Best FREE VST-Instruments suitable for PopRock (and Lovesong-) composing

VST, AU, AAX, CLAP, etc. Plugin Virtual Instruments Discussion

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Please tell us your favorites here... (As more tips we get, as more anyone can benefit of this topic)

Update10 / July 13th, 2022: (Direct Download-Links for all Plugins coming up soon in update11)
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Drums TOP5:
1. Sitala Drum Sampler + Wave Samples (See recommanded Samples below*)
2. NTonyx-SF Bank + SFZ Soundfontplayer (Bank 128: Room, Power, Pop, TR-909)
3. Edge Sounds Sonic Bear GM120 Pro-SF Bank / TR-Dreams Kit + SFZ Soundfontplayer
4. MT Power Drum Kit
5. Drumatic 3

*Drum Wave Samples TOP5:
1. Songwriters Pop Kit + Drum Sampler
2. DataDrive's 80's Retro Futuristic Kit
3. AVL Drumkit wave Samples + SFZ or Drum Sampler
4. Echo Soundworks 909
5. BPM Supreme 909

Honorable: Jamstix (if 100% free, it would be Number1), RF-Drums (Pop-Kit), Proteus VX /Acoustic1 Preset, Monster Drum VST, DSK DrumZ Akoustik, RitMix Drum Machine + Wave Samples*, BPB Cassette Drums, SR-202 Drum Sampler + Wave Samples*, Drum Pro, Grooove BPB

Bass TOP5:
1. NTonyx SF Bank + SFZ (Presets: Fingered Bass, Synth Bass2, Fretless Bs., Picked Bs.)
2. TAL Bassline (+Presets / Env Sub Bass) + OldSkoolVerb/Deep Reverb
3. Steinberg Model E (11: Snap Bass) + OrilRiver Reverb
4. Ample Bass P Lite 2
5. VB-1

Honorable: 4Front Bass, Sienna Bass, Dexed (+Presets)

Synthesizer TOP20:
..1. PG-8X (+JX8P Original Bank Presets/Strings1 or Choir)
..2. Dexed (+Presets)
..3. Synth1 (+Presets)
..4. Pneuma
..5. Poly 2106 (Juno 106 Emulation [!] / Recom.Preset: Carpet Pad Magic)
..6. Oxe FM Synth
..7. Podolski
..8. Cobalt (Warm Pad)
..9. Efemme (Warm Pad)
10. OB-Xd
11. SuperTron (Analog Strings1)
12. Galactix
13. Superwave P8
14. Vital
15. Essence
16. Tyrell N6
17. TAL Noisemaker (+Presets)
18. Surge XT
19. SQ8L (+Presets)
20. Helm

Honorable: Charlatan, Ragnarok, Mono/Fury, Xhip, TAL-U-No-62 (+Presets), MinimogueVA, Stigma

Piano TOP5:
1. Keyzone Classic
2. Piano One
3. 4Front Piano
4. Steinway (HQ Orchestral Soundfont Bank) + SFZ
5. Quite Piano

Honorable: Free Piano 3, DSK Akoustic KeyZ

E-Piano (Classic) TOP5:
1. EP-Station (TOP40 Ballad Preset) [DL on VSTPlanet.com]
2. Legend EP (HQ Orchestral Soundfont Bank) <- has lots of nice E-Piano Presets!
3. EP 2008
4. 4Front E-Piano
5. Lazy Snake

Honorable: Sweetcase Electric-Piano, Dexed (+Presets), Ticky Clav 2, DSK Elektrik KeyZ (Preset: Dreamy Wurly), 4Front Rhode

Synth Strings & Pads TOP20: Note: The Demoversions of "Korg Wavestation" and "Korg M1" have also very decent strings and pads (Drawback: After each 20min you have to reload the plugin, anyway, using them is worth the effort, since they are really good)

..1. Poly 2106 [Juno 106 Emulation!] (Carpet Pad Magic Preset)
..2. Merlin Symphony / WarmPad (Soundfontbank) + SFZ
..3. Dexed (Strings+Pads Presets)
..4. HQ Orchestral Soundfont Bank (Strings+Pads) + SFZ
..5. Oxe FM Synth (Strings Preset)
..6. PG-8X (+Strings Presets)
..7. Lyrical Strings (Single Soundfont) + SFZ
..8. Efemme (WarmPad)
..9. Cobalt (WarmPad)
10. Orpheus Strings (Presets: Cinema Strings + Dark Strings)
11. Proteus VX (Strings Presets)
12. SuperTron (Analog Strings1)
13. Cheeze Machine1+2
14. Crazy Diamonds
15. OB-Xd
16. Nils K1v (Strings Presets)
17. Deputy Mark II
18. Nabla
19. Esline
20. String Theory

