Free Sampler VST Plugins


This article features free sampler VST plugins. For more categories, return to Free VST Plugins.

Most digital audio workstations come with a built-in sampler instrument. Some are very good, such as the EXS24 in Logic Pro or the Sampler in Ableton Live. Others leave a lot to be desired. We listed the best sampler VST plugins you can download for free to give your DAW a little boost.

Grace by One Small Clue

Grace by One Small Clue

Grace is the most user-friendly free sampler VST plugin. It offers all of the essential features that are required in a sampler instrument. Despite the fairly complex feature set, the sampler’s interface is intuitive and easy to use, resulting in a fast workflow. Even more importantly, Grace is compatible with WAV, AIFF, and SND audio formats while also supporting SFZ patch import. This feature makes it capable of loading numerous freely downloadable SFZ sound libraries.

The plugin’s main panel provides direct access to all of the available control parameters. There’s no need to dig through the menus in search of a control knob or a specific setting. Building a new sample kit from scratch is a simple task with Grace. It can handle velocity layering, round-robin, random sample playback, and more. Even the advanced modulation routings can be adjusted from the front panel itself. The plugin also features a set of multi-mode filters, a pair of step sequencers, and several XY pads which are helpful in live performance situations.

Grace hits the perfect balance of being a feature-packed sampler VST plugin that is also easy to use. The only drawback is the lack of support for digital audio workstations running on macOS. If you’re a Mac user, the next free sampler plugin on the list will be a better fit.

More info: Grace

Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit VST plugin hosts on Windows.

TX16Wx Software Sampler by CWITEC

TX16Wx Software Sampler by CWITEC

TX16Wx Software Sampler is the most advanced free sampler VST plugin. It is a creative sampler instrument plugin inspired by the classic hardware samplers of yesteryear. The plugin is loosely based on the Yamaha TX16W hardware sampler. However, TX16Wx introduces numerous improvements and software-specific features that aren’t available in its hardware counterpart.

Compared to Grace, the excellent TX16Wx Software Sampler provides a more extensive feature set but at the cost of having a more complicated user interface. That said, users who are looking for an advanced free sampler VST plugin will probably choose TX16Wx over Grace. Some of the features that make TX16Wx Software Sampler stand out are the ability to record audio, automatic loop detection and keyboard mapping, interactive loop slicing, and more.

TX16Wx Software Sampler can load samples in WAV, AIFF, Ogg, and FLAC formats. The plugin can also load SoundFonts, SFZ, Akai, and EXS format presets. It’s also worth noting that TX16Wx is compatible with macOS, unlike Grace.

More info: TX16Wx Software Sampler

Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin hosts on Windows and macOS.

Sitala by Decomposer

Sitala (beta 2) by Decomposer

Sitala is a free drum sampler plugin that is focused on simplicity. You won’t find any of the complex mapping or advanced modulation features seen in Grace and TX16Wx. Sitala offers sixteen sample slots, each with a set of six control parameters. The user can adjust the tone, shape, compression amount, tuning, volume, and stereo pan, parameters of each sample slot individually. These controls are accessed right from the front panel, without having to navigate through menus.

To import the samples into Sitala, use the built-in file browser or drag and drop the samples onto the user interface. The loaded samples can be easily rearranged and mapped to a different MIDI note.

Users who need a drum sampler with a blazing fast workflow should definitely check out Sitala. It’s the type of drum sampler you want to have at your disposal when the inspiration kicks in and the drum kit should be ready to go ASAP. Sitala also includes a great-sounding 808 drum machine sound kit.

More info: Sitala

Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit VST and AU plugin hosts on Windows and macOS.

Grooove BPB by brunsandspork

Grooove BPB by brunsandspork

Grooove BPB by brunsandspork is worth checking out if you require a bit more functionality from a drum sampler VST. This freeware virtual instrument is based on the commercial version of Grooove. The free version does come with some limitations, but it is fully functional and more than capable of handling most drum sampling tasks. It is available for free download exclusively here at Bedroom Producers Blog.

More info: Grooove BPB

Compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit VST, VST3, and AU plugin hosts on Windows and macOS.

Shortcircuit 1 by Vember Audio (Discontinued)

Shortcircuit 1 was once a very pricey piece of commercial software. It later became freeware, but the software was discontinued a couple of years ago. Shortcircuit 1 was built by a talented developer who later worked for Ableton and now develops Bitwig Studio. Simply put, Shortcircuit is a powerhouse sampler with pretty much all the features you’d need in a sampler plugin. It’s multitimbral, supports multiple outputs, and works with WAV, SFZ, SF2, Akai, REX, and a bunch of other formats. It is almost closer to being a synthesizer (with audio samples used instead of oscillators) than just a sampler instrument.

