Free Plugins

By Nick Landis on Monday Oct, 2nd 2023

Who doesn't love free plugins? In the ever-evolving landscape of music production, having access to a diverse range of audio plugins is essential for any aspiring musician or producer. Fortunately, you don't need to break the bank to enhance your sound. In this blog post, we'll explore a curated list of free audio plugins that can elevate your music production without costing a dime.

Here is my list of the free plugins I've found most useful or at least interesting, I'll separate them by category.


Brainworx bx_solo

With many studios now not having consoles with robust monitoring sections, having some of these functions on your master bus can really be helpful. This free utility has comprehensive solo features

  • L - Left
  • R - RIght
  • M - Mono (sum)
  • S - Side (difference)

This free plugin has these functions, that are typically lacking in most budget monitor controllers (and even many higher-end options), and can increase your workflow efficiency in identifying audio problems. Over the years, how to install and download this plugin has changed a few times, but most recently you can get it from Plugin Alliance with a free license.

While you're there, check out the other free plugins from PluginAlliance, like SPL Free Ranger, Elysia niveau filter, ADA STD-1 Stereo Tapped Delay, & Brainworx bx_cleansweep V2


Voxengo SPAN

One of the most useful tools for learning and ear training is an FFT. A fast Fourier transform, or real-time frequency analyzer, is a great tool to help identify problem frequencies and train your ear in frequency identification. This flexible plugin has a variety of options, colors, layouts, and channel depths. It's a no-brainer in terms of functionality and I always suggest everyone get it.

Voxengo also has several other free plugins available like MSED (a mid-side encoder), OldSkoolVerb (a plate reverb), & Beeper (an audio protection plugin that adds beeps).


Tokyo Dawn Labs TDR Prism

Another FFT. I've been a SPAN user for a long time (I'd guess a decade now), but this new free plugin from Tokyo Dawn is also great. They bill it as a "modern frequency analyzer with a focus on human audio perception". The interface is nice, and there are lots of customizible options. A bit slicker than SPAN, TDR Prism has everything you'd need in an FFT plugin and has advanced options like multiple weighting curves and frequency masking overlays.

Check out the other free options from Tokyo Dawn Labs like TRR Nova and TDR VOS SlickEQ.


Youlean Loudness Meter 2

This free loudness meter has some of the basic stuff you need to get reliable loudness readings for broadcast and streaming standards. Several of the more advanced features are not available in the free plugin, but you get some idea of where you sit in regards to LUFS, LRA, True Peak, and dynamics information about your mixes or masters.


Dynamics & Equalizers

Tokyo Dawn Labs TDR Nova

The second mention for Tokyo Dawn Labs, the TDR Nova is a dynamic equalizer that can act like a multi-band compressor among many other things. The GUI controls look like a parametric eq, but each band has controls for dynamics control.

Check out the other free options from Tokyo Dawn Labs like TRR Prism and TDR VOS SlickEQ.


AudioDamage Rough Rider 3

With a name like Rough Rider and Audio Damage you get exactly what you expect; a colorful dynamics processor and a clean no-frills interface. It is easy to dial in and has good feedback on what is happening while changing settings.


iZotope Ozone 11 EQ

A good sounding eq for free! Lots of options and pretty intuitive controls.

This EQ is also included in the new Native Instruments Komplete Start plugin collection (see below).


More Free Plugins (Other Effects)

Tritik Krush

A bitcrusher with a TON of flexible options including modulation and tempo-sync capabilities.


Valhalla SuperMassive

A completely INSANE and creative reverb/delay plugin. I didn't know what to expect when I first got it; I don't have much need for reverbs or delays in my daily work. Reading the description of "luscious clouds of reverb, otherworldly delays, and swelling waves of feedback unlike any you’ve heard before" was not an understatement. So many choices I feel like I'd need a week to explore all the options and understand what each constellation-themed reverb type might do.


Instruments and Samplers

Native Instruments Komplete Start

A plugin collection with a little bit of everything from Native Instruments. This new bundle with six instruments and six effects is a great place to start for the producers out there. Originally, I included the free Kontakt 7 player in this list. Now, it is included in this bundle with 2000 different patches.


Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra

A great starter-pack of orchestral sounds by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. This virtual instrument includes 34 patches/sounds now including a concert grand piano. This is the basic sample set and can be upgraded for more patches and controls.

While you're at Spitfire Audio, check out LABS - their kinda open-source community-driven virtual instrument with an "infinite series of software instruments, made by musicians, for musicians — for anyone, anywhere"