Freeware 2017: The Best Freeware Effects (Part 1)

Freeware Effects 1

Freeware effects that you can use creatively for sound mangling, or for mixing your music…

The Best Freeware Effects – Part 1

Togu Audio Line REverb-4 – Modulated Vintage Reverb

Freeware Effects TOGU

There’s no doubting that freeware often offers you a simple version of a piece of paid-for software, and TAL’s Reverb-4 is just that. You were never going to get a convolution reverb with a gazillion room and modelling parameters to adjust now, were you? Instead, you get a high-quality and simple-to-use plug-in, a version of which appears in TAL’s own Sampler.

There are Wet, Dry, Delay and Size parameters to adjust – with sizeable ranges for each for dramatic effect – but maybe most useful are the Hi- and Lo-cut dials, with a nice dose of variation across the frequencies. It’s simple but sonically it’s one of the most useful freeware effects

W: tal-software.com/products/tal-reverb-4
Platform: Mac, PC

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Audio Damage Fuzzplus 3 – Vintage Distortion Pedal Effect 

Freeware Effects - FuzzPlus 3

FuzzPlus 3 is “back by popular demand” and a “ground-up rewrite of our popular FuzzPlus series”, according to Audio Damage. And whereas its aim is vintage – with claims that it accurately models vintage distortion-pedal circuitry, as well as the filter characteristics from a Korg MS-20 synth – it’s a very modern-looking plug-in with neat meters and dials for Frequency, Feedback, Resonance, Distortion and Level.

In practice, it offers a hell of a bite and kick, really livening up whatever you throw at it, especially beats. With many presets, you’ll be bringing this one into your mix more than most. Dirty or clean, it certainly has an attitude you’ll want.

W: audiodamage.com
Platform: Mac, PC

DDMF Coloureq – Five-band parametric EQ

With five bands of EQ and Frequency, Gain, Q and Mix dials per band, ColourEQ is already just a point-and-drag away from being as fully featured as many a paid for plug-in. Okay, the front panel might not be the prettiest, but the GUI is colour adjustable, as is the window size.

The sound clicked on occasion in Logic, but otherwise swept along nicely, with a useful Gain slider really ramping things up when you need it.

Not perhaps as accurate as some – but nor would you expect it to be – ColourEQ is a versatile plug-in that is more creative than you might at first suspect. Lots of potential for sonic tweaking, for zero cash outlay.

W: ddmf.eu/freeware
Platform: Mac, PC

iZotope Vinyl – Dusty old vinyl-record simulator

With vinyl back in fashion again – to the point that we’re launching a sister magazine about it – this 15-year-old plug-in is now freely available, in return for your registration details at iZotope’s website.

You too can add noise, dust, hiss and wear to your recordings, so if you’re fed up with the ultra clean and pristine, then this is for you. Yes, we can’t believe we wrote that, either. Vinyl does seem to go against everything you stood for – as does the resurgence of the format, in some ways (ooh, being a bit controversial there) – but actually, one listen to it and you will find a place in your hearts and mixes for this plug-in.

W: izotope.com/en/products/create-and-design/vinyl.html
Platform: Mac, PC

Blue Cat Audio Chorus – 4 Vintage chorus module

This is another ‘vintage’ effect, but there’s more to it than just creating vocal chorus effects. The front-panel controls allow you to get in and change the original sound beyond recognition. You get the usual Gain, Rate, Depth, Dry and Wet controls, but the Delay dial brings in the most drama, and a useful Stereo Spread dial offers even more presence.

It’s simple, yes, but as transparent or as in-depth and colourful as you want it to be, thanks to a varied range of onboard presets. Blue Cat Audio does a freeware bundle which we’d highly recommend (with at least two of the plug-ins from it listed here).

W: bluecataudio.com/Products/Product_Chorus
Platform: Mac, PC

Vladg Molot – Colourful Compressor

We should admit that we were taken in by the Russian military looks of Molot before checking the sound. We’ll say it again, we’ve been overwhelmed how good freeware GUIs have got over the last year and this is one of the best.

The look simply screams that it’s a compressor that will add colour and character – indeed, the developer says that if you want transparency, you’ve come to the wrong place! We also love the straight-to-the-point instructions like ‘Too noisy? Turn off the dithering. Too complex? This plug-in is not for beginners’. It might not be – but a bombastic compressor it is and it sits among our favourite freeware effects.

W: vladgsound.wordpress.com/plugins/molot
Platform: Mac, PC

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