Best Flute VST Plugins in 2022 (Free & Paid)

by Alex.   Last Updated On September 4th, 2022.
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With so many flute VSTs out there, it can be hard to find the best flute VST for your music production needs. This review highlights the best flute VSTs on the market and gives you some extra information to help you pick the right one.

Flutes are used in all kinds of musical genres, from classical orchestral music to funk, soul, and more modern electronic styles like trap and drill. I use woodwind tones in my own music all the time for catchy leads.

Using a flute VST can speed up your workflow compared to working with a real flute musician, and is often a lot more affordable than splashing out on session musicians.

Looking for more resources? Check out some other pages from our music production website… You might enjoy this review of the Best Hip-Hop VSTs or the Best EQ Plugins.

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Comparison of the Best Flute VST Plugins

Best for people who need an advanced flute-themed synthesizer. Particularly useful for creating solo instrument sounds. See On Amazon
photo of the Audio Modeling SWAM Flutes V3Audio Modeling
SWAM Flutes V3
Best for people who already own the full version of Kontakt and need a comprehensive flute VST plugin with a mix of modern and classical textures.See On Amazon
photo of the Cinematique Instruments Vertigo FluteCinematique Instruments
Vertigo Flute
Best for people who need an affordable but effective woodwind ensemble plugin in a standalone format. See On Amazon
photo of the Capsule Audio ZephyrCapsule Audio
Zephyr
Best for people looking for a modern flute instrument that produces exciting futuristic woodwind-based sounds. See On Amazon
photo of the Output ExhaleOutput
Exhale
Best if you already own Kontakt, this is a sweet flute library that creates natural, atmospheric performances with a good level of dynamic expression and a realistic sound.See On Amazon
photo of the Soundiron Little Wooden FlutesSoundiron
Little Wooden Flutes
Best if you need the sound of a historic baroque flute then you won’t find much better than the VSL Traverso. It’s got a different sound to modern concert flutes which is a bonus for some. See On Amazon
photo of the VSL Synchron-ized Traverso FluteVSL
Synchron-ized Traverso Flute
Best for those who need a simple and affordable bansuri-style flute that works in modern and traditional contexts.See On Amazon
photo of the Infinit Audio Bansuri Flute VSTIInfinit Audio
Bansuri Flute VSTI

Reviews of the Best Flute VST Plugins

The SWAM Flutes V3 Virtual Instrument Library is a professional Flute VST with all the articulations you need. The intuitive interface makes it easy to craft any kind of flute sound. Unlike most flute vsts, rather than using recorded samples, SWAM uses audio simulation to create sounds.

See On Amazon

Unlike other plugins, this uses simulation and synthesis rather than samples – although the tones still sound incredibly realistic – just like a real flute!

Because this plugin uses synthesis it requires minimal hard drive space, unlike sample library-based plugins. Included are four flute-type instruments – Flute, Sampled Alto Flute, Bass Flute, and Piccolo. These four patches give you a nice range of exciting sounds.

While some may be apprehensive about going down this synthesized route I’ve found it to be one of the best-sounding flute VST plugins out there, especially when it comes to the aspects of articulation, it can fit all the playing styles out there. All with the added benefit of being kind to your storage space!

The SWAM flutes plugin has an incredibly intuitive and fun-to-use interface which is impressive considering how deep into the editing you can get. It includes dedicated tabs that give you control over, expressivity, different play modes, timbre, pitch, and some more advanced features as well. These tabs include control over a Range of articulations and expressions. Including vibrato, flutter tongue, and breath and wind controllers.

This exciting professional-grade flute plugin doesn’t rely on huge sample libraries like traditional virtual studio instruments.

What We Like

Not just a sample library.

Impeccable digital simulation.

Ultra-realistic expression styles.

Detailed control over realistic sounds.

Know Before Buying

Over complex for basic uses.

Not the ‘real’ sound of a flute.

See On Amazon

The Vertigo Flute is a brand new addition to the symphonic range by Cinematique Instruments, It’s a great little flute ensemble for use with Native Instruments Kontakt. You will, however, need the full version of Kontakt as unfortunately, this is not compatible with Kontakt player.

See On Amazon

This Kontakt instrument is a highly versatile tool for music production and features 16 individual flute articulations. It also has 6 reverb types and 6 additional FX giving a great deal of control.

