fantastic mix-worthy free plug-ins these days.
if you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have a spare $100 here and there, let alone $300 plus for some of the industry standard bundles.
I know I’m not alone in my appreciation for plug-in effect developers who offer their products for free but as a Mac user, I’ve found it difficult and time consuming to wade through lists of free VSTs only to find most are either 32bit or Windows only.
Yes, you can use 32bit plug-ins in most DAW’s but as a Reaper user, I find the fact that they float in a separate window interrupts my workflow, which means it takes me longer to mix and as the saying goes; time is money.
That’s why in this list, every plug-in is not only Mac and Windows friendly but they’re also 64bit!
If you know of any great free 64bit VST plug-ins for Mac and Windows that aren’t in this list, please leave a comment below.
- Voxengo Boogex – Guitar amplifier and speaker cabinet impulse loader.
- Lostin70’s Tone Deluxe – Full analog tube amplifier based on ECC83 and EL34 tubes.
- TSE Audio BOD – Sansamp clone.
- IgniteAmps SHB-1 – Emulation of a tube bass amp, developed to accurately model its real hardware counterpart.
- Black Rooster Audio Cypress TT-15 – Guitar amp head emulation meticulously modeled after an Orange Tiny Terror mini amp head.
- Audified Live Guitar and Bass Bundle LE – Includes Amplion Free, GK Amplification 2 LE and inTone 2 LE – which features almost 40 FX plugins.
- Kuassa Amplifikation Lite – Realistic guitar tones with a simple interface and non-obstructive workflow.
- Ignite Amps SHB-1 – Digital emulation of a tube bass amplifier.
- IK Multimedia Amplitube Custom Shop Free. Build your virtual gear collection one piece at a time.
Compressors and limiters
- George Yohng W1 Limiter (beta) – Clone of Waves L1, with identical output, as well as an approximation of Waves L2.
- Klanghelm MJUC jr – The little brother of Klanghelm’s MJUC. Variable-mu design with lots of vibe. capable of smooth levelling but also heavy pumping effects.
- Klanghelm DC1A – The little brother of Klanghelm’s DC8C. Simple character compressor with one input and one output knob.
- Tokyo Dawn Labs TDR Kotelnikov – A descendant of the TDR Feedback Compressor. Intuitive user interface with a unique sonic signature.
- Cockos Incorporated ReaComp – Ultra-configurable compressor with soft knee support and sidechain filters and inputs.
- Cockos Incorporated ReaXcomp – Unlimited band compressor with great metering per band and tons of controls.
- Thomas Mundt LoudMax – Look-Ahead Brickwall Loudness Maximizer with a clean transparent sound.
- Aradaz Maximizer 5 – Wonderfully transparent brickwall limiter.
- eaReckon FR-Comp 87 – Part of the Free87 bundle based on the ANALOG87 series.
- eaReckon FR-Limit 87 – Part of the Free87 bundle based on the ANALOG87 series.
- Cockos Incorporated ReaEQ – Unlimited band IIR based equaliser with support for many types of filters including shelfs, bands, LPF, HPF, notch, bandpass and allpass.
- Kilohearts 3-Band EQ – Intuitive and highly effective way to quickly shape your sound.
- Photosounder SplineEQ – Linear phase equalizer, filter designer and frequency analyser. Allows up to 4 bands in the free version.
- Tokyo Dawn Lab TDR VOS SlickEQ – Mixing/mastering equalizer designed for ease of use. Switchable output stage with 4 different saturation models.
- eaReckon – FR-Equa 87 – Part of the Free87 bundle based on the ANALOG87 series.
- Melda Production MEqualizer – 6-band equaliser. With 7 filter types for each band, integrated tube saturation, and harmonics control.
- Lostin70’s Keys of the 70’s Sample based Synthesizer. Includes a Grand Piano, Rhodes, Wurlitzer and Vibraphone.
- u-he Tyrell N6 – Simply one of the greatest free synthesizers around.
- George Yohng 4Front Piano – A super light-weight single sound instrument with no settings that reproduces the sound of an upright home piano.
- Versilian Studios VS Upright No. 1 – Clean sampling of an upright piano with a broad dynamic range and a bright, clear tone.
- Sound Magic Orchestral Strings One (Mac) | Orchestral Strings One (Win) – Full string orchestra contains 14 violins, 10 Violas, 8 Cellos and 6 Double Basses. Recorded in the famous Berliner Hall.
- Bigcat Instruments VSCO2 Orchestra – Two years in the making and at its largest has 300 instruments. See also the individual version one single instrument or section VSTs.
