bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free Tape/Tube/Analog Saturation VST/AU Plugins

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bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free Saturation VST Plugins

It’s common knowledge that high-end analog audio equipment adds that “special something” to the sound. And for those who like keeping things ITB, there’s already a range of costly software emulations available, like the famous URS Saturation for example.

But thanks to some seriously talented and generous developers, we can actually get pretty close to those high-end results without spending a dime. I’ve decided to include all popular saturation methods in one article, so if you’re looking for a good free analog tape, tube, or mixing console saturation VST plugin emulation, you’re definitely in the right place!

Follow the links for screenshots & download info:

As always, you are welcome to suggest your own favorites in the comments section below (in case I’ve missed any). I’m always open for suggestions, but I also try only to include the best freeware plugins in bpb Freeware Studio articles.

FerricTDS by Variety Of Sound.

FerricTDS by Variety Of Sound.

If I had to pick only one plugin from the above list, it would certainly be FerricTDS by Variety Of Sound. This plugin is without a doubt my #1 freeware saturation tool,  it emulates the analog tape saturation perfectly and is incredibly CPU effective. Note that you will get more saturation by overdriving the input (when that VU meter needle hits the red). Perfect treatment for sampled TR-808 drums!

Nebula3 Free by Acustica.

Nebula3 Free by Acustica.

Make sure not to miss Nebula3 Free either, it’s something I always add to my tracks in the post-mix stage. Also, don’t forget to download the extra freebie libraries for Nebula3 Free! Click here, here, and here for some of those extra Nebula3 freebies.

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About Author

Tomislav is a musician and a blogger. He writes about free and affordable music production tools on a daily basis here at Bedroom Producers Blog.

38 Comments

    • bedroom producers blog on

      thanks for the tip! i’ve never heard of these before, will give them a try. which one exactly would you recommend for the article?

  1. Have no idea, cos header – “Tape/Tube/Analog”. But, you put in the list TSClip and Softclamp.
    Anyway, Dist can be used as saturator as well.

      • Great, thanks!! VoS just released Density Mk III, too. As you know, it’s a compressor and I only mention it here because it has the new “color” function which adds stateful saturation.

  2. I used Ferric TDS after reading this. I really loved it. I’ve now been using for over a month. I’ve compared it to other tape machine emulations that cost 150 to 200 dollars. I like it just as much if not better. Thanks for the recommendation. It is now a permanent part of my master output.

    -Rick Saxby,
    Publisher: NashvilleBros.com

  3. I am fully aware that VOS Ferric is rightfully recognised as saturation king of the freeware land, BUT I think that Klanghelm IVGI is the new kid on the block.

    It’s has this rich, elegant sound and is so versatile it’s not fair to other free plugs. It’s much more sophisticated and complex than some generic sat/distortion effect IMHO. If I’m not mistaken its suppose te emulate analog mixing desk saturation. And not too mention georgeus GUI.

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m big fan of VOS, I use Trillseeker series (LA,VBL) comps and EpicVerb on every project.Cheers!

  4. I really wish someone would take 1-time and compile it to run as a windows vst. I wish I had the knowledge to do it myself

  5. Yeah I love Softube’s Saturation knob. I use it quite often in my Pro Tools sessions. Also I just want to thank you Sir for this wonderful site. I check it daily to get my plugin and sample fix.

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