In all honesty, these are some of the best and most imaginative free plugins I’ve ever found, so be sure to stick to the end of the video, since I’ve put these in no particular order.
BYOD is a truly impressive guitar effects plugin, but it can be used for synths or any instruments you’ve recorded to create a unique or recognizable sound. This thing is literally 43 free plugins in one - by right-clicking you’ll find a menu of effects you can choose from.
Once we select one, we’ll route the signal to it and from it, meaning we can create processing in series, or parallel if we use multiple processors.
At the bottom, we can change the input, output, wet/dry, as well as introduce oversampling and linear phase processing to the entire chain. We can even view the source code for the plugin which is pretty amazing.
Let’s take a listen to the plugin and keep in mind that we’re barely scratching the surface of what it can do.
Like BYOD, this next plugin completely surprised me - it's a tube amplification system but the schematic and its values are the interfaces. Meaning, I can change the value of my resistors and capacitors to achieve an incredibly unique sound - all while learning more about circuit theory which I didn’t expect to happen today.
Up top, we can control the input and output gain and bypass the plugin. Let’s take a listen and keep in mind how flexible this plugin can be given how many variables we can affect.
LOADES is a natural-sounding de-esser with a fixed frequency - since I can control the release time of the compressor, this makes this suitable as a high-frequency compressor as well. I can switch between dipping the full signal or attenuating the fixed band - and introduce a soft knee.
Let’s listen to the plugin and notice how the release function can be used to really change the timbre of the compression.
If you want a free but impressively realistic analog delay sound, Analog rack is a great option. The interface is simple, you can affect the time of the delay in milliseconds or sync it to the BPM, as well as offset left and right delays, introduce feedback, and blend.
At the bottom, we can enable or disable analog distortion on the delay taps, as well as bypass the effect. Let’s listen and notice how it has a pleasant vintage sound.
If some of these plugins seem too complex and you want something simple, Analog Obsession has made a great tilt EQ that works as you’d expect. You select your center frequency, and then change the gain to either the high or low end - but with a natural, analog emulated curve.
We can also cut the lows and the highs with what looks like a 12dB per octave slope. Let’s listen and notice how this has a more vintage sound than most tilt filters.
Back to more complex plugins, Krush lets you introduce overdrive distortion, bit-depth distortion, and sample rate reduction distortion, as well as a filter. What’s interesting is that we can also add synced modulation to each distortion or filter parameter, with sine, square, triangle wave, and whatever this one is.
The plugin is also well designed with a resizing option in the bottom right, and a detailed parameter freeze option.
Let’s listen and notice how combining these distortion types with modulation creates a really unique sound.
Unlike most compressors in which you affect the ratio at the threshold, the Expressor lets you control both Post and Pre threshold ratios meaning you can expand the low-level while compressing the high-level, and more. The color and knee options make the dynamic processing even more flexible.
Let’s listen and notice how these inventive parameters give you a lot more control over your signal.
Let me just start off by saying that this is by far the most insane plugin I’ve ever seen, paid or free. Everything starts off pretty normal - you have 2 delay taps which can affect their length, panning, feedback, gain, and more while introducing modulation to the time and panning.
But then you realize that you can start branching delay taps off of other delay taps, ending up with an absurd matrix of nonsensical audio - which is so cool.
On top of that, you can change the delay mode between 8 different settings, cycle between presets, and randomize the taps you’ve created.
Let’s listen and notice how this plugin creates sounds that, I’m not sure any other plugin out there can.
Back to something a bit more normal, ADverb is a great recreation of vintage digital plate reverbs - it doesn’t sound natural but it’s really not supposed to. Instead, it creates a truly digital sound, filled with artifacts and noticeably metallic delays perfect for achieving an 80s, early 90s sound.
We can affect the predelay, diffusion amount, reverb time, and contour, as well as the size of the emulated room.
So let’s listen and notice how the reverb is indicative of antiquated digital reverb processors.
I’ve covered this plugin before but wanted to look at it one more time since it’s a really well-designed clipper. We have our oscilloscope up top, and at the bottom, our input gain, the threshold for clipping, and then positive and negative saturation types, adding even and odd-order harmonics.
To the right, we get a LUFS meter, which is perfect since a lot of clipping is used for genres in which creating a loud and upfront sound is important.
Let’s listen to the clipper, and notice that it doesn’t do anything too complex, but it does it well.