As we approach the New Year, it’s the perfect time to look back through the BPB news archives and make a detailed retrospective of the most amazing free VST plugins which were released in 2014.
The list is organized into four different categories. Use the menu provided below to quickly skip through the plugins and keep in mind that you can jump back to top at any point, by clicking the appropriate link (provided under each plugin listing).
If you enjoy this list, please consider showing it to your friends and sharing it on your favorite social networks or audio related forums. Compiling this article was an epic effort for me and I sincerely hope that you will find it useful. Enjoy!
- Nova-67P ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- TDR Kotelnikov ( VST/AU/AAX | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- SlickEQ ( VST/AU/AAX | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- SGA1566 ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Multiply ( VST/AU/AAX | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- SlickHDR ( VST | Win | 32-bit )
- Hysteresis ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Faraday Limiter ( AU | Mac | 64-bit )
- BTQ2 ( VST | Win | 32-bit )
- Saturation Knob ( VST/AU/AAX/RTAS | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- SquashIt ( AU | Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Amplio 2 ( VST | Win | 32-bit )
- Atom ( AU | Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- FilterCrusher ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Red EQ ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Dexed ( VSTi | Win/Mac/Linux | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- OBXD ( VSTi/AUi | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- BrainStormer ( VSTi/VSTi3 | Win | 32-bit )
- Lokomotiv ( VSTi/AUi | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Tunefish 4 ( VSTi/AUi | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Avatar ST Pro ( VSTi | Win | 32-bit )
- Scylla ( VSTi | Win | 32-bit )
- Nabla ( VSTi | Win | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- MT Power Drum Kit 2 ( VSTi/AUi | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Korzenie Kick ( VSTi | Win | 32-bit )
- BigRoomKixSynth ( VSTi | Win | 32-bit )
- Ragnarök ( VSTi | Win | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- SynthMaster Player Free ( VSTi/AUi/RTAS | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- M-theory ( VSTi | Win | 32-bit )
- VS Upright 1 ( VSTi/AUi | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Grind Machine Free ( VST/AU/AAX/RTAS | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Emissary ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Flextron DC14 ( VST | Win | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Ace ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Boogex 2.0 ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Minihost Modular ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- A1StereoControl by A1AUDIO ( VST/AU | Win/Mac | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Instretch ( VST | Win | 32-bit )
- CCStepper ( VST | Win | 32-bit & 64-bit )
- Sturiophonia ( VST | Win | 32-bit )
More info about the included plugins is provided below, including demo videos and links to BPB news articles or official download pages for each VST plugin.
Free VST Effects
Nova-67P was developed by Vladislav Goncharov, who is also the author of the brilliant Molot compressor and Limiter №6. Submitted as an entry in KVR Developer Challenge 2014, this freeware dynamic equalizer is a truly unique offering on the freeware scene. Although it finished in second place in the KVR Developer Challenge, in my opinion Nova-67P deserves the title of the best freeware VST plugin released in 2014.
We have seen several free dynamic equalizers in the past (DuckEQ for Mac OS X and IQ4gui for Windows), but nothing nearly as polished and cross-platform compatible as Nova-67P. Blurring the line between a multi-band compressor and an equalizer, Nova-67P is an incredibly powerful and flexible tool for mastering and advanced mixing purposes. It allows the user to dig deep into detail when controlling the dynamics and the frequency content of the processed audio signal.
Nova-67P is a 5-band parallel equalizer with a side-chain input, real-time spectrum analysis, optional split-band compression and 64-bit internal processing. If you’re looking for a surgically precise combo between an EQ and a compressor, look no further than this absolute gem by Vladislav Goncharov.
More info: Nova-67P (3.2 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows and Mac OS X)
Elaborating on the already brilliant TDR Feedback Compressor II concept (which ranked second in our last year’s round-up) couldn’t have been an easy task, however Tokyo Dawn Records have successfully transformed it into something even better. It’s safe to say that the new TDR Kotelnikov is quite possibly the most transparent mastering compressor on the freeware market (and beyond).
