This Year’s Plugins Selection
For all artists who produce their music at home, here are the best audio processing plugins for free (in a comprehensive list) for use in both mixing and mastering. A special curated selection of the Top 22 processors have been chosen for your workflow consideration. It is possible to make a great mix using only stock plugins when adding these effects.
Saturation Knob: A modeled output distortion that can be used anywhere you need some grit. With three modes, it includes three kinds of distortion character.
Frontier D16: A very transparent mixing / mastering limiter (at certain settings, when using the “Ultra” quality mode) with reduction of only the loudest amplitude peaks, or can be utilized more creatively, as a sound shaper, when more extreme settings are at stake.
Apogee SoftLimit: Soft Limit has been an integral feature of Apogee converters since the AD-500. And now, for the very first time, this simple but highly effective analog tape emulation is available as a free audio plugin.
Chow Tape Model: Chow Tape Model is a digital emulation of a reel-to-reel analog tape machine. The original algorithm was developed to emulate the Sony TC-260, but has since been expanded to be able to model a wide variety of tape machines.
Kilohearts Limiter: By looking a little bit into the future, this limiter can make sure your signal never goes louder than you want it to without distorting or destroying transients.
Slate Digital FreshAir: Based on vintage exciter circuits and advanced dynamics processing, Fresh Air lets you add just the right amount of brilliance & shine to your mix in a simple-to-use interface.
UJAM MicroFinisher: Finisher MICRO is and will be free, just add it to your cart and make a $0 purchase. You shouldn’t pass this offer if you want complex, inspirational effects chains via a simple one-knob interface.
Analog Obsession TuPRE: It’s a tube line amp with custom passive program equalizer. Colorful and solid design, not emulating any gear. Fully custom, simple but effective for many different sources!
Klanghelm DC1a: You may be surprised on how many different materials this little thing works on. DC1A has a few tricks up its sleeve: negative (over) compression, parallel (New York style) compression, option to compress left and right channel independently (via the DUAL MONO switch), peak and RMS compression (RELAXED switch on) and DEEP activates a high pass filter to reduce pumping on bass heavy material.
MIA Thin: Recommended for dull sounds, will make them louder on smaller systems such as laptops, phones etc. Dull sounding material becomes eloquently more defined especially on smaller systems such as laptops, smartphones, headphones etc.
bx_subfilter: The bx_subfilter is a free plugin that borrows from the “Filter” section of its larger counterpart, the bx_subsynth. It’s the perfect plugin for anyone who appreciates that approach to low-end filtering, but doesn’t need the subharmonic synthesis.
Airwindows Console7: Mix into this like it’s an analog mixing console that can be overstressed. You can still put full scale single tracks through there, losslessly, because that’s what any console does.
iZotope Vinyl: This simulates the dust, scratches, warp, and mechanical noise of beloved vinyl records. A lo-fi effect included to add the signature tone of 80s hip-hop resampling. Bring character-filled artifacts and classic tone to your production in seconds.
TDR Nova: A 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. Recommended to choose the high quality mode inside the settings, and use it in Precise+ audio equalization.
MAutoPitch: A simple automatic tuning and pitch correction plugin designed for vocals and other monophonic instruments. Besides making the audio more in-tune, MAutoPitch also provides creative features such as formant shift and stereo-expansion.
Black Rooster RO-GOLD: This physically modeled plug-in captures the true tone of a solid gold plate reverb. The most luxurious and exclusive vintage room effect meets modern-day features for the highest-quality sound and optimal usability.
BL Denoiser: A noise remover that attenuates or even suppress the background noise on a track, by learning the characteristics of the noise. The noise and the interesting signal are separated in the spectral domain, and then the noise is attenuated or suppressed on the entire track.
TBPro Audio GSatPlus: An exclusive saturation plug-in featuring a special saturation algorithm, VU meters, clip protection and over sampling. The team at Gearspace.com suggested a few tricks and features that have been incorporated to help make this plug-in stand alone.
Valhalla Supermassive: Designed from the ground up for massive delays and reverbs. Get ready for luscious clouds of reverb, otherworldly delays, and swelling waves of feedback.
TP Basslane: Basslane is the improved version of the original freeware classic used in countless productions to control the stereo width of low frequencies on tracks and mixes.
Acustica Audio AERO AMP: This plugin is designed to go satisfy current market standards, featuring emulations created through painstaking, state-of-the-art sampling. Something to take into consideration is that the built-in amplifier simulator has a better sound quality, when tweaked properly, than the guitar stomp plugin effects included in the download.
Air | Music Edition: A plugin that quickly and realistically simulates the distance and depth of musical elements in any mix. Air will help you achieve natural-sounding performance results in the studio.
Examples of musical productions crafted using this selection of audio processors are the songs in the release “Aires” by Gaetano Dellepiane. Default digital-audio-workstation plugins (from Apple’s Logic Pro) along with these tools were used.