Best FREE Software Plugins VST 2018 | Top Five Friday

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In this video, producer Tim Cant runs through 5 of the most popular, some might say best, FREE software plugins (VST).

Top Five FREE Plugins are…

5. Limiter No.6 – Vladg Sound
4. OB-Xd – DiscoDSP
3. Xfer OTT
2. TAL-Noisemaker
1. SPAN – Voxengo

5. Limiter No.6 – Vladg Sound
As the name might suggest, Limiter No.6 is a great limiter, but it doesn’t just use heavy-handed brute force to squash your signal – its Compression panel brings juicy analogue-style compression with a lighter touch, helping you glue buses and tame instruments.

Onto the limiting, there’s peak limiting and high-frequency limiting onboard, each with plenty of controls to tweak the reaction. Next you can get even moreout of your peaks with a well-kitted-out Clipper section, and then annihilate any last strays with digital brickwall-style limiting in the Protection section.

Metering is provided by lovely looking needle meters, so you can watch your music dance as its smashed to smithereens.

4. OB-Xd – DiscoDSP
This synth is a tribute to the classic 80s Oberheim polysynths, and as such gives you a nostalgic and sound with a very versatile set of tools to control it. You can even download and change the interface with new skins for OB-Xd.

Given to you in this retro style interface are two oscillators and a load of inspirational ways to blend them. There’s also a juicy filter, filter and amplitude envelopes, stereo spread, and lots of voice tweaking to get a handle on those unsion and detuned sounds.

OB-Xd’s Modulation section is a unique take on simple modulation, letting you set the rate, the pitch and even Pulse Width, then switching in what you want that signal to affect with – naturally – LED-spangled rocker switches.

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3. Xfer OTT
This multiband compressor, developed by Xfer Records, the force behind the massive supersynth Serum, was actually devised to mimic the Ableton Live Multiband Dynamics’ OTT preset, making it available for users of all DAWs in VST and AU formats.

The signal is split into Low, Mid and High bands, and you essentially set the threshold for each band by dragging the black bar for each. The controls on the right add some extra gain controls for each band.

Pull that crucial Depth control up to start compressing the signal and distorting it at extreme levels – with OTT, a little is all you need to turn your audio into a fire-spitting demon. There’s input and output Gain controls too, to run the signal hotter or colder.

You can compress in upward or downward with OTT – downward is classic compression, reducing the peaks above the threshold, while upward brings any low portions of the audio information up, still reducing the dynamic range of your signal.

2. TAL-Noisemaker
Sometimes it’s the simple synths that cut through the noise that become most successful – TAL-Noisemaker is just such an instrument.

You get two oscillators spuffing out basic shapes – oscillator one has a Pulse Width control and oscillator two has a frequency modulation control to combine it with osc one. There’s an LFO here, and you also get an additional LFO, filter and ADSR controls in Noisemaker’s Synth 2 panel.

The synth also brings you an Envelope Editor, which will have you designing your own multi-stage envelope or LFO and assigning to one of eight parameters, there’s also a Juno-style chorus, bitcrushing, delay and reverb – simple, but incredibly effective.

1. SPAN – Voxengo
“A freeware frequency analyzer, at number one?” We hear you cry. Yes, and with good reason: SPAN has got itself onto more hard drives than Paris Hilton, and has proved itself the legendary go-to analyzer for producers the world over.

SPAN is super-accurate and easy to use, and you might well only need it in its default state. If you want to look further, though, here are three top SPAN tips…

– You can zoom into the display by holding Alt or Option and drawing a box in the spectrum display
– You can band-pass part of the frequency spectrum by Cmd or Ctrl clicking
– You can change colours in the Settings’ Colour Edit page

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