Rather than attempting to emulate existing analog compressor models and the non-linearities which are often regarded as the “secret sauce” of hardware devices, the focus of TDR Kotelnikov is on providing maximum transparency by utilizing all of the advantages of digital signal processing.
One of the fundamental reasons behind the transparency achieved by TDR Kotelnikov are the peak and RMS detection algorithms which run in parallel (with individual release time controls) and which can be mixed together using the crest factor parameter. Even at extreme gain reduction settings, the compressor maintains a natural and highly musical response. Each of the two processing modes can be soloed, making the device easily adjustable to different mixing and mastering scenarios.
More info: TDR Kotelnikov (9.7 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows and Mac OS X)
SlickEQ is a free semi-parametric equalizer for mixing and mastering purposes. It is the result of a collaboration between Herbert Goldberg from Variety of Sound and the Tokyo Dawn Labs team composed of Vladislav Goncharov and Fabien Schivre.
SlickEQ is a stellar mixing tool, both in terms of sound quality and the incredibly intuitive and well thought-out user interface. The EQ section sounds natural and very musical even at extreme boost settings and the four output stages offer a rather broad palette of sound coloration flavors. The four available EQ models offer unique curves and boost/cut behaviors, making the plugin easily adaptable to different mixing scenarios.
But the devil is in the details as they say and it’s the small workflow tweaks such as the handy auto gain feature and the incredibly useful calibration slider (oh, how I wish FerricTDS had this feature!) that make SlickEQ such a gem. After using it in several projects earlier this year, this plugin quickly became a must-have in my mixing and mastering toolbox and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone looking for a highly musical and natural sounding equalizer.
SlickEQ may look simple on the outside, but it is a rather complex tool if you dig deeper inside. To put it in another way, the plugin is very easy to use right out of the box, but you should definitely read the provided user manual (and watch the video linked below) in order to understand all the ins and outs of this little beast. You can further expand its possibilities by purchasing its big brother SlickEQ GE which adds several advanced features and workflow improvements.
More info: SlickEQ (10.8 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X)
SGA1566 is a freeware saturation effect which emulates the complete circuitry of a vintage tube preamplifier in real time. Since each component of a real tube preamp is carefully modeled, the CPU hit can get quite large rather quickly (especially if you’re using multiple instances of the plugin). But the lovely tube style saturation which can be achieved with SGA1566 definitely makes up for the the amount of processing power which is required for the plugin to work.
Although I was thoroughly impressed by the plugin’s sound in my original review of SGA1566, I also wrote that my plan was to use this plugin offline for sound design purposes and not so much in mixing sessions, due to high CPU usage. But it turns out that I’m actually using it as a mixing tool too, since the CPU hit can be reduced significantly by engaging the low-CPU mode and lowering the oversampling amount. Of course, these settings should be set to back to maximum before rendering the mixdown of your project.
More info: SGA1566 (1 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows and Mac OS X)
Picked as the winner of KVR Developer Challenge 2014, the highly versatile Multiply plugin by Acon Digital is a rich and natural sounding chorus effect. It was also included in our round-up of the best freeware chorus effects, along with Distorque which is another personal favorite of mine.
More info: Multiply (2 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X)
SlickHDR is a unique compressor effect, based on a psychoacoustics concept which corresponds to the principles of HDR photography. It is quite unlike any other dynamics processor out there and therefore it is highly recommended to read the provided user manual (or some of the expert reviews which are available online) in order to fully understand how this plugin works and use that knowledge to achieve the best possible results with it.
Without going too much into detail, here’s a brief overview of how SlickHDR works. The audio signal on the input is simultaneously processed by three parallel compressors, each reacting to a different group of transients (slow, medium and fast). By adjusting the drive amount and release time of the three compressors, it becomes possible to bring out all of the little sonic details of the processed audio signal (especially if it is a complex audio material with lots of transients).
