We had a lot of activity this year, tons of new and spectacular releases to write about. The freeware releases in 2013 compete the commercial ones with many useable samples, VST effects and instruments, Kontakt patches and more.
In this series we’ll present the best free VST instruments in 2013, broken down by months. Simply browse each month’s tab and find out our choice for the best VST instrument plugins this year.
You can see Best 12 free sample packs here.
Alpha Plus is the advanced version of the T-Force Alpha TS. It has all features of the Alpha TS with some more and some updated functions: new sythesis (Subtractive and additionally FM Synthesis), revised oscillators with some more functions and now with a separate noise oscillator, new Mod Envelopes and now with a new integrated Sidechain FX (e.g. for the typicyal sidechained pad sounds and/or pumping basses etc).
- Synthesis: Subtractive/FM.
- 3 Multiwave Oscillators with voice control (adjustable from 1 to 8 voices per osc), adjustable stereo width and panning, with Sine, Saw, Ramp (reversed Saw), Triangle, Pulse (square with PWM) waveforms and retrigger option for each oscillator.
- 1 Noise Oscillator with adjustable stereo width and volume.
- 1 Resonance Four Pole State Variable Filter, switchable between Low Pass, High Pass, Bandpass and switchable 12/24 dB slope, Resonance can be driven up to self oscillation.
- 1 ADSR Filter Envelope, 1 ADSR Amp Envelope, 2 ADSR Mod Envelopes.
- 2 host syncable LFOs.
- Adjustable Drive function for Saturation/Distortion.
- two band Low Freq/High Freq Equalizer.
- 32 step Envelope Controlled Trance Gate.
- Velocity control (on/off).
- Dual Delay, switchable between Stereo mode and Ping-pong mode (right and left channels have their own tempo settings).
- Stereo Reverb.
- Integrated Sidechain FX, optional with internal bpm synced triggering or external triggering via MIDI In (triggered by MIDI Note On, on MIDI channel 2).
More info: Alpha Plus
Saturn V is an analog style Synth. it features multiple oscillators. Each and every function can be midi mapped which is useful for live use. The X-Y pad can be mapped to various functions through the matrix section (6). There are 4 different effects including, Reverb, Delay, Chorus, and Phaser. Saturn V comes with 128 presets with the possibility of more presets on the way.
- 128 Presets
- 4 main oscillators
- 2 sub oscillators
- Filter mod
- Hi-pass Filter
- Lo-pass filter w/adsr
- X-Y Pad with matrix routing
More info: Saturn V
Brzoza is a two operator mono FM synthesizer. Each operator has three, fixed route, modulators. modulation amount is controlled by the modulator’s ADSR envelopes. A wide range of sounds and textures can be created from tight, soaring leads and deep basses to “bell” like sounds and evolving textures.
- 2 operators (each consisting of the following)
- 4 waveforms, Width, Fixed or keyboard pitch
- Octave range, Semitone, Fine tune
- 3 stage pitch envelope, FM Depth
- ADSR volume envelope, Operator pan
- 6 Modulators
- Modulator 1
- Single Sine, Fixed or keyboard pitch
- Octave range, Semitone, Fine tune
- 3 stage pitch envelope, FM Depth
- 1-3 Modulation envelopes
- SV Filter
- Low pass, High pass, Band pass, Band reject
- Cut off, Resonance
- Cut off ADSR envelope
- Master Volume
- Midi Control
- Pitch wheel, bend range, Modulation wheel
- Midi channel, Re-trigger, Left click for midi learn, unlearn and edit
- External Modulation Matrix
- 6 Modulation slots
- 5 Sources
- 32 Destinations
More info: Brzoza
Venom VB-303 is a win32 VST made with SynthEdit/SE_SDK2.
It’s an approximation of the sound of a x0xb0x, and the sequencer of the TB-303.
