Free VST Effects

Free VST Effects

If you’re looking for free VST effects, you’re in the right place. This page is the portal to all effects that we have listed on this website, plus we included a list of 10 essential free effect plugins for all producers, be they beginners or advanced.

In brief, effect plugins are virtual audio devices that don’t generate any sound, instead, they manipulate the behavior of the audio signal. The audio signal can be controlled/altered/enhanced through various parameters that these effects include.

There are many types of effects, but usually, they’re split into dynamic (compressors, limiters, distortion, expanders, gaters), spectral (equalizers, panners, pitch processors, enhancers), filters (filters, vocoders), time-based (reverbs, delays, echo), and modulation (chorus, flangers, phasers, tremolo) categories.

See also: Best Free Delay VST Plugins 2021 (20+ Freebies)

Free VST Effects Subcategories

10 Best Free VST Effects For Home Music Producers

In the following, we compiled a list of some of the best free VST effects compatible with both macOS and Windows. There are 10 plugins in total, covering all the production aspects. For each, we included key features, along with their download links.

All of these are chosen according to the overall reviews, popularity, and of course, sound quality. If you are a producer on a tight budget, these free effects should not be missing from your arsenal.

Use the Table of Contents below to easily jump to each plugin. At the end of each plugin is a “back to top” link – it will bring you back to the main menu.

See also this list of the best free VST instruments.



DC1A Free Compressor Plugin

DC1A is an easy-to-use free compressor plugin by Klanghelm, capable of invisible, smooth, but also pumping and crunchy compression.

DC1A has a simple interface with two large switches controlling the input and output levels. From the bottom, you can select the compression type: “Deep” enables a side-chain high pass filter to keep the low-end intact, “Relaxed” – offers gentler, less aggressive compression characteristics with longer time constants and less saturation, “Dual Mono” which lets you compress left and right channel separately, and “Negative”, a New York-style aggressive and pumping compression. There’s also a “Mix” field where you can set the compressed/dry input signal.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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Tempo Delay

Voxengo Tempo Delay one of the best free VST effects

As the name suggests, Voxengo Tempo Delay is a free multi-feature stereo delay based on tempo. Each stereo channel has 3 sections, delay & gain, filter, and tremolo. For smooth ping-pong delays, you can tweak the delay amount, repetition period, and delay panning controls.

Tempo Delay can be used for both classic subtle delays and extremely twisted feedback. Also, with tremolo and saturation, you can always add some flavor.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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TAL-Reverb 4

TAL-Reverb-4 Free Plate Reverb Plugin

TAL-Reverb 4 is a vintage-style reverb that’s very simple to use and implicitly very good for beginners (but not only). Pulled out from TAL-Sampler, this plugin has become a freestanding legend, acclaimed by producers worldwide.

This plugin has a few modules: “Main” from where you can set the reverb by using Delay, Size & Diffuse controls, next we find rate and amount for modulation, followed by a simple eq with hi and low cut knobs. From the “Volume” panel you can control the amount of dry and wet signal.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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TDR VOS SlickEQ Free Equalizer Plugin

SlickEQ is a collaborative project by Variety of Sound and Tokyo Dawn Labs. This free equalizer is perfect for both mixing and mastering and features three (and a half) filter-bands arranged in a classic LOW/MID/HIGH semi-parametric layout. You have fast and intuitive access to four distinct EQ modes, each representing a set of pre-defined EQ curves and behaviors.

Besides the primary controls, SlickEQ comes with advanced preset management, undo/redo, quick A/B comparison, copy & paste, online help, editable labels, mouse-wheel support, and much more.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, AAX)

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Blue Cat’s Freeware Plug-ins Pack II

Blue Cat Free Plugins Bundle Free VST Effects

This time we have a bundle pack of various effects from Blue Cat Audio. The pack contains a wide range of premium modulation effects, a guitar amp simulator, a single and dual-channel equalizer, a unique MIDI-controllable gain suite, as well as a professional spectrum analyzer. All of these available in a single download!

In detail, you will receive the following plugins: Chorus, Flanger, Free Amp, FreqAnalyst, Gain Suite, Phaser, and Triple EQ. Add them to your production arsenal today.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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RoughRider 3

RoughRider 3 Compressor Plugin - one of the most popular free VST effects

RoughRider 3 is my favorite compressor plugin and I use it especially to add punch on drums and percussion. But you can also successfully use it on basses, synths, guitars, etc. And it seems I am not the only one loving it since it is one of the most popular free VST effects with over half a million downloads over its decade-plus lifespan.

If you need a transparent compressor, RoughRider 3 is not for you. Because it is full of character and adds a vintage warm vibe to the audio signal. It has controls such as Ratio, Sensitivity, Makeup, Attack, Release, Mix control for parallel compression, input/output levels, sidechain compression with a switchable highpass filter – I do not think it’s hard to use even for beginners. Plus, you can start right away with the amazing factory presets.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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Ozone Imager V2

iZotope Ozone Imager Free Plugin

Ozone Imager is a free stereo imager/widener effect plugin offering lots of possibilities for imaging in your mix. From the fluid and immersive interface, you can easily widen or narrow your instruments in the mix – put them in the place you wish. For example, you can make your pianos, synths, and cymbals fill up your stereo image or tighten up your low end by narrowing bass and kick drums.

Another cool feature is the “Stereoize” mode to turn mono sounds into stereo, from subtle enhancement to a colorful phasing effect.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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Saturation Knob

Saturation Knob Free Distortion Plugin

Saturation Knob is Softube’s popular one-knob saturator plugin and is already a classic in the world of free VST effects. It can’t be simpler than that: just load the plugin and dial the saturation knob to set the desired amount of grit. There’s also a selector from where you can choose what frequencies to (relatively) keep away from the distortion.

Saturation Know is ideal to fatten up bass lines, add some harmonics and shimmer to vocals, or simply destroy your drum loop. You can stop anywhere from subtle grit to melodic degradation.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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Bx_Subfilter Free Plugin

Bx_Subfilter is the perfect companion for adding clarity and definition to tracks that have troublesome low frequencies. It can sculpt, tighten and punch up your basses and kick drums while keeping that “pop” and presence needed in modern dance music production.

The plugin has a simple interface with one slider and two knobs. “Resonance” selector controls the peak shape for the filter, “Tight Punch” knob activates a resonant high pass filter that tames problem frequencies in bass-heavy tracks. Next is the “Low End” knob, which is a fixed bandpass filter to boost the low ends. On the sides, we find input/output gain controls for level matching and preventing clipping.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST, VST3, AAX), macOS (AU, VST, VST3, AAX)

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Thrillseeker XTC

Thrillseeker XTC Free Exciter Plugin

Thrillseeker XTC is a free exciter plugin build around a true parallel analog style equalizer design. Presented in an analog-type interface, it lets you control the low, mid, and high end (“Air”) of the audio signal. Plus there’s a “Mojo” knob to spice up things.

Thrillseeker XTC can be used on both mixing or mastering stages and promises to deliver a rich low-end experience and that vibrant “expensive” top-end. It will bring back sounds to life and make them sound much better.

Plugin formats: Windows (VST)

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Updated on June 28th, 2021.