It is a subtle effect and it won’t translate to all types of source material, however SlickHDR can make a world of difference if used properly and in the right context. If you choose loudness instead of dynamics, then SlickHDR is not for you. But if you’re stuck on that eternal quest for the perfect mixture of dynamic details and loudness, you may have just found your new favorite tool!
More info: SlickHDR (13.7 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows)
It was actually quite hard for me to pick between Hysteresis and the brilliant Fracture plugin from the same developer, but Hysteresis was picked due to its streamlined interface and the fact that it is slightly easier to comprehend. Both plugins are absolutely fantastic tools for sound mangling and glitch processing, though.
In short, Hysteresis is a delay effect with a stutter module added to its feedback path (along with a LP filter and modulation). It is capable of producing some amazingly dramatic mechanical sounds and various abstract sound effects which sound especially great when the plugin is used on drums and percussive loops. If you’re into futuristic sound design and glitch effects, don’t miss this little gem. Another interesting plugin which you should check out is the Thesis 2 granular delay effect by Lukas Blersch.
More info: Hysteresis (9.5 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac)
There was a time when you could say that using a Windows machine for music production was a smarter choice than going down the Mac OS X path, at least when it comes to having access to better freeware tools. But nowadays I’m seeing more and more high quality Mac exclusive releases in the freeware world. And one of the best Mac OS X exclusives released this year was the great sounding Faraday Limiter by Goodhertz.
For obvious reasons, I’ve never had a chance to test this one personally. However, listening to the available demo tracks and reading other people’s impressions about the sound and abilities of this colorful limiter effect, really made me wish I had access to a Mac based DAW.
The developer has announced that they will support more plugin formats in the future (only 64-bit AU at the moment), but according to them a Windows release is ranked rather low on the list of priorities.
UPDATE (February 20th, 2015) – Goodhertz have added AAX support for their completely product line, including Faraday Limiter. Their plugins are now also compatible with Avid Pro Tools 11/12 on Mac OS.
More info: Faraday Limiter (2.8 MB download size, DMG archive, 64-bit AU/AAX plugin format for Mac OS X)
BTQ2 is a superb tilt equalizer with a unique twist. More precisely, it is a mix between a parametric equalizer and a tilt equalizer, allowing for quick and easy frequency balance tweaks which you’d normally get from a tilt equalizer, except that in this case you have the option to pinpoint them to a specific frequency range. In a way, it is also similar to a Pultec style equalizer, although with quite a bit more flexibility.
This equalizer works great for adding clarity and mojo to the low end, as well as adding a bit of sparkle to the top end while preventing any unwanted harshness. Watch the demo video linked below for a quick overview of the plugin’s basic functionality.
More info: BTQ2 (2.2 MB download size, RAR archive, 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit)
Being a huge fan of simple one knob tools, I was quite pleasantly surprised when Saturation Knob was finally released as a freeware plugin on all major platforms earlier in December. Although it was first released in 2011, it was only available for Pro Tools and Sonar back then. Thankfully, we can now use this little gem in virtually any DAW out there, as the plugin now supports all major formats on Windows and Mac OS X.
The plugin offers three different saturation flavors (neutral, bright, warm) and it can go from silky smooth saturation to easily audible distortion. It is extremely easy to use due to the simple one knob design and it’s well optimized for low CPU usage. The only significant drawback (and a deal breaker for users with a slower Internet connection) is the fact that it comes with a 421 MB installer which contains all Softube plugins.
More info: Saturation Knob (421 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX/RTAS plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X)
SquashIt is a fantastic example of modern GUI design, combining great looking clean graphics with a slick user experience. It is also a rather capable multi-band distortion effect, which (based on the user reviews which I’ve found online) sounds very nice on EDM vocals, bass tracks, and any other type of source material which benefits from carefully applied distortion.
The effect is available for iOS devices, as well as for Mac OS X based host applications in the form of an AU plugin. The same developer has released another interesting plugin this year called Vandelay, a multi-band delay effect for iOS and Mac OS X.
