Tube Saturator Vintage Is A FREE Saturation Plugin By Wave Arts


Wave Arts has announced the release of Tube Saturator Vintage, a freeware tube saturation effect in VST, AU, and AAX plug-in formats for digital audio workstations on PC and Mac.

Tube Saturator Vintage is a re-release of the original Tube Saturator effect by Wave Arts. Tube Saturator evolved into Tube Saturator 2 (€74.20) which features an optimized internal processing engine and a more CPU-efficient set of saturation algorithms.

See also: Free Saturation VST Plugins

However, according to Wave Arts, some users still preferred the sound of the original plugin. That is why the developer decided to re-release the original plugin as a freeware product called Tube Saturator Vintage.

Tube Saturator Vintage is a detailed emulation of a dual 12AX7 triode preamp, paired up with a 3-band Baxandall type equalizer. The user interface features a drive knob, three equalizer knobs, on/off switches for the EQ module, and “Fat” processing mode which increases the gain and saturation amount by changing the bias circuit of the first preamp.

The instrument also features an output volume knob, and a VU meter, a preset manager, undo functionality, and A/B testing buttons. The plugin is fairly easy to use. Adjust the Drive knob to your liking, then tweak the frequency response with the EQ.

Most importantly, Tube Saturator Vintage sounds incredibly good. The saturation is everything you’d expected to get from a tube amp, or, at least, as close as you can get to it in a software emulation. It sounds very similar to the excellent SGA1566 plugin by Shattered Glass Audio (also freeware), although the Wave Arts product seems to be better optimized in terms of CPU usage.

Speaking of CPU performance, due to the highly precise circuit simulation technology that was used in Tube Saturator Vintage, the resulting performance hit is rather high even on modern computers.

During our test, Tube Saturator Vintage used around 20% of available resources on a single core of an i7 CPU. Turning off the EQ module reduced the overall CPU hit by around 9%.

Please note that these tests were performed on a single CPU core. You will get better results if your DAW is optimized for taking advantage of multi-core processing.

To download the Tube Saturator Vintage installer for Windows, simply hit the download button on the product page linked below.

You might have to choose the correct operating system manually in some browsers. Once you install and launch the plugin for the first time, you’ll need to enter your name and email address in order to activate it. The activation process is quick and doesn’t require email validation.

Download: Tube Saturator Vintage (9.41 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plug-in formats for Windows & Mac OS)

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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. Adrian Dominguez


    That is wonderful! But I wonder if it can be applied to the whole mix to add a subtle saturation…

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      Subtle tape saturation generally works better for master bus processing, but there are no rules in mixing.

  2. Awesome! With all of the free software and Pluginboutique deals the past few months, every day feels like Xmas! Thank you, Wave Arts and Tomislav!

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      Here’s a quote from the developer’s website (haven’t tried it myself): “Our latest plug-ins use a new online activation system accessed via the Tools->Register option. Simply enter your serial, name, and email, and the plug-in will be unlocked. If your computer is not connected to the internet you will be prompted to follow the offline activation procedure, which is exactly like the above procedure except instead of a key code, you will be emailed a key file. Copy the key file to the target machine, and then click Tools->Offline Register and then click “Open Key File” and select the file. The plug-in will be unlocked.”

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