This plugin lets you sculpt a realistic and human-sounding flute performance with ease.

The 16 parallel voices are quickly blended to create your custom balance of flute textures. Mixing these different voices in addition to the expansive FX selection can create traditional flute sounds, but also works well for more modern approaches and textures.

With the right crafting, you can create warm and texturally diverse pads or otherworldly atmospheres to add to your compositions.

The sound sets, include Regular, Fragile Taped, Avant-Garde, Resampled, Blow (airflow without tone), and more. In addition to this Vertigo also includes 13 presets so you can jump right into creating right out of the box.

The full version of Kontakt is needed for this plugin which may be a big drawback for some. If you don’t already own the full version of Kontakt and have just been using Kontakt player then the added cost of Kontakt may not be worth it.

What We Like

16 different voicings in parallel.

Best for ensemble sounds.

Additional FX and Reverb.

Know Before Buying

Requires full version of Kontakt.

More modern textures, not specifically classical/traditional sounding.

See On Amazon

Zephyr is a flute instrument based on a cloud-stored collection of byte-sized sound libraries referred to as ‘Capsule’. This library is a great value-for-money, clean and realistic ensemble of flutes. However, this plugin has a 12-piece woodwind section including a woodwind ensemble quartet, meaning alongside the flutes, you also get clarinets, oboes, bassoons, and more!

See On Amazon

Each section of this chamber quartet is an ensemble with dynamic layers, the ability to move microphone positions, and a generous helping of different articulations.

Zephyr is such a versatile collection of exciting flute sounds and can be used for a wide variety of applications. I’ve put it through its paces and its sounds just as good in a hip-hop beat as it does for a classical score.

My favorite feature about Zephyr is the round-robin layers knob. Round-robin essentially plays different recordings of the same note, varying over time, ensuring that every time you play the same note you still get a slightly different sound keeping your melodies dynamic and exciting.

The two mixable microphone positions give even more realism to the flutes and added control over your creations to fit them tightly into a mix.

Not only can you use the microphone positions to give added depth and character to the mix but there is also a stereo width knob to help give you an immersive, full, and wide composition.

You might want to check out the Capsule Subscription deal ($7.99/month) which gives you access to their entire library of instruments.

What We Like

Affordable.

Includes 4 different wind instruments.

Round Robins for increased realism.

Two mic positions.

Know Before Buying

Cluttered installation manager.

Slightly cheesy sounding.

See On Amazon

While not strictly a flute VST plugin, Outputs Exhale is a full-on workhorse for all your airy-sounding synth needs. In more modern productions, these beautifully synthesized leads can replace the job of a flute in a plethora of applications.

See On Amazon

For those more modern beat-driven compositions this is an amazing tool for generating dynamic and awe-inspiring leads reminiscent of traditional wind instruments.

I played around with this plugin for hours and any skilled sound designer can have endless fun recreating traditional woodwind instruments such as a flute but with a modern and ethereal edge that cannot be found with other basic flute sound libraries.

Even if you are not a talented sound designer or music producer (yet!) you can get stuck in straight away and explore some of the best out-of-the-box presets I’ve ever heard from a plugin.

This plugin comes with a huge array of presets and a great range of effects. The presets for this plugin are immense and were created by 25 sound designers at the top of their field working for months to tweak their presets to create the perfect sounds.

While this VST plugin can produce plenty of flute-like woodwind sounds that can be dropped into modern arrangements it’s extremely versatile and has a lot of capability in creating vocal-led tones.

This plugin provides a great bang for your buck and is suited to those that want a lot more control and sounds beyond just that of your traditional flute found in an orchestra or wind quartet.

The interface is intuitive but deep and lets you customize sounds in a huge level of detail. It has a range of fast, single slider effects for tweaking sounds, but also has an underlying loop, sample, and slice selector for more detailed editing.

It might not be ideal for traditional flute sounds but is highly effective for more modern wind textures.

What We Like

Built on a free version of Kontakt, no other purchases are needed.

Deep customization and effects.

Has a more modern, electric set of sounds rather than classical.

Know Before Buying

Too futuristic sounding for authentic flute sounds.