More info: SquashIt (338 KB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit AU plugin format for Mac OS X)
Amplio 2 is a versatile freeware multi-effects toolbox in VST plugin format for Windows. The plugin splits the incoming audio signal into three frequency bands (low, mid, high) and allows the user to apply different types of FX to each of the three bands. It can be used as a high precision multi-band noise gate, a reverb module capable of pinpointing specific frequency bands, an easy tool to convert the bass frequencies to mono, as well as tons of other stuff.
More info: Amplio 2 (1.7 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows, made with FlowStone)
Based on a multi-mode filter with several modulation sources, Atom is an interesting creative effect for Mac OS X. Sinevibes have released quite a few great looking Mac exclusive freebies in the past and they are (at least for now) not planning any Windows ports of their products. The reason for this is the fact that their plugins are highly optimized to use less CPU cycles on Mac architecture and it would be hard for the developers to translate this behavior to Windows.
More info: Atom (243 KB download size, DMG archive, 32-bit & 64-bit AU plugin format for Mac OS X)
FilterCrusher was the first ever plugin to be offered as an exclusive free download here on BPB (and hopefully the first of many more to come). It was developed by Audio Assault, who did a fantastic job at crafting a great sounding and easy to use dual filter effect with tube saturation.
Use the HP and LP filters to adjust the frequency footprint of the processed audio signal and engage the optional “crush” mode to introduce additional tube style distortion if you want to really color the source material.
More info: FilterCrusher (12.9 MB download size, ZIP archive, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac)
Red EQ is a 3-band parametric equalizer based on Acustica-Audio’s unique Acqua technology, which is a form of non-linear convolution. This technology makes it possible to capture the frequency response of hardware devices in amazing detail and transfer that data into the software world.
This approach comes with its own set of pros and cons (high CPU usage is one of the major drawbacks), however it’s quite certain that the software based on Acqua technology sounds almost identical to their hardware counterparts. Same goes for Red EQ which, although not highly versatile, sounds very pleasant and highly musical.
As a matter of fact, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the plugin’s performance. It used around 2-4% of processing power on my test machine with an Intel Core i3 processor, which is a fairly reasonable CPU hit for less complex projects.
More info: Red EQ (53.8 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac)
Free VST Instruments
Dexed by Digital Suburban is the best freeware Yamaha DX7 emulation, period. The plugin is closely modeled on the architecture and sound characteristics of the legendary DX7. In fact, it is even capable of loading the original SysEx programs for the DX7, hundreds upon hundreds of which are freely available on the world wide web. Basically, if you were searching for a free Yamaha DX7 emulation in the form of a cross-platform VST plugin, look no further than Dexed.
I was searching for something like this for ages and the fact that Dexed has finally managed to fill the Yamaha DX7 void on the freeware market makes it a clear winner in the instruments category for me. We’ve had numerous analogue synthesizer emulations on the freeware market, however Dexed is the first free FM synthesizer which perfectly nails the sound and architecture of its hardware counterpart.
Dexed is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, although only in VSTi plugin format. More formats will be released in the future, though. The AU version is already included in the to-do list on the official product page.
More info: Dexed (935 kB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows, Mac, Linux)
Obxd is an authentic emulation of the legendary Oberheim OB-X analogue synthesizer. Early beta versions of Obxd were released back in 2013, however the first semi-official release happened in January 2014. A few months after that, a Mac OS X version of the plugin was also released.
For me, the most impressive part of Obxd are the filters. They have this beautiful raw character to them and they are the main reason why the plugin works so well for creating those classic analog style brass sounds and bass patches.
In its current state, the plugin is highly usable and stable. It is incredibly easy to program and there are plenty of free sound banks available for it, too (most of them are listed on the main product page). At the moment, you will need to use the host application’s preset manager to load additional sound banks. Future versions of Obxd will also include a built-in preset manager and various UI improvements.