- Reflekt Audio YoJo – Create awesome banjo sounds with this free, 4-layer virtual banjo instrument.
Mid side processing
- Voxengo MSED – Audio encoder-decoder for mid-side processing.
- Brainworx bx_solo – Brainworx created bx_solo to introduce users to the M/S technique for recording, mixing, or mastering.
Reverbs, delays and chorus effects
- Acon Digital Verberate Basic 2 – The Revolutionary Vivid Hall Algorithm for Free. Offers four high quality presets: Plate, Room, Hall and Lush Hall.
- Voxengo OldSkoolVerb – Classic stereo algorithmic reverb.
- TAL Reverb 4 – Modulated vintage stereo reverb.
- PSP PianoVerb – Generates reverberation using twelve string operators with adjustable damping and decay time.
- Musical Entropy Spaceship Delay – Delay audio effect featuring classic modern and vintage sounding delays plus a spring reverb modelled on the famous Dynacord Echocord Super 76 tape delay.
- Ultra DSP Lagrange – Unique stereo delay system for producing other worldly echoes.
- Kilohearts Delay – Free running or tempo synced with various stereo and feedback options.
- Valhalla FreqEcho – Perfect for subtle chorusing and double tracking to endless glissandos and runaway echos.
- Voxengo Tempo Delay – Multi-feature stereo tempo based delay, incorporating filter and tremolo sections with separate controls for each stereo channel.
- Acon Digital Multiply – Versatile chorus effect with a unique phase randomizing filter.
- Kilohearts Chorus – Enhances the stereo effect and presence of a sound by mixing it with delayed versions of itself.
Saturation, colourisation and console emulation
- Klanghelm IVGI – Soft and subtle or dense and dirty with a simple UI.
- Wave Arts Tube Saturator Vintage – A reissue of the original Tube Saturator. Tube Saturator Vintage uses circuit simulation technology to faithfully reproduce the sound of a dual triode preamp.
- Camel Audio CamelCrusher – Versatile colouring multi-effect that can create a wide variety of tones and textures.
- Voxengo Tube Amp – Applies asymmetric tube triode overdrive usually found in single-tube microphone pre-amp units.
- Shattered Glass Audio Code Red Free – Inspired by the classic, all tube, Abbey Road REDD console from the 1960’s.
- Melda Production MSaturator – Somewhat unusual tube-like saturator and distortion effect. Flexible enough to double as a distortion module for guitars and other instruments.
- Voxengo SPAN – Real-time spectrum analyser. Supports multi-channel analysis and can display spectrums from two different channels or channel groups at the same time.
- Blue Cat Audio FreqAnalyst – Real-time spectrum analyser with a special thresholding system that helps you see the important parts of the spectrum easily.
- Melda Production MAnalyzer – Spectral analyser and sonogram containing with smoothing, normalisation, super-resolution, pre-filtering and deharmonisation.
- Tokyo Dawn Labs / Vladg Sound Proximity – Great for vocals! Allows you to manipulate the depth of a sound source using several psycho-acoustic “models” (options).
- Melda Production MAutoPitch – Designed for vocals and simply one of the greatest auto-tune plug-ins (especially given it’s free).
- Fine Cut Bodies La Petite Excite – The small exciter plugin.
- Acon Digital Multiply – Versatile chorus effect with a phase randomising filter to reduce comb filter effects.
- Shattered Glass Audio SGA1566 – Single channel vintage tube preamplifier. Add warmth to a track, as a saturation compressor, or to add “dirt” with tube overdrive.
- Voxengo Stereo Touch – Uses a mid/side coding technique to transform a monophonic track into spacious stereophonic track. Can be used to to create spacious vocals without double-tracking.
- Airwindows DeBess – an extension of an earlier plugin “DeEss” with an unusual algorithm for finding specifically ess content and rejecting anything else.
- BeyerDynamic Virtual Studio – Turns your headphones into speakers.
Bonus plug-in bundles!
- eaReckon Free87 Series – Based on the ANALOG87 series. Set of 4 high quality analog-style effects. FR-Comp 87, FR-Limit 87, FR-Gate 87, FR-Equa 87.
- Melda Production MFree Effects Bundle – Set of 30 audio effects.
- Blue Cat Audio Freeware Plug-ins Pack II – Set of 6 plug-ins including modulation effects, an equalizer, a unique midi-controllable gain suite, and a spectrum analyser.
- Reaper ReaPlugs – Use the comprehensive plug-ins that REAPER provides, in another DAW!