It’s mostly built around vocal samples but can still achieve tones akin to that of a flute.

See On Amazon

Soundiron’s Kontakt library entitled ‘Little wooden flutes’ is a collection of wonderful, soulful native American and Indian flutes. The native American flutes are recorded in a dry studio environment for maximal control and the Indian flutes are recorded with a beautiful natural reverb from an open sanctuary hall to pay homage to where they were originally played.

See On Amazon

Not only does this plugin include these beautiful flutes for an already great price but they’ve also added a whole bunch of texturally rich atmospheric pads to add to the versatility of this instrument. The sound of the Indian flute captured my attention and has an intriguing spiritual tone.

The best thing about these pads is that they’ve been crafted from the original flute recordings meaning that despite them being modern and otherworldly their origin lies in the authenticity and beauty of the original flute sounds.

This plugin’s strengths lie in creating music that does not abide by strict western formulas and I’ve had great fun getting outside my comfort zone and composing pieces with an eastern influence.

However, with that being said I’ve had just as much fun using this plugin in modern western styles of music with great success! The sound of an Indian flute can work in many musical contexts.

The full control over the attack, sustain and decay with the built-in envelope coupled with Legato or staccato articulations and two simultaneous microphone positions means I had full control over the dynamics and texture of everything I was creating. It gave me the unadulterated freedom to sculpt my sounds to the vibe of whatever piece I was creating.

This plugin requires the full version of Kontakt, so if you don’t own it already you’re probably better off looking elsewhere. Although if you do have Kontakt Full, this is a nifty little flute VST library that gives you dynamic and expressive flute sounds at a low cost. This is one of the better flute Kontakt libraries out there.

What We Like

Classic ethnic flute sounds.

A large selection of samples and articulations – trills, overtones, sustains, staccatos, and more.

Waveform customization for an infinite amount of personalization.

Know Before Buying

Requires full version of Kontakt.

See On Amazon

The VSL Synchron-ized Traverso flute is a full-featured sample library of a classical Baroque style flute. If you’re hunting for an expressive and dynamic classical flute VST plugin with a production-ready sound, this is a strong pick.

See On Amazon

This plugin is centered around a Baroque flute, a particular style of the historic woodwind instrument from the 12th century. These antique instruments were the predecessor to the modern concert flute and are made of wood rather than metal.

The Baroque flute has a unique sound that differs from modern flutes, with a soft, warm, woody tone that has a similar texture to a recorder.

The samples recorded for this plugin were captured dry, but it includes a convolution reverb modeled from the main hall of the Viennese Synchron Stage, to add a shimmering and authentic ambiance.

The interface is fully featured and lets you tweak patches quickly and easily without hiding anything in complex menus. I really like the humanization controls which merge the samples and add vibrato for a more realistic performance.

VSL has a bunch of other flute-related VST instruments, including an orchestral woodwinds VST and a free VST, check them out below:

What We Like

Professional grade baroque flute recreation.

An expansive range of articulations and durations.

Convolution reverb from the Synchron Stage, Vienna.

Know Before Buying

One-trick-pony (Simply a baroque flute).

See On Amazon

An affordable but simple Chinese Bansuri-style flute using real samples. It has a decent level of expressivity for a super low price. It’s not a one-stop plugin for all your flute needs, but if you need to lay down some basic bansuri lines then this is a quick and cheap fix.

See On Amazon

The sound of a Chinese bansuri flute is an immediately recognizable one, using just any old flute VSTs for this very specific timbre won’t do.

If you’re after the best recreation of this specific flute in a VST plugin then look no further, this will do the trick. However, if you’re after a wider variety of flutes with more professional quality then this might not be for you.

This plugin comes with a range of effects: filter, reverb, wind, glide, dynamics, ADSR envelope, and more. These effects are pretty standard with most of the flute plugins I’ve reviewed here and the glide and reverb aren’t the best here so you may be turning to other third-party plugins for your reverb needs.

It also includes a filter and dynamic control to help you find the sweet performance spot for your mix as well as 7 presets including; Flutes Sustain, Flutes Staccato, and 5 extra phrases.

This great little plugin only requires low CPU usage and takes up little hard drive space, so you can probably run it on your microwave.

What We Like

Good at what it does.

Affordable.

Relatively expressive for price.

Good range of effects.

Know Before Buying

Limited range – only a bansuri flute.

Restricted Sound.

See On Amazon

Bonus Free Flute VST Plugins

Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra

You might think it’s hard to come by free flute VST plugins that have an authentic flute sound but you’d be mistaken. This is one of the best free flute VST plugins that I’ve found.

The Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra Explorer plugin is a free VST that gives users a taste of the full Spitfire BBC orchestral libraries and even competes with some full-price flute vst plugins.

This is more than a simple flute VST plugin, although it does include a full flute and woodwind section which has a very usable and expressive sound. Some also include three playing styles, giving you a wide range of tones.

Every instrument comes with both long and short samples. You can expect to find sampled flutes, a piccolo, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, and bassoon section. It also comes with full string and brass sections too, each with multiple instruments. You even get some thunderous percussion.

Despite costing $0, this is actually a powerful free flute plugin and can be a lifesaver if you need to whip up some orchestral instrumentals on a tight budget.

This is my top pick out of the best free flute VST plugins. If you are searching for the best free flute VST then this is a strong choice.

Benefits

  • Long and short articulations.
  • Includes other instruments.
  • Intuitive Interface.
  • Free!

Buyers Guide for the Best Flute VST Plugins

Articulation

Articulation, or how an instrument is played can change qualities such as volume, timbre, and pitch. Consider how you want your flute to sound and what articulations you want the plugin to have.

Flutes are commonly articulated in legato, characterized by smooth, connected, and long notes. However, it is good to have a choice of different articulations to ensure your MIDI melodies sound natural and human.

Solo or ensemble

What kind of flute sound are you after? Do you want a solo flute performance or the sound of a full ensemble? This ultimately depends on the context you’re going to use it in.

Some plugins are geared towards solos or ensembles, although others offer a mix of the two. Consider your needs and ensure the plugin you are purchasing is capable of what you want it for.

Use Case

Are you making classical music or modern-style flute trap beats? Some flute sounds have a much more traditional sound, whereas others lend themselves better to modern settings.

For more modern beat-driven music production I recommend something more versatile such as Output’s Exhale but for a traditional score something realistic and purpose-built like the VSL Synchron-ized Traverso Flute.

Download Size – PC Power Requirements.

Some flute VSTs are intense on CPU, RAM, and storage space, which might make them unsuitable if you have an old machine.

Look at the specs and make sure your computer can handle it before forking out for any flute VSTs!

FAQs

Which flute VST plugin has the best sounds?

My personal favorite has got to be Audio Modeling SWAM Flutes V3. The sound quality and realism from a synthesized flute VST are insane, I just can’t believe it doesn’t use real recordings.

It offers low storage, amazing sound quality, full control, and every kind of articulation you’ll ever need to humanize your creations and make them sound realistic.

What is the best flute for hip-hop beats?

I know loads of music producers that are really excited about Outputs Exhale, while not strictly a flute VST it is really versatile and great for creating leads in hip-hop beats.

If you are after purpose-built flute sounds then the Bansuri Flute VST is similar to the flute lead found in tracks such as Future’s ‘Mask Off’ and sounds fairly realistic for the price, this is undoubtedly one of the best flute VSTs for hip hop on a tight budget.

What is the best flute for a film score?

For super realistic sounding flutes with an eastern vibe, I’d recommend Soundiron’s Kontakt library entitled ‘Little wooden flutes’. These work so well for plenty of applications but they really shine in a film score composition as they are so realistic and human.

Another great contender is the Spitfire BBC Symphony Orchestra Explorer plugin. These sound amazing and while it is a bit limited, it’s a completely free flute VST!

Final thoughts...

Best for people who need an advanced flute-themed synthesizer. Particularly useful for creating solo instrument sounds. 
Best for people who already own the full version of Kontakt and need a comprehensive flute VST plugin with a mix of modern and classical textures.
Best for people who need an affordable but effective woodwind ensemble plugin in a standalone format. 

You should now have a good idea of what flute VSTs are out there. Most of these plugins are suitable to serve as your main flute instrument depending on your needs, so use the above info to pick the best one for you. Good luck and happy fluting!

Interested in more VST reviews? Check out my review of the best Pitch Shift VSTs!