15 Essential Free VST Plugins

I love trying new free plugins, so I've compiled a list of my favourite essential free VST effect plugins and summarised why I like them and what they are good for.

1. S(m)exescope.


* Essential for waveform monitoring before mixdown
* Identify problems early on in the mix, saving time later
* Easily monitor compression output

Download S(m)exescope

2. Molot Compressor

Molot Compressor

* Molot "Hammer" in Russian
* Sharp hammering, hard compression
* Adds colour to sound
* Difficult to tweak, but works well on right settings
* Includes limiter, Saturation, Dry mix parameters
* Includes Mid / Side / Sidechain, Mono, Stereo modes

Download Molot

3. TDR Kotelnikov Compressor

TDR Kotelnikov Compressor

* Light, subtle and natural sounding compression.
* Max 7:1 Ratio (No Limiting)
* Precise parameter adjustments
* Includes sidechain highpass filter

Download TDR Kotelnikov

4. D16 Frontier Limiter

D16 Frontier Limiter

* Good sensitive limiter
* Includes soft clip
* Clean, Simple interface

Download D16 Frontier

5. TDR Nova EQ

 TDR Nova EQ

* Nice subtle curves
* Includes frequency analyzer
* Inlcudes multiband and wideband compression

Download TDR Nova EQ

6. TDR Slick EQ

TDR Slick EQ

* Good for subtle gains / warmth and color
* Inlcudes undo/redo, A/B toolbar
* Clean, user-friendly interface

Download TDR Slick EQ

7. Valhalla FreqEcho

Valhalla FreqEcho

* Good for stop / speed up effects
* Good for short delay + Phase & Flange effects

Download Valhalla FreqEcho

8. Oril River Reverb

Oril River Reverb

* Good clean sounding reverb
* Simulates from small room up to great hall reverbs
* 3 band equalizer for wet signal
* Seems a bit heavy on CPU, takes a 2-3 seconds before knobs adjust

Download Oril River Reverb

9. FAT Filter

FAT Filter

* Simple filter
* Good for smooth high pass and low pass filter sweeps / transitions
* Very lightweight, low CPU usage
* Clean UI

Download FAT Filter

10. Audiothing Filter Jam

Audiothing Filter Jam

* Multi-Band Resonant Filter
* Good for resonant sounding filter effects
* 4 Filter modes
* Simple, Smooth and low CPU usage

Download Audiothing Filter Jam

11. Colour EQ

Colour EQ

* Good for subtle colouring
* 5 band filter
* Additional paramter for bandwidth shaping
* Can achieve different results to standard EQ's
* Low CPU usage

Download Colour EQ

12. Wavearts Tube Saturator Vintage

Wavearts Tube Saturator Vintage

* Good for subtle saturation
* Optionally apply saturation to 3 bands (High Mid Low)
* Optionally just add drive to full bandwidth
* Includes VU meter for monitoring
* FAT mode for increased punch
* Very CPU heavy owing to it's circuit simulation technology

Download Wavearts Tube Saturator Vintage

13. PTEq-X


* Digital emulation of 3 famous vintage passive program equalizers
* Good for subtle warmth in mid range frequencies

Download PTEq-X

14. Rough Rider Compressor

Rough Rider Compressor

* Good for hard, attacking compression
* Good for rhythmic and/or buss compression
* Adds colour to sound
* Includes sensitivity parameter, to adjust between hard and subtle compression

Download Rough Rider Compressor

15. Multiply Chorus

Multiply Chorus

* Clean & smooth interface
* Clean sounding chorus effect
* Apply subtle chorus to frequency bands

Download Multiply Chorus