Tightening the belt…
Everyone loves plugins, and everyone loves saving money. Thanks to a great choice of free plugins and cheap plugins on the market today, it’s not always necessary to spend big bucks to get some super charged software, so we’ve compiled this list to give you guys an idea of where you can get the most for your money. All of these plugins are less than £40 or even free, so no need to worry about breaking the bank!
1: OVERLOUD – TH3 Free (Time+Space Edition) – Free!
TH3 is potentially the most powerful, and certainly the largest, digital amp simulator available. Designed by legendary DSP engineer Thomas Serafini, Overloud TH3 delivers sound quality, tone, and feel – and we guarantee they didn’t skimp on the free version either! The free edition contains all of the modelling information of the full product, the only difference is that there is a limited pool of amps, cabs, mics and FX to choose from.
2: Dada Life – Sausage Fattener – $39.00
Sausage Fattener by Dada Life is an internet favourite plugin, and we can see why from it’s sound and interface. The sausage and two knobs is all you get to play with, but it can create a seriously fat and nasty (in a good way) sound. Sausage Fattener is a ‘combination of several dynamic effects’, with compressors and distortions being the main culprits of the tone. It really does act like a Swiss Army knife on a project though, it moves seamlessly from instruments, to buss’s, to the stereo buss – and it’s always magical (well… Fat and greasy at least).
3: iZotope – DDLY – £38.95
“Why do I need another delay?” I hear you scream from up high. Well the reason you need THIS delay is that it’s probably the most creative one out there. You have the choice of an analog delay – the kind that you’re most used to, or you have the option to use a really cool granular delay path. If you’re not familiar with granular synthesis, then this page gives you some great information. The coolest aspect of DDLY is definitely the THRESHOLD. Other delay plugins will work on the entire audio sample that they’re applied too – with wet/dry and high and lowpass frequency options. DDLY uses a THRESHOLD setting (like a compressor) to see exactly what parts of the audio want delaying (and by how much) – this essentially acts as both a gate and intensity knob! A seriously cool piece of software for a seriously low price.
4: Boz Digital Labs – Bark of Dog – Free!
Bark of Dog is super simple. It’s a resonant high pass filter. That’s it. Seriously. That’s all we’ve got to say, it’s a resonant high pass filter…
Fine… Why should I download a resonant high pass filter that doesn’t do anything special? Well firstly it’s free! Secondly, how often do you remember to put a high pass filter on your tracks?? I bet it’s less than you actually should be. The cool thing about a resonant high pass filter is that you’ll get a slight hyping/boost of the frequencies slightly higher than the frequency that you cut. This means that you can get a tighter, but way more exciting low end in all of your instruments. As Boz Digital Labs say,
“Think of this as more of a really helpful tip with a plugin to go along with it. If you don’t want to download this plugin, then at least open up your stock EQ and play with the resonance on your high pass filter.”
5: Illformed – Glitch 2 – £39.95
Glitch 2 is a piece of software that I’ve personally loved for years. It’s a sequencer in a VST wrapper that manipulates your audio with a variety of glitch effects – in real time! Glitch 2 has up to 128 ‘scenes’ that can be triggered by MIDI notes from a controller, and there are some nice options such as ‘mutate’ and ‘randomize’ that give some really unique tones. You can even edit the patterns inside the sequencer with simple drag/drop and resize/split options. Your loops will never be the same again.
6: Audiomodern – Abuser V2 – £43.50
Okay, so it’s not under £40, but we couldn’t let this one slide through without talking about it. Audiomodern have created a 3.6GB Kontakt instrument, sampling ‘abused analog gear’. The wonderful thing about the samples that Audiomodern have taken is that they’ve left every defect and nuance of the gear in… So you’re going to get all of the great harmonics and character of the analog gear as well. In addition, there are filters, ADSR, two fully layers of FX and an arpeggiator included as well. So even though we’re £3.50 out, we think it’s worth far more.
7: GOTHIC INSTRUMENTS – DRONAR Free Edition – Free!
One of the fastest, and most, downloaded items on the Time+Space website, Gothic Instruments’ DRONAR Free Edition is a ‘must have’ for everyone who owns Kontakt (and even if you don’t you can test it for 15 minutes at a time in the free Kontakt Player). It has five sample patches taken from four DRONAR ‘modules’ (Hybrid, Guitarscapes, Live Strings, and Dark Synthesis), giving you a total of 20 preset patches. As well as the six easy-to-use, shimmering dials on the Main page, you get access to the full ‘Master FX tab’ and the Arpeggiator tab. The Rhythm tab plus the Advanced tab, are omitted from this free version, but despite that, there’s still plenty here to tweak and experiment with to really get a feel for how the DRONAR engine works, not to mention its sonic potential for rich, complex atmospheres and soundscapes.
8: Audiority – Polaris – £39.50
When hardware digital reverbs came out to the market they were really expensive. Polaris is an echo/reverb plugin inspired by early hardware digital reverbs of the late 1970s. It’s designed around a single multi-tap delay line which provides echo, ambience and reverb. This is a really great plugin for creating cool ambient soundscapes, and is fantastic for giving you authentic sounds if you’re trying to recapture the magic of the 70s! If you’re looking to add some shimmer to your sound, then stop by and pick Polaris up.