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Top 10 Free FX Plugins

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FRANK - Analog Obsession

FRANK combines 5 different filters that have been pulled from various analog equalizers like Pultec and Neve - left to right they affect the lows to the highs, which we can observe with another free plugin, the Bertom EQ Curve Analyzer. We’ll notice that the slopes are gradual, with zero-latency phase.

There’s also input and output, along with oversampling if you click the Analog Obsession icon. Let’s listen to the plugin.

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Cramit - Sixth Sample

Cramit is a lot like OTT, in that it offers multi-band upward and downward compression, but unlike OTT, Cramit introduces pre and post-distortion. Next to low, mid, and high bands clicking the arrow changes between compression and expansion - above the bands, we can solo or bypass.

To the right we have control over the distortion amount, the drive into distortion, variable distortion types, and if we’re affecting pre or post-compression and/or expansion.

Speed affects the compressor's response time, and depth is the range. Let’s listen to the plugin.

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Lens - Auburn Sounds

Lens is a compressor and expander, but this free version only offers compression - in the top left we can determine the accuracy of the compression triggering. Below that we can control high and low-frequency attack times, the release, and side-chain width but that only seems to work with expansion.

We can emphasize or de-emphasize frequencies before compression, and alter the post-compression response.

In the top right, we can also introduce harmonic distortion and filters.

Let’s take a listen.

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Codec - Lese

If you like sound design or creating lo-fi sounds, this plugin lets you emulate the sound of MP3 encoding, from an okay-sounding 128kbps to a completely digitally distorted 2kbps. You can introduce sample loss, and some frequency-specific crunch distortion, and change the algorithm in the settings section.

Let’s try the plugin and let me know in the comments if it’s something you’d like to try.

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Deelay - Sixth Sample

Deelay is an awesome delay plugin, that reminds me of some of Valhalla’s free plugins - except I find this easier to use and understand. In the middle is the delay length, which can be synced to the BPM, and is by default stereo but can be ping-pong or mono.

We can introduce diffusion, filters, and distortion, as well as ducking, modulation, stereo spread, and more.

At the bottom, we can alter the delay type from the usual to reverse, or a chaotic mode, and pick from 11 different distortion types.

Up top, echo offset can be introduced when chaos or reverse modes are selected, and we can increase the diffusion quality at the expense of CPU.

Lastly, it comes with about 100 presets to get you started. Let’s take a listen.

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Triple Fader - A.O.M.

This plugin is simple for sure, but it includes 3 high-precision faders that let you fine-tune the level of any signal. At the bottom, we can type in the range for the fader, enable or disable it, and then alter the level as you’d expect.

This would be great for mastering, or any mixing application where you find that your DAW’s fader is precise enough.

Let’s listen to the level of a signal being changed, and notice how minuscule some of these changes can be with this plugin.

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Gatelab - Audio Modern

Gatelab could easily be a paid plugin, but Audio Modern is giving access to amplitude arpeggiation for free. We can randomize the gating with the green button, control the rate at which the stages are cycled through, change the number of stages, and create more gradual amplitude transitions.

Stages can be drawn in, or preset patterns can be selected, all of which can be mono or stereo.

One really cool function is the ability to link the plugin to a software instrument, meaning your sequence can be used to control various external parameters.

Let’s listen to the plugin altering the gain of our track.

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Panflow - Audio Modern

Again, Audio Modern is offering a really impressive tool for free - this one lets you control the pan of your signal over time, allows for an adjustable speed, grid-aligned or freeform points, and offers randomization or helpful presets. Again we can adjust transition smoothness and the panning range.

Let’s take a listen to our signal being panned with the plugin.

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Multibender - W.A. Production

Although the functionality of this free version is a little limited, Multibender still offers a great sound and has a unique premise. It offers 3 frequency-dependent delay bands, letting you change delay times depending on the frequency range - so if I only want my vocal’s presence to be delayed, that’s an option.

If we click the arrow, we access saturation and bit crushing, as well as a de-tuning function for the delay . Let’s take a listen.

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Outlaw - W.A. Production

Last up for this list, Outlaw is a gain rider that keeps things pretty simple. We can adjust the wet/dry, the target RMS level for the signal we’re affecting, a gate that’ll keep the rider from trying to amplify quieter sounds , and the output gain.

Let’s listen and notice how it balances dynamics without much effort on our part.

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