Honorable: Spitfire, Tapeotronic, String Synthesizer

Acoustic Strings TOP3:
1. French Violin [!]
2. HQ Orchestral SF Bank / "Acoustic Strings Presets" [!]
3. VSCO2 Orchestra

Honorable: DSK Strings

[Coming up here in next update11 ->] Orgasm Strings:
What the.. :o :hihi: :love: ?? -> = Orgasm Strings are extremely feelful and very soft strings with a very tender timbre in particular fitting for Love Songs where moments of total relaxation occur :love: :-) (Yes, you can consider me as the founder of these term. Will do a hard research in figuring out which ones are suiting best for that purpose :wink: )

Acoustic Steel Guitar TOP5:
1. Ample Guitar M-Lite
2. DSK Dynamic Guitars
3. Guitar Acoustic 963kb (Single Soundfont) <- can fit well for rhythm chords (3part harmony)
4. Revitar 2
5. DSK Akoustik GuitarZ

Honorable: Fluid R3 SF Bank (Steel Gt. Preset), HQ Orchestral SF Bank (Steel Gt. Preset), Nils K1v, Proteus VX, Independence Free

Classical / Nylon Guitar TOP5:
1. Spanish Classical Guitar (Single Soundfont) + SFZ (+ Reverb + Guitar Amp)
2. Protrax Classical Guitar (Single Soundfont) + SFZ (+ Reverb + Guitar Amp)
3. Spicy Guitar*
4. Classic GTr Lite (Igal+Std. Preset + OldSchoolVerb)
5. Fluid R3 Soundfont Bank (Nylon Gt. Preset) + SFZ + Reverb

Honorable: Ichiyanagi's Hedsound Classical Guitar (Single Soundfont) + SFZ + Reverb
* (+OldSkoolVerb or Orilriver Reverb + SoftAmp PSA or HyBrit Amp for more realistic & natural classical guitar-sound!!!)

E-Guitar TOP3:
1. VL-1 Eguitar Clean 8MB (Single Sountfont) +TAL Dub3 Delay + SFZ <- as Lead Clean Gt. only
2. Clean Electric Guitar
3. Musyng Distortion Guitar (Single Soundfont) +TAL Dub3 Delay +SFZ <- as Lead Gt. only

Honorable: Free Kontaktplayer, Independence Free (with Free 2 GB Library), DSK Elektrik GuitarZ (+Ambience Reverb / for melody only)

Rompler/Soundware TOP3:
1. Proteus VX
2. Kontakt Player 6 (+Free Kontakt Instr.)
3. Independence Free (+2 GB Free Library)

Honorable: Complete Free, Halion Sonic SE, UVI Workstation, Nils K1v

Sampler TOP3 (Multi Instruments-Sampler): for 'Drums only Sampler' see above
1. Grace
2. TX16Wx
3. Beat Burner

Vocals Simulation TOP5:
1. Clavinova Pan Flute (HQ Orchestral SF Bank)
2. EP-Station (TOP40 Ballad Preset)
3. 4Front Piano
4. Keyzone Classic
5. DSK Electric GuitarZ (+OrilRiver Reverb or Ambience Reverb)

Honorable: VL1 Eguitar Clean 8MB (Single Soundfont), Alter Ego + Marie Ork Voice Bank, Delay Lama

Percussion: SFZ + NTonyx 32MB GM Stereo Bank (Presets: Power Drums, Pop Drums), MT Power Drum Kit 2 (HQ Toms)

Organs: Church Organ 2nd (!!), Combo Model F, Combo Model V, Organized Trio, Dirt Bag

Special Instruments (Other Ins.): DVS Saxophone, Etherealwinds Harp II, Syntar (Sita), Accordion (by Safwan Matni), DSK Brass, VSCO2 Flute

SF2 Soundfontplayer: SFZ (plays both formats in HQ, sf2+sfz), SF-Soundfont

sfz Soundfontplayer: Sforzando (not recommanded as sf2 player though)
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GM Soundfont-Banks TOP5:
1. NTonyx 32 MB GM Stereo
2. HQ Orchestral SF Bank
3. Fluid R3
4. Merlin Symphony
5. SONiVOX

