There are a variety of instruments out there, and they each serve a different purpose in a given song or composition. The flute is a pure and beautiful instrument. Sometimes mysterious, sometimes playful, it’s one of those distinct sounds that can be hard to replace as you’re working on your musical projects.
Naturally, there’s always the opportunity to hire a flutist and record them at your studio. This is usually the more complicated and costly route, though, and it requires microphones, setup, sheet music, and so forth.
Which is why, in this guide, we cover the best free flute VST plugins you can find. Use these to embellish your projects with more flute now!
Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra 2 by Versilian Studios
For those looking for a thorough orchestral instrument library, there’s Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra 2, also known as VSCO 2. There are three editions to this plugin, but fortunately for us, the Community Edition is free, while the two other editions are not.
But even with the Community Edition, Versilian Studios puts quite a bit of orchestral power at your fingertips. Chamber Orchestra 2 comes with 19 instruments, 1,952 samples (plus 1,200 others), SFZ, VSTi, and Kontakt 5.5+ compatibility, .XRNI, SampleTank, and WAV, with basic articulations. They’ve basically thought of everything here.
All told, Chamber Orchestra 2 requires 3 GB of hard drive space, which gives you a good idea of how much is ultimately included.
Versilian Studios calls this a “different kind of library for a different kind of person.” Because they don’t claim to have captured the best “Hollywood” sounds using the best materials, best session players, best microphones in the best spaces (which is exactly how those collections tend to promote themselves).
Chamber Orchestra 2 was created to celebrate a diversity of instruments and people, whether it’s students, teachers, collectors, or musicologists playing modern or antique instruments. As result, the sounds are unique too, with a variety of articulations.
Recording was done using transparent equipment and processing. Room coloration was dialed down to give you a pure sound, and stereo and multi-mic positioning controls are onboard for additional customization.
If this is for you, then I probably don’t need to say a word more. Go and grab Chamber Orchestra 2 now.
As for the sounds, I find them quite nice. They aren’t all authentic and true to life, but this is nevertheless an incredible collection for the price. Oh, wait. There is no price for the Community Edition. It’s free!
Download: Versilian Studios
Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra by Mattias Westlund & bigcat instruments
Like the Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra, the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra is another free orchestral sample library. So, if you’re in need of more instruments in your VST library, this could be a viable option for you.
Though less ambitious than many of the commercial options available, Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra has all the essentials a beginner producer might be looking for.
The included SSO samples are stereo, 16 bit, and 44kHz. Melodic instruments and chromatic percussion were sampled in minor thirds, and staccato / pizzicato patches have 2x round robin. Samples feature differing amounts of stage ambience (as with Chamber Orchestra 2, consistency wasn’t the key consideration in creating this library).
Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra includes a wide range of strings, brass, woodwinds, keys and choir, percussion, and chromatic percussion. In terms of flute, you get one solo flute and one solo alto flute.
If you need a good collection or orchestral samples, then you will enjoy Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra. I think the brass sounds might be among the best, while the strings are just so-so. To be honest, they’re all a little inorganic sounding, but it is everything conveniently in one place.
Plus, there are always different strokes for different folks, and you never know… this might be your jam.
Simple Flute by FluffyAudio
This free Kontakt instrument is none other than a flute. Yep. Just like it sounds!
Simple Flute is powered by a customized version of WIPS Scripts. It’s a highly playable instrument at any tempo. You can control the vibrato, three phase locked dynamic layers, legato, two articulations (long and short), three round robin for short articulations, and micro tuning presets with a big selection of impulse reverb presets.
You’ve also got breath and wind controllers, keyswitching, super smooth crossfading, and even trills and grace notes.
In total, you get a 55 MB sample library, 130 samples, synthesized legato engine, three wheel controlled smooth dynamic layers, three round robins (short articulations), 16 unique convolution IRs, as well as BC and Wind Controllers.
As with most free plugins, Simple Flute doesn’t have the most organic sound. That said, it is a very capable plugin, and within the context of a mix, it can sound quite nice. You certainly can’t argue with free.
Mini DiZi by Kong Audio
Kong Audio’s Mini DiZi takes after their paid equivalent, ChineeWinds Chinese Flute VSTi. Yes, Mini DiZi comes with Chinese flute inspired sounds. It doesn’t cover a lot of ground, but not would you expect it to – you get Tenor DiZi, Xiao, and a few expression styles. That said, Mini DiZi is basically like a tester for the full version.
If you’re looking to embellish your tracks with an Asian sound, this VST can certainly do the trick. The included sounds are quite nice. Maybe not 100% authentic, maybe closer to the 70 to 80% range, but I can dig it.