Being that the software is now discontinued, there are no updates planned. Still, there’s a glimmer of hope that Shortcircuit 1 could be re-released as open-source software one day. This is because Vember Audio recently made its Surge virtual synthesizer open-source, leading to numerous improvements that were implemented by a team of volunteer developers. As a matter of fact, Surge is the top pick in our list of free synthesizer VST plugins.

Download: Shortcircuit 1 (discontinued, Web Archive link)

Compatible with 32-bit VST plugin hosts on Windows.

More Free Sampler VST Plugins

  • Linux Sampler is a powerful cross-platform sampler plugin. It was originally developed for Linux but you can also use it as a VST plugin on Windows and macOS.
  • Cyclone is another emulation of the Yamaha TX16W sampler. Unlike TX16Wx Software Sampler, Cyclone emulates the hardware on a component level and doesn’t introduce any new features.

For more freeware plugins and instruments, return to our Free VST Plugins page.

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. Shortcircuit and SFZ Sample Player are really a fundamental part of my workflow. The only complaints I have are that SFZ Sample Player does not permit multiple instances (at least it’s not working on Reaper for me) and that in Shortcircuit you can’t just move a sample around on the mapping editor by dragging it (you have to move the “in” and “out” points, which is not ideal in some cases where you placed the A sample on a C and just want to drag it on its correct position).

    • Reaper user here. Switch over to Plogue Sforzando for sfz libraries. Works great, really stable, and new builds are even coming out. Best part – free.

    • Bedroom Producers Blog


      Aelfric, a huge THANK YOU for all your useful comments on the site. I’ll update the articles as suggested. Thanks for the support!

  2. If someone really wants to go crazy with the old school hardware design, Sonic Charge’s Cyclone is amazing. Its also modeled after the tx16w, but with their excellent alternative os (seriously, if you got a physical tx16w, this is required).

    Works on both windows and macs too; quite old macs in fact, there’s a ppc download hidden on their forums.

  3. Just though I would drop in and give a shout-out that the Highlife Sampler 1.4 is still available for those that want it. The ‘freeze’ feature alone makes this a must have IMO.

    Usually any links to the Highlife Sampler will redirect you to discoDSP’s Bliss page which is what Highlife evolved into. However the link below is to an
    archive page where you will find:

    – Open Source version 1.0 R3

    – Open Source version 1.0 R3 source code tarball

    – Freeware version 1.4

    A link to the Linux version is also provided. The MAC version is not provided but it never had the freeze feature anyway…

    NOTE!: This is NOT a crack or link to illegal downloads – READ THE PAGE. The person hosting the downloads explains how he researched before providing the files so everything is on the ‘up n’ up’.

    Here’s the link:

  4. Grace have high CPU usage, making my PC with Reaper and Salamander Drums hog as hell. TX16Wx now looking better and move intuitive than in an article.
    At everything else – Tomislav – you’re the best, I can’t say less. Made me refuse pirating (which was a part of my life for a long time).

    • Dave The Barbarian


      I agree so much with your comment about Tomislav and his blog. I’ve also been inspired to delete my cracked software and go legit and guilt-free (emphasis on free!). The immediate effect is that I’m more focused on getting things done instead of twiddling around with some plugin that I might only use once and then forget about. Thanks so much for your wonderful blog.

  5. Thomas D. Lynas


    Agreed. Best discovery i have ever made. The amount of quality freeware is overwhelming. I also have stopped looking for ‘cracked’ software. Usually I use it once and forget it. These plugins are fabulous and addictive. Thanks to you and all the other fabulous people who produce these.

  6. Does anyone know if any of these samplers will load and play passive sampled instruments that are in the file format played by HALion or EXS24? Or, if there are any players that will play those file formats?

    • The excellent free TX16Wx can play Logic EXS instruments, among many other formats. I don’t know about any free sampler that can play HALion :(

  7. There’s a second version of short circuit which is the best sampler I have ever seen. It is very much surge looking which is also a main part of my projects.

    • Agree, Shortcircuit 2 is just incredible. Lightning fast to find samples, build kits and switch between them, and also to edit sounds.

      It’s IMO simply one of the best VSTs of all time when it comes to ease and speed of use. I can’t believe it wasn’t continued.

      It works perfectly on my Win 7, Reaper setup, but some are having issues with it so YMMV.

  8. Grace is quick to use, but has no multi-outs which is very limiting.

    Poise is a drum sampler by the same developer and is now free. Comes with multi-out. Still easy to use, except for the small GUI.

  9. Trying for a second time, not sure my first attempt made it to the chat. I’m not too familiar with software synths and especially samplers. I did own an Ensoniq EPS until it died. I want to make a reverse piano sample to play back. I know I could sample the note, bring it into Reaper, reverse it, and save it out as a playback from Cantabile, but I was kinda hoping to learn something new. Do most samplers have a reverse wave feature, and do they load files for this, or hook up the input to do this? Thanks is advance! chris

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