Best free VST instruments

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Hi everyone

It's been quite some time since I was on this forum, and I still want to thank you for helping me choose a keyboard back then. I'm now able to read and play basic sheet notes, though I've still got muuch(!) to learn on this topic. I've recently been learning a lot of music theory, like how chords and keys work and how to make a chord progression, which really sparked my desire to be creative again.
So I've been playing a bit around with sounds and such, which made me want to expand my collection of VST instruments, and then I thought of you; as you have much more experience, I thought I might save some hours of googling and ask you instead as to whether you have some recommendations to make here?
I am mainly looking for a better piano sound (if it helps, I really like the Thomas Newman sound). Apart from that, I would love some foreign instruments as well, more specifically something Slavic, Middle Eastern & Asian. My dream is still to get my hands on EastWest's Ra, Silk and Gypsy, but until then I have to do with something else.

Hope you are all doing well!
 
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Hi Neutron

The best instruments I have come across are:
Martin Acoustic Guitar Lite and Fender P Bass Lite from Ample Sound (their other guitars sound great, but do cost)
Farfisa Combo Organ
Vox Continental
A great Steinway Grand piano

This isn't an instrument, but an effect to apply to the master channel of your DAW. It's called iZotope Vinyl and simulates the pops and noise you get from vinyl. And yes I do aapreciate the irony of it.

But to get back to your brief, you could try these from VST4free.com. I don't play around with more folky/ethnic instruments, so I can't vouch for them, but this will hopefully narrow your search at least.
 
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Thanks for the reply! I actually just downloaded the bass and guitar from Ample Sound yesterday (by far the best free VST samples I've come across till now) and also a few of those from VST4free (they're decent since they're free, but of course it isn't the best sound quality). Will take a look on the others you suggested - thanks!
 
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Glad to be of help. I am also always on the look out for really good free VSTs. I do love the Vox and Farfisa ones as they sound spot on and have the draw bars to mould your sound as well, but as I'm a fan of psychedelic rock I would tend to favour them! It's just a damn shame that the full fat ones cost so much. Spectrasonics Trillian is the best bass VST out there (the double bass is just brilliant) but for a couple of hundred pounds it's a bit out of my league.

What DAW are you using? I tend to favour FL Studio 12.
 
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I also came across DSK music through VST4free, they also have a lot of decent, free VST's. Odisia and Thor are one of the few I downloaded. Now I can make space music! I do lack an electric guitar sample though, in order to imitate music like God is an Astronaut.... :rolleyes:

All the good music software out there is unfortunately extremely expensive (a little too expensive if you ask me). I don't mind paying, and I don't mind paying a lot (above 150$ or so) if the software is good and I respect the creators, but when ALL of the prices are above 150, it quickly becomes a hobby for only two kinds of people: rich people, and pirates.
I use Cubase. I've heard and seen a lot about FL Studio, it would be my second choice next to Cubase.
 

SeaGtGruff

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If you like electronic music, I should be able to dig up some links for a few dozen free soft synths. :)
 
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I like electronic music to some degree, but it also quickly becomes too much for my taste. I might be interested in soft synths, it depends on how they sound :D
 
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If you like electronic music, I should be able to dig up some links for a few dozen free soft synths. :)
Since you offered:

I'm interested in VA, and FM, softsynth freeware. AAS "VA-2" (I have "Lounge Lizard", and like it) is a bit pricey.

Which ones do you like?

Thanks --

. Charles
 

SeaGtGruff

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I've got so many that I haven't kept up with them. Oddly enough, earlier this week I decided to catalog them, due to some post that got me thinking about the free software that came with a Behringer audio interface I bought a year or two ago, which I hadn't installed yet, so I went to the Behringer site to download it. I didn't get very far with my little cataloging project before taking a break. I did list their names as displayed in my go-to DAW, and my next step is to list whether they're 32-bit or 64-bit (my go-to DAW, Acoustica Mixcraft, can handle both), their locations on my hard drive, where I got them from, how many presets they have, what the presets are (patch name, bank number, and program number), how many parameters they have, and what the parameters are. I'm also going to check my other DAWs to see which plug-ins are showing up and which are blacklisted because they're incompatible for one reason or other. So I'll post my list of virtual instrument plug-ins, sans all those details I haven't added yet.

