audiobus member's emporium of the finest and most exotic freeware plugins from around the world

edited December 2016 in Off-topic

I tried to keep this as sort and sweet as possible, but once you're locked into a great free plugin collection the tendency is to push it as far as you can go. What follows is a list of free plugins and a short description of how I use them.

Most are mac and pc, au and vst, maybe a few other formats too unless otherwise stated, that I find useful, nay magical, just make sure your magic licence is up to date.

http://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-nova/

Very nice dynamic eq with sidechain, handy for de-essing, or making space for instruments, sounds etc, without affecting the overall tonal balance to much like with a static eq.

http://www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-kotelnikov/

Great transparent compressor, find it useful for busses and the main output channel for just knocking a tiny amount of gain off a signal, good for mastering too.

http://www.acustica-audio.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=160&category_id=50&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=189#key-features

Very nice character compressor, found using the attack and release settings to be different then other compressors I have, but the shmod dial helped shape the sound to my liking.

http://www.acustica-audio.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=137&category_id=50&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=189

Another very nice character eq, sometimes I'll just use the preamp on this without the eq, just to add a subtle effect to say a drum buss.

http://www.airwindows.com/console4/

This is a great very simple plug to use, idea is after you have gain staged and added fx to your liking, plonk a channel version on the channels, or if you bus say a set of drums to an aux, put it there instead of the individual drum channels.

Then place the buss version on the master output, find it helps give a better balance and sense of spaciousness to all the individual elements of a mix, can be quite subtle, but beware though it doesn't like hot signals, so make sure to gain stage and still have headroom left (for the fx) after you've added all your fx.

The dev is in the process of porting his plugs to vst format and also windows vst and setting everything free, he has a very nice back catalog, he has switched to the patron funding model, linked below, his other free stuff is worth a look too, but most is still in au mac format.
https://www.patreon.com/airwindows

http://magnus.smartelectronix.com/#Ambience

Great reverb, nice and spacious, find it crashes in logic pro x, on el captain, but if you switch the view mode to control it works, or maybe that was in logic 9 and snowy I can't remember, but the gui was flakey on mac with au.

https://www.meldaproduction.com/download/plugins

With this you download the main installer then select the free bundle when you install. One thing I absolutely love in the free pack is the mcompressor, switch it into custom shape and experiment with different shapes on the graph, fantastic for shaping transients and general mangling.

http://finecutbodies.com/?p=sound

A nice exciter plugin, helps give some extra definition to drums, instruments, synths etc, it's called la petite excite.

http://www.anarchy-rhythms.com

This is fantastic, like it says a cross between a drum machine and fx, very creative plug, also worth checking out the other free plugins a lot of spectral stuff.

http://nickcrowlab.blogspot.co.uk/2009/08/tubedriver-v10.html

Bit of a rogue, nice if you want to fatten kick drums, bass, guitar, has a very rough sound that I find pleasing.

https://www.xferrecords.com/freeware/index.html

Great set of free plugs, I use ott for parallel compression of drums to give them that extra ooooh la la, dimension expander is useful too and the djmfilter is good for quick and dirty filter sweeps.

http://www.bozdigitallabs.com/product/width-knob/

Very simple one knob style plugin for controlling the width, although this works by narrowing the stereo image, this is very useful for example if you want a delay to bloom as its repeating, to give the impression it's expanding in the stereo field as it decays. Just automate from say 50% when the delay starts and open it out to 100% as its decaying, this also goes into negative values to flip the left and right channels. Worth checking out other freebies such as bark of dog too.

http://www.voxengo.com/group/free-vst-plugins/

Another great set of free plugs, MSED is great for setting up a m/s (mid/side) matrix, this can be useful if you don't have a m/s option on your favourite eq, compressor, saturation plug etc, but still want to use them in a m/s configuration.

For example split whatever sound you want using sends to 2 different busses/aux's (both at unity gain +0.0 in logic, no output in the original track), add MSED to both, select mode encode, then side mute for the mid channel say bus 1, then mid mute for the side channel say bus 2. Add your fx plugins then route both these channels to bus 3 on the output tab in logic not the sends tab, then place MSED on bus 3 and set it to mode decode.

