Acustica-Audio has released Ochre Free, a freeware analog style 3-band parametric equalizer VST/AU plugin for Windows and Mac OS based digital audio workstations.
So there you go, we get two really cool freeware 3-band equalizers in a matter of days (check out Shattered Glass Audio’s brilliant Code Red Free if you’ve missed the previous release). Unlike Code Red Free which is a detailed emulation of a vintage tube console, Ochre Free is the first release in Acustica-Audio’s new series of plugins which aren’t based on any specific hardware device (please correct me in the comments section if I’m wrong about this, though). The download pack is around 100 MB in size so there’s definitely some Acustica-Audio dynamic hardware IR capturing going on here, but my guess is that they’ve combined several hardware units into one.
Although I am always happy to see a new Acustica-Audio freebie (since their plugins sound absolutely amazing), I was always somewhat put off by the fact that their previous releases caused various performance issues in my DAW. Sometimes the GUI would be glitchy, sometimes I’d experience CPU performance peaks, so I ended up using their plugins for mastering only (I only use a few plugins in the mastering chain anyway, thus the overall CPU hit is much lower). However, the new Ochre Free works surprisingly well on my test machine. The performance is flawless and the CPU hit is below 8% at all times, even with all three bands and the preamp stage active. I honestly wasn’t expect this.
The sound is what you’d expect from an Acustica-Audio plugin, warm and organic. Wheat really makes Ochre Free stand out though is the high frequency band, which sounds incredibly well even when pushed to its limits. It’s the perfect tool for adding that final bit of air and sparkle to your finished mixes. With a nice broad Q setting and 3-6 dB of gain added around 22 kHz, you’ll probably get a nicely enhanced top end.
Downloading your copy of Ochre Free might seem a bit confusing at first, but it’s actually quite simple. What confused me was the fact that the downloads tab on the product page is empty and adding the product to the shopping cart results in a “too many items added to cart” error message (really weird, I know). The trick however is to simply log in to your Acustica-Audio user account (registration is completely free) and open your user dashboard. The Ochre Free installer is already waiting for you there, along with the Quick Start guide in PDF format. The downloaded ZIP archive contains an EXE installer which will extract all of the required files on your computer. In case you run into issues with the regular installation, try re-installing the plugin with “legacy mode” enabled.
Check out the Ochre Free demo video:
Ochre Free is available for free download via Acustica-Audio (104 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS).