People always ask me what plugins I use and recommend. Fortunately, there are a lot of great VST plugins out there that are absolutely free. They may even compete with their commercial alternatives.
Here’s a list of the best free VST plugins I could find. Some plugins have been recommended by my fellow multi-platinum producers as well.
EQ’s / Filters / Analyzers
- Voxengo Span
Real-time audio spectrum analyzer.
- Luftikus EQ
Digital adaptation of an analog EQ with fixed half-octave bands and additional high frequency boost. As an improvement to the hardware it allows deeper cuts and supports a keep-gain mode where overall gain changes are avoided.
Extremely easy-to-use and powerful 6-band equalizer. With 7 filter types for each band, integrated tube saturation, and harmonics control, we have created an adaptable plugin with a vintage analogue sound.
- Elysia Niveau Filter
Add punch to muffled snares, reduce the harshness from active pickups, create some wonderful Dub and LoFi sounds.
- Baxter EQ
Transparent mastering and mix buss shelving EQ.
- Voxengo Marvel EQ
Linear-phase 16-band graphic equalizer plugin with multi-channel operation support.
- TDR Nova
Parallel dynamic equalizer. Appearing in the familiar layout of a parametric equalizer, each band also includes a full featured dynamics section allowing the processor to cover an impressively wide range of applications.
High-end quality stereo filter module. BiFilter2 drastically extends the ‘filter plug-in’ concept to provide today’s creative musicians with an extremely powerful multi-effect tool.
A precise digital audio multi channel meter including RMS and TruePeak (intersample) measurement. It is the successor of the very popular dpMeter and adds manual loudness matching.
Compressors / Limiters
- Molot Compressor
Looking for transparent compressor? This not your choice. This compressor adds a lot of coloring to sound.
Inspired by the smooth dynamic shaping capabilities of some high-end reel-to-reel tape recorders, FerricTDS – Tape Dynamics Simulator simulates three of the most distinctive and much appreciated sonic effects.
Emulation of a “vintage broadcast limiter” following the classic Variable-Mu design principles from the early 1950′s.
Modern compressor with a bit of “vintage” style bite and a uniquely warm sound.
- Klanghelm DC1A
DC1A is the little brother of Klanghelm’s upcoming compression monster DC8C.
- Limiter No6
RMS compressor, peak limiter, high-frequency limiter, clipper, true peak limiter. High-quality signal processing to use for mastering purposes. Brickwall and soft limiting with different timing settings.
- Voxengo OldSkoolVerb
OldSkoolVerb offers you a comprehensive set of parameters permitting you to achieve various reverbs ranging from plate to hall reverb sound.
- Valhalla Freq Echo
A frequency shifter, combined with an analog-style echo.
Reverb plug-in that aims at both tight small room and ambience effect simulation, well suited to modern drum and vocal productions, up to large “epic” halls as found in high quality outboard gear.
- SIR2 (Convolution reverb)
Easy to use native audio-plugin to use for high quality reverberation.
Distortion / Saturation
‘Colouring’ multi-effect plugin. It offers two characteristically different distortion sounds which can be blended together to create a wide variety of tones and textures.
- Tritik Krush
With its bit crushing and downsampling algorithms, Krush combines the crispy taste of the digital realm with the warmth of its drive stage and analog modeled resonant filters.
- TAL BitCrusher
A common bitcrusher with some useful additions. There is a low- and highshelf EQ and a noise cross modulator included. It is useful on drums—especially hats—and for distorted leads.
- Softube Saturation Knob
Modeled output distortion that can be used anywhere you need some grit. Use it to fatten up bass lines, add some harmonics and shimmer to vocals, or simply destroy your drum loop.
- Voxengo Tube Amp
Distortion plugin that applies asymmetric tube triode overdrive usually found in single-tube microphone pre-amp boxes. The sound this plug-in produces varies from a mild “warm” overdrive to a fuzzy distortion.
- TSE 808 Tube Screamer
The TSE808 is emulating a famous tube screamer pedal.
- LePou LeCto
Guitar amp simulator inspired by an American modern high gain head. This simulator has 2 channels with 3 modes on each channel. It can go from crunch (raw mode) to modern high gain (modern mode).
- TAL Noisemaker
An improved version of TAL-Elek7ro and has a completely new synth engine and a lot of improvements in sound and usability. The synth also includes a small effect section with a reverb, chorus and a simple bit-crusher effect.
- TAL Bassline
From the creators of Noisemaker, TAL Bassline is a virtual analog bass synthesizer especially made for bass, acid sounds and effects. It really is an awesome, lightweight and simple plugin for creating a sick bass for your track.
Virtual analog synth. One the most downloaded plugins of all time.
- Piano One / NeoPiano
The Sound of Piano One comes from the Yamaha C7 concert grand, a true workhorse in the professional piano world, appearing on famous concert stages, in international competitions and in prestigious music events throughout the world.
- 4Front R-Piano
This module reproduces the classic sound similar to RSP73 pianos, however is not identical. The sound generation is not entirely based upon samples, thus there are 127 continous layers provided with a vintage rhodes smooth overdrive.
- PocketBlakus Cello
The “pocketBlakus Cello” is a stunning free solo cello library for Kontakt created by Australian composer Blake Robinson.
- DVS Saxophone
Designed for expressive playing, careful attention was payed to the way ‘velocity’ and ‘pitch bend’ effect the filters, also the reverb has been configured to compliment the saxophone sound.
- Izotope Vinyl
Simulate the dust, scratches, and warp of a worn record and the electrical and mechanical noise of the turntable it’s on.
- PanCake by CableGuys
PanCake is a free plugin for most flexible panning modulations.
- Flux Bittersweet
Processing tool for managing audio transients. Turning the big wheel button on the sweet side, decreases the transients amplitude. On the bitter side the transients amplitude is magnified.
- Nasty DLA
A classic chorus echo device with tape-delay simulation.
- TAL Chorus LX
A standalone version of the chorus implemented in U-NO-60. Characteristics of the Juno-60 chorus.
- Acon Multiply Chorus
Versatile chorus effect with a unique twist. Each simulated voice is processed with a phase randomizing filter so that unpleasant comb filter effects are avoided.
Frequency correction, phase alignment, spatial stereo field corrections and routing. It contains a complete gate/expander solution with a dedicated and comprehensive sidechain filtering path as well.
- TP Basslane
Original freeware classic used in countless productions to control the stereo field of lower frequencies on tracks and mixes. It’s a simple, yet very handy little utility that allows you to narrow the width of the frequencies below a defined threshold.
Shift the pitch of the input. The effect is meant to combine old styles of pitch shifting with the quality you expect from modern plug-ins.
What’s your favorite plugin? Let me know, I’m curious! 🙂