The Best Free [VST Effects] Plugins in [2020!]

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“My audio sample sounds dry” – I’ll add a reverb effect to make it wet (sound roomy) a little!

That was a joke, I can bet you have come across several effects in your software applications (DAW) such as reverb, delay, compression, distortion, and other various effects.

But! Why do we use audio effects in the first place?

To answer that question, I’ll ask you a simple question. How would your meal taste without any ingredients?

Tasteless right! Yh, sure, it’s still eatable but it lacks flavor. Let’s transition back to the old question, why do we use audio effects?

Audio effects are software devices (ingredients) that manipulates an audio signal to a specific taste, it can make a dry audio signal sound wet, it can help in controlling the gains of an uncompressed sound (proper leveling of peaks), it can make a dull audio sample sound lively, and it can also be misused (think of adding too many/too little salt to your meal).

Since we know the importance of using audio effects, I would be recommending some of the best free VST effects plugins.

It doesn’t make any sense to randomly list the effects, so I decided to categorize each and every effect, all compressor vst effect plugin would be under the Compressor Vst category, reverb vst effects plugin would be under Reverb Vst category, you get the idea.

Let’s get cracking…

Compressor Free VST/AU/AAX Plugin

Compression is an effect or an audio processing tool that is used to control the overall Dynamics of an audio signal or an audio portion.

Some of the best free compressor plugins are…

1.) Audiofb – SeteChave Compressor

Setechave Compressor By Audiofb

SeteChave is the first compressor on our list and is designed with characteristics close to the “pumping” effect. It can be used for parallel compressing and it is really intuitive with minimal knobs, so, you will quickly get a hold of this one.

Features:

  • Input – Input signal gain control from -12db to + 12db
  • Att – Attack spanning from 1.2ms to 500ms
  • Rel – Release ranging from 20ms to 5s
  • Threshold – with decibel range from 0db to -36db
  • Ratio – Compression ratio, ranging from 1: 1 to 200: 1
  • Knee – Curve gives compression, which varies between values 1 and 5 Output – Output signal gain control from -12db to + 12db.

Specification Requirements

  • Windows: Minimum of Win 8.1
  • Mac OSX: Minimum of 10.10
  • Supports Only 64bits of this format: VST/VST3/AAX/AU

Download (Requires Free Registration): SeteChave Compressor

2.) TDR Nova

Tdr-Nova image

Nova is a parallel equalizer and a multiband compressor that can tackle and fix a wide range of applications when processing. It can feel a little bit daunting when using TDR due to its various knobs, but you should easily get familiar after experimenting with its features and besides, it is free 😉

TDR NOVA is useful and works with all kinds of audio material, be it a drum bus asking for more crispiness, or a sibilance issue with your sounds, Nova got your back!

A simple UI design, drag and drop display with a classic “Knob” interface given quick and smooth access to the various parameters driving NOVA’s powerful processing capabilities.

The most interesting thing about this tool is that it has a rare feature you would find in Nova is that it allow users to copy and paste presets, and a lot of more great feature.

Features

  • Parametric equalization
  • Dynamic equalization
  • Frequency selective compression
  • Multi-band compression
  • Wideband compression.

Specification Requirement

  • Compatible with Windows ( Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10 and later versions) and macOS X 10.7 and above
  • Win 32bit formats: VST2/AAX
  • Win 64bits formats: VST2/VST3/AAX
  • Mac OSx 64bits formats: VST2/VST3/AU/AAX

Download TDR NOVA

3.) T-Chain

 T-Chain

I can’t even believe this is free (well, partially!)

T-Chain as it names sounds, it is a chain of different plugins or a channel strip plugin that is designed for modularity, users can arrange different sound modules within the signal path, you get the idea!.

For example, you might decide to use it as a single Eq or a compressor module and if you so wish, you can arrange different sound modules such as a free EQ, Compressor, Gate, and Splitter (for splitting the signal into two distinct paths), one of the most exciting features about this free plugin, is that the module can be rearranged, added, and deleted by drag-and-drop, this way, your life can be easier rearranging your signal chain.

I should mention some modules aren’t free but getting a free Eq, compressor, gate, and splitter is more than enough for so many use cases.

Features

  • Free and Paid modules, with the ability to demo any module at any time
  • Customizable spectrum analyzer and waveform display
  • Full-featured preset management system with searchable filter and text-based importing/exporting
  • Multiple plugin interface size (compact, small, medium, and large)
  • A/B Comparison feature for the entire plugin, and for individual modules

Specification Requirement

  • Available on Mac and PC; in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats; and 32- and 64-bit architecture

Download Mac: T-Chain for Mac

Download PC: T-Chain for Win

4.) TDR Kotelnikov

TDR Kotelnikov

TDR Kotelnikov is a plugin by tokyodawn, the maker of TDR Nova.

Kotelnikov is a wideband dynamics compressor that is designed with high fidelity dynamic range control with deep musical flexibility. Their Nova plugin is a combo of Eq and Compressor while Kotelnikov is built solely for dynamic processing and has an on par 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.

