(2 min read.)
I know there's plenty of "free plugin lists" out there, but I've had some people ask me about any cool free VST's I might know about, so I've made this list for you all.
I promise I use every single one of these plugins almost every time I'm writing music or sound-designing, and while it's possible you may have seen one or two, I'm hoping there's a few on here you have never heard of, that you might consider trying.
None of these links are affiliated, all opinions are my own.
Auburn Sounds Graillon 2 (Vocal Tuning)
I'm often asked if I tune my vocals. While I strongly believe a good vocal performance is necessary, I still tune my vocals to ensure there isn't any pitch-drift or dissonance.
For this purpose I use Auburn Sounds Graillon 2, a free vocal-tuning plugin that requires no pre-loading of audio and can go from subtle to strong tuning to suit a variety of needs.
Valhalla Supermassive (Reverb)
Yep, I'm sure you know of this one by now. There's a reason every "free plugins list" mentions Valhalla DSP. This free reverb plugin demonstrates Sean and Don's expertise at engineering great-sounding algorithms, and can be used for the smallest of drums rooms to the largest of ambient spaces and more.
It includes a jam-packed preset browser separated into various "genres" of reverb, and from my own anecdotal experience, is extremely lightweight and stable - especially for a Reverb unit. At this point, I pretty much use Supermassive exclusively for all of my reverb needs.
PaulXStretch (Time-Stretch / Sound Design)
If you're a sound-designer, you've probably used PaulStretch in the past. This insanely powerful time-stretching tool can take even the shortest of audio samples and stretch them to be seconds or minutes long - all the while retaining critical pitch and formant information.
What you might not know, however, is that PaulStretch is now available in a Plugin format. Meaning you can stream in audio data from the track and play around with absurd levels of time-stretching without having to bounce audio or export anything.
Another one commonly found on these sorts of lists, Vital is an absurdly powerful free synthesizer that makes use of Wavetable Synthesis to create all manner of conventional and crazy sounds. It comes feature-packed with everything you could possibly need for a synth: oscillators, filters, envelopes and LFOs, modulation, macros, dozens if not hundreds of wavetables, and a full preset browser with numerous presets.
I reach for this tool constantly when I'm feeling uninspired and click through the preset browser until something ignites, then work from there. My only gripe is the loading times seem to be a bit high, but I'm also reading it from a pretty old disk - either way it's a small downside for a massive plus.
ChowDSP Tape (Tape Emulation)
ChowDSP is a catalog of Audio Signal Processing tools developed by Jatin Chowdhury, a software engineer with a Master's in Music, Science and Technology from Stanford. The Chow Tape Model is a powerful and flexible tape emulation that comes packed with features and an extensive list of creative presets.
I use Chow Tape on guitars, vocals and percussion to cover some unpleasant frequencies with the soft, warm saturation only tape can provide. It can be found among other powerful tools on the website like RTNeural, a realtime framework for implementing neural networks in an audio plugin and Chow Centaur, an RNN-based clone of a Klon Centaur pedal.
That's all folks! I won't try and squeeze in a cheeky affiliate link or plug my own products. This is for people who are genuinely looking for some cool free tools to help them be creative with. I hope you've all found at least one Plugin worth downloading on here.