Best Virtual Musical Instruments Software: 15 Must-Have Tools

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Key notes

  • With the best virtual musical instruments software, you can become a real orchestra and boost your creativity.
  • There are plenty of digital music editing software on the market targeted to different types of users.
  • Below you'll find a comprehensive list of both professional and beginner-friendly audio editing software, stick around to see which one suits you best.
Virtual musical instruments software

You’ve got all the gear you need, but do you also have the software to lay it all down with? People say that it’s all about the musician and the recording software doesn’t matter that much.

Well, let’s agree to disagree, as our opinion is that you really do need the proper software to get the full capabilities of the songs you have been working so hard on building inside your mind.

You really need something to transfer those ideas into reality, and also to optimize your workflow by simplifying the process of making music.

The amount of music software available on the Internet is huge therefore it might leave you a bit confused.

This is the exact reason for which we have created a decent collection of software compatible with modern systems that you also might find in the folders of various professional artists.

Choosing your production software

When you think about the best choices in production software, it’s crucial that you take into consideration all of your personal needs. Here are some essential aspects that you should keep in mind:

  • Budget

This is really an investment for the future so you’re going to want to get it right from the very beginning.

You should really think long-term before emptying your pockets and it’s also recommended that before you drop the money, you also consider trying some free trials.

  • Experienced level

If you’re just starting out, you shouldn’t get too crazy with spending lots of cash on highly professional software.

Instead, you should start with something that you’d easily be able to understand and use in order to get your skills in making music going.

On the other hand, if you’re more experienced and you’re looking for a way to boost your skills and your creations, going higher on the cash level and getting some expert software is going to be worth it.

This will prove to be an investment if you take a minute to think about the future.

  • Are you planning on performing live?

Some software is more suited for live performances offering some easy integration with MIDI controllers, VST instruments, control surface , and more live performance gear and features.

On the other hand, eventually, any software is great for performing live, so don’t worry about this too much.

  • Stick with your choice

Your goal should be becoming more and more familiar with what you’ve chosen, because the quicker and the easier your workflow is, the more confident you’ll become, and the better your music will sound.

What are the best virtual musical instruments software to get?

Adobe Audition

Adobe is at the top of the editing software market and no one can deny it. However, it does have a few surprises to offer in terms of audio and video production too.

You just need to try out Adobe Audition and you’ll get the point. Besides the full functionality of an audio editing program, this tool also provides outstanding multitrack recording capabilities found on audio workstations.

Not many professional audio editing programs let you record more than one audio source at once. That’s not an issue to worry about when using Adobe Audition.

After all, that’s the industry’s best audio editing tool. So, don’t hesitate to take your time to explore it and enjoy unmatched stability even in longer recordings. You deserve it!

Refer to the key features below for further details:

  • User-friendly, uncluttered interface to help you focus on achieving the desired result
  • Full digital mixer to adjust the levels and panning of multiple audio tracks at once
  • The essential Sound panel that guarantees professional-quality audio
  • Useful Remix feature to automatically rearrange songs to fit any duration
  • Remarkable noise reduction capabilities
  • Impressive restoration tools
  • Convenient use alongside Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of products for professional digital media
Adobe Audition

Adobe Audition

Use this top sound editing software for professional results and multitrack recording.
Check priceVisit website

FL Studio

Image Line’s FL Studio is one (if not THE) of the best DAWs in case you’re looking to start out and get your feet wet in the whole music-making area.

This one is out for quite a long time and it’s no wonder it has become so popular. If boasts the standard protocol with pitch shifting, correction, time-stretch, cut, paste, and the works and its interface is perfect for beginners.

You can use MIDI keyboards, a mic to record into it, and you can also do all of your standard editing and mixing. Another great feature is the compatibility with a lot of plug-ins like Nexus1&2, FAB Filters, Zebra, etc.

It’s more than best for the newcomers in the music industry. It comes with a demo/trial version, but for better service, there’s always a price.

However, the demo will help you decide after starting to get deeper into the creation process.

FL Studio

FL Studio

If you’re looking with quick results and easy editing, FL Studio will work like a charm.
Check priceVisit website

Pro Tools

If you’re looking for the industry standard, this is the software you should choose. Any professional producer or sound engineer will tell you the exact same thing.

It would take hundreds of articles to describe all the features of this software, so it’s not quite suited for beginners. It offers the standard abilities to compose, record, mix, edit, master, and more.

It boasts a super-fast processor, a 64-bit memory capacity, its own latency input buffer that will help with delays, and built-in metering.

