Latest

Muso on Lockdown: Free plug-ins & tools for creativity in quarantine

Blog by Jane Parker under Artist Managers, Recording & Production

Hello! I am a muso and I'm on lockdown.

If you’re a bedroom musician/producer/songwriter/creative type, then not leaving the house, eating pot noodles and having an uncertain future is nothing new to you...

So stay in your pyjamas/underpants/last week’s clothes and grab your laptop. Existential fear? You positively thrive on it! So, with that in mind, let's finish that album you started 3 years ago. There’s no excuse now.

Bagging yourself some new freeware/plug-ins can ignite a much needed spark of inspiration. There are so many out there and this is just a reminder of what you can get. Some you've probably heard of, but there is always more freeware to discover.

You've got time on your hands, so why not watch Kenny from Ontario in his bedroom check out free Guitar Rig 5 plug-ins on YouTube. You might learn something (or not).

Just a word of warning: always be aware of the sites you are about to download from. Some sites may be iffy, so keep an eye out. It's best to go for the source sites if possible.

Also watch some videos of the plug-ins first to see if they're what you're after. You may have to create a free account for some and get bombarded with emails, but often you can get free stuff added later and good info and blogs thrown in.

Enjoy!


Virtual Instruments:

Various:

KOMPLETE START FROM NATIVE INSTRUMENTS - This taster package includes Guitar Rig 5, some of which are demos, but you can always bounce down sections you like on audio tracks.

LABS SPITFIRE AUDIO
Library sound collection from Spitfire Audio

BLUE CAT AUDIO FREEWARE
The full Blue Cat Audio freeware package.

MELDA PRODUCTIONS MFREE FX BUNDLE

EARECKON FREE PLUG-INS
Equaliser, Gate, Compressor and Limiter

T-RACKS 5 CUSTOM SHOP
Free starter plug-ins with optional add-ons.


Guitar/Bass Guitar:

GUITAR RIG FROM NATIVE INSTRUMENTSIncluded in the Komplete Start bundle above, or you can just download Guitar Rig on its own.

IK MULTIMEDIA AMPLITUBE CUSTOM SHOP
(AMPLITUBE 3 FREE) - Guitar modelling amps and pedals.

BLUE CAT AUDIO AMP SIMULATORS

MERCURIALL (PEDALS, PRE-AMPS & CABS)

CYPRESS TT-15 AMP HEAD EMULATOR

AMPLE GUITAR M LITE BY AMPLE SOUND / AMPLE BASS LITE


Synths:

U-HE SYNTHSScroll for the freebies.

ART PYRITE SYNTHS
Scroll down for demos and download.

KLEVGRAND SYNDTSPHERE

DEXED SYNTH (YAMAHA DX7)

STEINBERG MODEL E

TAL-NOISEMAKER

MEOWSYNTH
Cat face based meow sounds....cabin fever anyone?


Piano:      

PIANO ONE (YAMAHA C7) BY SOUND MAGIC

DSK THE GRAND


Drums/Drum Machines:
STEVEN SLATE SSD 5.5Scroll down for free version

MT POWER DRUM KIT 2

DUBTURBO DRUM TROOP

ALAN VISTA ROYOTOMS

AMPLE CLOUDRUMMelodic steel tongue drum sounds

MINISPILLAGE BY AUDIOSPILLAGE 


Compressors:    

AUDIO DAMAGE ROUGHRIDER 3

KLANGHELM MJUC JR

MELDA PRODUCTION MCOMPRESSOR

ADHD LEVELING TOOL


EQ:

LUFTIKUS BY LKJB

SPL FREE RANGER

BEE-HAPPY 550

ELYSIA NIVEAU FILTER

BLACK ROOSTER AUDIO VHL-3C
Vintage High/Low Pass Filter


Reverb:

TAL-REVERB 4

VOXENGO OLD SKOOL VERB


Bit-Crushers:

KRUSH BY TRIK TRIK

MELDA PRODUCTION MBIT FUN

TAL-BITCRUSHER


Vocoders:

AUBURN SOUNDS GRALLION 2 VOICE CHANGER

TAL-VOCODER

CANNABIS VOCODER


Sample Management:

ADSR SAMPLE MANAGER


Other:

IZOTOPE VINYL

RC-20 COLOUR

SOFTUBE SATURATION KNOB

VINTAGE TUBE SATURATOR BY WAVE ARTS

KLANGHELM IVGI
Saturation and distortion

GLITCHMACHINES HYSTERESIS
Glitch delay plug-in

FROHMAGE
Cheese based filtering...of course


There is also the usual demo versions of plugins and DAWs that you can access for a limited amount of time, such as ABLETON LIVE’s impressively lengthy 90 day trial.

The sites below are also good to subscribe to. A lot of what they offer is paid for, but they will also provide lots of useful information, along with the occasional free plug-in (like Izotope Ozone, which is great for mastering).

https://www.waves.com
https://splice.com
https://www.izotope.com
https://www.bluecataudio.com
https://www.pluginboutique.com

Some factory sounds can be a bit pants, but use them as a starter then bosch ‘em through some evil distortion and filters to mash it up...then you've made them your own.

Free guitar plug-ins can be no better than your internal DAW FX, but you can mix ‘n’ match with different FX for lo-fi rough sounds. Or stick them externally through some guitar pedals and back. You're the boss - make it yours.

Or alternatively, use those splendidly slick Pop/RNB/Hip-Hop/EDM studio library sounds and loops included with your DAW and you'll be the toast of TikTok before bedtime.

I'm off for a gin and a pot noodle. Stay in, stay safe and make muzak.


Tags

Free plug-ins and tools for musicians

 

Your Comments

The Young Songwriter Competition is open aimed at 8-22 year olds
WOMEX comes to Manchester in 2024 & calls out to artists, bands, DJs & producers
Apply to play Ireland Music Week
PRS Foundation's POWER UP initiative open to Black creators and music industry professionals
Charmfactory launch Emerging Talent Scholarship
Launchpad Conference returns this March - register for free one day event!