More info: Obxd (2.71 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/AUi plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X)
BrainStormer was one of the more pleasant surprises of 2014, being a well optimized and highly very versatile subtractive synthesizer with additional FM synthesis and ring modulation features. Some of the highlights of this neat little workhorse synthesizer include a powerful modulation matrix with 84 available destinations for the modulation sources, a large amount of available oscillator waveforms, as well as internal oversampling.
Although the plugin is currently fully functional and stable on Windows machines, the developer has announced that a forthcoming 1.0 release will also include a built-in preset manager and provide AU plugin format support for Mac OS X. Either way, this is a great little subtractive/FM synthesizer which sort of reminds me of the legendary Synth1.
More info: BrainStormer (1.3 MB download size, ZIP archive, available in 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/VSTi3 plugin format for Windows)
Lokomotiv is an interesting subtractive synthesizer which reminds me a lot of one of my favorite freeware synthesizers ever, the amazing Charlatan. It offers great sounding analog style action in a slick and easy to use interface. You should definitely check it out if you’re not a huge fan of over-complicated virtual instruments.
More info: Lokomotiv (896 KB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/AUi plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X)
Designed by the demoscene group Brain Control for a 64k intro contest, Tunefish 4 is probably the only synthesizer on this list with a synthesis engine which fits into just 10 KB of data! The plugin file itself is somewhat larger due to the added code and graphics, however the sound engine is incredibly optimized and it will work great even on the slowest of machines.
More info: Tunefish 4 (764 kB download size, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/AUi plugin format for Windows & Mac)
Avatar ST Pro was one of the last additions to the Nearly Forgotten Gems collection by HG Fortune, who has sadly passed away this year. Günter Hagens was one of the most generous and talented VST plug-in developers, whose numerous virtual instruments are an amazing source of inspiration.
Günter’s departure is a great loss for the audio community. He will always be remembered as one of the kindest and most talented pioneers of the audio plug-in world as we know it.
More info: Avatar ST Pro (79.8 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit)
Among numerous de la Mancha’s commercial plugins which were re-released as freeware this year, the awesome Scylla granular synthesizer was my favorite one (click here for more goodies from the same developer). Combining sample playback capabilities with a granular synthesis engine, this virtual instrument is quite unlike anything else we’ve seen so far in the freeware world.
Back in July this year, de la Mancha has launched an initiative to gather £1000 for the fight against cancer. Although the goal amount hasn’t been reached yet, there’s still time for you to support the cause if you want. Upon reaching £500, dlM has re-released two of his old commercial plugins as freeware. If the final goal is reached, two more commercial plugins will be set free.
More info: Scylla (72.68 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit)
Nabla is an emulation of the Korg Delta hardware instrument, which was a combination of an analogue string machine and a simple subtractive synthesizer. I actually use to own a Korg Delta a couple of years ago (I’ve included some of its sounds in this free sample pack) and I was pleasantly surprised by how close the Nabla sounds to the original hardware instrument.
More info: Nabla (1.6 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows)
MT Power Drum Kit 2 is a free acoustic drum module for Windows and Mac OS X. It features a nice sounding set of acoustic drum samples for use in rock and pop music, a built-in mixer with multiple outputs, and a huge collection of drum grooves in MIDI format.
More info: MT Power Drum Kit 2 (58.1 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac)
More info: Korzenie Kick (2.7 MB download size, RAR archive, 32-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit)
More info: BigRoomKixSynth (4.4 MB download size, 7Z archive, 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows, made with SynthMaker)
More info: Ragnarök (1.4 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows)
More info: SynthMaster Player Free (26.3 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/AUi/RTAS plugin format for Windows & Mac)
More info: M-theory (10.5 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VSTi plugin format for Windows)
More info: VS Upright 1 (35.8 MB download size, RAR archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VSTi/AUi plugin format for Windows & Mac)
Free Guitar Amplifiers
The free version of Grind Machine offers two different guitar amplifiers and two cabinet emulations. It supports all major plugin platforms on Windows and Mac OS X and it’s definitely my favorite piece of free guitar amplification software released this year.