Pro Tools offers features for all music creation stages. You can record, produce, edit, mix and master your tracks without the need for additional tools.

Here are some of the most notable features of Pro Tools:

  • Thousands of instrument sounds
  • Automated playlist tracking
  • Huge library of audio and MIDI tracks
  • Flexible MIDI editor
  • Allows quick creation of presets
  • Assisted music distribution to streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora, but also on social media
  • Collaboration Cloud
  • Provides tutorials

Pro Tools has a free version as well as a subscription-based one with 3 types of plans available. It offers special deals for students and teachers, and it also has special plans for enterprises and institutions. 

Pro Tools

Pro Tools

This is one of the sound engineers’ preferred tools and it’s because it’s one of the industry’s standard recording software.
Free trialVisit website


This is a feature-packed workstation for making music from scratch, and it’s great for editing samples and tracks. This remains one of the most popular free music production and editing suites on PC and beyond.

It was developed by Tobias Doerffel, Paul Giblock, Danny McRae and Javier Serrano Polo and it’s also one of the most comprehensive DAWs ever and it doesn’t cut features and utilities.

Key features of LMMS include:

  • MIDI or typing keyboard controls
  • Piano Roll Editor
  • Beat+ Bassline Editor
  • 16 built in sythesizers
  • Active online user community
  • Sharing platform for users to promote their projects

LMMS can be a great starting point for beginners, not only because it packs its features in an easy-to-use UI, but also because it is open source. You don’t need to pay for the software, but they have a community of users that donate to keep the project going.



This one is designed for professional musicians and DJs but don’t worry as it’s totally accessible for newcomers also.

It’s one of the oldest open-source music workstations on the market and there’s a pretty good reason for which it lasted for so long: it’s one of the best ways to start making music for free.

Virtual DJ is also a good tool to use live as it offers some real-time track effects such as instant acapella and instrumentals, on-the-fly mashups, and real-time track separation.

You can easily integrate your DJ set, but it is not necessary. The software works as a stand-alone DJ mixer without the need for additional equipment.
Other key features of Virtual DJ include:

  • Supports multiple media formats: audio, video and karaoke
  • Advanced library management with smart folders, intutive categories and AI-suggestions
  • Built-in audio and video effects
  • High quality pitch-stretching
  • Limiter for clipping and distortion
  • Auto detects DJ hardware and sound cards
  • Unlimited blanks and sample slots
  • Allows the creation of both public and private Cloudlists
  • Automatic creation of a mix based on song structure and beats for best transitions
  • Assists online radio and podcast broadcast

Virtual DJ has been a user favorite software for quite some time and now it has over 100 million users worldwide. The software has a free version, and also subscription-based plans for professional-level users. It comes with a 20-day free trial. 

Get VirtualDJ


Audacity is more than a tool for editing podcasts and it’s perfect for musicians and DJs of all levels.

Audacity remains one of the most brilliant accessible DAWs and it’s the perfect choice for songwriters of all experience and skill levels.

You can use it to rip tracks straight from CDs and to import them in formats including WAV, AIF, and MP3.

You can also integrate a microphone or mixer to record live audio. Audacity allows you to record from multiple inputs at the same time as long as all devices are connected.
It can also capture streaming audio if you integrate sound cards. 

Audacity is compatible with multiple audio formats. You can import and export WAV, AIF, MP3, AU, FLAC, and Ogg Vorbis files.

The audio editor is beginner-friendly while still providing enough features to create professional projects. You get the standard Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete options. You can label, sync-lock tracks. You can alter individual sample points with the Draw Tool, edit and add multiple clips to each track. The software also has an Automatic Crash Recovery feature which keeps a backup of your files.

Other key features of Audacity include:

  • Supports 16-bit, 24-bit ad 32-bit sounds
  • Integrates LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST and Audio Unit effect plug-ins
  • Full keyboard control of all features
  • Provide detailed frequency analysis

Audacity is a free software. In terms of accessibility, it is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux users and it has multiple language packs. 

Get Audacity


This is a free drum machine that has become a favorite throughout the online music-making community.

Sometimes all you need is a digital drum machine with all the trimmings for finding the right beat, the best track for your lyrics, or for laying down the foundation for the best D&B song ever created on this planet.

This is where Hydrogen comes in as a free Windows music production app that will sweep you off your feet.

Hydrogen offers the basic toolset for Moving, Deleting, Copying and Cutting audio tracks. The sequencer is pattern-based, and you can create as many patterns as you want.

