As you’ve probably noticed, there are tons of lists around the web for free plugins but so many are loaded down with 30-60 choices. Who has time to download, learn and use that many plugins? I’ve decided to compile a more manageable and practical list of free plugins that I use on a regular basis. As you’ll see, most of the common stuff like reverbs, compressors, eq’s and delays aren’t on this list. I’m assuming you probably have a good collection of the basics and are looking for more unique tools to add to your arsenal. If you have a few freebies that you like and use on your projects, we’d love to hear what those are in the comments section below.
1. TAL U-No-60
Mmmmmm square waves….The U-NO-60 is an emulation of the classic Roland Juno-60 synthesizer. This is a great synth if you’re looking for that Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco Top 40 Pop vibe. The chorus that’s built in sounds great too! If you fall in love with the free version and want even more features, I highly recommend the more robust TAL-U-NO-LX.
Download For Free Here: http://kunz.corrupt.ch/products/tal-u-no-62
2. TAL BassLine
TAL-BassLine is a virtual analog bass synthesizer especially made for bass, acid sounds and effects. This is a straight up no-frills bass instrument. Often when I’m looking for a very basic and foundational bass sound, I’ll pull this up and it works perfectly. You can get some great sub bass sounds as well. Don’t forget while you’re at the TAL site to make sure and pretty much download everything they make. It’s great software, especially for FREE.
Download For Free Here: http://kunz.corrupt.ch/products/tal-bassline
3. Vember Audio Shortcircuit
If you’re ever looking for a good robust sampler that’s free, Shortcircuit is a great one. After you get familiar with the controls, it’s easy to load in some drum samples or a vocal that you might want to stretch out over several octaves. The possibilities are endless with this sampler. Sorry available for PC users only.
Download For Free Here: http://vemberaudio.se/shortcircuit.php
Mac and PC users might want to check out the TX16Wx. You can download it here: http://www.tx16wx.com/
4. Voxengo Stereo Touch
If you ever have a track that you want to widen, the Voxengo Stereotouch will get the job done nicely.
Download For Free Here: http://www.voxengo.com/product/stereotouch/
GUITAR AMP MODELING
Amplitube is a powerful guitar amp simulator that comes with 4 amps, 5 cabs and some effects all for free. You can later choose to upgrade and add new amp and cab models. I highly recommend getting the Orange Amps and Cabs. Don’t forget that you can get some great sounds by running things other than guitars through Amplitube.
Download For Free Here: http://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/amplitubecs/
6. Seven Phases Spectrum Analyzer
Anytime you’d like to get a visual representation of a specific track or your mix, the Seven Phases spectrum analyzer is a great tool to have around. Sorry only available for PC users.
Download For Free Here: http://sevenphases.wordpress.com/spectrum-analyzer/
Another great spectrum analyzer is the Voxengo Span. You can get it here: http://www.voxengo.com/product/span/
7. dblue Glitch
Glitch is great for creating all kinds of wacky production tricks like tape stops, crazy delays, distortion, reversing, gating and randomizing. Version 1.3 is the free version that is no longer supported. You’ll also receive a crusher, stretcher and tape stop plugin (which I use all the time) which is included in the download. Version 1.3 is for PC only. Version 2 is cross platform.
Download For Free Here: http://illformed.org/plugins/
BASS AMP SIMULATION
8. TSE BOD
I’ve always been a huge fan of the Tech21 bass driver SansAmp. Now you can get a free modeled version of the famous pedal. Try adding this to a duplicated bass track then experiment with the blend between your dry and effected tracks.
Download For Free Here: http://www.tseaudio.com/software/tseBOD
PHASE ALIGNMENT TOOL
9. Betabugs PhaseBug
If you ever have 2 sources of the same instrument like a kick drum in and out mic, add this plugin to one of the tracks and turn the single knob until the phase is inline. You’ll be amazed how much tighter and punchier your mixes sound when everything is in phase. This plugin also works well on Bass Di/Bass Amp scenarios and multiple mics on a single guitar cabinet.
Download For Free Here: http://www.betabugsaudio.com/plugs.php
10. Flux Bittersweet V3
The Flux Bittersweet is for anyone looking to add more or less of a transient to a track. Use it to add more attack to your kick, snare, toms and guitars as well as slowing down the attack if you’d like to soften a transient. This plugin is similar to the SPL Transient Designer but for free it’s hard to beat.
Download For Free Here: http://www.fluxhome.com/products/freewares/bittersweet-v3