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Synth (Subtractive) Plugin by Matt Tytel
Pay what you want
Helm by Matt Tytel is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin and a Software Application for macOS, Windows and Linux. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin, a LV2 Plugin and a Standalone Application.
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Open Source
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490 KVR members have added Helm to 152 My KVR groups 582 times.
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30-Day: 413; 7-Day: 324; Yesterday: 499

Helm is a free, cross-platform, polyphonic synthesizer with a flexible modulation system. Helm is open source and you are free to run it anywhere, study and change the source code, and redistribute exact or modified copies of Helm.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.33 from 6 reviews

Reviewed By Chufu [all]
May 26th, 2023
Version reviewed: 0.9.0 on Windows

Unter Windows11 mit UHD-Monitoren leider nicht mehr zu gebrauchen weil das GUI nicht mehr bedienbar ist.

Im VCV-Rack2 Synth (VCV) oder Voltage Modular (Cherry Audio) als Plugin in einem Hosting Modul funktioniert Helm allerdings ohne Probleme.

Das Problem bestreht schon seit vielen Monaten. Offensichtlich wird daran nicht gearbeitet.

Schade, denn Helm ist nach wie vor ein toller Synth.

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Reviewed By Ripthorn2 [all]
December 26th, 2020
Version reviewed: 0.9 on Windows

Really enjoying this one. You can create some really fun effects with relatively minimal effort. This was the first synth that I really used in a project, and it has me exploring more right now.

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Reviewed By battuspuppius [all]
November 4th, 2020
Version reviewed: 0.9.0 on Windows

Absolutely brilliant synth and very little CPU usage on my old laptop. The presets are really good and the programming is quite easy, if you have a basic knowledge of synths. The GUI is great too. Well done!!.

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Reviewed By Duncle22 [all]
May 13th, 2020
Version reviewed: 1.0.1 on Windows

Picked this up for a pound and i'm so glad i did, its great!! The sound is crisp and clean and there's loads of presets to get you started. A good UI means its easy to tweak and make your own sounds.

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Reviewed By menolin [all]
March 21st, 2020
Version reviewed: 2 on Windows

Amazing Sunth considering it is available for free. Will be donating in the future. So many posibilities and features that are similiar to top paid plugins.

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Comments & Discussion for Matt Tytel Helm

Discussion: Active
25 April 2016 at 9:56pm

This is a great quality synth hard to believe it's free.

5 June 2016 at 11:23am

Really good GUI, similar to best commercial ones, demonstrates how GUI can help with workflow and usability. Also, the automation concept is powerful, allowing so many parameters to be automated creatively.

This could develop further to something very powerful and leading ... The idea that comes to mind is ... how to combine Synth1's powerful engine and myriad of presets with this open-souce (means anybody/everybody could take it from here) and great UI and make it one.

Could we convince Mr. Ichiro Toda to join forces or ... could somebody develop a patch/preset conversion tool to convert Synth1 presets to at least similar .helm patches. I used to be a programmer and I believe this could be done. Then, it would be the leading free VST.

5 June 2016 at 11:32am

There is this package of Synth presets in VST3 format which seems quite readable. That could be used to convert them to .helm. I know this wouldn't work directly, but with some testing /and having this converter OS or configurable) we might get it to some level of usefullness :)

Anybody up to the challenge?


5 June 2016 at 11:48am

Actually, I found that now I can try this and experiment ... VST3 is known and of course .helm is also fully readable. Will keep you posted.

26 September 2016 at 5:31pm

Ver. 0.8.6 (this page should really be updated) x32 under win7 / dotnet 4.6.2 / Vc runtime 2015 + 2013 gives always an Error "Der Prozedureinsprungpunkt "ucrtbase.terminate" wurde in der DLL "api-ms-win-crt-runtime-l1-1-0.dll" nicht gefunden." and then the host says it's not a valid .vst plugin. Same with the digits vst. But the Helm.exe works.

14 October 2016 at 10:45am

What helped NOW, after I read another post (for digits) and installed the 2015 again to no success, was the ADDITIONAL installation of "Microsoft Visual C++ 2015 Redistributable Update 3 RC".I only noticed the existence of this pack because it was second in the google search.
Now Helm works, and I am happy.