- Plugin I/O:
- MIDI Input: Yes
- Audio Output: 1
- Virtual Analog Synthesizer:
- Voices: 1 (monophonic)
- Oscillator: Sawtooth / Square
- Filter: Diode Ladder
- Audio Output: 1 (monaural)
- Internal Oversampling: 4x (Osc, Filter, Dist)
- Patterns: 128 (8x2x8)
- Tracks: 16
- Total memory: 4.5kB
- Master sync: Internal Sync
- Slave sync: Host Sync / MIDI
- External sequencing: MIDI Play
More info: Venom
Deep-Mono is a powerful freeware monophonic single oscillator synthesizer that packs a punch. If you are a tweaker then you will like this synth. It is simple to program and has all the best synth programming parameters available right on the front panel. No endless windows or sub menus here. Just tweak a knob and you immediately begin to sculpt the sound.
Deep-Mono Comes with 70 presets to get you started but like the old analog synths of the 70s it can produce an almost limitless palette of sounds. Even better is the fact that all sound programs created in Deep-Mono are compatible with our dual oscillator polyphonic synthesizer Deep-606.
- 128 user presets.
- 70 custom presets.
- Midi automation.
- Doppler Chorus.
- Stereo Echo effect.
More info: Deep-Mono
The fretless zither is a simple “parlor instrument” consisting of a sound box with strings going across the top and a soundhole in the middle. To the left is generally a section of “chord” strings, which, when a set of these is strummed with the finger, will play a certain chord. To the right is a chromatic scale, generally two octaves, which consist of the “melody” half. A friend showed me this one while I was visiting and I was instantly enthralled by the instrument despite its poor shape and complete lack of tuning. I spent a day tuning it and afterwards ended up recording some samples of the notes in a semi-studio setup.
- c. 4 Octaves of melody (last octave and a half and top half octave derived from harmony samples and extension of the top samples).
- Effects (knocks, chromatic gliss.)
- Harmony (5 chords- Bb Maj, F Maj, D Min, C Maj, and G Min).
More info: Zither
EXD-80 is a flexible drum synth that can produce a wide variety of drum and percussion sounds, from emulations of classic drum machines to crazy, mangled glitch sounds – all synthesized, no samples here! It is suitable for many EDM styles including electro, glitch, industrial, ambient, dubstep, drum & bass and hip hop.
- 8 Modules – kick, snare, open and closed hi-hats, 5 x percussion sounds
- 4 Stereo output pairs
- Each output pair has its own stereo effects section featuring a Granulator and Waveshaper
- Supports VST host automation and MIDI continuous controllers
- User definable MIDI note mappings
- 128 User drum kit patches (comes with 16 preset drum kits)
More info: EXD-80 Drum Synthesizer
After seven years of faithful service, the time has come to set the bird free. Firebird itself has become vintage and even though it’s no longer profitable to remain a commercial product, we feel that more people should deserve an opportunity to enjoy this sometimes heavily underestimated synthesizer.
Which is why we decided to release one last update and turn the product into freeware (previuosly $79). We want to say a big THANK YOU to all customers who supported the development of Firebird and other Tone2 products, by purchasing our software.
- Very easy to program and easy to use
- A unique sounding synthesis: Harmonic content morphing (HCM)
- High sound quality: Warm, transparent
- 437 hand picked presets included, over 1000 sounds available
- 84 oscillator types containing 18,000 morphable waveforms
- 38 different filter types
- True stereo mode, 4x unison mode, and up to 8 oscillators per voice
- Can sound like other synthesis methods – additive, subtractive, AM, FM, phase distortion, supersaw, vocoder, sync
- Can sound like natural instruments like piano, brass, organs…
- 23 spectral manipulations or “modifiers” can be applied to the oscillators
- 21 arpeggiator types
- 13 effect types
- Skinable user interface
More info: FireBird 2
The Grey Apparatus-2 by Creatorum Genius Lab is a new free synth VST instrument plugin for Windows designed for a wide range of applications and different styles of music.
- Bank for 128 + additional presets, total – 132.
- Components and Controls feature click “random”.
- “Global random” at all options.
- A hybrid of the oscillators WaveDraw synthesis and FM.
- WaveDraw synthesis user can control the cursor by drawing a line in the wave window.
- Filter with ADSRL envelope.
- ADSR envelope for the amp.
- Ping-pong delay.
- 3- band EQ.
- Chorus flanger effect.
- rhythm sequencer with adjustable speed and smoothing Velocity 8 levels in each step.
- Monitoring of controls as a percentage.
- The ability to change skins in the package of 50 skins Creatorum Genius Lab and eight skins, submitted by the user Alex.