The graphical user interface is kind of funny. Very old school and industrial looking, contrasting with the very organic sound of flute instruments. But it’s fun in kind of an ironic way!
Download: KVR Audio Software
SIM-DIZI by Quilcom
Here’s yet another Chinese flute virtual instrument. Quilcom’s SIM-DIZI does not use samples, which means you have more control over the tone and behavior of the instrument.
The graphical interface features tone controls (rough, low, med, high, highest, onset), air-tone controls (mix, env), coloration controls (freq, res, mix), membrane controls (blow, tension, size, level), auto overblow (chance), auto ornaments (threshold speed, cut, single), auto vibrato (speed, delay, depth), and flutter (speed).
There are also parameters for pitch (oct, semi, fine, bend first), echo (time, fbk, hi cut, level), mverb 7B (tail, damp, width, mix), as well as a master volume and time recorder controls.
The sheer volume of controls here is impressive. Ultimately, SIM-DIZI does not sound fully organic, but it does do a lot of things well. And Quilcom certainly has the right idea in terms of letting you access a variety of timbres.
Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE
Iowa Alto Flute by bigcat instruments
Created at the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios, Iowa Alto Flute, like it sounds, is a sampled alto flute.
When this legacy plugin originally came out, it was probably a thing of wonder. Nowadays, though, the synthesized sound is quite apparent. The instrument sounds like an something that lives somewhere between a flute and a violin.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is a free VST after all. But if you’re looking for more authentic flute sounds, Iowa Auto Flute might not be for you.
Iowa Alto Flute is available as a 32- and 64-bit Windows VST, and a Mac VST and AU.
Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE
Iowa Bass Flute by bigcat instruments
Well, you probably know what to expect here. In addition to the Iowa Alto Flute, there’s also an Iowa Bass Flute, to access some sounds in a lower register.
As with the Alto Flute, you’ve got controls for volume, pan, attack, decay, sustain, and release.
The sound are not bad, especially when layered. There are better ones out there to be sure, but in case you’re interested in mixing and matching with the Iowa Alto Flute, this might be a fun addition to your VST library.
Iowa Bass Flute is Mac and Windows compatible.
Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE
Varazuvi Indian Flute by Varazuvi
If you’re looking for realistic Indian flute sounds, then you will probably enjoy Varazuvi Indian Flute.
This free plugin comes with real recordings of an Indian flute captured in high resolution (24-bit – 48kHz sample rates).
As you can see, the controls include attack, decay, sustain, release, volume, and reverb.
Varazuvi Indian Flute comes with two octaves of multiple velocity layered samples, and three playing styles (short, mid, and long).
Its sounds are fine. I’m not sure how to describe it exactly. It doesn’t sound much like a real flute, just vaguely like one.
I suppose you can’t expect too much from some of the early developments out there. That said, there are always ways of incorporating sounds like these into your workflow if you want. Besides, the VST plugin is free.
Download: Plugin Boutique
Flutelab comes with three oscillators, two LFOs, double filter, two envelopes, effects (equalizer, chorus, ensemble, decimator, reverb, and overdrive), as well as 24 presets.
Yep, it’s clear, even from the GUI, that this plugin is a synth as much as it is anything else. Kind of cool that it caters exclusively to flute sounds though, right?
Flutelab isn’t a revolution in free flute sounds by any means. It’s capable enough, but it’s not going to change the world I’m pretty sure.
Still, it’s plenty of fun to mess around with. So, feel free to give it a try.
Download: FREE VST PLUGINS
IxoxFlute by Ixox
The IxoxFlute is a free sampled flute VST. The main flute comes with three octaves / three velocity layers, staccato / detache mode with three octaves and two velocity layers, percussive mode with two octaves and one velocity layer, and the second flute comes with three octaves / one velocity layer, and an automatic second flute.
IxoxFlute does seem to capture the “breathy” sound of the flute quite well, even if the natural tone of it isn’t all that real.
The controls are divided into three sections. The “main control” lets you select between one or two flutes and the volume of the instrument. The “first flute” controls include articulation (normal, staccato, percussive), distance, dirty, attack, and release. And the “second flute” controls include shifter, distance, attack, release, pan, and gain.
IxoxFlute old school, but it’s still got a bit of a charm to it. Check it out in the video below.
Download: PLUGIN 4 FREE
Monster Ethnica by Monster DAW
Monster Ethnica is a collection of ethnic musical instruments from across the world. It includes Indonesian flutes, Scottish bagpipes, thunderous percussion from Africa, and more. These sounds were mixed to be highly usable right out of the box, making them quite beginner friendly. The sounds were collected from different music producers from across the world.
