These will affect your mix rather than your sound – ideal for balancing levels – and all free. It’s our 6 best Freeware mixing effects…
TDR Kotelnikov – Dynamics Processor
TDR Kotelnikov is a wideband dynamics processor, combining high-fidelity dynamic range control with musical flexibility. As a descendant of the TDR Feedback Compressor product family, Kotelnikov has inherited several unique features, such as a proven control scheme, individual release control for peak and RMS content, an intuitive user interface and powerful, state-of-the-art, high-precision algorithms.
With 64-bit floating point processing, it offers a fast, natural-sounding compression, a sidechain high-pass filter and advanced stereo linking options for the stereo bus. It’s simple to use, yet also powerful and has won acclaim for its great sound and clever interface.
W: www.tokyodawn.net/tdr-kotelnikov – Platform: Mac, PC
lkjb Luftikus – Analogue EQ Module
It’s not entirely clear how to pronounce it, but Luftikus is a digital adaptation of an analogue EQ with fixed half-octave bands and additional high-frequency boost. It has bands at 10, 40, 160 and 640Hz, as well as a 2.5k shelf and mastering and analogue modes, depending on how you are using it.
As an addition to the hardware, it allows deeper cuts and supports a keep-gain mode to avoid dramatic changes to overall gain while you are changing EQ settings. Sometimes, you want your EQs to be simple, and that’s what you get here. Nevertheless, it sounds great and can be a nice alternative to your bundled EQs that may have come with your DAW.
W: www.kvraudio.com/product/luftikus-by-lkjbinstruments.html – Platform: Mac, PC
Flux BitterSweet 3 – Audio Transient Manager
Flux makes some pretty nifty apps, and also gives away a couple for free. BitterSweet 3 is a transient designer that can help to tame the transients in your audio material.
Simply turn the large dial in the centre to either decrease or amplify the transients in the signal. Transient shaping is used to add attack to sounds; or when used in the opposite manner, to smooth them out and deaden the sound a little. It’s particularly handy for drums and emphasising or softening hi-hat cymbal parts, depending on what is required. Like all of Flux’s plug-ins, you get 64-bit support and up to eight channels of audio at 384kHz.
W: www.fluxhome.com/products/freewares/bittersweet-v3 – Platform: Mac, PC
MIDI FX Freeze – MIDI Effect Converter
MIDI modifiers are particularly useful when programming. Things such as chorders, arpeggiators and other tools that interpret your input to create more complex parts are all cool. But they remain virtual until you render them to audio, where you lose editability. This plug-in does it differently, by turning live-generated MIDI parts into editable regions on a MIDI track.
From there, you can work with the parts directly, since they are no longer virtual. You insert the plug-in at the end of the MIDI effects plug-in chain and then use it to ‘freeze’ the MIDI part, whereupon it is rendered down to a MIDI event on the target track. If you work with arpeggiators and the like a lot, it’s a lifesaver.
W: www.audiocr.com/midi-fx-freeze – Platform: Mac
Minimal System Instruments Filter Bank – Multimode Filter
Filter Bank is a fantastic multimode filter for both producers and DJs. Combining five different filter types and LFOs with pure analogue-modelled dirt, this filter brings a cool-sounding effect to your productions. You get low and high pass, band pass, notch and peaking filters and an analogue knob, as well as LFOs and in and out controls.
The developer also claims very low CPU usage, which is a bonus, and although it’s a 32-bit effect it should also work on 64-bit systems that use a bridge for backwards compatibility. A good trick is to automate the filters using your DAW or DJ software, perhaps while linked to a hardware controller, to create more organic filter movements.
W: http://minimalsystem.com – Platform: Mac, PC
Voxengo Stereo Touch – Mid/Side Stereo Enhancer
Stereo width can be an issue with some recordings. This effect transforms a monophonic track into a wider stereophonic track by using mid/side coding to alter it.
It takes the mono signal and uses it to generate a stereo output signal, even supporting multichannel input and routing that to stereo too. It’s designed to work on mono sounds without very sharp transients, such as acoustic and overdriven guitars, synthetic pad sounds and vocals.
The idea is you can take flat-sounding mono sources and widen them out without having to use a double-track recording technique. Try it on mono mic’d guitars and vocals.
W: www.voxengo.com/product/stereotouch – Platform: Mac, PC