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  • Free VSTs, Soundfonts and Samples

    I would've called this page "Share the wealth" but good SEO dictates I use the one above.

    Anyway, yes, this page is for sharing the wealth. Music making has become a huge and competitive industry with the advent of the home computer Digital Audio Workstation and so many products exist for so many reasons and even more price tags - most of which your average student composer and beginner producer cannot afford (or should not be able to afford). So let's explore the network of free stuff you can use to get started with!

    Granted, the maxim is true: You get what you pay for. The commercial, price tag stuff is usually better because its designed to be, and you get real tech support for it. But if you're good at mixing and arrangement, this stuff will serve your purposes well. Heck, you may never need to use anything else!

    Free VSTs:

    DSK Music - free VST instruments of all kinds - Synth, Asian Instruments, Synthdrums, Acoustic Guitars, the list goes on. GREAT place to start with!

    Reaper - Reaper has its detractors but it has a lot of fans too and a lot of underground artists have released stuff with Reaper alone. How will you know if you're a detractor or a fan? Only one way to find out.

    OLPC Samples - Huge, HUGE database of catagorized .WAV files. Not good for instruments, but this is YOUR source for SFX and using stuff for experimental purposes.

    B8 Organ VST - Well, it's either a B4 x 2 or a B3 + B4 + B1, if such a thing exists.

    Bojo Software - Free Organ, Synth, and FX plugins

    Ambience (Reverb) - this is a HUGE and heavy reverb. Turn the Wet WAY down (start around -19db or so) and then work your way up to get the 'verb you want.

    CamelCrusher - Get a clean sound going on this and you have your instant phat drums! My good friend Mr. Justin Medford (Nutritious on OCR) uses this on pretty much EVERYTHING and it works for him!

    MiniDizi - Without a doubt the BEST free flute I've ever used. Great tone and inspiring sound.

    Chiptune VSTs - Everyone wants to make NES, Atari, Sega Genesis music and you can too.

    Chiptune Soundfonts Same thing but with soundfonts.

    Kjaerhus Classic Series of VSTs - Mixing and mastering just got a lot easier as Kjaerhus makes an entire set of EQ, Compression, Limiting, etc. plugins available for free. Great stuff to practice with or use in your finals.

    SampleTank 2 Free - SampleTank's been around a while, and IK Multimedia, while not the cutting edge of sound design, has one hell of a knack for offering deals and the best one that they offer now is a version of their baby for free. Another GREAT starting place.

    Dream Vortex Instruments - Like DSK Music, these guys offer a seemingly random range of free stuff to try out. Pick some up and see what you can do with them!

    SFZ Soundfont Player - If I had known this was free, I wouldn't have paid to have Fruity Soundfont Player on Fl Studio again. Used to be a commercial product until Cakewalk decided to be ultra nice and just started giving it away. Thanks Cakewalk!

    Synth 1 - Without a doubt THE most recommended free synthesizer on the market today. I am joining them and recommending it to you too!

    TLs Maximizer - When a composer at LucasArts, who gets access to John Williams' film scores, personally recommends this on your master channel, you know it's good.

    - If you don't want a free reverb that BOOMS like Ambience does, Glaceverb is your next hit. It's pretty good as a straight reverb.

    Audacity - This is a free sound editor that pretty much EVERYONE uses and recommends. Recommendation reciprocated.

    Studio Devil British Valve Custom - Studio Devil makes some of the best simulated guitar amps on the market and this is a one-preset version that they offer for free. I've not used it myself, but the sound demos are pretty killer at least.

    Proteus VX - Like SampleTank 2 FREE, this is a soundbank with lots of lower-quality instruments in it, but with some work can be a seriously useful tool in your music development. A little tricky to install, but I got it to work so it can't be too hard.

    Independence Free - Saved the big one for last. This is a 2GB (yes 2GB!) free version of Yellow Tools' huge instrument soundset. Serious artists from every skill level should take note and DOWNLOAD THIS IMMEDIATELY.

    Music Radar's List of the 13 Best Free VST Plugins in the World (some overlap)

    Wikipedia's List of Free Audio Software


    These sites all carry many of the same soundfonts, but take a look anyway - you never know what you're going to find.

    Homemusician Soundfonts
    Darkesword's Soundfonts
    Johannes Soundfonts
    Personal Copy Soundfonts
    Digital Sound Factory Soundfonts (requires registration)

    Got some more free stuff you want to recommend? Links not working or should be taken down? Shoot me an email at Meteo(dot)Xavier(at)gmail(dot)com.