Free stuff!

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This is the thread where you can share great musical toys and DAW plugins that you can get for free. What've you got?

I'll start with a FAWM favourite: the LABS series of plugins from Spitfire Audio. They release a new one every month, and the latest is a mellow upright piano, sampled through a series of old tape machines. It's full of woozy loveliness!
https://labs.spitfireaudio.com/tape-piano

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@elesimo

My pick for this year is the Argotlunar (https://mourednik.github.io/argotlunar/), a real-time delay granulator.

I used it in a few of my FAWM tracks this year, and it transforms the sound in really interesting ways. In particular, my guitar lines sound waaaay more interesting when I use the Argotlunar on them. πŸ˜€

The plugin is free and open source, available for Windows (VST), Mac (VST/AU) and Linux (native VST).

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I'll give that one a go, thanks! Github is quite the place for fun music software; the amazing, free emulation of the Yamaha DX7, DEXED can also be found there. It's so good at being a DX7 that Brian Eno uses it:
https://asb2m10.github.io/dexed/

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@kiffa

I wish I could remember who turned me on to Epic Online Orchestra this past FAWM so I could credit them here. I used it in one of my songs and it absolutely made the recording. https://epiconlineorchestra.com/

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@cblack

Anyone know a free amp sim plugin that will work in FL Studio 12? Mostly looking for metal, but anything free and good quality would be appreciated. πŸ˜€

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oooh so many free and fun plugins to choose from, but my number 1 free thing MUST be Cakewalk by Bandlab ... https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk (windows only)
A fully-featured regularly updated DAW that is fantastic and Free. I highly recommend Creative Sauce's YouTube tutorials which include a great getting started with cakewalk series by walking through producing a whole song. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4ylp_4AhfKtyYYRWyp9B4v2CLm32__9P
Mike is a great teacher and there is plenty on the channel for more experienced users too.

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i thought you would also say vital @wobbiewobbit https://vital.audio/ awesome free synth particularly if you add all free presets/ its great - bandlab is col as well

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@cblack There's a free version of Guitar Rig 6 in Komplete Start, ISTR. Amplitube also have a free version:
https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/amplitube5cs/

And for those of you who remember Acme Bar Gig, I have good news: Ken says he's back at work on a new, 64-bit version of Headcase!

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Heavyocity have started a series of free plugins called Foundations that use the Native Instruments Kontakt player (which is also free). There are three so far and they're all good, but the piano is outstanding.
https://heavyocity.com/product-category/foundations/

Get the Kontakt player (and a whole bunch of other free stuff) here:
https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/bundles/komplete-start/

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@cblack

Oooh, thanks @headfirstonly ! I'll check them out before Monday. ;)

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You can get more free instrument plugins if you sign up to Orchestral Tools's mailing list and install their SINE player (which works as a plugin, or standalone). The church organ is fab!
https://www.orchestraltools.com/sinefactory

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While we're talking about orchestras: fancy having a go at writing music for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, for free? Spitfire Audio let you download the Discover version of their plugin for free if you fill out a questionnaire (and wait 14 days). I can't remember any addition to my DAW that has made a bigger difference to my skill set. It provides a new world of possibilities. Click where it says "or free" here:
https://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/bbc-symphony-orchestra-discover/

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DRUMS!

I use Addictive Drums. And they're brilliant. There's also a free version (or demo) that you can use, with limited kit pieces (Fairfax Vol. 1: Kick, Snare, Hihat & Crash).
https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/addictive_drums_2

Steven Slate Drums has a free version.
https://stevenslatedrums.com/ssd5/#SSD5FREE

So does MT Power Drum Kit 2.
https://www.powerdrumkit.com/download76187.php

And so does IK Multimedia's MODO DRUM
https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/mododrum/#choseversion

Other than just drums, for curated lists of freebies, I recommend Bedroom Producer.
https://bedroomproducersblog.com/free-vst-plugins/

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@slusk

Stochas is really fun and promising for the future. A stochastic open-source sequencer (also as a plugin for most DAWs). Define probabilistic sequences/patterns.

https://stochas.org/

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@cblack

Gonna try Cakewalk tomorrow. Learning a new DAW during 50/90? Why, yes, I *am* mad! Ahahahaha!

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Just discovered this, the Numa Player from Studiologic...
https://www.studiologic-music.com/support/numaplayer/

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go for it @cblack - perfect time. Cram up on those creative sauce videos, they are packed with general tips throughout, whatever the main topic, not too long and very watchable :)

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@toms

@dragondreams that Numa thing is astounding!!!!

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@toms - I found it through one of Kenny Gioia's Reaper videos. And can't believe how good it is for a freebie!

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yeah just grabbed the Numa. some handy sounds on there!
thanks

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I use Cakewalk too, and btw Bandlab also has other useful free products like automated mastering and all kinds of free sound samples and tracks: https://www.bandlab.com/sounds/browse

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@dragondreams @toms I appreciated the heads-up about the Numa player! Coincidentally I'd just been talking to one keyboard player around here who loves his new Studiologic Numa Compact 2x to pieces for playing out live, and then another keyboard player who looked at all the sounds that comes with and said "no way can that be quality!"

Interesting about VSTs. Sometime I audition one patch and it sounds great, but when I arrange with a bunch of them they sound very synthy and not the band I was hoping for, unless the quality is good enough. (Or unless I really get the details right. Or unless I want it to be that synthy.)

