There’s certainly no shortage of free plugins available for music makers these days. In fact, there are almost – dare we say it – too muchwith the ever-increasing abundance of gifts making the task of sifting through the pile more time-consuming and laborious by the day.
This is where we come in. We regularly highlight the best free plugins we come across every day in our news coverage, but if you’re too busy making music to keep a close eye on the headlines, we’ve got you covered. should. . At the start of each month, we cram the best freebies into a shiny digital box, tie a cute little bow around them, and present to you, via this column, a carefully curated selection of the most enticing free music software of the month.
Last April, Spitfire Audio’s Virtual Chorus Instrument prompted more than a few “oohs” and “ahhs” around the office, ChowDSP made us regret buying that expensive distortion pedal, and Ableton inspired us to break the shackles of equal temperament and become fully microtonal.
Spitfire Audio LABS Chorus of Micah
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST/AU | To download
The fine folks at Spitfire Audio have an almost legendary reputation in the world of free music software: their LABS series of free software instruments is an essential resource and covers everything from gritty whale song to Philip Glass piano.
The latest creation from the Spitfire sound lab is a beautiful vocal instrument created by cinematic pop quartet Sons of Serendip. Powered by a lovingly recorded collection of vocalist Micah Christian’s “oohs” and “ahhs”, this one is perfect for injecting emotional character into your tracks.
Platforms: Mac/PC/Linux/iOS | Formats: VST/VST3/AU/LV2/AAX/AUv3/Standalone | To download
ChowDSP is another favorite here at MusicRadar – this editor is known for using its superb free tape emulator Chow Tape Model on more than one occasion when a tasty dose of crackle and crackle is required.
Speaking of crunch, ChowDSP recently shared a distortion plugin they call BYOD, or Bring-Your-Own-Distortion. The plug-in allows the user to imagine custom effects by linking various digital tone shapers in a modular way. It’s aimed primarily at guitarists and features emulations of some classic amps and pedals, but we don’t see why you can’t run Serum on it, or even a trombone.
Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: Ableton only | To download
Ableton is here to free you from the shackles of equal temperament with its new MIDI device, Microtuner. With microtuning you can find the notes between semitones – those that would fall between the keys of a piano, for example – and any scale you import into Microtuner can be saved for future use.
You can also create your own from scratch using parameters such as number of pitches (up to 128), octave frequency ratio, and pitch distribution randomization. Lead and Follow modes allow you to synchronize tuning systems across entire tracks. Microtuner also supports Scala tuning files – over 5000 scales can be downloaded for free from the Scala archive.
Upper Hz Hz delay
Platforms: Windows/Mac | Format: VST/VST3 | To download
Considered a “character effect”, Hz Delay isn’t your typical delay: it was designed to mimic the unique character of vintage analog gear, and as such it does some things differently. Higher Hz has provided a conveniently labeled signal flow diagram to shed light on the plugin’s inner workings and help you get the sound you’re looking for – or discover a sound you weren’t expecting.
Capable of producing single and multi-tap echo, overdrive, chorus and even a rudimentary reverb effect, Hz Delay is a nifty little delay plugin worth adding to your arsenal.
Sample Science Crystal Harp
Platforms: Windows/Mac | Formats: VST/VST3/AU | To download
We live in troubled times, and now more than ever, music makers need a little relaxation. Fortunately, Sample Science has produced a virtual instrument based on the sounds of a crystal harp, an unusual instrument used in meditation, yoga, and sound therapy. Ideal for adding restorative tones to your ambient and new-age productions, the Crystal Harp is equipped with an LFO, high and low pass filters, and room reverb.