More info: Grind Machine Free (4.4 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX/RTAS plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X)
More info: Emissary (11.3 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac)
More info: Flextron DC14 (2 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows)
More info: Ace (1.1 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac)
More info: Boogex 2.0 (7.0 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS)
Utilities / MIDI
Although still a work in progress and not completely stable, the beta version of Minihost Modular was my favorite 2014 release in the category of tools and plugin hosts. Capable of operating as a VST/AU plugin and offering a way to connect other plugins with virtual patch cables, this unique little tool is a great way to add some modular features to your DAW of choice.
More info: Minihost Modular (17.62 MB download size, ZIP archive, available as standalone + 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X)
Alex Hilton’s first freeware VST plugin release caught everyone by surprise (including myself), delivering a capable and highly polished stereo image controller. A1StereoControl is the perfect tool to expand the stereo control functionality of your digital audio workstation. Here’s hoping that we’ll be seeing more free goodies from this developer in 2015!
More info: A1StereoControl (865 kB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows and Mac)
Among numerous freeware plugins which were released by WOK in 2014, the cleverly named Instretch stands out as my personal favorite. It’s an instant time-stretching tool which is a godsend for sound designers and everyone else in need of an extreme time-stretching tool which can be loaded as a VST plugin.
More info: Instretch (3.2 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit)
More info: CCStepper (4 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows)
More info: Sturiophonia (3.8 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit VST plugin format for Windows, made with SynthEdit)
In this bonus section, I’d like to mention a few additional freebies from 2014. Although these goodies weren’t included in the main part of the list for one reason or another, they are still worthy of your attention.
First off, here’s a brief overview of the temporarily free VST plugins which caused the most hype in 2014. Most of these offers have already expired, so here’s hoping that we’ll be seeing more stuff like this in 2015!
Replika is a fantastic delay effect which was released as a holiday gift from Native Instruments. It will remain free only for a limited time, though. The offer expires on January 1st, so you should definitely hurry up if you want to grab this amazing delay VST/AU without spending a dime. If it were a regular freeware item, Replika would easily have taken one of the top five spots on this list.
Another big time-limited freebie offer this year was the Eventide UltraChannel. They gave away this absolute beast of a channel strip back in July and although it required a free iLok user account, you could still download it and activate it on your computer even without the USB dongle.
Same goes for Little PrimalTap by SoundToys. It’s a rather unique digital delay effect which was offered as a free download for a short period of time back in March.
And here’s a short list of a few (still available) bonus freebies which haven’t been included in the main part of the list.
Retroband is an old commercial saturation VST plugin which was recently re-released as freeware. It’s not the greatest saturation effect out there, but it definitely has its own charm and a nice gritty character which you might find interesting.
Clap Machine is a free clap rompler instrument which can be downloaded for free via 99Sounds. It is a rather simple plugin, but it’s still a great tool for adding natural sounding claps to your audio or video projects.
Art Pyrite is an interesting free atmospheric soundscape generator for Windows. The free version features a small factory selection with 32 great sounding patches and you can definitely get some amazing pads out of this one if you play around with the available parameters.
The included plugins are ranked according to my personal criteria (overall quality, originality, support for multiple platforms, stability, etc.). I’ve tried to be as objective as possible, but the truth is that the rankings are really not all that important. The general idea behind this article is to provide a round up of the best freeware VST and AU plugins from 2014 and it’s safe to say that every piece of software included in the list below definitely worth your attention.
Feel free to suggest your own favorites in the comments section below!
Once again, thank you all for reading BPB and for being a part of our community in 2014. I would also like to thank all of the developers for their fantastic work and for sharing these amazing music making tools with us! Happy New Year to all of you and here’s hoping for a great 2015!
Free VST Plugins (Main Directory)