You've made me curious to put that Numa through its paces but it doesn't do AAX and I have not, yet, tried any of the VST wrappers with my Pro Tools. Looks like NUGEN Audio SigMod is on sale this week for $29 (down from $49) and that's the rabbit hole that I'd have to go down.. have til 11-July to decide!

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If you like free reverb plugins, you need Valhalla's amazing free Supermassive plugin. It's so good, it sits in my default reverb send in my DAW. And if you've already installed it, you might want to download version 2.0, which has two entirely new operating modes. FreqEcho is tons of fun (and free) too:
https://valhalladsp.com/demos-downloads/

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@toms

Speaking of verbs, @headfirstonly , Variety of Sound has been updating a few of their effects recently, including a new plate reverb: https://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/

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@toms that's good news. Hopefully the new x64 versions won't crash reaper like the old ones did.

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@toms

@ianuarius Did they crash Reaper? Ugh. FWIW, I've not run into the problem using Reaper on Windows 10 and now 11, with either updated or older versions of their plugins.

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Yea, I had some issues way back when, which is a shame, because the vos plugins are incredible. But maybe new hope with the new updates.

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Some of my favourite freebies which have not yet been mentioned:
xfer OTT - multiband compressor makes everything sound BIG
Isotope vinyl - makes everything sound lofi
Softube saturation knob - adds a bit of warmth
Slate digital fresh air - exciter

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@toms

@ianuarius Just FYI the Variety of Sound updated plate reverb has been crashing Reaper all day today. :(

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@cblack

I've used Cakewalk and Guitar Rig 6 now, and I'm pretty impressed. Thanks for the recs!

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I have a couple to recommend:

Sitala - a robust drum VST
https://decomposer.de/sitala/

I really like Sitala. there are only a few knobs, but it always feels more expressive than I expect it to be; as if something under the hood does an exceptional job at defining velocity layers. I have a lot of libraries by Samples From Mars, and they play so well with Sitala it's like they were made for each other.

Pianobook - a huge and every-growing source of well-made sample packs
https://www.pianobook.co.uk/

MPC Beats - This is a stripped-down version of the Akai MPC ecosystem
https://www.akaipro.com/mpc-beats

Blue Cat Audio - Freeware bundle
https://www.bluecataudio.com/Products/Bundle_FreewarePack/

"This bundle contains a wide range of premium modulation effects,a guitar amp simulator, a single and dual-channel equalizer, a unique midi-controllable gain suite, as well as a professional spectrum analyzer.

All plug-ins are available for Mac and PC, in VST, VST3, AAX and Audio Unit plug-in formats, for both 32 and 64-bit architectures."

Bundle includes:
Blue Cat's Chourus
Blue Cat's Flanger
Blue Cat's Free Amp - pointing out esp. for @cblack
Blue Cat's FreqAnalyst
Blue Cat's Gain Suite
Blue Cat's Phaser
Blue Cat's Triple EQ

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I love these ToneBoosters plugins. They've made new ones, so they're giving away the old ones for free. And they're still great!
https://bedroomproducersblog.com/2022/02/22/toneboosters-free/

I recently got the ERA 6 vocal plugins bundle for free, but I can't what were the circumstances. Does someone else know about these?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvGRX2FimVE

@toms Ah, that's rough. Too bad.

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@cblack

@postcardhelicopters Ooh, thanks, I'll check it out. πŸ˜€

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@toms

@ianuarius thank you for the ToneBoosers link, just grabbed them. The reverb sounds very good! Edit - I absolutely love the EasyQ. Not quite sure what's going on in it, however. πŸ˜€

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Apogee's Soft Limit is free right now! Here's a link-

https://apogeedigital.com/products/plugins/soft-limit

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If filling out a survery and waiting for two weeks was putting you off getting hold of a free copy of Spitfire Audio's BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover plugin (which is amazing) I have good news for you: no more surveys, no more waiting. It's now available instantly for free.
https://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a-z/bbc-symphony-orchestra-discover/

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@ianuarius yes it was me who recommended in the discord group... there is a link in the description of the video, where it says PC or MAC. don't know if it's still working.

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@dh3

Hey @headfirstonly - just wanted to say a big thank you for recommending Spitfire's Syphony Orchestra Plugin. Thanks to you I've finally achieved my long-time dream of having a brass section in one of my songs! It's been all guitars and voice up to now - really learning on the job about all the cool stuff you can do for free. So thanks!

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@dh3 Hoorayβ€”glad you like it! It is great fun being able to write for a full orchestra. And now you've installed the Spitfire app, make sure you download all their amazing, free LABS series of instruments, too. There are some really great instruments in the series (the amplified cello quartet and the tape orchestra are favourites of mine).

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@cblack

Anybody know some quality bass amp software for free or cheap?

I want to buy a 5-string bass and have no amp for it. The plan is to go direct into the laptop and use free/cheap software while I save up for a decent amp.

Anything out there? Thanks in advance!

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@cblack
I've tried all of the ones listed on this site:
https://thehomerecordings.com/free-bass-amp-vst/

The GK and Ignite Amps ones are great for freebies. Both benefit from the addition of a decent cabinet emulator, such as Ignite Libra from STL Tones, but the free one at the bottom of that same page will give you good results. The GUI is a bit quirky, but worth the hassle.

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@cblack not exactly a full amp but this VST version of the SansAmp bass pedal gives pretty good results: https://www.tseaudio.com/software/tseBOD

Annoyingly there was a really nice amp free on Plugin Alliance but I've just checked and it was only a temporary offer 😞