EDIT: Okay, here's the list of my virtual instrument plug-ins as they're listed in Mixcraft. Some of them came with Mixcraft, some came with other DAWs or audio/MIDI equipment, and some were purchased, but quite a few of them are available for free. Some of my soft synths aren't listed separately, such as all of the UVI sound sets that I've bought (which show up inside of UVIWorkstation), or AIR Ignite and all of its virtual instruments. If you see anything that looks particularly interesting, let me know what it is and I'll post some information about it. And I'll get back to working on "Project Catalog," although it's liable to be one of those "You'll be working on it for the rest of your life! Mwahaha!" things.

4Front EPiano Module
4Front Piano Module
Acoustica Expanded Instruments
Acoustica Instruments
Acoustica Studio Drums
Alien 303 Bass Synthesizer
Alionoctis
Alpha Sampler
Alphatron
Altair-4
Analog Lab
Analog Lab (VST3)
Analog Lab 3
Analog Lab 3 (VST3)
Analog Synth (64-bit)
Analog Synth (VST3)
AnviliaPro
ARP 2600 V2
ARP 2600 V3
ARP 2600 V3 (VST3)
Arppe2600va
ArracisGold
ASW-Pro
ASynth
Atonoise-Pro
AvatarST
AZR3
B-3 V
B-3 V (VST3)
blooo64
Charlatan
Clavia Lab
Combo Organ Model V
ComboF
Crystal
CS-80 V2
CS-80 V2 10 voices
CS-80 V3
CS-80 V3 (VST3)
Delay Lama
deputy64
Dexed
DigitsVST
DirtBag
DS2
DSK Asian DreamZ
DSK B3x
DSK Dynamic Guitars
DSK Elektrik Keyz
DSK Indian DreamZ
DSK xXx
DSK ZetH
Elastik 2 - 64bit
Euthymia Electronic Organ V2
EVM UltraSonique
Farfisa V
Farfisa V (VST3)
FireBird
FL Studio VSTi
FL Studio VSTi (Multi)
FM Synth (64-bit)
FM Synth (VST3)
fortune#1
Freqatic
Glass Viper
GTG FreeDrum
Hybrid
Impulse
Journeys
Jup-8 V3
Jup-8 V3 (VST3)
Jupiter-8 V2
Kastelheimer Veldberg XD
Kontakt 5
Kontakt 5 16out
Kontakt 5 8out
LaserBlade
LaserBladeS
Loom_x64
Lounge Lizard Electric Piano
Matrix-12 V
Matrix-12 V (VST3)
Matrix-12 V2
Matrix-12 V2 (VST3)
ME80
ME80 Version 2
Memorymoon
Messiah
MicroOrgan MKII
Mini V2
Mini V3
Mini V3 (VST3)
Mini_DiZi
MinimogueVA
Modular V2
Modular V3
Modular V3 (VST3)
monofury64
MrRay22
MrRay73
MrTramp
NemesisDemo
Nightlife
NuBiPlus
Oberheim SEM V
Oberheim SEM V (VST3)
OddlyOrgan
Omni Sampler
Omni Sampler 8 Out
ORGANized_trio_v31
oxevst64
PAPU_64b
Pianissimo
Piano V
Piano V (VST3)
Plutonia
PM2
Prophet V2
Prophet V3
Prophet V3 (VST3)
ProtoPlasm
ProtoPlasm21CI
Rapture Pro (VST3)
Reaktor 6
Reaktor5
Reaktor5 16out
Renegade
RoboDrum
RP2A03_64b
S-YXG50 (buggy)
SampleTank 3
SampleTank 3 (VST3)
SampleTank2.x
SaurusDemo
Sawer
ScapesWizard
scrooo
Scylla
SEM V2
SEM V2 (VST3)
shuniji-pro
SID_64b
SilverOrbit
SN76489_64b
Solina V
Solina V (VST3)
Solina V2
Solina V2 (VST3)
SonigenModular
Spark
Stage-73 V
Stage-73 V (VST3)
STS-11b-7v
STS-17
STS-21Pro
STS-24Pro
STS-33
Swamp
Synclavier V
Synclavier V (VST3)
Synth1 VST64
syxg50
TAL-NoiseMaker
TAL-U-No-62
tapeworm
The Shepherd
toad
Toxic Biohazard
Unique
UVIWorkstationVSTx64
VacuumPro_x64
VB3 Organ
VL122
VOX Continental V2
VOX Continental V2 (VST3)
Vox V
Vox V (VST3)
VSTSynthFont
Wurli V2
Wurli V2 (VST3)
Wurlitzer V
Wurlitzer V (VST3)
Xpand!2_x64
XWOF-4
XWOF-6
XWoFPro
xxbdrum-v2
xxdr8008v31
xxhihats n cymb-v2
xxpercussion-v2
xxsnares-v2
Z3TA+ 2_64
Z3TA+ 2_64 (VST3)
ZapKit
ZapKit Multiout
Zynewave Nucleum
 
