Saturation Knob Is A FREE Analog Saturation Effect By Softube


Softube released Saturation Knob, a freeware saturation effect for digital audio workstations on Windows and macOS (requires free iLok user account).

Saturation Knob has been around for quite a while now. The plugin was first released back in 2011 as a free add-on for few select digital audio workstations (Pro Tools, Cakewalk Sonar, PreSonus Studio One, and Propellerhead Reason).

See also: Free Saturation VST Plugins

Thanks to a recent update, Saturation Knob is now compatible with all VST, AU, AAX, and RTAS plugin hosts on the market. It’s a great way to introduce some analog-style saturation to your mix.

One-knob style effects are not everyone’s favorite kind of audio tool. However, there’s no doubt that such tools will help boost your mixing workflow. Using specialized plugins with simple controls can save tons of time during a mixing session.

When it comes to compressors and equalizers, you’ll obviously want all the algorithm control you can get (although the incredibly simple DC1A compressor is still one of my all-time favorites). But with “analog mojo” tools, it often helps to use them as simple plug and play effects, just like a guitar pedal.

Saturation Knob by Softube is exactly that kind of plugin.

It features a single knob for adjusting the amount of saturation. The saturation algorithm works in three modes, depending on the flavor of the harmonic distortion you’re looking for. And that’s it! No additional controls to worry about.

Here’s how Softube describes the Saturation Knob plugin:

“The free plug-in Saturation Knob is a modeled output distortion that can be used anywhere you need some grit. Use it to fatten up bass lines, add some harmonics and shimmer to vocals, or simply destroy your drum loop.”

Saturation Knob is available in VST, AU, AAX, and RTAS plugin formats compatible plugin hosts on PC and Mac. It also works as a Rack Extension for Propellerhead Reason.

Please note that a free iLok user account and the iLok License Manager are required to activate the software (but you don’t need the physical iLok dongle).

Download: Saturation Knob (421 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX/RTAS plugin format for Windows & macOS, RE format for Propellerhead Reason).

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. Tomislav, 7-Zip can also extract this file and some people might already have that installed. Extracting is the first thing I try with every single VST-plugin that comes with an .exe-installer.

    • Thanks UserFX, that tip saved me jumping through hoops with the installer. Can confirm (in windows), open the executable as an archive file with 7-zip, navigate to the “$_OUTDIR”directory, then at the bottom should be the saturation knob dll. Extracted it into my plugin directory and it opened up fine in Reaper. Thanks again!

  2. Thats sad. I can deal with registration and newsletters but to I won’t download a 421MB packet just to install a vst that is probably something like 10MB. My internet connetion is slow as hell (ISP fail) and it would take 2 hours to download it.

  3. I just installed it on OS X; the reason it’s such a large installer is because it has some stupid “Softube Plug-in Control” application that installs with the plugins to manage which ones will be available in you host. Kind of like the plugin manager that every major DAW has built in only three times as large.

    • I can confirm on Mac OS X 10.9.5 Mavericks and Logic Pro X 10.0.7 that you can install the plug-in, use Softube’s plug-in manager application to enable Saturation Knob, then delete the plug-in manager application.

      Not that I’d like it even if I did, but I get the point of this plug-in manager if you own every single Softube plug-in. For a single free plug-in though it’s overkill. I also don’t get why the plug-in manager application is over 1Gb on your hard drive for what it does.

      For those wondering the plug-ins themselves are a normal size (10Mb for the AU).

  4. The Softube software installs all of the vendors plugins and you select which plugins to install. Unfortunately the uninstalled plugins are keep on your disk drive as junkware. I uninstalled it.

    • Sure: — link removed —

      Their download is absurd and they better god damn know it. 7MB free plugin, over 400MB of unwanted demos and some b******t program to manage it all.

    • Bedroom Producers Blog



      Just for the record – I’ve hesitated A LOT before moving to Windows 7, however my impressions so far (after two years of use, I think) are great.

  5. Giving away a free plugin like this is a great way for Softube to market the rest of their products. They make you download them all by luring you in with the promise of something free (and pretty awesome), and then you get tempted and pay for the ones you want to activate.

    Honestly 420mb is not such a huge download… I live in a third world country where a 10mb line is about as good as it gets. I have a 4mb shaped line and the download only took like 40 minutes. At least it doesn’t require an iLok like some other ‘free’ plugins on offer (ahem, Slate!) :)

  6. Crispy Lettuce


    The installer allows you to select which plugin to activate, and then it says that “unactivated plugins have been removed.” But for me, that wasn’t the case. It’s nice to have the freebie, but if you don’t want the vestiges of the inactive VSTs, you’ll want to visit the installation directories and clean things out. I downloaded both the 32-bit and 64-bit, so give that a thought too, if you’ve installed both.

  7. HELP!!

    I LOVE this plugin but when I download the RTAS installer Saturation Knob is missing!

    Am I doing something wrong?

    The installer shows other plugins but I just can’t find Saturation knob.

    Anyone know what’s going on???


  8. Juan María Solare


    may i ask something… which is the logic behind (generously) offering a free plugin but hiding it behind an iLok (which is mainly used to avoid piracy)?

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