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Top 14 Free Mastering Plugins 2022

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Baby Comeback - Baby Audio

Baby Audio makes some great plugins and has recently released 3 free ones, so let’s cover this back-to-back. Baby Comeback is an awesome free delay plugin that offers 5 styles, including the default, wide, analog, sauce which has longer decays, and a lofi setting.

The time can be fixed to a note, dotted, or triplet note, as well as set to a specific millisecond. Ping-pong delay is available, as is variable feedback, a delay tap ducker, and dry and wet outputs.

Let’s listen and notice have greatly the 5 styles vary.

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Magic Dice - Baby Audio

Magic Dice is an algorithmic reverb, that can vary greatly in style, decay, frequency response, and timbre - but everything is running behind the scenes. We can only control 2 functions which are the mix, and the randomization which occurs when clicking the die in the middle.

Let’s listen and notice how much the sounds vary.

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Magic Switch - Baby Audio

Similar to our last plugin, Magic Switch has a very simple and limited design, but this time around we know the effect we’re getting when we engage it. It’s a simple but effective doubler that works well on vocals or for a creative effect on other instruments.

Let’s listen to the slightly stereo expansion and the complexity the doubling imparts onto the signal.

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dBComp - Analog Obsession

Analog Obsession releases great free plugins - all of which can be found on their Patreon page where you can support the developers and read about each plugin. dBComp emulates the classic DBX160 which is great for hard-knee compression that causes a nice punch to bass and kick drums.

We get simple controls with the threshold, compression amount, output, mix, and a highness filter. Let’s listen and notice how the compressor increases punch.

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ReLife - Analog Obsession

ReLife is a simple but interesting plugin that I’m not 100% certain on what it’s doing. The Shape dial creates a boost to the lows, dip to the low mids, and a boost to the highs, but I wasn’t able to observe too much about the Life dial.

It sounds like a subtle exciter though and has a nice clarifying effect on the signal.

Let’s listen and notice how the 2 main functions clarify the audio.

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PREDD - Analog Obsession

PREDD is a great emulation of the Chandler Limiter REDD microphone preamp, which is based on the EMI REDD preamp of Abbey Roads in the late 50s to 60s. It adds noticeable distortion and breakup when increasing the gain, while an HP filter and high shelf are nice additions.

You can pad the signal, reverse its polarity, and subtly change the gain.

Let’s listen and notice the vintage character this plugin imparts.

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Room041 - Analog Obsession

Analog Obsession’s only reverb plugin is a great room emulation that offers some flexibility. We can alter the reflections separation, the pre-delay, and the decay - change the wet-dry, and introduce a preamp that adds some nice harmonic content, compression, and an optional high-pass filter.

Lastly, we get a 2 band EQ. Let’s listen to the quality of this reverb.

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SSQ - Analog Obsession

The last of the 5 Analog Obsession plugins we’ve covered, SSQ emulates the popular SSL equalizer. The starting setting’s flat, which isn’t always the case with analog emulations, but then we can impart smooth, analog emulated EQ curves with only 6 samples of latency and minimum phase shifts.

If we’re using the high-frequency band, we can also introduce oversampling by clicking on the Analog Obsession logo.

Let’s listen and notice the subtle and smooth changes this EQ can create.

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Dirty Spring - BPB

Dirty Spring is a really unique combination of an analog emulsion spring reverb, followed by distinctly digital distortion. With it we can introduce the decal length, pre-delay to preserve transients, shape the frequency response of the output, adjust the wet/dry, and cycle through various digital distortions.

Let’s listen to this unique combo of effects.

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Orange Flavor - SNFK Music

SNFK is a new indie developer and their plugins have already greatly improved in design, sound, and overall stability. As we increase the drive dial we can observe odd harmonics that vary in amplitude to the fundamental and to one another - until higher settings where they descend in amplitude.

Let’s listen and notice how these odd harmonics fill out the sound and then harshly distort it.

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Initial Clipper - Initial Audio

Initial Clipper has a simple and effective design, that lets you soft-clip your peaks while visualizing the threshold and relative frequency of the signal. Positive saturation increases harmonics and reduces the fundamental, and so too does the negative dial, but when combined they compress without harmonics.

Let’s listen and notice the distortion caused by the clipper and the fullness caused by the 2 saturation functions.

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Valvola - Hornet Plugins

If you’re a fan of tube saturation, this is a great free plugin with which you can emulate 7 different tube types. Each tube introduces a low and high pass filter and various harmonics that vary from tube to tube and the dialed-in setting.

The only issue I find with this plugin is the lowered output, which I wish I could control with an output gain dial.

Let’s listen to various tubes and notice their unique distortions.

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Gentle Drivez - Brain Synthetic

Gentle Drivez is a great alternative to the popular Softube distortion, but with an output gain dial which is always nice to have. It causes even and odd harmonic distortion up to the 8th order - meaning it should reduce the risk of aliasing when compared to other distortion plugins.

Let’s listen and notice how the even and odd harmonic combination results in a more complex distortion than just even or odd harmonics.

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T-De-Esser Plus - Techivation

Free De-esser plugins are few and far between, so it’s great to see a well-designed one come out this last year. In the free version, we can set our threshold, adjust the frequency range which can observe in the Pro features frequency range, and set a threshold.

Sharpness is the slope of the transition from compressed to not compressed.

Let’s listen to the unique quality that this de-esser has.

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Make Pro Songs
The #1 Audio Engineering Membership For Turning Your Mixes Into Professional Songs