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AAIIIIEEEEE !!!!

I think that I'm going to stick to AAS's "VA-2" (which I'll pay for in the New Year -- the presets are interesting, and I already own Lounge Lizard) and Dexed (for FM).

I don't know if that'll substitute for a Sledge, but it's way cheaper!

THanks --

. Charles
 

SeaGtGruff

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I think the first thing I'm going to do with my list is sort it into groupings based on where the plug-ins came from-- if they were included with a DAW then which one, if they were purchased then from which company, if they were free then which site were they downloaded from, etc. Then I think I'll add a few basic facts such as are they 32-bit ot 64-bit, and how many presets and parameters they have. I won't try to catalog a list of their presets and parameters until last. :)
 

happyrat1

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AAIIIIEEEEE !!!!

I don't know if that'll substitute for a Sledge, but it's way cheaper!

It may be cheaper than a sledge but I can tell ya it's way more fun switching on the Sledge and the amp and wailing away on the knobs than it is to control knobs and sliders with a mousey mousey clicky clicky interface. :D :D :D

I'd suggest you try one out in a store for a test drive and fall in love at first note. :D

B&H is currently selling them for $899 USD while a softsynth like Pianoteq will set you back $130 USD with zero resale value and zero protection against software obsolescence.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1139508-REG/studiologic_sledge_2_sledge_2_0_61_note_24.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1094181-REG/pianoteq_12_41378_pianoteq_5_stage.html

Can $199 USD VA-2 sound like mentally disturbed bats in a windy moonlit cave? The sledge can :D

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1375387-REG/applied_acoustics_systems_aa_uapak_ultra_analog_va_2.html

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=va-2&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search=

Gary ;)
 
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>>>
I won't try to catalog a list of their presets and parameters until last. :)
<<<

IMHO, it's useless to do that. "Organ 1", "organ 2", "organ 3" -- you don't know what they _sound like_ until you've loaded up the VST! How many "MoogLead" presets are there ?

>>>
Can $199 USD VA-2 sound like mentally disturbed bats in a windy moonlit cave? The sledge can :D
<<<

a) It's $100, through mid-January.

b) I don't expect to need a bat asylum. One of my goals is to find out what it (or any other VA synth) _can_ sound like. And one of my frustrations is that I have a MicroKorg XL+ (which is pretty flexible), and I haven't been using its computer-based patch editor. So maybe I should start there . . . when my wife gets off the computer in my workroom.

