How to Get Free VST Plugins for Your DAW
What are VST plugins, anyway?
And how can you find free ones?
To answer that question, we need to start with some basics about how computers and software work together in the music production world.
Most DAWs (digital audio workstations) use VST plugins as their main method of adding audio effects to your projects.
If you want to spice up your tracks with some reverb or delay, you’ll be looking for VSTs first and foremost.
6 Things You Should Know About Free Plugins
There are a lot of people who want their music software but can’t afford it.
This is why they resort to using free plugins, which they often find on the internet.
Before you download a free plugin, there are some things you should know about.
#1: The first thing you should know about free plugins is that they are never as good as paid ones. That doesn’t mean that they’re not useful in any way though.
In fact, some of them do come with a lot of useful features, so, if you don’t have the budget right now, make sure to keep your eye out for some decent free plugins to get by until you do.
.#2: The second thing you should know about free plugins is that some will require other pieces of software to work properly such as a compatible VST host program like Cubase or Pro Tools.
#3: Thirdly, another common misconception is that all free plug-ins sound bad because they’re freeware.
While this may be true in some cases, most are actually very decent sounding and give off really nice analog emulation.
And even if they weren’t realistic sounding, most still provide enough variety to make them interesting anyway! But when looking for a new free plugin, check reviews beforehand to see what other users think about its usability.
You don’t want to waste time installing something just because it’s cool looking only to realize after the installation process that it won’t work at all for you. Especially since there are literally thousands of free plugins available on the web, many of that are geared toward specific genres and instruments.
#4: Fourthly, another tip you should keep in mind when searching for the perfect free plugin is that some have limitations such as low memory or processing power so make sure to consider this when downloading one (unless it specifically says otherwise).
When choosing a project, try sticking with lower complexity projects so that your computer doesn’t slow down due to excessive CPU usage.
In addition, if you’re using a virtual instrument instead of an external synthesizer then avoid selecting too many instances - four or five is more than enough - otherwise, performance could suffer drastically.
#5: Another essential thing to remember when using free plugins is that they can cause conflicts with other programs or hardware so always make sure that your system meets the minimum requirements before installing one.
If you don’t, then the software could crash or the plugin might stop responding altogether. In addition, some plugins have an expiration date so make sure to pay attention to this when choosing one!
This is especially true for free trials that sometimes don’t work past a certain date.
If you’re concerned about compatibility, then it’s best to stay away from these plugins.
For safety. remember there are also some pretty nasty viruses and malware floating around online so be sure to scan any file downloads with your anti-virus software before opening them.
Even if it looks like a trustworthy site, scammers can post links for malicious sites on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter so don’t take your chances!
#6: Sixth, another reason why some people shy away from free plugins is that they are often built for a specific purpose.
This means that while they may not be great for use in live performances, they are excellent for things like music production and DJing.
Although it is possible to download a free plugin and use it for other purposes, not everything is intended to be used this way.
To avoid wasting your time and resources, take a look at the plugins’ descriptions or website pages to find out which ones are suited for your needs before downloading them.
Finding The Right Plugin
Making music and finding the right plugins that suit your style can be time-consuming and sometimes pricey.
Thankfully, there are many different ways you can find free VST plugins. For example, We have some free plugins that are worth checking out, you can find them under the “freebies” section on the top nav bar.
Another way is by browsing through individual artists’ Soundcloud profiles as they sometimes share their favorite vst’s on there.
Finally, if you already have a synth but want a certain sound or effect, then head over to KVR Audio where many different kinds of free plugins are offered for download.
The only downside is that it requires you to upload your plugin’s serial number which in turn locks you into using the same plug-in for all your projects. However, this is still a good place to check out because many different companies offer their plugs for free!
Evaluating A Plugin
The first thing you’ll want to do is research the plugins that interest you. Spend time watching Youtube videos, reading reviews on websites and forums, checking what features they offer, and asking other musicians which ones they recommend.
With so many plugins out there it can be overwhelming to know where to start- ask a friend or two which free vst plugins they use and whether or not they are happy with them.
You can also ask the seller how often their plugin is updated, what kind of support the developer offers, and if the plugin supports multiple platforms.
Whether or not you are satisfied with your final choice will likely depend on how much effort you put into finding something that meets your needs
Downloading And Installing The Plugin
Now that you’ve figured out what free plugin you want, it’s time to download and install it. When downloading, keep in mind that there are two types of plugins: instruments and effects.
Instruments can be synths or drum machines, while effects will generally manipulate your sound rather than generate it.
Remember this as you’re browsing around for free plugins! Free vst plugins can be downloaded from the same site where you purchase commercial ones; just make sure to avoid any sites that you don’t feel comfortable using and always check the license agreement before installing any software.
Setting Up The Plugin In Your DAW
Download the plugin to your computer and extract it.
Double-click on the file, and it should automatically install in your DAW (if not, go through the program’s installation process).
The most common types of plugins are.VST files and.AU files. They can typically be found at marketplaces like Plugin Boutique or from smaller businesses and developers like us, Madeforlife Music.
It may take some trial and error before finding the right free vst plugin for your needs, but that’s the price you pay for getting quality software without spending any money!
Why You Should Use Free VST Plugins
Free vst plugins give you the ability to add variety and experiment with your own beats, trap, and hip hop tunes
All of these programs are designed by musicians and producers that want to help other artists in need of some quick beats or trap sounds.
For example, on our site madeforlifemusic.com, there is a link on the nav bar that takes you directly to the downloads of all our free vst plugins.
You will also find installation instructions included with the download so that it’s easier for everyone using it!
We do this because we know how hard it can be trying to come up as a beatmaker
There’s no excuse not to find quality sounds with ease now! It doesn’t matter whether you’re making trap beats, EDM mixes, or teaching a class - free vst plugins are an excellent tool to use. You’ll never run out of options again!
Free VST Plugins That I Personally Use
So to end this article, I thought I would go over some of the free vst plugins that I frequently use.
I’ll start with the obvious, 8X8, E-piano, and Drunk Guitar I find myself using on almost every track.
These are 3 VST plugins that we offer here at Madeforlife Music, and they are free. You can learn more about them in our Freebies section
However, I should point out that 8X8 is free but is limited to only 300 licenses, which are available to the first 300 customers to purchase the Drip Kit (an all-in-one sample pack that gives you everything you need to start making fire beats).
Other than that, a lot of times when I start a new project, the very first thing I do is head to my favorite online forums and search the phrase free vst plugins.
There are usually a number of threads with people trying to give away their rare VST plugins. Some people offer them for free, and others ask for a donation in return (anything from $5-50).
It’s always worth checking these out because you never know what you might find! Sometimes there are also developers who need testers or beta testers and offer free copies of their software in return.
The quality varies hugely so it pays to be selective when downloading software, but as long as you know how to use your ears it’s easy enough to identify whether something is worth your while or not!
After all, we’re all making music on a budget!
One other great place to find plugins is by searching through ‘guitar amp simulators’ – loads of brilliant guitar FX apps are being offered up every day at this point in time.
With so many available that emulate amps, pedals, and distortion chains it can be hard to decide which one suits your needs best, but again it’s usually easy enough to spot those that are made with care and will be worth your time.
Finally, if you’re looking for a decent synth plugin but aren’t sure how you are going to afford it, maybe try looking for preset packs. Most packs have been created by really talented synth designers and offer hundreds of presets across all sorts of genres - most include different types of sounds as well.
A preset pack can be a great way to breathe new life into your vst plugin synths that you already own.
And finally, if your just trying to skip the whole vst plugin thing, you could always go for a sample pack if you need new sounds