Thanks to the Admin for updating the page, by the way.

7 December 2016 at 8:08pm

An incredibly fresh synth that I used to great effect in my new album. It is so deep with creative potential I barely scratched the surface.

Two tracks that it's most noticeable on are:
03 Cannon Rock, '72
06 Ciskei

Album preview here:

Keep it going Matt...you're on to something with this instrument.

13 February 2018 at 5:37pm

For some reason i cant import banks onto Helm on Mac Ableton, any ideas why? Thanks.

18 August 2018 at 9:08am

Same problem here on Mac Reason. Let me know if you figured it out.

4 March 2018 at 5:19pm

A pretty, cool synth !!.


23 June 2018 at 12:52am

Presets can't be loaded? The internal Synth browser have a function called "Banks" for find., When I navigte to a folder where are the downloads -ready uncompressed- dont detect nothing..

I think it's a configuration problem that have not their presets/banks all ready located - I have satisfactory used in other computer without need to find - but it's strange can not make it manually...

Otherwise its a great Synth. Equitable to many of other similar so expensive. CHAPEAU.

18 August 2018 at 9:25am

If you are having problems loading patches, the VST will look for presets in the following folder, per their website.

Where does Helm store files?


Standalone - /usr/bin/helm.

LV2 - /usr/lib/lv2/helm.lv2.

VST - /usr/lib/lxvst/helm.so (if installed).

Local Presets - ~/.helm/patches.

Factory Files - /usr/share/helm/.

Config File - ~/.helm/Helm.config.

Mac OS X:

Standalone - /Applications/Helm.app.

VST - /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST/helm.vst.

VST3 - /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST3/helm.vst3.

AU - /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components/helm.component.

Local Presets - ~/Library/Audio/Presets/Helm.

Factory Presets - /Library/Audio/Presets/Helm.

Config File - ~/Library/Application Support/helm.


Standalone - C:\Program Files\Helm\helm.exe (default).

VST - C:\Program Files\Steinberg\VstPlugins (default).

VST3 - C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3\Helm\helm.vst3.

Local Presets - C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Helm\Patches.

Factory Presets - C:\Users\Public\Documents\Helm\Patches.

Config File - C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\helm\Helm.config.

So you have to transfer the downloaded presets into this folder then you will see them when you browse on the VST.

28 October 2018 at 5:38pm

Hi there, this is a great synth, really. But I'm having an issue with the arpregiator, it's out of sync (VST) but the tempo is locked correctly to the host tempo, and it slows up and down when the master clock does so. Only, not the correct tempo. Did anyone else notice this?

11 July 2019 at 2:38am

For anyone wondering the answer to this question, like I was... it's most likely due to the sample rate of your audio driver (ASIO in my case) being at a rate other than 44100. In my case, I changed ASIO drivers and my Helm's Arp went completely out of wack. I later noticed my sample rate was set to 48000. I tried changing it to 44100, and voila. I'm not sure if it's possible to configure Helm to match the rate, but seems like a bug.

11 July 2019 at 7:43am

Good find. Unfortunately I'm tied to 48k.....

30 October 2018 at 1:52pm

Anothe questio/issue: how can I use program changes over midi? (VST version in a host). I can only change the first 15 or so by midi, I have no idea how to access the other ones. The file structure introduces a non-existent (in the MIDI specs) level we have banks-then folders-then presets. When I manage to change presets it does actually call the first 10 in the first folder of the first bank, the a couple more in the second folder and that's all. I can't change banks by MIDI either. Any thoughts? Apert from that, I reeally like this synth. It's powerful.

3 January 2020 at 1:44am

I like Helm, easy to grasp editing with a nice range of sounds.
I use it quite a bit with my Linux/Ardour setup.
I went and donated a few bucks, I feel it's worth supporting.
I'd like to use it more often with my Win10 /Studio One rig.
However, I'm running the displays at 125% size and Helm doesn't resize it's GUI to fit.
If I Really want to use Helm there I have to rescale my desktop to 100% which is a pain.

Is there a setting that I'm missing here ??
The display size options with Helm don't appear to help.

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