Also find sound delay plugin useful for messing around with the haas fx, as it has fine tuning capabilities, although I have much to learn on this subject still.

https://developer.oculus.com/documentation/audiosdk/latest/concepts/os-vst-usage/

Info page about spatializer

https://developer.oculus.com/downloads/audio/1.0.4/Oculus_Audio_SDK_Plugins/

Download

Bit of an odd one a wild card if you like, but it looks fantastic, it works on mono sources to place sounds around a users head, the head is in the middle when you load this up. To me it sounds a bit like a binaural plugin, but turning the reflections on and the reverb makes for some nice sound experimentation. It's only vst though, works for me in maschine, which I sometimes use as a vst host in logic, by loading an fx instance of maschine.

https://vladgsound.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/limiter-no6-update-1-0-2b-and-env1-skin/

Another fantastic free plugin this is the version with my favourite skin, there is a choice of three I think on the site. This is an absolute monster of compressor/limiter/clipper/protector in one plug, fantastic on a buss for shaping or a main output for taming. Also molot is worth a download from the same site and if you work with high sample rates, this eq below is worth a look too.

https://vladgsound.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/tdr-ultrasonic-filter-alpha-version/

http://matt.eifelle.com/2015/09/15/announcement-atkcoloredcompressor-1-0-0-and-atkcoloredexpander-1-0-0/#more-2686

I like the expander in this set of two fx, adds a nice tone when I want to give transients a bit more bite or push them back a bit.

https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/products/pa_free_bundle_v1.html

I use mainly the bx cleansweep and bx solo from this package, cleansweep is good for filter sweeps using automation and solo for expanding or collapsing the stereo image to mono, has four steps.

http://klanghelm.com/contents/products/IVGI/IVGI.php

Nice little saturation plugin that I use for adding a touch of spice, has two other free compressors that are worth checking out too.

http://www.fluxhome.com/products/freewares/bittersweet-v3

Great little transient shaper, left for decrease, right for increase also their stereo tool is worth checking out too.

Time limited stuff

https://www.plugin-alliance.com/en/products/unfiltered_audio_indent.html

Free until the 14th of august, quite useful saturation plugin, find its helps bring things forward in the mix

https://reverb.com/software/effects/acon-digital/47-reverb-solo?_aid=yt
https://reverb.com/news/exclusive-free-plugin-drift-by-sinevibes

These two you have to sign up for a reverb account, acon is a one knob reverb plug, drift I'm not sure how long the time limited offer was on for, I got it a few weeks back, worth a go though.

Honourable mentions

http://www.soundhack.com/freeware/
http://www.bluecataudio.com/Products/Bundle_FreewarePack/
http://www.auburnsounds.com/products/Panagement.html
http://aegeanmusic.com/doppler-dome-specs
http://www.alexhilton.net/A1AUDIO/index.php/downloads
http://www.digitalfishphones.com/main.php?item=2&subItem=5 (32bit osx and win)

Windows
http://www.lesliesanford.com/vst/plugins/
http://www.maxsynths.com/vst_free_sturiophonia.html

Windows 32bit
http://ugoaudio.com/index.php/vst-plugins
https://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/downloads/
http://jezwells.org/Computer_music_tools.html#VST_plugins

Mac
http://www.michaelnorris.info/software/soundmagic-spectral

I will add to this thread with any good free plugs I find on my travels, feel free to add your own gems, hopefully some of you will find this useful, altho freeware plugin junkies will know most of these.

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Comments

  • Nice, I haven't explored any Mac freeware stuff but will give these a look.

  • @JohnnyGoodyear
    If I hadn't already eaten I'd be hungry right now, I have a thing for wrong food.

    @MonzoPro
    There are quite a few I can't believe are free, they're as good as some of the more expensive plugs I own, great time to be making music, might get a list together of some of the cheap excellenté plugs I've come across too.

  • There is one windows plug that I couldn't find which is a spatializer type fx that was free but 32bit, I will keep looking, can't even remember what it's called.