- The regulator preset number of votes (located along the right bezel ), 1 to 32 votes.
- 32-point polyphony.
- work on MIDI.
- ASIO support.
- Web-link to the Web site of Developer.
More info: The Grey Apparatus-2
ULTRAkILLER is NOVAkILL’s latest uber-synth. It has two oscillators, each of which offers multiple forms of synthesis. They run through two independant multi-mode filters with multiple routing opportunities. Three envelopes, two LFO and a modulation matrix make for almost endless possibilities.
- Each oscillator gives a choice of 3 oscillator types:
- BASIC oscillator is just that with 7 waveform choices.
- UNISON oscillator has 11 waveforms and built-in Unison [low CPU use].
- SPECTRAL oscillator is a high quality additive oscillator.
- Unison mode with up to 7 voices.
- Oscillator Hard Sync.
- Two State-Variable Filters with complex stereo routing options and mixable Low-Pass, High-Pass, Band Pass and Band Reject filter modes.
- 2 x 6-stage Modulation Envelopes with looping and assignable interpolation modes.
- 2 x tempo-synced LFO.
- 2 x Randomators [accessed from Mod Matrix].
- Dedicated ADSR envelope for VCA stage.
- 2 separate overdrive stages, one per oscillator and one post-VCA.
- Built-in Gate effect.
- 8-slot Modulation Matrix.
- Full MIDI CC implementation.
More info: ULTRAkILLER
Created for facebook fans as a thanks for their feedback and support, ADHDidi is an additive synthesizer comprising of 16 sine waves tuned to different frequencies (fundamental plus the first 15 harmonics).
Facebook fans were asked what they would like as a free download exclusively for them. We received many suggestions and settled on James Jason Duckett’s idea of creating an additive synthesizer.
- 16 sine waves (fundamental + first 15 harmonics).
- Waveform active switch and cascade sync.
- 32 8 stage envelopes with curve, stage and edit options.
- 16 envelopes for wave pitch.
- 16 envelopes for wave volume.
- State variable filter, Low pass and High pass.
- Any of the 32 envelopes can be sent to the filter cutoff (amount rotary)
- Filter resonance.
- Delay comprising of:
- Rate (free/sync)
- Mix (Wet/Dry)
- Pan and reset to centre
- Pitch Bend Range
- Midi channel
- Mono/poly mode
- Envelope retrigger
More info: ADHDidi
basic 65 is a monophonic synth, inspired by the classic 80s home computer, the Commodore 64 and its legendary SID chip. Building on the waveforms and signal path of this famous chip, basic 65 adds further features and options to take things a step further.
The double arpeggiator allows complex versions of that retro 8-bit game sound and the modulation options inspire experimentation via the mod envelope and 2 comprehensive LFOs. Pulse width modulation, ring modulation and oscillator detune/sync are key ingredients in the signature sound. Throw in some pitch drift, bit drift, a sprinkle of dirt and randomisation and you have a wide range of lofi, chiptune, retro-tastic sounds at your disposal.
- Monophonic synth in VST format for Windows based hosts
- 3 oscillators with pulse, saw, triangle and noise waveforms
- Pulse width can be modulated by envelope or both LFOs
- Each oscillator can be sync’d to another and/or ring modulated by another
- Each oscillator has its own ADSR envelope and can be routed to filter individually
- Resonant filter with low pass, high pass, band pass and notch modes
- 2 tempo-sync Arpeggiators in series for complex arp sounds
- Arp tempo, range and note length can be adjusted
- Modulation envelope can control pulse width and pitch of individual oscillators as well as filter and dirt
- 2 tempo-sync LFOs with wide range of waveforms, including random
- Both LFOs can control pulse width and pitch of individual oscillators
- One LFO also controls filter and dirt, the other can modulate the depth and speed of the first LFO
- Envelopes are non-linear and can be retriggered from zero or smoothed on each new note
- Pitch drift models instability with variable depth and frequency
- Options for 4, 6, 8, 12 or 16 bit audio with randomising feature
- Developed with SE 1.1, so no problems with multiple instances
- 128 presets by sink covering arps, leads, bass, drums and lofi sounds
More info: basic 65