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Top Free VST Plugins 2020

Free high quality plugins 2019
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| @ 16 Sounds music production blog 16sounds.com

Free quality plugins 2020

The price of software plugins has dropped a lot over the last 10 years. The market is flooded and the amount and quality of free plugins have never been higher. Today almost all audio plugin developers use some of their marketing budgets on downscaled versions of their products for promoting the brand and plugins.

But can you make "professional" sounding mixes with free plugins? The answer is yes!

What makes a good free plugin:

  • It does not sound "free"
  • It is competing with expensive plugins on at least a few features
  • CPU usage not too high
    • Free plugins might not be as optimized as selling plugins
  • VST 3 format is a plus but not a must

Here are a few of the best free high-quality plugins that we have tested for this article:

  • Valhalla Supermassive from Valhalla DSP - NEW plugin
  • Voxengo SPAN
  • OrilRiver Reverb
  • Softtube The Knob
  • TAL Chorus LX
  • Xfer Records OTT Multiband Compressor


The plugins explained

The plugins are list in random order and not by rank. They are all good plugins for different sounds and mixing purposes.

Valhalla Supermassive

Valhalla Supermassive is a new free reverb plugin from Valhalla DSP. It is a new design with delays and reverbs and has a unique Warp feature for interesting sounds. It has fewer controls than the plugins from Valhalla for sale.

Valhalla Supermassive free reverb plugin
Valhalla Supermassive delay and reverb plugin

This is quality-algorithms for free! Try it.

This plugin is built on valuable knowledge and probably a tested framework used in the products for sale which gives the user a lot for the zero money.  

Like in Vintageverb and Room the modes have names

 

 

OrilRiver Reverb

This is one of the better sounding free reverbs. No low quality ringing and it has a nice diffusion. It does not quite have the pro feel of Supermasssive but still a good free tool for a good reverb.

Free OrilRiver Reverb plugin

The GUI looks ok though "free" but it still easy to dial in what you want.

The early reflection and variations- and reverb variation names are just "Variation x". In Supermassive at least they have names.

Voxengo SPAN

This is one of the best free metering plugins there is. It is frequently updated and has the metering you need for a modern music production setup. 

SPAN - one of the best free metering VST plugins
Voxengo SPAN free analyzer and metering plugin

This metering plugin has all the basics:

  • Analyzer display
  • RMS
  • Peak
  • Correlation
  • MS spectrum analyzer
  • Crest factors
  • Different scales like K-12 and K-14

The contesters on the expensive pro-market are:

  • Izotope Insight 2
  • Flux Pure Analyzer
  • Steinberg Wavelab

 

The Knob saturation plugin

The knob is a simple one-knob saturation plugin with 3 modes. It creates pleasant saturation to distortion for different kinds of material.

Softtube The Knob Saturation plugin
Softtube The Knob plugin 

This is a loud plugin and an output control would have been nice but like most free plugins, there often is a nag. The missing output control can be overcome with a trim plugin after in the plugin chain.

Xfer Records OTT Compressor 

ITT is a different plugin. It is a multiband upward / downward compressor.

Xfer Records OTT Multiband Compressor

Xfer Records have more free plugins here 

An alternative to this plugin is Waves MV2 which also has upward and down compression and limiting.

TAL Chorus LX

TAL Chorus LX is a plugin emulating the famous Juno 60 chorus from the vintage analog Roland synthesizer. A defining effect from a hardware synth.

Download free quality chorus
Download the free TAL LX and get a high-quality effect.

 

The plugin

This plugin has a sweet wide sound. It is simple with 2 mode buttons and a stereo width control giving it 3 stages of effect. 1, 2, and both 1 and 2.

Free TAL Chorus LX plugin
Free TAL Chorus LX

Other Juno 60 chorus units

  • TC Electronics JUNO-60 pedal
    • A hardware pedal from TC Electronics 
  • Oblivion Sound LAB
    • Another free hardware chorus emulation VST
    • Down load it here 

IZotope Ozone Imager

Izotope has released a simplified version of the imager component from the full Ozone mastering plugin. This is probably part of the marketing budget collection website profile members and setting focus on the full mastering plugin.

Izotope Ozone Imager
Free Ozone Imager from Izotope website 

Faking stereo always has a downside so do not overdo it. but it can make the individual sound more interesting or widen a whole mix a but.

Flux Stereo Tool

A free stereo imaging and analysis plugin with a nice GUI.

Free Flux Stereo Tool V3
The free Flux Stereo Tool

Features:

  • Input gain for left and right channel individually
  • Pan
  • Phase inverse
  • Vector Scope Display
  • Parameter morphing between presets

 

CPU usage

The CPU usage is not directly comparable since the processing is very different but here is a list:

Free VST Plugins CPU usage

As shown in the CPU usage table only Saturation knob and OTT Compressor has latency and most of them have insignificant CPU load. Supermassive has surprisingly low CPU usage.

Free synth presets

Bass Line One Demo - Free Massive Presets

Bass Line One Demo - Free Massive Presets

A free Bass Demo Package

  • 9 great patches
  • Basses for different genres

Prophet v3 unison basses demo - free presets

Prophet v3 unison basses demo - free presets

V3 Unison basses demo

A great package with free sounds made with Prophet V3 in its iconic Unison mode

Psy trance Bundle 1 demo for Serum synth

Psy trance Bundle 1 demo for Serum synth

A Psy trance bundle for Serum synth

A synthesizer Psytrance bundle demo designed by Mark Gray.