  • edited August 2016

    @mister_rz
    Great round-up...it's mind blowing how many free gems are out there, very cool of you to put this discerning and detailed best-of list together. A warning to the uninitiated: The forest of great free VST is vast and deep. Go in and you may never come out (I havent). Dont even get me started on the great free synths (mister's got ugo listed, great place to start. If you like drum synth the ugo "ironhead" collection is nuts...)

  • @Littlewoodg
    I left off a lot of free synths as I've been on a fx rampage, so I'm a bit out of touch, was looking for the hg fortune synths, had a great freeware collection but they have all but disappeared off the net. If you have any good suggestions though:) I need to keep my mind off serum.

  • edited August 2016

    @mister_rz
    I can't keep you away from Serum (wouldn't even if I could, brother) but here are zips for the HG Fortune stuff https://archive.org/details/HGFortuneNFG
    Very special. (Download options on the right)

  • @Littlewoodg
    Thanks a lot for this, had a few of them but missed a load, was going through my hard drive and had the ones I downloaded in my excitement, but there is a lot of stuff I never nabbed.

    Found that windows spatializer plug too in the same folder, called sheppi, 32bit vst though.
    http://dallashodgson.info/articles/OpenAmbienceProject/

  • @mister_rz said:
    @Littlewoodg
    Thanks a lot for this, had a few of them but missed a load, was going through my hard drive and had the ones I downloaded in my excitement, but there is a lot of stuff I never nabbed.

    Found that windows spatializer plug too in the same folder, called sheppi, 32bit vst though.
    http://dallashodgson.info/articles/OpenAmbienceProject/

    Cool thanks! Definitely need to get spatial

  • Thanks for this extensive list, some quality plugs in that list, but if anyone wants to pick up the Korg Legacy collection for the desktop, now is a good time 50% off until Aug 24, if you have a Korg controller and you got the M1le freebie, the upgrade price to the complete collection is 50% off too, a snip.

  • Excellent list, I'm not familiar with all the things on the list, but I am with quite a few and these are certainly well selected and thats what is very useful - as opposed to a long list of things that are just there beacause they are free.

    Certainly agree with the tokyo dawn compressors (I used kotelnikov to master my last album) and the nebula / acustica-audio plugins. I still have an extensive library of nebula libraries, I still think nebula does things much better than almost anything else for sample plate reverbs / compressors / Eqs etc.

  • @knewspeak
    The korg stuff is sweet and even sweeter if you got your korg controller after july 2016, looks like you get the whole legacy collection (although couldn't see the fx on the promo box) for free now. Couldn't find any info on which controllers qualify but the page is below.

    http://www.korg-license-center.com/index.php?hl=en

    Also if you bought the digital edition bundle of the legacy collection, m1, wavestation and mde-x and registered it after july 2010 you get the whole bundle for free too.

    http://www.korg.com/us/products/software/korg_legacy_collection/

    The link to the application page is near the bottom of the link above, to be fair I'm kind of gutted as I bought m1, wavestation and mde-x separately from the site in the christmas sales, but I didn't buy them in the bundle that qualifies, also no upgrade option either for single users:(

  • @Igneous1
    The acustica stuff is pretty mind blowing, been demoing the purple eq and it became my favourite pultec emu that I've got or tried, found it a lot more subtle and open, not so digital and upfront.

    Had my eye on nebula for a while and might finally take the plunge after the update, been building a list of libraries I want to check out after I get it, but my wish list for acustica stuff is very....how much, but in the end I think it will be worth it, the knobs are as flakey as hardware but it has the sound to match too.

  • Two more I'll add.

    http://valhalladsp.com/shop/delay/valhalla-freq-echo/

    First line of the description says it all 'Perfect for dub, Dr. Who and all of your psychedelic needs'.

    Speaking of acustica stuff here's a nice pre-amp called charly built with acustica tech, nice for the mixbus, very subtle though.

    https://primestudio.at/ps2015/

    Should get a pop up box, register your email, they send the link.

  • I was in two minds about posting this next one as I wanted this to be about free plugs, everyone who was interested could get, but it's such a good offer I'm going to make an exception this time.

