4 free software instruments to add to your plugin collection (VST / AU)

Who doesn’t love free software instruments?

In the YouTube Shorts video above, we showcase four free software instruments that you can incorporate into your productions today. Watch along to get a taste of how the instruments sound, and download them via the links below.

1. SQ8L by Siegfried Kullmann

SQ8L is a software emulation of a classic ’80s synth, the SQ80. Great for warm, ambient tones, the plugin features three digital wavetables that can be tuned to taste via an array of filters, envelopes, and LFOs. If you find yourself enjoying the plugin, it might be worth keeping an eye out for SQ8X, an extended version of the instrument that the developers are supposedly working on.

Download SQ8L for free here.

2. TyrellN6 by u-he

Also featured in our previous full-length video on free instruments, u-he’s TyrellN6 is a free software synth that has just continued to stand the test of time, year after year. It’s somewhat simulator to the SQ8L in its broad approach to providing a ‘virtual analog’ sound, but stands apart in how it’s not modeled after any specific hardware instrument. The amount of presets it offers (500+) is incredibly generous for a free instrument, and each one feels like it was created with diversity and usability at the top of mind.

Download TyrellN6 for free here.

3. SynthMaster 2 Player

SynthMaster 2 Player is a simplified version of SynthMaster, a synthesis powerhouse used by the likes of Martin Garrix. Combining presets made by expert sound designers (BT, Vandalism, etc.) with an intuitive XY pad-based workflow, SynthMaster 2 Player is a great asset for a variety of musical styles and applications.

Download SynthMaster 2 Player for free here.

4. Cloudrum by Ample Sound

Last but certainly not least is Cloudrum. Unlike the other soft synths on this list, Cloudrum emulates an acoustic instrument—the steel tongue drum. Although Ample Sound is perhaps better known for their free guitar and bass instruments (which also sound great), Cloudrum is without doubt one of their standout offerings. Its relaxing but ear-catching tones do an excellent job at capturing the spirit of the steel tongue drum, and its UI is beautiful and easy to navigate.

Download Cloudrum for free here.

What are your favorite free software instruments? What other kinds of plugins would you like to see us explore on the Splice YouTube channel next? Let us know in the comments section of the video.

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May 5, 2022

Harrison Shimazu

Harrison Shimazu is a composer, content strategist, and writer who’s passionate about democratizing music creation and education. He leads the Splice blog and produces vocaloid music as Namaboku.