You can import various sound samples of .wav, .au and .aiff formats. Compressed FLAC files are also supported.

Key features of Hydrogen include:

  • Unlimited instrument tracks 
  • Sample Editor
  • Advanced tab-tempo
  • Time stretch and pitch functions
  • Multiple patterns playing at once
  • Play lists with scripting functions

Hydrogen has a dedicated user community. They interact with each other via a forum within the official website of the software. There you can find tips& tricks about how to use the software, you can ask your own questions or provide tutorials. Many users offer Patterns they created for further use, free of charge.

Get Hydrogen

Ableton Live

Since its introduction in 1999, Ableton Live has been constantly growing as a popular DAW and this happened for a very good reason.

It features the standard multi-track recording (with the unlimited number of audio/MIDI tracks), cut/paste/splice options but what’s the greatest thing about it is the seamless MIDI sequencing software and hardware.

It’s also one of the best DAWs for performing live.

Ableton has an extensive library of 5+GB for the Intro Version, 10+GB for the Standard Version and 70+ for the Suite Version.

The software provides thousands of different sounds. On top of that, you get over 20 audio effects and up to 15 MIDI effects.

The user interface is simple and easy to understand. It is reportedly great for quick and intuitive composition, allowing users to play around with the settings.

All changes made to your tracks can be reversed with unlimited Undo, so you can freely play around without worrying about losing the perfect sound.

Other key features of Ableton include:

  • MIDI sequencing of both software and hardware instruments
  • Unlimited instruments and effects per project
  • Track freeze
  • MIDI remote control
  • MIDI output to hardware synths
  • Supports WAV, AIFF, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, and FLAC 
  • Drum-rack layering tool
  • Different sound packs including Drum Essentials, Grand Piano, and Orchestral Strings

Ableton is compatible with Windows and macOS. To use any version, you will have to pay for a license. However, you can try all the features provided for free within a 90-day trial.

Get Ableton Live


All major DAWs (digital audio workstations) usually offer a free trial period, and one of the hidden treasures in the area is Reaper. You’ll be able to enjoy the free trial for 60 days as you can see on the website.

With Reaper, you can get unlimited access to a very stable DAW that features similarities with the powerful Logic and Cubase.

Just like the previously discussed tools, Reaper can be used on its own as a digital audio workstation, or you can connect it to additional hardware. It can be of great use both for amateurs and professionals.

With Reaper, you can record in audio and MIDI formats. You can simultaneously record as many tracks as your hardware inputs allow.

Other key features include:

  • Compatible with almost any third-party audio or midi plug-in: VST, VST3, VSTi, LV2, LV2i, DX/DXi (Windows only)
  • Real-time pitch shifting, correction, and time stretch
  • Includes multiple pitch/timestretch engines
  • Highly customizable UI, multiple layouts provided
  • Can be used on a USB key or other removable media
  • Active and helpful user forum

To use Reaper you will have to purchase a license. As stated in the beginning, the software can be tried for free. It is compatible with Windows and macOS.

Get Reaper


If you’d like a simple and bold synth to get you started in the niche then Togu Audio Line’s Noisemaker is the thing for you.

This is an analog modeling synth featuring three oscillators, and this makes it one of the best free options for getting a vintage sound.

Its controls are much easier to understand than the ones of Ableton, so it’s quite ideal if you’re a novice.

Noisemaker provides a TAL-J-8 plug-in which is reportedly a digital emulation of 80’s synthesizers. You get additional calibration features. Just this plug-in offers over 300 presets.
It also has bassline, sampler, free audio filters, and more.

Other key features of Noisemaker include:

  • Adjustable master tune and transpose
  • Adjustable Velocity 
  • Adjustable Pitch Wheel
  • Built-in reverb
  • Built-in delay
  • 256 presets

TAL NoiseMaker can be used on Windows, Linux, and macOS computers. It is open source and distributed for free.

Get Noisemaker

Crystal (Green Oak)

Crystal is one of the classical synths and with its FM, and granular and wave sequencing synthesis capabilities, it can create some extremely complex and evolving sounds.

Even though it looks a bit aged compared to other synths, trust us that if you want to create otherworldly timbres, this is the choice for you and it will keep you hooked for a long time.

Crystal s a plugin, you have to already have a base host software for it to run. 
You can use it to edit synth patches. You can either use the presets provided by the plug-in or create your own patches. In the UI you have a modulation page with various controls of your audio file. You also have 3 voice pages which can be used simultaneously.