This plugin is suited when used as bus compression and or a master channel, if you try throwing many instances of Kotelnikov on your mixer inserts, you’ll eat your CPU up!

Features

  • 64bit multi-rate processing structure for highest accuracy
  • “Delta” oversampled signal path (bit transparent at 0dB gain reduction)
  • Super fast, yet natural sounding compression
  • Flexible sidechain highpass filter
  • Advanced stereo linking options optimized for the stereo bus
  • Delta preview mode previews the difference between the compressed and original signal
  • Latency compensated, click-free bypass (i.e. processing never interrupted)
  • Advance User interface rescaling (100%, 125%, 150%)

Specification Requirement

  • Compatible with Windows ( Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10 and later versions) and macOS X 10.7 and above
  • Win 32bit formats: VST2/AAX
  • Win 64bits formats: VST2/VST3/AAX
  • Mac OSx 64bits formats: VST2/VST3/AU/AAX

Download Mac: TDR Kotelnikov

5.) Multiband Compressor – OTT

ott by xfer image

OTT is based on a popular Ableton compressor presets and are redesigned has a  three-band compressor that can either be used as an Upward or Downward compressor.

Download OTT

6.) Beatskillz – Max1

Max1

I might be biased in this review but personally, this is one of the best auto-compressor plugins out there. Max 1 will automatically analyze the ratio depending on the audio source and compress accordingly.

If you feel itchy about using an auto compressor tool, you are as well covered, Max1 comes with the default compressor knobs (Threshold, Attack, Gain and the likes). In addition to this, it also comes bundled with a soft clip switch so you can clip anything that goes past 0dB, this way, you can save extra effort using a Limiter.

Features

  • Auto-Compressor with “intelligent” and variable release time and ratio settings.
  • Control your peaks very easily or increase the energy and levels of your track or mix effortlessly.
  • The Plugin has accurate metering for both L/R input and output channels as well as Gain Gain Reduction Metering.
  • Great Presets to get you started on all types of material and also save your own presets.
  • When compressing a lot, just use the “Attack” knob to dial back the punch easily. Use the soft limit to make your track loud effortlessly and transparently.
  • Never Lose “Bass” when maximizing your mix or sounds, retain the character of your sounds with this transparent dynamics processor.
  • Easy Effortless Compression and Energy Maximization.

Download: Win 32 VST / Win 64 VST / Mac OSX VST / Mac AU

Note: You might be asked to provide a serial key, just input your email and if you don’t get one by email, click not today

7.) Dead Duck Free Effects Bundle (25 VST audio effect plugins)

This is a bundled effect plugin by Dead duck. It contains 25 original VST audio effect plugins covering everything from essential mixing tools such as EQ, compression and limiting to creative sound-shaping tools such as delays, modulation effects, and reverb:

  1. AutoFilter: A resonant 4-pole low-pass filter with a built-in LFO modulator.
  2. AutoPan: An auto-panning modulation effect with optional tempo-sync and width control.
  3. BitCrusher: A bit-crusher effect for lo-fi distortion.
  4. Channel: A multi-function channel-strip plugin featuring gate, compressor, equalizer, limiter, filters and gain controls with comprehensive input, output, and gain-reduction metering.
  5. Chorus: A stereo chorus effect with optional tempo-sync.
  6. Compressor: A peak compressor with optional external side-chain input.
  7. DeEsser: A de-esser for reducing sibilance and other unwanted high-frequency sounds.
  8. Delay: A stereo delay featuring independent left and right channels with optional stereo linking and tempo-sync.
  9. DJEQ: A three-band ‘DJ-style’ equalizer.
  10. DualFilter: A high-pass and low-pass filter combination with full-range cutoff frequencies and resonance.
  11. Equalizer: A four-band parametric equalizer with switchable low- and high-shelf bands.
  12. Expander: A downward expander with optional external side-chain input.
  13. Filter: A multi-mode filter including low-pass, high-pass, band-pass and band-stop responses from 12 to 48 dB/octave.
  14. Flanger: A stereo flanger with optional tempo-sync.
  15. Gate: A noise-gate with optional external side-chain input.
  16. Limiter: A ‘soft’ limiter with optional hard-clipper.
  17. MonoDelay: A mono-delay with optional ‘ping-pong’ stereo output and tempo-sync.
  18. Overdrive: An overdrive distortion effect.
  19. Phaser: A stereo, multi-stage phaser with optional tempo-sync.
  20. Reverb: An efficient algorithmic reverb with pre-delay and input filtering.
  21. RingMod: A ring-modulation effect.
  22. SigGen: A signal-generator with sine, pink noise, and white noise outputs.
  23. TiltEQ: A tilt-equalizer for adjusting high/low-frequency balance.
  24. Tremolo: A volume-modulation effect with optional tempo-sync.
  25. Utility: A multi-function mixing utility.

