• Kate Brunotts

10 Best Free Plugins: Free VST Instruments and Plugins To Check Out In 2021

Who says you can’t make bangers on a budget? At Controlla, we’re always trying to provide access to as many musicians as possible, so we’ve rounded up a guide of some of the best plugins you can get for absolutely free.


You heard that right -- zilch! We’ll dive into some of our favorite free plugins below and give a quick demo of each so that you can determine which tools make the most sense for your sound. Let’s dive into it!





10 Best Free Plugins For Your DAW

Without further ado, here are some the best free plugins out there. With a mix of virtual instruments, effects and production tools, there’s something here for every producer.


1.Wider by Polyverse

2.Controlla by Contolla XYZ

3.DLYM by Imaginando

4.Cheeze Machine by 2getheraudio

5.Granulator 2 by Ableton

6.Freq Echo by Vahalla

7.Fracture by Glitchmachines

8.LABS by Spitfire Audio

9.Vinyl by Izotope

10.Cassette Transport by Waves Factory


1.Wider by Polyverse

Wider by Polyverse provides a stereo feel to any mono signal, all while avoiding phase issues. Just listen to the plugin work its magic on this mono arpeggiated synth:





Polyverse also makes it super simple to automate its interface from some dynamic automation throughout your mix.



2.Contolla XYZ by Controlla

Controlla XZY makes it easy to automate multiple parameters at once, simply by moving your phone around. Cut out the tedious work of trying to make your virtual instruments sound live, and turn your phone into an entirely new instrument! Plus, it’s 100% free




You can apply for private Alpha below and join the community of producers focused on embracing cutting edge production tools. We’ll be unveiling some new features soon -- it’s just the beginning.

3.DLYM by Imaginando

Ready to create some futuristic effects with the touch of a button? This delay modulator is your new best free friend. The plugin uses flanger and chorus style effects to give your trippy, next-level vibes without draining your wallet. Here’s flipping through a couple of the presets on a vocal group:





The sonic possibilities are endless with this plugin’s clean UI and strong sound design capabilities.


4.Cheeze Machine by 2getheraudio

It’s hard to believe that this virtual synth from 2getheraudio is free. Cruise between 80’s synths a la The Weeknd’s Blinding Lights, then switch over to the VST’s deliciously cheesy string and pad patches.





With a variety of instrument controls, you can cater this synth’s sound to your liking for any project.


5.Granulator 2 by Ableton

This is sadly only available for Ableton users, but Granulator 2 makes adding unique glitchy textures to your tunes an absolute breeze. The instrument also acts as a sampler, allowing you to create your own sounds or utilize one of the presets. See it in action here:





If you’re an Ableton user, make sure to check out the other free packs on the parent site. Ableton is constantly expanding their library, so it’s definitely a resource you’ll want to check out.


6.Freq Echo by Vahalla

Vahalla is known for making simple yet highly effective plugins, and their free offering, Freq Echo is no exception to the rule. This analogue echo emulator and frequency shifter is perfect for creating psychedelic soundscapes. Just listen to a little bit of tinkering on a vocal sample:






7.Fracture by Glitchmachines

Fracture by Glitchmachines is an effects processor that helps you create unique artifacts in your music with a couple of knob turns. With 100 presets and 3 flexible LFOs to play with, the sky is the limit:





8.LABS by Spitfire Audio

Spitfire Audio is known for being one of the most reliable creators of virtual instruments and samples in the world of scoring. Generously, they’ve created LABS: An entirely free library of software instruments, constantly updated with new sounds.


Here’s one of the textural pads packs in action:





Some of the other free packs include bass guitar, drums, strings, and modular piano.


9.Vinyl by Izotope

This one is an oldie, but a goodie! Vinyl allows you to give any sound that warm, instant nostalgia which is synonymous with the sound of vinyl music.


Choose between different sound design eras, add warp, and even add a bit of mechanical noise to really seal the deal. Here’s Vinyl working its magic on a guitar sample:





You can also use the plugin to create warped “spindowns” which make excellent tools for transitions in your beats.


10.Cassette Transport by Waves Factory

Who doesn’t love some old school cassette sounds? Cassette Transport will certainly take you back and is incredibly easy to use and automate. Give your lofi or hip hop beat some extra sauce with this one:





Rotate between play, pause, rewind, and fast forward functions for a little extra ear candy in your beats.


As you can see, there are plenty of free tools out there to spice up your beats. Enjoy using these free plugins in your DAW. Happy creating!



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