I use a lot of free VST effects and synths , so as a way of giving something back to the freeware VST community , I’d like to recommend some of the best ones i’ve come across.
First up is probably the best compressor i’ve ever used. The Mcompressor by Melda Production
Its totally free and is a beauty. Where it surpasses other compressors is in its flexibility , as it allows you to draw custom waves like those in the picture above. And the sound is pretty damn special. Feed it the limpest , weediest beat , tweak the custom / user wave , and it can become a rabid , snarling monster. Its also coded really well so it won’t crash , and its very light on CPU so its possible to have one running on each insert if you so desire. Trust me…..its a beauty. I use it on practically every track I make now.
While you’re grabbing the MCompressor , check out the rest of the VST effects there. Highly recommended !!
Next up , is a plugin that everyone should have in their arsenal , and its made by DSK. Its called Minidrumz and it features the sounds from 20 classic drum machines , some of which are really rare.
The sounds are reproduced faithfully , and because its so light on cpu , you could have multiple instances running at the same time , all with different kits which you could mangle with FX. Very simple solution for me when I want to lay a beat down real quick.
mini DrumZ features the sounds of the following drum machines:
- Ace Tone Rhythm Ace, Kakehashi’s pre-Roland sound drum machine.
- Akai XE8, the 1U rack mount unit with 16-bit drum samples.
- Akai XR10, anybody know anything about this one?
- Alesis HR-16, one of Alesis’s first drum machines.
- Boss DR-55, first drum machine from Roland with the name Boss.
- Boss DR-220, typical mid 80′s digital drum sounds.
- Fricke MSB512
- Kawai R50, 12 bit 32K sampled drums.
- Korg DDD-1, came with 18 short PCM samples.
- Korg DDM110, lo-fi and crunchy sounding.
- Mattel SynSonic, from the people who brought you Barbie…
- MXR 185, the machine where it’s hard to tell rim from snare.
- Roland CR-78, the 1978 drum machine that used analog drum voices.
- Roland TR-606, originally designed to be used with the Roland TB-303.
- Roland TR-727, latin drum kit version of the TR-707.
- Roland TR-808, originally manufactured for use as a tool for studio musicians to create demos.
- Roland TR-909, partially analog, partially sample-based drum machine.
- SCI DrumTraks, Sequential’s first digital drum machine.
- SCI Tom, similar to the DrumTraks but more advanced.
- Yamaha RX11, the drum machine that looks like a DX.
Download mini DrumZ below (12.1MB).
DSK mini DrumZ 2 Downloads: 53719 times
Visit the DSK VSTi page for more plug-ins.
Next up ……..one of my personal favourites , E-Phonics INVADER
which i’ve used on quite a few tracks , simply because it sounds like nothing else out there. There are a lot of 3 oscillator clones out there and fresh ideas are pretty thin on the ground. Even though the Invader has been around for ages , it still sits alone because it has a character and a sound that are very distinct , and , as the name suggests , is very capable for sci-fi style SFX like death rays and phased swirls but with a bit of patience , is actually quite adept at most things due to a lot of modulation possibilities. It’s FREE and well worth checking out.
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I’ve been collecting VSTs for about 12 years now. I love finding little freeware gems online. My reasoning is that I get more satisfaction out of creating something in a free synth , than I will have if I load an expertly made patch in an expensive synth that is gonna be heard in a million other tracks.
There aren’t many freeware synths that I haven’t tried , and the main things I look for now are quality oscillators , and good modulation capabilities.
There are tonnes of 3 oscillator synths out there , and a lot of them are mediocre , with thin-sounding oscillators that alias , click , and pop when you really need clean sounds that sit well in a mix.
I think I started off with the Richman ,
which was on a computer music magazine coverdisc. It is highly adept at producing percussive string sounds like accoustic guitars ,and dulcimers , but where it shines is the steel drum / cimbalon / harp sounds which are bright and clear and great for arpeggios or short chord stabs. I then discovered the EZ-Poly
and fell in love with its vibrato , but the synth that really won me is the K700.
The K700 has two lines / oscillators running in tandem , and it creates a very complex multitimbral sound that , in my opinion , is equal to something created on a Native Instruments synth. It’s rare to find sound of such clarity and quality in huge amount of free vst synths out there , and the K700 produces a very expressive , yet extraordinarily pristine sound , which is capable of almost …..an “FM synthesis” sound that I love , especially for arps and tech basslines. I know that FM synthesis can sound unrealistic when it comes to trying to emulate , say , a piano for instance , but what I always loved about FM was its smoothness , and the K700 has a sleek , shiny sound , as smooth as a puddle of mercury on a marble slab.
In short —- The k700 is a gem of a synth and I highly reccommend it.
Download at Krakli Software