The best free plug-ins for your DAW…Part 2
We’re back again with yet another 6 free plug-ins you’d be mad to miss.
1. Softube – Saturation.
The Softube Saturation Knob is a great plugin for adding a bit of dirt to tracks. Used subtly, it can add a bit of warmth to a sound and help glue busses together. Pushed to the extreme it goes into full-on distortion. It has 3 modes of operation that are very useful.
- Keep High doesn’t apply saturation to the high end.
- Keep low doesn’t apply saturation to the low end.
- Neutral is full band saturation.
2. Boz – Width
Boz Digital Labs Width has to do with width as the name suggests. But it’s not a stereo widener. Width actually reduces the stereo width, which can sometimes be exactly what you need. With the knob fully to the right, the audio signal is normal and the plugin isn’t doing anything. Moving to the left narrows the stereo width until you reach the center position which is fully mono. Move the knob to the left past 12 o’clock and you reverse the Left and Right channels. Right is now Left and vice versa. With the knob fully to the left, the signal is at its normal stereo width, but the left and right channels have been swapped. There are some great automation effects to be had with this!
3. Boz – Bark of Dog
Boz Digital Labs Bark of Dog is a resonant highpass filter like bx_control above. It’s designed to help you tame and beef up your lowend without adding low end flab.
I like Bark of Dog because it has a continuous resonance control so you can add just the right amount of bass, and it also has a mix knob so you can easily use the effect in parallel.
4. Flux – BitterSweet
Flux BitterSweet is a transient designer. Turn the knob to the Sweet side to decrease the transients amplitude. Turn it to the Bitter side to increase the transients.
Set to Main, BitterSweet will work on the full stereo spectrum. Center works on just the mid channel, and Stereo works on just the Side channel.
5. iZotope – Vinyl
iZotope Vinyl has been around for a long time, and was updated in 2016 to be 64 bit. It lets you simulate the dust, scratches and warp of a worn record.
Put it on individual drum hits to make it sound like you sampled them. Or even strap it across your whole drum loop so it sounds like it was lifted from an old record.
6. Acustica Audio – TAN
Acustica TAN is an excellent sounding VCA compressor, but it’s not an SSL clone.
If you’re unfamiliar with Acustica Audio, they create their plugins by taking impulse responses of a piece of hardware at all available settings. Along with the usual compressor controls, there is SHMOD which changes the shape of the attack. Turn SHMOD up to add more smack to the sound. TAN also has a preamp simulation for a slightly different flavour, removing some of the highs and adding more body to the low end. Use TAN it to add glue to your tracks (great on busses), or use it to make your drum bus pump.
This list is by no means exhaustive, nor is it meant to be. There are other great free plugins available, but I don’t want you to crowd your plugin folder and become unproductive.