Download: Dead Duck Free Effects Bundle

Reverb Free VST/AU/AAX Plugin

Reverb is the simulation of the sound of space. This space could be your bathroom, a small room, concert hall, chamber and so on.

It can be used to create all sorts of effects but it can easily be misused too, basically reverb effects can be used to…

  • To create depth in a mix; pushing elements further back in a mix
  • To glue elements within a track together
  • and many more.

Let’s see some of the best free reverb plugins…

8.) Voxengo – OldSkoolVerb

Voxengo - Oldskoolverb

Voxengo plugins have been my best and ready to go plugin for my music production toolbox.

OldSkoolVerb emulates the classic stereo verb algorithm and produces a crystal clear spatial image that blends well with an audio file.

This reverb tool comes bundled with various sets of parameters permitting a user to achieve different reverb styles ranging from room reverb to hall reverb to plate reverb.

“The Voxengo OldSkoolVerb is best used for a non-percussive and soft-attack sound like vocals, piano and pad sounds”.

Specification Requirement

  • Compatible with Windows ( Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10 and later versions) and macOS (10.7 and later releases, Intel processor-based)
  • VST/AAX supports
  • Compatible with 32 and 64 bit on Windows and Mac Os
  • Supports 2 GHz dual-core or faster processor
  • 2GB RAM or higher

Download OldSkoolVerb

8.) Smart Electronix – Ambience

ambience

A friend recommended Ambience too me few years back, and the moment I tested it, I was literally blown away.

One of my favorite features of Ambience is the hold parameter which smartly freezes the reverb tail until the button is released. You can use this for creating a reverse reverb effect, special effect and you can even automate the knobs.

Ambience is a donationware plugin. You get a nag screen with no limitation, and if you love the plugin, you can donate to the developer.’

Download: Win 32 VST /  Mac OSX VST

9.) Anwida Soft – DX Reverb Light

dxreverblight

This is the light version of the original DX Reverb. The light version contains only one simplified algorithm of the 11 available algorithms in the full version, even with the limitation,  DX Reverb Light can be handy for a quick reverb effect.

Download: Win 32 VST / Win 64 VST / Mac OSX VST / Mac AU

10.) Signaldust – Abstract Chamber

abstractchamber

I don’t know if you ever notice undesirable reverb effect when used for longer reverb sounds, it sounds frustrating some times, with Abstract Chamber you can create a longer modulated reverbs whole also maintaining a natural yet abstract spatial impression.

It only supports VST

Download Abstract Chamber

11.) TAL-Reverb III

talreverb3

TAL-Reverb 3 is designed to be used as a stereo plate plug-in, which is the replacement of its predecessor (TAL-Reverb-II). This new edition has several improvements such as an optimized GUI and some changes in the reverb algorithm.

Additionally, TAL-Reverb 3 has a simple EQ section, a meter display and shows actual slider values.

Features:

  • Plate reverb sound.
  • One simple room size control.
  • Pre-delay up to one second.
  • EQ section (12dB cut, low shelf filter at 1000Hz, high shelf filter at 200Hz).
  • Stereo width control (from full stereo to mono).
  • Stereo input mode (mono or stereo input).
  • Displays the slider value of the active fader.
  • A meter shows the output volume.
  • 10 factory presets.

Specification Requirements:

  • Windows: Windows XP or higher (32 / 64 bit)
  • OSX: OSX 10.7 or higher (32 / 64 bit).
  • AAX: Pro Tools 10.3.6 or higher

Download: Windows / Mac

Delay Free VST/AU/AAX Plugin

Delay is an audio effect that records an input audio signal to a medium and then plays it back after a period of time or after the time you specify.

Some of the free delay plugins are…

12.) Proximity

Proximity

Proximity is easy to use delay plugin based on several psycho-acoustic models. The idea is to give mixing engineers a reliable tool for manipulating the depth of several sound sources in a straight forward and convincing manner.

It is available in both 32 and 64-bits versions for Windows and Mac OS X in VST & AU format.

Download: Windows / Mac

13.) Adam Monroe’s Delay

Adam Monroes Delay

Adam Monroe’s Delay is a free delay VST/AU/ AAX plugin. It features traditional delay parameters such as time and feedback, as well as high/low-pass filtering and synchronized ping-pong panning.

It supports both 32 and 64-bit version:

Download: Win VST / Win AAXMac VST / Mac AU

EQ Free VST/AU/AAX Plugin

14.) TAL-USE

TAL_USE-EQ

TAL-USE (Ultra Simple Eq) is especially designed after some tilt eq’s from the ’70s.

This type of eq allows adjusting the audio material without changing the character of a sound to much.

It’s an easy way, to make an audio signal sound darker or brighter with only one knob. The bass lift knob is a special addition that boosts or attenuates bass frequencies below 300Hz.

Requirements:

  • Windows XP or higher (32 / 64 bit)
  • OSX 10.6 and < 10.10 (32 bit Host).

Download: Win 32 VST / OSX 32 VST / OSX 32 AU

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