Freeware 2017: The Best Freeware Effects (Part 2)

Best Freeware Effects

More free effects for creative mixing and fabulous, free sound design. It’s the second collection of the best freeware effects. Check out part one here

Best Freeware Effects – Part Two

Cableguys Pancake – Dynamic Panner

Effects

We were initially unsure as to whether to slot this one into our Utilities list, as it looked like ‘just’ a stereo spreader at first, but Cableguys PanCake is a lot more than that. Sure, you can pan your audio hard left or right with it, but you’d be missing out on a whole load of functionality.

The main draw is the ability to pan according to modulations sync’d with your audio, so put a beat loop through it and it can, for example, pan left and right in time with beats, creating a more musical movement than you might otherwise achieve. Obviously, you can go OTT with this kind of thing, so be careful. What are we, your mothers, now? Having to warn you to be careful with effects? Sheesh.

W:cableguys.com/pan-cake.html
Platform: Mac, PC

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Tritik Krush –  Modulating  Bitcrusher

Out of all the effects on offer in this year’s roundup, this one perhaps offers the most instant, smile-on-your face fun when booting it up for the first time, not to mention having yet another clean and modern GUI (we’ve been really impressed with the modernity of a lot of the interfaces on the freeware we’ve looked at this time around, we have to say).

Krush is just that – a bitcrusher with Drive and Krush dials plus Frequency and Resonance filter controls. There’s a sync’able Modulation section that is well worth exploring, and which offers some fine rhythmic additions, plus plenty of presets to get your teeth into. If you’re going to try any of this year’s roundup, give this a go – we dare you try it and not smile. It’s among the best freeware effects for this reason.

W: tritik.com/products/krush
Platform: Mac, PC

OHM Force Frohmage –Resonant Filter

Effects

Ohmforce was one of the first high-profile plug-in companies, boasting odd-sounding, cheesy (in name) effects and oddities. Frohmage was one of our first experiences with a piece of freeware – yes, it’s been around for a while – and we’ve shied away from its inclusion in the past, simply because we used it so much we thought everyone might be sick of it!

But such are musical fashions, we reckon Frohmage is due a revival – and after loading it back into our rack, we’re right back on it – as it’s one of those effects you can use (and easily over-use) on everything. Now it has a new list of possible applications. Welcome back, Mr Cheese.

W: ohmforce.com/ViewProduct.do?p=Frohmage
Platform: Mac, PC

Smart Electronix Ambience – Reverb

Effects

If ever you’d choose a plug-in on its name, it’s probably this one. Who doesn’t want a bit of ambience now and again? You certainly wouldn’t choose it on looks – even the knob view (as opposed to the slider shown) is not great, but it does it sound great. We still have a tendency to overdo reverbs – it’s an ‘age’ thing, believe us – and it’s VERY easy to do with Ambience. You can quickly be inside the biggest cathedral and then put that inside a planet for OTT dreaminess.

Yes, it’s easy to get a bit lost in dreamland, but why not, once in a while? Ambience genuinely does sound better – on many occasions – than a paid-for reverb, so don’t judge a plug-in by its cover, please don’t as you’ll soon discover it’s one of the best freeware effects you can download

W: magnus.smartelectronix.com
Platform: Mac, PC

TAL-Filter-2 – Host-Synced Filter

It’d be easy for us to fill these pages with TOGU Audio Line (or TAL) products, as they have so many freebies up for grabs and they are all good.

We’ve been restrained this time around and only included three(!) and this is a sync’able filter that’s got oodles of potential. Sync’ing, of course, means lots of rhythmic fun, a little like Frohmage above, but this is perhaps a little easier to control. There are four TAL NoiseMaker filters (LP 24dB, LP 18dB, LP 12dB, LP 6dB, HP 12dB, BP 12dB, N12dB for you filter fans), and modulation, saturation, distortion – and any other word with ‘tion’ at the end – are all easy to conjure up. And while you’re downloading it, get the other TAL plug-ins while you’re there, eh?

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

Adam Szabo Phazor –  Access Virus-Type Phaser

There are specific effects for very specific things, and this is certainly one of them. The Access Virus synth has certainly picked up a lot of fans over the years (the editor of this magazine has spent the last four trying to get one) and Adam Szabo has coded – with the help of J. Bradford Hunter – a simple phaser plug-in to emulate a characteristic of the synth that earned it much of its reputation.

The Virus is a virtual analogue that has been used across many dance genres, including a lot of trance, and this will give you that hard-edged phasing and movement that a lot of the sounds in that genre use. It’s simple and not that flexible, but if you want specifics, then this is it.

W: adamszabo.com/phazor
Platform: Mac, PC

Ignite Amps PTEq-X – Three-Part EQ Emulator

Best Freeware Effects

Take one look at PTEq-X and you’ll recognise the EQ type that it is attempting to emulate – it certainly has an air of authority and a touch of the Pultecs (not an illness). The plug-in actually features three types of EQ and four valve types, so offers your productions more flexibility than you might initially think.

There are plenty of options and controls around the outside of themain GUI, which offer more than the original models but at the same time, don’t detract or distract you away from the great GUI – and all-in-all, it’s a mighty fine emulation.

W: igniteamps.com/en/audio-plug-ins
Platform: Mac, PC

Stagecraft Software – Bitcrusher and Filter

Best Freeware Effects - Stagecraft

How many times do we have to say it? 2016 is the year of great-looking freeware. SC Software should certainly be applauded for making this interface so vibrant and very ‘now’. There’s a Stereo Spread and Noise main window that pulses with your music and large LFO and Filter windows to allow you to tweak and twist with ease (the filter applied to the noise and the LFO to the filter).

Bit rates and rate reduction processes are as easy to do, as they are dramatic in impact. With plenty of presets and more being added, this plug-in sounds as good as it looks and is one of the best freeware effects

W: stagecraftsoftware.com/products/bitcrusher/
Platform: Mac, PC

Acon Digital Multiply – Chorus Effect

The Very Best Freeware Effects

Digital Multiply is yet another good-looking entry on this list of the best freeware effects with simple-to-use controls and one that’s nicely sectioned, so that you instantly get your head around the GUI. Multiply processes each voice with what Acon Digital describes as “a phase-randomising filter, so that unpleasant comb filter effects are avoided”.

The result is that you get a more realistic emulation of several players, rather than the often more fake multiplier and pitch-shifting you might end up with in other plug-ins. The results are very good indeed, as is the onboard EQ.

W: acondigital.com/products/multiply
Platform: Mac, PC

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