Hello and Happy New Year to you all! To start out 2010 right I thought I'd post my lists of my all time favorite FREE VST plugins. This post will focus on FREE VST effects. There are alot of FREE VSTs available out there of varying quality. Downloading them all and trying them out can be like rummaging through a thrift store looking for treasure. It takes time and patience. However you can find some diamonds out there if you look. I have a pretty good arsenal of commercial plugins which are almost always good, but here are a list of FREE VSTs that I find myself using often because they are just as good or incredibly unique. If you can look past the sometimes homely interfaces of some of these homebrew plugins you will find you are in posession of a some very creative and good sounding audio tools. (Click on the title of the VSTs to go to the download sites :)
1. CamelCrusher by Camel Audio
I was apprehensive when I downloaded this. How interesting can a distortion plug in be? (proof I'm not a guitar player ;-) Dime a dozen I thought. Well I should have known better. Camel Audio makes some great sounding plugins and this is no exception. This plug in is a distortion box with a compressor and a filter. I use this one alot. Nice warm big distortion and you can assign the filter to a midi controller and effect real time...worth downloading :)
2. Glitch by Dblue
Glitch is a sort of an effects sequencer which allows you to specify a sequence or randomly trigger one or all of the following effects: Tape Stop, Modulation, Retrigger, Shuffle, Reverse, Crush, Gate, Delay and Stretch. This plugin is most popularly used on drum loops, but the creative possibilities with this are endless. This makes creating glitchy effects much easier and more creative than it used to be. I use this plug in alot when I'm making drum or rythmic loops.
3. DFX Transverb by Destroy FX
This one has been around awhile, but I have yet to find another plugin that can mess up drumloops as nicely as this one can. I recommend using the random setting on this one. :) In fact, check out all the DFX plugins if you haven't already. They are all interesting.
4. Spinner LE by EmptySquare
I downloaded this one from KVR awhile ago, and it finds its way onto my tracks in LIVE alot. I like the way it spins the audio around in the stereo mix. I've never had a Leslie cabinet so I can't tell you how realistic it is, but I like the way this plug in sounds and its tweakability.
5. Hybrid Reverb 2 by Christian Borss
If you want killer reverb, the reality is you're going to have to go with a commercial package. I like Altiverb...but its a matter of preference. However, if you can't afford a fancy expensive reverb, this one is pretty good for adding subtle room ambience to voice and music. This is a convolution reverb that operates using room impulses like alot of the expensive commercial reverbs. It also allows you alot of room for tweaking. It wont give you that fancy orchestral hall sound, but it will give you good quality small room and studio reverbs for free :) This was the 2nd place winner in the 2009 KVR plugin contest. Be sure to download the extra room impulse pack from here.
6. Classic Phaser by Kjaerhus Audio
I like this phaser because it has a quirky sound to it that cuts through mixes. I like to use it on bass and drums. This is part of a larger collection of free plugins offered by Kjaerhus Audio which I have tried out and would have to say are all pretty good...this one is my favorite though.
7. Charsiesis by FuzzPils
This odd plugin is a wierd chorus/delay summing thing-y that really can produce some nice harmonics and fatness to a sound. I like to add this to boring pads to liven them up a bit.
8. Bionic Delay by Daniel Bosshard
Any time I want to add immediate interest to a static sounding drum loop or synth part I always find myself reaching for this delay plug in. Use this in addition with an auto-panner to get some nice results.
9. Ferox by Jereon Breebaart
This is part of a pack of free plugins from Jeroen Breebaart. This particular plug in is a magnetic tape simulator. I use this one alot to warm things up and add a little flavor during mixdown. Ferric is good too (the KVR 2009 winner) but I find that Ferox has more personality with its ability to manipulate tapespeed, noise and feedback.
10. Originally my choice for this spot was SandH by XOXOS. However his site went down the second week of January and is not back up, so I sadly can't recommend it anymore :(
This is another glitch-y sounding plugin that can add an element of randomness to your loops or whatever sounds you put it on. It creates a sample and hold type effect by grabbing a wave cycle of your audio and holding on to it for a moment before playing back.
In fact, while you're at the XOXOS site downloading SandH take a look at his other vsts. He has probably the most unique and creative set of free plugins available for PC.
So there ya have it... my all time list of free vst plugins. I've used all of these fairly often in Ableton Live with Windows XP and have had good results and no crashing. So if you're apprehensive to download just any free vst... these have my approval atleast (for whatever that's worth;-) Enjoy...
Until next time... Over N Out