    If you own a focusrite soundcard and have registered it on their website, (I would try this even if you had one and sold it, so long as it was registered;) if you log into your account you should see activation codes for, wait for it...drum roll..........eventide 2016 stereo room.

    Is free through the month of september, was pleasantly surprised yesterday morning by this, is a great reverb for vocals especially, blends nicely with the source, as I struggle with reverbs sounding too reverby, this was sweet though.

    https://us.focusrite.com/plugin-collective

  • In response to the above post, I've read over at kvr, you don't even need a sound card, just an account, some have even just signed up to get it, you will need an Ilok account tho, but you don't need the dongle.

    https://us.focusrite.com/register/signup

  • Hosting AU Microdaw from Jax - Hosts AuV3 OSX + reg Au & FX - and anything tied in through StudioMux (not sure of other iOS Hosts etc). It's only 600kb and works remarkably fast, and free! http://ju-x.com/hostingau.html.

  • @knewspeak said:
    Voxengo Delay Version 2 now released, http://www.voxengo.com/product/tempodelay/

    Ooh that looks good...

  • Very nice freebee from soundtoys based on the siemens w295b eq an old german eq of much warm and character, is free until october 13, regular price $129.

    https://www.soundtoys.com/product/sie-q/

    Also this might be worth a look too, find it very subtle, use it on a lot of channels as it's an accumulative effect, there's a new bigger paid version, looks interesting and will cause a lot of debate, as it introduces a few features that make a mixing easier.

    https://www.izotope.com/en/products/mix/neutrino.html

  • Thank you so much for the Neutrino tip!

  • Awesome resource, @mister_rz . Bookmarked for sure. Much appreciated.

  • @JohnnyGoodyear said:

    .

    We gotta get you an image resizer. You don't even want to know how that looks on a 37" at 1080p.

  • @theconnactic
    I'm still getting to grips with neutrino, what I've read from izotope you have to be careful about how much level is going into the plug, I've usually put it at the end of a chain of effects, I gain stage on the way into the chain but haven't been making sure to check on the way into neutrino until I read a few posts by izotope. It's got a built in brick wall limiter, which can give different results if pushed to hard on the way in, im going to experiment to see if pushing it works with some sounds.

    @telecharge
    Glad you find it useful, I didn't won't start loads of ot post's about some of the fantastic plugins I was coming across, decided to put it all in one thread and update occasionally with interesting finds.

  • Today is the last day for the eventide reverb, well worth grabbing, you'll need an ilok account, but it doesn't need the dongle, just the software on your machine. Also need to sign up for a focusrite account, if you already have ilok and a focusrite account but haven't seen this offer, log into your account and the redemption codes should be there.

  • Here is another excellent freebie (free iLok account required, no dongle):

    http://www.soundtoys.com/product/sie-q

    Sie-Q - A Very Boutique EQ.

    Achieve spacious highs, smooth lows, and great tones fast. This model of German engineering brings a whole new color to your EQ palette.

    FREE through October 13th (reg. $129)

  • This time featured is a stripped down version of a fantastic pitch tracking eq (which went live today), it employs a tiny digital unicorn that drags the eq to follow the pitch of a monophonic source, so for example if you want to cut or boost the fundamental frequency of a bass guitar, the unicorn will get to work and follow your playing.

    It only works on one eq band, you get a low/hi shelf but these are static, full version has five bands and also low/hi cut that all surf, so you can experiment with pitch tracking harmonics and stuff. You'll need a focusrite account, don't think you need one of their soundcards and no ilok either, this is without doubt a fantastic freebee, very useful tool, which I'll probably use mainly for bass, as I struggle like a mofo with bass, heard whispered on the wind, it's nice for vocals too.

    https://uk.focusrite.com/plugin-collective

  • edited October 2016

    The Michael Norris spectral suite is great, Im using it since forever.
    The digital fishbones stuff stoped working some oses ago
    Love the airwindows stuff always sounds good
    Limiter no. 6 is great if you want to smash the shit out of everything

  • Wait a minute let's see what's in my plugin folder

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