Slate Digital Releases FREE Heatwave Saturation Plugin


Slate Digital releases Heatwave, a freeware one-knob saturation plugin for Windows and macOS (requires a free iLok user account).

Heatwave is a free saturation plugin that adds grit and aggressiveness to sounds without destroying the transients. Due to how it handles the transients, Heatwave is particularly effective on drums, bass, and acoustic guitars, where it can thicken the instrument’s sound without compromising its natural characteristics.

Heatwave’s interface is simple, as it is essentially a one-knob plugin. However, it appears the Heatwave runs multiple types of processing under the hood, including saturation, EQ, and multi-band compression.

I spent around thirty minutes today testing Heatwave on different recordings, and I love the variety of saturation and processing you can get simply by adjusting the Drive knob. The main control effectively works as a macro knob for adjusting the intensity and shape of the processing.

When set to around 50%, the Drive knob applies thickening and gentle EQ to add body and saturation to the signal. As you push it towards 75% and beyond, the processing becomes more aggressive, with audible distortion and heavy multi-band compression.

I was expecting a straightforward saturation plugin similar to Softube’s popular Saturation Knob and our free BPB Saturator, but Heatwave surprised me with its musicality and complex processing.

Heatwave works especially well on drums, ranging from subtle drive to intense saturation. It adds punch to beats and brings a new dimension to vocals and instruments, balancing gentle enhancement and heavy distortion.

If you don’t already have a Slate Digital user account, getting Heatwave for free is somewhat time-consuming.

First, visit the Heatwave product page (linked below) and add the plugin to the shopping cart.

  • Sign up for a free Slate Digital user account on the checkout page.
  • Open your email inbox and click the confirmation link in the email from Slate Digital.
  • On the confirmation page, enter your iLok user account credentials.
  • Download the installer and run the Slate Digital Connect app.
  • Log in to your Slate Digital user account and download Heatwave to your computer.
  • Install Heatwave and click the Activate Licenses button in Slate Digital Connect.

The entire registration and installation process took me around fifteen minutes.

Heatwave is available in VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats for digital audio workstations on Windows and macOS.

On a related note, Slate Digital recently launched the Black Friday sale, offering the Complete Access subscription for $14.99 monthly. You can find more discounts on our Black Friday deals page.

Download: Slate Digital Heatwave (FREE, requires iLok user account)


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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. Michael - Heretical Audio


    Awesome! thanks Tomislav. I haven’t used Slate Air since I got Overloud Dopamine, but I may have to revisit it when I install this Saturation plugin.

  2. Reminds me of their “Fresh Air” plugin. That wasn’t a straightforward tone/EQ either, & had more stuff going on under the hood.

  3. I don’t understand how to add the plugin to the shopping cart.
    Apparently I’m too stupid for that today 😂 I’ll try again tomorrow. But thanks Tomislav for the tip anyway 👍

  4. I finally figured it out: the website didn’t show the button “Get it free” on my mobile device. I had to use Chrome on my PC to get this freebie. Everything works, thanks again 😃

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