I figure that turn-the-knob is a lot more fun than "hold down the left mouse button, and move the mouse vertically". That (and its wavetables and long keyboard) are great attractions of the Sledge.

>>>
B&H is currently selling them for $899 USD while a softsynth like Pianoteq will set you back $130 USD with zero resale value and zero protection against software obsolescence.
<<<

Yes -- but I'll bet you can't make a Sledge sound like the Pianoteq Grotrian or Bluethner. You might make it sound something like a piano, but that's a long way from simulating the string resonances (and other things) that Pianoteq worries about. And with a $Cdn worth 75 cents US, the Sledge is way more than the "hobby purchase" limit.

But you have a point -- hardware tends to last longer than software.
 

happyrat1

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That is my main point. 20 years from now I'll probably still be using my sledge, while all of the soft synths will be in their 6th or 7th generation along with associated upgrade costs. $100 every 2 or 3 years adds up over a couple of decades :p

Meanwhile 20 years from now the sledge will probably be commanding vintage prices from all the ebay gear heads looking for an "authentic wavetable synth sound." :)

Personally I see my synth collection as an investment rather than an expense. Soft synths, on the other hand, constitute dead money that you'll never see again the second you break the package seal.

Something like a sledge may seem pricey but realistically it's about a half a month's rent or a half a year's car insurance here in Canada. Since I have no kids and I can't take it with me, I see nothing wrong with spoiling myself by purchasing a synth every year or so :D

Gary ;)
 

SeaGtGruff

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>>>
I won't try to catalog a list of their presets and parameters until last. :)
<<<

IMHO, it's useless to do that. "Organ 1", "organ 2", "organ 3" -- you don't know what they _sound like_ until you've loaded up the VST! How many "MoogLead" presets are there ?
Actually, how useless or useful it is can depend on the virtual instrument, because some have presets with simple descriptive names like "Wah Clavi," but others have presets with crazy names like "UFO landing beside a pond accompanied by a chorus of frogs" (okay, I made that last one up, but some of the actual preset names are pretty crazy). I might not know exactly how the "Wah Clavi" preset sounds, but I'd have a better idea about it than about how the "UFO landing" preset sounds! However, my main goal would be to have a list of the preset names and their bank and program numbers, in case I ever want to change presets in mid-track by inserting the appropriate Bank Select MSB, LSB, and Program Change events at the desired spot. Also, after I try out each preset I can add notes to myself about it.

The parameters would be nice to know for MIDI-mapping purposes, since they might possibly be pre-assigned to specific CC events (e.g., LPF cutoff frequency, LPF resonance level, AEG attack time, AEG release time), or be assignable to whichever CC events (including NRPNs) that I want to use for them.

The truly final step for the soft synths would be to note what each parameter is set to for each preset, to help me better understand how that preset was created and how each parameter affects the sound. I know the basics of sound design with a typical analog synth, but some of the soft synths I've collected have some pretty bizarre parameters and UIs that are rather mystifying.
 
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I realize this thread was about Free VST synths but the only ones that I have are the ones that come with my Cubase 7.5 DAW. On the other hand I've bought a few for my iPad that I really like fooling around with. Waldorf Nave is a great one. Z3TA is also really good.
The one I generally keep returning to is more than just one synth though. It's a cool iPad DAW made by Korg called Gadget. It has a bunch of soft synths and drum machines plus a couple of audio recorders all built into a reasonably easy to use interface.
I should get to know it a lot better. It's really quite good but I'm lazy. I can hook up my iRig and record guitar and vocals into it. I can also use my iRig to Midi up a keyboard so that I don't have to use the one on my iPad. Gadget is pretty much set up for electronic music but you can do whatever you want with it. It has tons of amazing features except for one. It's not free. Oh well. None of my really instruments were either.
Be well my friends!
It's a new year. Time to make more music! And be happy that you can!
Like Hans Zimmerman said: "A violin is only good carpentry and some dead cats!"
 
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