The top free music production plugins you need to try out in 2022 (VST / AU)

Music production is perhaps more accessible today than ever before, thanks to the massive amount of free plugins, instruments, and even DAWs out there.

Last fall, we went over some of the best effects plugins that you could download for absolutely free, and now we’re back with more—this time also including some software instruments as well. In the video above, we go over our revamped list of the top free music production plugins that you need to try out in 2022. Join us to take a listen to how the plugins sound in action, and learn more and download each of them via the links below.

While we specifically focused on tools that largely came out over the last few months, there are also a number of free plugins that we would consider ‘staples’ at this point—see 0:13 in the video to learn more about these.

1. Devil Spring Reverb by LostIn70s Audio

Looking for that vintage spring reverb sound? LostIn70s Audio’s Devil Spring Reverb delivers a wide variety of options within this domain, offering 38 carefully-selected impulse responses, an optimized convolution engine, various tunable settings, and more. Go to 0:32 of the video to learn more about Devil Spring Reverb and hear it in action.

Download LostIn70s Audio’s Devil Spring Reverb here.

2. Keys Of The 70s by LostIn70s Audio

Another entry from LostIn70s Audio, Keys Of The 70s is a software instrument that allows you to incorporate that warm, nostalgic keys sound into your modern productions. Tube amp simulation, washed-out choruses, and a tines parameter all allow you to quickly craft some neat sounds. Go to 1:39 of the video to learn more about Keys Of The 70s and hear it in action.

Download LostIn70s Audio’s Keys Of The 70s here.

3. Harmonus 300 by LostIn70s Audio

We couldn’t resist including one final entry from LostIn70s Audio—the Harmonus 300 is a nifty instrument that sits somewhere between an accordion and a harmonica. The samples have been lovingly captured in stereo and de-noised, so that you can hear the naturalness of the original organ without any undesirable artifacts. Go to 2:35 of the video to learn more about the Harmonus 300 and hear it in action.

Download LostIn70s Audio’s Harmonus 300 here.

4. OrangeFlavor by SNFK Music

OrangeFlavor is a digital saturation unit that’s designed with analog principles in mind. The plugin’s sleek UI features a frequency viewer for added harmonics, which are generated via a sound engine that boasts anti-aliasing capabilities—which allow you to produce sounds that are dirty but clean at the same time. Go to 2:50 of the video to learn more about OrangeFlavor and hear it in action.

Download SNFK Music’s OrangeFlavor here.

5. Valvola by HoRNet Plugins

Appropriately named after the Italian word for “vacuum tube,” Valvola is an effects plugin that replicates the behavior of a vacuum tube and its surrounding circuit. From the 12AX7 widely used in pre-amplifiers to the timeless EL84 power tube, Valvola offers a wide range of tube emulations for your enjoyment. Go to 3:24 of the video to learn more about Valvola and hear it in action.

Download HoRNet Plugins’ Valvola here.

6. BreadSlicer by Audioblast

Audioblast’s BreadSlicer is a free glitch / stutter effect plugin. In a similar spirit to the likes of iZotope’s Stutter Edit 2, BreadSlicer aims to facilitate the creation of sounds that feel simultaneously random and musical. Go to 4:04 of the video to learn more about BreadSlicer and hear it in action.

Download Audioblast’s BreadSlicer here.

7. Magic Dice by BABY Audio

BABY Audio’s Magic Dice is a quirky plugin that generates random but lush effects and textures on demand. From hazy echoes to otherworldly modulation effects, anything is possible with Magic Dice—and you’ll never hear the same thing twice. Go to 4:30 of the video to learn more about Magic Dice and hear it in action.

Download BABY Audio’s Magic Dice here.

8. Pendulate by Newfangled Audio

Pendulate is mono synth that uses what Newfangled Audio refers to as a “double-pendulum-oscillator” to create new and unheard sounds. From unapologetic basses to soaring leads and everything in between, Pendulate features a wide array of sonic possibilities for you to explore. Go to 5:09 of the video to learn more about Pendulate and hear it in action.

Download Newfangled Audio’s Pendulate here.

9. Spaz by Two Clicks Audio

Few distortion plugins boast the chaotic UI or bold sounds of Two Clicks Audio’s Spaz. You can choose from 20 presets to quickly arrive to a solid starting point, and then layer hundreds of different variables to arrive to your one-of-a-kind sound. Go to 5:50 of the video to learn more about Spaz and hear it in action.

Download Two Clicks Audio’s Spaz here.

10. Mad Filter by Rast Sound

Don’t let its (lack of a) price tag fool you—Rast Sound’s filter and drive circuits are state-of-the-art. While it has all the fundamental features you’d expect from a filtering plugin, complex LFOs and randomization options also allow you to tap into your playful side as a sound designer. Go to 6:18 of the video to learn more about Mad Filter and hear it in action.

Download Rast Sound’s Mad Filter here.

11. Rift Feeback Lite by Minimal Audio

Lush, modern, and streamlined, Rift Feedback Lite gives you a taste of Minimal Audio’s iconic effects unit. This version specifically focuses on musical feedback processing, allowing you to tune the physical modeling to align with your track’s key, apply it as a MIDI effect, etc. The plugin (usually $29) is only free for a limited time, so it might be worth trying out sooner rather than later. You can go to 6:57 of the video to learn more about Rift Feeback Lite and hear it in action.

Download Minimal Audio’s Rift Feeback Lite here.

12. Initial Clipper by Initial Audio

Initial Clipper is a free plugin that does one deceptively simple task: it prevents your audio from exceeding 0 dB. It does so via a high-quality soft clipping algorithm, and also features extra saturation capabilities—because as Initial Audio says, “Who doesn’t love more saturation?” Go to 7:32 of the video to learn more about Initial Clipper and hear it in action.

Download Initial Audio’s Initial Clipper here.

13. Odin 2 by TheWaveWarden

Last but not least, Odin 2 is TheWaveWarden’s polyphonic synth that puts the world of sound design at your fingertips. From using the classic sound of built-in analog waveforms to drawing your own from scratch, you can do so many things with Odin 2 that you wouldn’t typically expect from a free instrument. Go to 8:23 of the video to learn more about Odin 2 and hear it in action.

Download TheWaveWarden’s Odin 2 here.

What are your favorite free music production plugins?

Hopefully, the plugins above will allow you to explore new and rich sonic possibilities on a budget in 2022. Which entries were your favorites? Are there any underrated plugins that we missed? Let us know in the comments section of the video.

Need some creative inspiration? Try our free Beatmaker tool and make a beat using samples from Splice’s premium Sounds catalog:

January 22, 2022

Nick Chen Content Marketing @ Splice. Nick Chen is a producer, performer, and educator under the aliases "nickthechen" and "Enix."