5 free Instrument plug-ins every music producer needs in 2021

These are instrument plug-ins that are high-quality and free at the same time, which have never been more abundant

Sound design is a very crucial part of every producer’s music creation. It’s an important part of your music that can create your specific signature and taste for the listener. Just like how a brand uses their own color schemes to stand out in the competition, music artists should find their own sound schemes to be recognized more easily.

There are a number of tools that can be used for sound design but in 2021, digital instrument plug-ins play a huge role. They are easy to access, portable, and most importantly affordable. There are even a number of possibilities you wouldn’t find in the analog or outboard instruments. With all that being said, we’d like to introduce you to 5 instrument plug-ins that can be useful for designing specific sounds according to your taste. They are all free to use, which makes them even more special.

1. VCV Rack 1.1.6 The Eurorack Simulator

Instrument plug-ins
VCV Rack 1.1.6 The Eurorack Simulator

Use up to 16 voices with the full flexibility of modular patching. Cables automatically turn polyphonic when requested by MIDI modules, sequencers, etc. MIDI output. Control MIDI hardware with Rack modules. New modules include CV-GATE for drum machines, CV-MIDI for desktop synths, and CV-CC for Eurorack interfaces.

MIDI mapping. Control knobs, buttons, and sliders directly from a MIDI controller. Using the new MIDI-MAP module, click a virtual parameter and move a hardware control to create a mapping. Module Browser. Search, filter, and view modules in your collection. Click and drag to directly place modules in the rack.

Multi-core engine. Use multiple CPU threads to maximize the number of modules; accelerated polyphonic engines on many VCV and third-party modules – and dozens of other new features and fixes, including manual parameter entry, module disabling, module “force” dragging, module expanders, easy zoom gestures, and more.

2. Helm by Matt Tytel

Instrument plug-ins
Helm by Matt Tytel

Helm runs in GNU/Linux, Mac OSX, and Windows. Run Helm as a standalone synthesizer or as an LV2, VST, VST3, or AU plug-in. Comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Helm is Free Software. This means you are free to run Helm anywhere without the pains of DRM, you can study and change the source code and redistribute exact or modified copies of Helm.

3. Sitala By Decomposer

Sitala By Decomposer
Sitala By Decomposer

A free drum instrument plug-in and standalone app, Sitala‘s beauty is simplicity. It‘s fast and musical. Six knobs. Sixteen pads. Drag and drop. Playable like instrument.

4. Spitfire LABS

LABS is an entire collection of free sample instruments put out by Spitfire Audio. Each of these instruments could sell for 50 to 100 dollars and no one would bat an eye, it’s really high quality stuff. There are a lot of studio drum samples that sound really processed and slot well into a pop or metal track.

Instrument plug-ins
Spitfire LABS

But for more intimate stuff, this LABS drum set works nicely because it sounds less produced. There’s a wurlitzer, a charango, tons of amazing sounds that you can do a lot with. If you make music on your computer, you should get it – it’s really that good. LABS is available for both Mac and PC.

5. Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra

Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra
Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra

Spitfire is back on the list again with their BBC Symphony Orchestra library. This is a super high-quality orchestra library. And at least for the time being you can get it for free. All you have to do is take a short survey and they’ll send it your way.

These are some absolutely gorgeous sounds. There aren’t as many articulations as a paid library would have, but there’s still plenty to work with. BBC Symphony Orchestra is available on Mac and PC