Honorable: Edge Sounds Sonic Bear GM120 Pro, Chorium
DL Links -> http://www.synthzone.com/soundfont.htm

Best free VST 'Demo Synths' TOP3: (with accept.limitations to keep it as free in your DAW)
1. Korg M1 (known for its great E-Piano Presets) <- must be reloaded after every 20min
2. Korg Wavestation (known for its great Strings/Pads) <- must be reloaded after every 20min
3. FM8
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Effect Plugins:
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Reverb: OldSkoolVerb, Ambience, Oril River, Epic Verb, FreeVerb3

Guitar Amp: SoftAmp FM25, SoftAmp PSA, HyBrit, Emissary, Amplitube, Flextron

Bass Amp: SHB-1, TSE Bod

Equalizer: TDR Nova, Luftikus, Marvel GEQ, SonEq, 7Q, Overtone GEQ

Chorus: TAL-Chorus LX, Multiply

Compressor: TDR Kotelnikov (Mastering), Density MKII, DC1A

Limiter: LoudMax, Limiter No6 (Mastering), W1 Limiter

Pitch Correction: GSnap

Delay/Echo: TAL-DUB-2 (or 3), ValhallaFreqEcho

Panorama/Imaging: PanCake

Distortion: Boogex, NRR-1

Saturation: IVGI

Filter: Frohmage

Guitar Tuner: GTune

Virtua Midi Keyboard: Quickeys, Midi Keyboard

Analyser: SPAN

Loudness Analyser: Youlean Loudness Meter
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DAW: Zynewave Podium Free, Waveform Free, Tracktion T7, Cakewalk Sonar, LMMS

Notation Software: MuseScore (!!)

Additional Audio Editors: Audacity (To save your composed Wave Files as mp3 File*)

Audio Codec: Lame* (To convert your saved .wav Files into .mp3 Files / now integrated in all Audacity versions of V3.1.3 and above!)

Audio Tools: ASIO4ALL (A S I O = Audio Stream Input/Output) <- highly recommanded

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HARDWARE (The only stuff here you probably won't get for free):
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Soundcard: ? <- For a good soundcard you should invest at least 100 Euros, if not more!
Great manufactors are: RME, Emu, ESI, Creative, Asus

Speakers: ? <- Make sure your speakers have at least 2 x 16 Watt (50-100 Euros or more)
Recommanded for low budget people: Creative Gigaworks T20 (2 x 14 Watt) for about 70 Euros

Condenser-Microphone (for Vocals): ? <- (100 Euros or more)

Hardware Synthesizer (or Midi Keyboard): ?
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Never underestimate the importance of a good hardware acoustic! Note, that with great acoustic,
you will have better intonation when singing to music, better ideas when composing, much better feeling for creating grooves and beats etc.

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All these VSTs you get for free on KVR Audio or Plugins4Free.com !!
(Best commercial VSTi's suitable for LoveSongs/PopRock: Omnisphere 2, Diva, Korg M1, Korg Wavestation, Roland JV-1080 (Get it on Roland's Cloud), Roland Juno 106, Roland D 50, Roland Jupiter 8 [and 6], Rol. SH-101, Complete, Kontakt Pl., Arturia Jupiter 8 (Altern. to Rolands Jupiter 8) (Best commercial DAW's suitable for LoveSongs/PopRock: [Windows ->] Cubase, Pro Tools, Mulab, FL Studio [Mac ->] Logic Pro, Garageband

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Note: To make it possible to run 32-bit plugins in 64-bit hosts you need a 32-bit to 64-bit Adapter Tool. The best alternative currently known therefore is: JBridge (Not free at all, but only for 15 Euro's it should be worth the investement)

My style of composing: Sentimental & melodic Lovesongs (composed with a real Classical Guitar), PopRock, Softrock, PopBallads, 90's Eurodance & 90's/80's Pop! You can check out my soundcloud channel here -> https://soundcloud.com/user-926227779

Now let's share our experiences & knowledge we made about free VSTi's that especially are suiting well for PopRock compositions! :roll:

So, what are your favorites? ..
Last edited by Gabriel_West on Mon Sep 25, 2023 4:57 pm, edited 97 times in total.

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Just off the top of my head for nearly all them options the Free Spirefire Labs has a better free alternative in it.