This VST comes with a simple, easy to use and CPU-friendly GUI, sampled sound presets, controls for master volume, master reverb, attack, decay, sustain and release, and it’s compatible with most DAWs for Windows and Mac.
The included sounds are decent enough. I don’t think they’re anything to write home about (I’m honestly reminded of SNES era video game music), but when and where you don’t have access to anything else, Monster Ethnica can certainly come in handy. And if you’re going for that lo-fi sound, this might be a place to look too.
If you’re looking for other free VSTs, you should know that Monster DAW has a bunch of others you might be interested in on their website.
Download: Monster DAW
Which Free Flute VST Plugin Do I Choose?
Given that they’re all free, you could download all of them and give them a try if you wanted to.
That said, we did categorize them below, in case you’re a little lost.
- Standalone flute VSTs. Simple Flute, Iowa Alto Flute, Iowa Bass Flute, Flutelab, and IxoxFlute all fall under this category. They may have a few articulations, controllable parameters, and they may even have polyphonic capabilities. But what they all have in common is they specialize in a flute sound.
- Orchestral libraries. Many orchestral instrument collections come with capable flute sounds. Versilian Studios Chamber Orchestra 2 and Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra are the two collections featured in this guide. Given that finding a great free flute sound can be kind of tough, it’s worth looking into orchestral libraries too. Plus, if you need to build out your virtual instrument arsenal, these libraries are worth looking into.
- Exotic / ethnic sounds. There are many types of flutes, and this category of VST plugin proves it. You’ve got quite a few to choose from, including Mini DiZi, SIM-DIZI, Verazuvi Indian Flute, and Monster Ethnica (which is sort of an instrument collection in its own right). If the sound of Indian, Indonesian, or Chinese flutes appeal to you, then these VSTs are certainly worth checking out.
As with anything in music production, though, it can take a while to figure out how a VST works, how to tweak its parameters (dial in your sounds), and how to incorporate it into your mixes. So, in most cases, expect to spend some time experimenting and gaining experience with a plugin to draw the best sounds out of it.
And, if you’re still in doubt, you can learn more about the following factors to help you decide on a free flute VST plugin.
Sound quality is important, but ultimately, it’s an individual thing. So, for example, you don’t necessarily need the best flute sound in the world for it to work with your projects.
The thing about modern production is that producers often try to get away from the pristine sound of digital recording in whole or in part, or at least combine it with vintage warmth or lo-fi effects.
If you applied a lo-fi effect or telephone style EQ to your flute track, for example, one wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell it apart from a real flute (especially in a thick mix).
To that point, though, it depends a lot on how you’re planning to use the flute. Is it going to be a supporting instrument in the background, the lead instrument in the forefront, or a “hook” instrument playing a melody alongside your shouted rhymes?
Either way, it’s good to audition the sounds solo and layered, to check for consistency, and to listen for troublesome artifacts that wouldn’t work in a full mix.
Parameters and / or features are going to vary quite a bit based on each plugin. The standard attack, decay, release, and sustain controls are certainly helpful. Many would consider panning and volume essential too.
What else do you need? Reverb, perhaps? Although you wouldn’t necessarily need an integrated reverb if you have other reverb VSTs you love.
A plugin like SIM-DIZI obviously has a lot of tweakable parameters. That might be the ideal, but you’re not going to find it with most free VSTs.
Controllable parameters aren’t everything, though, especially if you’re starting with a good sound. It really depends on how creative you plan to get with it.
Standalone Instrument Or Library
Standalone flute VSTs will generally give you a couple of tweakable sounds. Depending on your DAW, though, you should be able to add to the effects chain regardless of how many creative tools the VST puts at your fingertips.
Anyway, a flute VST is just that – a flute. If that’s all you need, then there isn’t necessarily any need to download entire instrument libraries.
For some users, though, more creative tools offer more options and freedom. A library would help them build out their VST collection, and maybe even fill some gaps in their toolkit. And given that the VSTs featured here can’t quite compare to premium / paid options, they could come in handy for a bit of lo-fi beat making too.
Top Free Flute VST Plugins, Final Thoughts
So, there isn’t a huge selection of free flutes. I mean, it’s decent all things considered. But this should not come as too big of a surprise, given that it’s more of a niche market compared to something sexier like a piano or organ.
You can still do a lot of neat things with the above, and for sketching out ideas and demos, they should more than suffice. For composing or music requiring more realistic sounds, you’ll probably want to go looking for premium flute VSTs.
Either way, we hope you enjoyed this guide.