The mixer page is where you control the voices, add effects and overlay them to fit well together. 
The mixer has different options like a delay parameter, modulated effects like chorus, phasing, and flanging. 
Other key features include:

  • Oscillator section for voices
  • Ring and Frequency modulations
  • Portamento parameter which adds glide to the pitch of each note
  • Shaper control in the Filter section 

Crystal has rather advanced tools and its UI uses production-specific language without much guidance. However, they do provide step-by-step guides online which can be of great help for beginners.
It can be used for free on macOS and Windows computers.

Get Crystal

Dexed (Digital Suburban)

If you’re in desperate need of creating lush pad sounds, Dexed is the best choice you have. This emulation of the Yamaha DX7 captures the synth’s classic FM sound just as well as any other alternative.

It’s also perfect for creating bold plucked struck sounds and for making bright keys and it’s the perfect tool for your percussion.

Dexed can be used on Windows, macOS and it can also be used on Android devices.

The software comes with 3 engine types: Modern for the Android implementation, Mark I which is closest to the real sound of DX7, and the OPL Series which is an experimental implementation. 

Other features of Dexed include:

  • Over 100 parameters
  • Can be used with a native DX7, TX7 as a patch editor and sysex manager
  • Each operate has a real time VU meter
  • Can load/save any type of DX7/TX7 sysex program

Dex is free to download. It offers additional plugins. These can be both free or paid.

Get Dexed

MFreeEffectsBundle (Melda Production)

If you’re after a selection of basic effects and utilities, MFreeEffectsBundle is worth checking out. Its 25 utilities range from a simple noise generator and phaser to a six-band equalizer.

The software included in the package only offers limited functionality compared to its paid offer, but you’ll still find a lot of useful things in it. You can edit your tracks with a WaveShaper, or a Freeform Phase.

On top of that, the software comes with an MC generator that produces up to 8 MIDI values. Combine that with the MCompressor to process for unique features such as custom processing shape.

Other key features of MFreeEffectsBundle include:

  • Tremolo control
  • Stereo field correction
  • Saturation controls
  • 6-band Equalizer with analyzer and sonogram
  • Audio Pitch Analyzer for tuning instruments
  • Integrated Notepad

This is the free version of the software. You can also get premium bundles for more features. Each premium bundle comes with a free trial.

Get MFreeEffectsBundle

Reason (Propellerhead)

Reason by Propellerhead is less known in the music-making software industry but it’s one of the most stable programs, as far as we have learned. You can drag and drop among its interface and it offers a fast system.

The workflow is amazing especially for those of you who find themselves within the middle semi-pro range. It has a very powerful mixing console, and some say that it’s similar to Pro Tools and Logic.

The software works with MIDI controllers as well as with a mouse. It has a fast sequencer with many editing features. It has a special feature called Regroove Groove Mixer which enhances your playing by making it sound more natural.

Key features of Reason include:

  • Easy to use Sample
  • FM Synthesizer
  • Shapeshiftin Synthesizer
  • Specific string instruments editing mode
  • Drum Designer
  • Processed Piano Package

Reason is a subscription-based software that charges monthly. You can try it for free within a 7-day trial.

Get Reason

Cubase (Steinberg)

You would be quite surprised if you only knew how many people actually use the Cubase music software. Steinberg features its own signature key, and score and drum editor are included in this workstation.

You can use the Key Editor to manually edit your MIDI track just in case you need to move a note. It offers you unlimited audio and MIDI tracks, incorporated VSTs, reverb effects, and much more.

Cubase features one of the biggest sound libraries out there and also some of the most powerful plugins within a DAW, including the HALion Sonic SE 2 with synth sounds, Groove Agent SE 4 with 30 drum kits, EMD construction kits, LoopMash FX, and more.

Other key features of Cubase include:

  • Advanced and Basic Channel Strip
  • Chord Pads
  • Mix Console
  • Sampler
  • Advanced Audio Export with Sync
  • Customizable Workspaces
  • Colorized Mixer Channels
  • Scale Assistant
  • Advanced Recording toolset
  • Key Editor

Some say that it’s quite expensive and even harder to learn, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be good to go for a long period of time.

Get Cubase

This is the digital age that we live in, so most of the production software out there is up-to-date and extremely popular. Go with the ones we’ve listed and you should be more than fine. Good luck!

If you have any thoughts about this list, drop us a line in the comments section below.

More about the topics: Adobe Audition, music software