Free VST Hosts | Free VST Plugins

Free VST Hosts

Cantabile is so much more than simply a VST host. It is the best way we have found to play VST instruments and add effect plugins in real-time. By real time I mean live performance. “What can I say? Cantabile changed my life. It’s the most stable, fastest and best supported live host for PC!”
Sven Godly – Pianist for The Xperience… Price: Free


Psycle is a free, open-source, music creation program that offers an easy way to create your own music fast and with high quality. Latency seems to be a problem with other free vst hosts. Not so with Pscyle. When you hit a key on your keyboard, there is virtually no delay. You will also need to install ASIO4ALL. ASIO4ALL is a high speed audio driver… Price: Free


SAVIHost is a little derivate of VSTHost that has been crafted for the sole purpose of automatically loading exactly one VSTi. To do so, savihost.exe has to be copied or renamed to the name of the PlugIn’s DLL. If, for example, the PlugIn is called blabla.dll, savihost.exe has to be renamed to blabla.exe… Price: Free


While VSTHost is a demonstrational Windows program started mainly as an aid in understanding and debugging VST plugins, it has evolved into one of the most capable of the free VST hosts and can be extremely helpful in a keyboard artist’s live setup. Since questions do occur from time to time, a discussion forum is available… Price: Free


Chainer is an amazing digital signal processing application that allows you to record audio, use effect plug-ins, and audio synthesizer signals, all integrated in one virtual interface by utilizing Virtual Studio Technology. It’s one of the few VST hosts that runs as a standalone application, VST effect or VST instrument. Chainer allows you to… Price: Free


A VST (plus AudioUnit on OSX) plugin host designed for live use. Based on the ‘JUCE’ audio plugin host code, heavily modified to be more functional. Key features are: modular patching, all plugin parameters can be manipulated in real time via MIDI CCs or Open Sound Control messages, any number of patches can be queued up and… Price: Free


Display a number of plugin controls directly inline in the mixer strip, without opening plugin editors. Bypass plugins. Drag-n-drop plugins between tracks (and busses), retaining settings. Import audio or MIDI from your hard drive or the Freesound database. Send and receive MIDI Machine Control. Sync with JACK transport and MIDI clock… Price: Free


After three years of development, Studio One is a fresh and innovative new platform that surely will kick ass. Intended for beginners who don’t yet need the advanced features in Studio One Artist, Producer and Professional. Studio One Free provides all of the recording and editing features needed for basic music production… Price: Free


LiveProfessor is a live oriented plugin host for Windows and OSX.
LiveProfessor makes it easy to create a powerful, portable and flexible effect rack using VST or AU plugins. The software was developed in close collaboration with experienced audio professionals from live sound, theatre and broadcast… Price: Free


Audacity supports LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit effect plug-ins. Import sound files, edit them, and combine them with other files or new recordings. Export your recordings in many different file formats, including multiple files at once. Audacity is on of the few VST Hosts that can record live audio through a microphone or mixer or… Price: Free


Wavosaur is an audio editor application. It supports VST plug-in effects, which can be chained. Wavosaur supports VST plugins, ASIO driver, multichannel wav files, real time effect processing. The program has no installer and doesn’t write in the registry. Use it as a free mp3 editor, for mastering, sound design… Price: Free


CPS is a realtime interactive programming environment for audio, MIDI and other media & I/O. Patches are build by placing objects and making wires between them. CPS supports VST hosting of VST plugins/instruments, MP3 decoding, and all MPEG-4 Structured Audio opcodes (which are on their turn based on Csound). Graphics and… Price: Free


Although Podium Free isn’t technicality one of the VST Hosts we’re all familiar with, it certainly deserves to be considered as a very capably DAW. Podium Free is a freeware edition of Podium. It is fully functional with only a few feature limitations. Download and installation doesn’t require registration… Price: Free

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Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio

Psycle Modular Music Creation Studio is a complex VST Host and at the same time, an easy to master application that supports a virtual audio recording studio designed to be a tracker interface for creating your own music using native VST synthesizer effects, VST plugins as well as internal samplers with effects and wave files through the sampler.

The first time you fire up psycle, you may have to adjust the configuration according to your hardware. If you don’t already have an ASIO output driver, it’s easy to get one at There is a “configuration” entry in the menu bar. Adjust the settings there if you have problems.

After the basic initial configuration, the first thing you’ll want to do with your brand new music studio is to make some music. Sounds in Psycle are made with machines. If you’re not already familiar with machines, they are simply VST Instrument plugins.

Machines are split into two categories: generators which are the actual instruments you’re looking for and the effects you can apply to the instruments. Additionally, any machine can be an internal machine, a native machine, or a VST. In general it makes things easier if you sort your machines into generators and effects, so it would be a good idea to sort them into there appropriate folders.

If you have been recording or producing music via a computer, you may have heard the term VST. What are free VST hosts and how do they figure into playing, recording and editing music?

VST, Virtual Studio Technology, is an interface standard for connecting synthesizers and effects to audio editors and recording systems via vst hosts along with a variety of vst plugins. Invented and developed by Steinberg, makers of the Cubase audio recording programs; VST replaces traditional audio recording hardware with software equivalents.

So instead of having to route your audio out of your computer into your hardware effects units and then back into your computer, all the routing is done internally. If you have a powerful enough computer, you can do real time effects processing, utilizing either a MIDI controller or through envelope tweaks using MIDI.

There are 2 different types of VST plugins, with thousands of different varities, making it the most widely used plugin type. The 2 main types are:

VST Instruments

Also know as a VSTi, they take the form of synthesizers and sampler units. They can be played in real time, or also used in conjunction with MIDI for live performance. They are basically a software version of a piece of hardware.

I have and use the Master Hammond B3 VST soft synth very often, which is the software version of the Hammond organ. Let me tell you, lugging the soft synth version of the B3 around in my laptop is a whole lot easier than having to carry around the hardware version!

VST Effects

VST effects are used to process audio, like any other type of audio effect. These can also be used in real time, most effectively when coupled with an appropriate low-latency soundcard. There are VST equivalents to every type of audio effect available as hardware. I use all of the standard VST effects that come with Cubase SX, plus quite a few standalone units as well. One great VST effects bundle is the WaveLab 6 package offered by Steinberg.

VST instruments and effects must be used in conjunction with a VST host to be used at all. VST hosts are usually a software application or a hardware device. I use Cubase SX as a host for my VST instruments and effects, and I recommend the program not just for its VST support. As a multi-track recording program that supports MIDI and VST technologies, there aren’t many other programs out there as robust and user-friendly as Cubase SX.

As a computer savvy musician, if you aren’t familiar with VST technology, I suggest that you get acquainted. It will cut down on your equipment costs and potentially streamline your recording and editing processes.