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Spirefire or Spitfire? Cannot even find Spirefire on KVR, if you're refering to Spitfire, then KVR its own states seems to rank it not very high, dude. (Pls no ad attempts for own products, anyone, including you, should benefit from the results of this topic in the near future, thx) :-)

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Spitfire my bad I typed that from my phone at work. I wanted to type something quick just to ensure I got updates to responses on the thread. And I have zero association with Spitfire outside of being a subscriber to Christian Hensons Youtube channel lol. And I'm talking about they're Free LABS player which includes some ridiculously good instruments such as a Soft Felt Piano, An E Piano, chamber strings, Accoustic Drums, Charango Guitar, even a small choir set from the Olifur Arnolds collection.

https://www.spitfireaudio.com/labs/

Gabriel_West wrote: Fri Jan 25, 2019 11:47 pm Spirefire or Spitfire? Cannot even find Spirefire on KVR, if you're refering to Spitfire, then KVR its own states seems to rank it not very high, dude. (Pls no ad attempts for own products, anyone, including you, should benefit from the results of this topic in the near future, thx) :-)

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SoundPorn wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:57 pm Just off the top of my head for nearly all them options the Free Spirefire Labs has a better free alternative in it.
Tried it, (spitfire). uninstalled it.
I found it useless with that extremely long attack times.
You couldn't hear any sound first. The choir took like 3 seconds to rise in volume to a hearable level.
No settings in the vst or central changed that.

I'm still a noob so i want more time to find a favourite vst.

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I think this:

https://www.native-instruments.com/de/p ... ete-start/

should be a good starting point but you have to wait till end of february.

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Can't go wrong with the freebie OB-Xd for any synth stuff https://www.discodsp.com/obxd/

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Yes the choir has a stupid long attack time, so it's more of a pad. Choirs are nearly impossible to find free in a VST the only I know of really is the Big Cat VSOC Choirs. However it's really hard to find good electric pianos that aren't synthesized, and the felt piano ur not gonna find anywhere else period,the guy who started Spitfire prepared it personally. And also hard to find are strings that sound that good wihout spending like $100 on a Kontakt library. And the guitar in there sounds amazing with a delay and a different reverb.
Oh and accustic drums too. Again the optinos are very limited unless you're spending money. THe accustic drums in the Labs have that old dusty 70s vibe.

The key to any instruments especially when you're starting out is understanding how to process them and knowing what a compressor, delay and reverb will do to a sound, because ur rarely ever gonna find the sounds you want in ur head right out the box of a VSTi without tweaking some.
Saffran wrote: Sat Jan 26, 2019 12:44 am
SoundPorn wrote: Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:57 pm Just off the top of my head for nearly all them options the Free Spirefire Labs has a better free alternative in it.
Tried it, (spitfire). uninstalled it.
I found it useless with that extremely long attack times.
You couldn't hear any sound first. The choir took like 3 seconds to rise in volume to a hearable level.
No settings in the vst or central changed that.

I'm still a noob so i want more time to find a favourite vst.

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There's also the free Amplesound Precision bass - great for a freebie;

https://www.amplesound.net/en/download.asp

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More synth like choirs. Windows only. If only 32bit I'm not sure.

Free DSK ChoirZ

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Synth1, charlatan, deducktion, sq8l, oxe, Nabla
HW SYNTHS [KORG T2EX - AKAI AX80 - YAMAHA SY77 - ENSONIQ VFX]
HW MODULES [OBi M1000 - ROLAND MKS-50 - ROLAND JV880 - KURZ 1000PX]
SW [CHARLATAN - OBXD - OXE - ELEKTRO - MICROTERA - M1 - SURGE - RMiV]
DAW [ENERGY XT2/1U RACK WINXP / MAUDIO 1010LT PCI]

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Modern pop is very EDM oriented,depend how 'PRO' you want to be your sound,i've tried almost all and my preferences was : Synth1+Firebird+TForce alpha+TAL Noisemaker+Podolski
Free stuff from me here:
https://velltone.wixsite.com/velltone/freebirdz

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[update2] Thx all of you guys for sharing your tips, a few of your mentioned plugins have been added now in my list above !!! Looking forward now for more suggestions! :-)

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This remix version will demonstrate why most of the best Free-Bass VSTi's are still of worser quality than these basses from the above mentioned NTonyx 32MB Stereo Bank -> viewtopic.php?f=14&t=519114

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tatanka wrote: Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:45 am I think this:

https://www.native-instruments.com/de/p ... ete-start/

should be a good starting point but you have to wait till end of february.
Do you know when it's releasing it's mid February already?

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