6 of the best freeware creative effects

Crushers, filters and more to mangle your sound without spending a thing…

1Alex Hilton A1TriggerGate

Alex Hilton A1TriggerGate

This is an oldie, but certainly still a goodie. TriggerGate was designed to reproduce the rhythmic gated effect used in a lot of types of dance and pop music, but use it and abuse it to its full and it becomes one of the most creative tools around. An onboard pattern sequencer allows you to program effects per step and onboard effects include a filter, distortion and delay to heap on even more sonic drama.

Mac/PC, 32/64-bit. More info here.

2AudioThing Filterjam

AudioThing Filterjam

According to some of the big plug-in experts out there, this is just about the best filter money can buy (or not, in this case), which you wouldn’t quite believe looking at it. Beneath that simple exterior though, lies a beast capable of resonating and modulating any sound you put through it. Its ring-mod character is easily controllable, though – there are only five dials to experiment with, after all – so you don’t have to go too overboard with it, but it can be very dirty indeed.

Mac/PC, 32/64-bit. More info here.

3Blue Cat Audio Phaser

Blue Cat Audio Phaser

We’ve tried to include a range of creative effects in this section and here’s a phaser modelled on classic hardware but with some modern twists to take your sound into more uncharted waters. That’s not to say you can’t be subtle with it – you can easily create those gentle sweeping effects – but with up to 32 phasing stages, you can certainly also push it that bit further. Nice and simple to use, too.

Mac/PC, 32/64-bit. More info here.

4Hvoya Audio Ribs

Hvoya Audio Ribs

Ribs is a granular sound design plug-in with a modern and distinctive interface. It is also pretty out-there in terms of what it does, functioning almost as a beat-maker, synth, vocoder and effects plug-in all in one. There are Beats, FX, Notes and Simple modes to switch between uses and while it might have you scratching your head on occasion, there’s a decent manual and online tutorial video and whatever you do with it will certainly take you off the beaten track.

Mac/PC, 32/64-bit. More info here.

5Stagecraft Software AutoFilter

Stagecraft Software AutoFilter

This bitcrusher and filter from Stagecraft certainly looks like a sleek and modern (not to mention paid for) plug-in and has the features to back up the looks. You get full graphic feedback of your filtering options along with modulation of the various parameters courtesy of a range of LFOs. This explains some incredibly varied – and always lively – presets, making it one of the best-looking and sounding pieces of freeware available.

Mac/PC, 32/64-bit. More info here.

6Tritik Krush

Tritik Krush

It’s the top-rated bitcrusher on Plugin Boutique for a reason; Tritik Krush has a simple, clean and modern UI with Drive and Crush controls and an analogue-style filter section. Best of all are the modulation options which take this crusher into superbly creative realms. There are ample presets to demonstrate the range of sonics Krush is capable of and it’s one of the most ‘instant fun’ plug-ins out there.

Mac/PC, 32/64-bit. More info here.

For more buyer’s guides, check here. Looking for more freeware? Head this way.