There are thousands of plugins out there. And for the well known versions, you have to dig deep into your wallet. But there is an alternative: some manufacturers offer plugins for free. However, the word ‘free’ says nothing about the quality. I went online to look for free versions, which are worth checking out!
Either you can’t see your eq anymore, or you just want to give something new a try: free plugins are a nice way to discover treasures. I was looking for different categories: EQs, Dynamics/Compressors, Reverbs and Delays.
• TDR Nova (Windows, Mac OS | VST/AU/AAX)
I’m sure you know the dynamic eq from Ozone 6. The concept behind TDR Nova works the same way. It is a dynamic eq, which means that it lifts or reduces frequency ranges dependent on a threshold. The free version comes with 4 bands and hi/lo filters. If you need more, you can upgrade the version to two additional bands and filter options.
• Sonismus SonEQ (Windows, Mac OS | VST/AU/RTAS)
If you like vintage sound, check this one. Remodeled from a Pultec EQ Sonismus created this 3 band eq including a saturation section.
• Mellowmuse EQ1A (Windows, Mac OS | VST/AU/RTAS)
Another analogue style eq, but with really basic interface and settings. I love the minimalistic style of the plugin which will make it easy to adjust settings.
• lkjb Luftikus (Windows, Mac OS | VST/AU)
Analogue modelled eq which really reminds me of Maags EQ4. Also has a air band with switchable center frequency up to 40kHz
• Audio Damage Rough Rider
(Windows: VST | Mac OS: AU/VST)
This plugin really makes its name! I did not use many plugins yet, which acted so aggressive like this one (ratio lvls up to 1:1000!!). Perfect when used to add a pumping effect to rhythmic tracks.
• LVC-Audio Limited-Z (Windows: VST, RTAS, AAX | Mac OS: VST, RTAS, AAX, AU)
Lookahead brickwall limiter for mastering and mixing. Comes with different limiting algorithms, a waveform display! Nice! I love when audio is visualized and you can actually see what its doing. But don’t push it too hard: due to the lack of oversampling, artifacts can occur. Paid version offers this feature.
• TDR Feeback Compressor
(Windows, Mac OS | VST)
Modern bus compressor.
• Sanford Reverb (Windows | VST)
Algorithmic reverb with a special extra: freeze. Great for sound design and creative settings. Unfortunately it’s just available for Windows.
• Magnus Ambience (Windows: VST | Mac OS: VST/AU
I’ve heard a lot good stuff about this plugin, but never tried it. I wanted to mention it, though.
• Valhalla FreqEcho
(Windows, Mac OS | VST/RTAS/AU)
Valhalla has some nice reverbs in their catalogue, but also this little delay. Comes with basic settings which allow fast results.
Emulates oldschool digital delay, which automatically adds a sense of distortion to the audio.
• Flux Bittersweet (Windows, Mac OS | VST/AU/AAX)
Bittersweet is a Transient Designer with simple interface and some extras: choosable stereo/mono options, different transient and detection modes. If’ve used it a lot in the past and it really does its job.
• Softube Saturation Knob (Windows, Mac OS | VST/AU/AAX)
A simple but effective tool for controlled distortion. Straight design with a big knob and switchable saturation modes. And maybe one of the most used free saturation tools.
(Windows, Mac OS | VST, AU)
A full-fledged analyzer for free! With stereo options and correlation meter and pretty much display options.