5 Free VST plugins for more electronic music production
These free VST plugins will help you in these quarantine days
Nowadays people just got a lot more time to make music. So whether you’ve finally got a clear schedule to begin learning how to produce, or you’re a seasoned pro without the often eye-watering sums to purchase any of the hardware, here’s nine free plug-ins, with Windows & Mac capability and varying shades of simplicity and complexity, to throw yourself into.
Reverb plug ins are essentially chasing one thing: to be the most faithful recreation of a room. But in dance music? That kind of all goes out the window, as reverb gets used much more as a sound design tool. So sometimes, the less faithful the recreation, or no recreation at all, means a more interesting and playful plug in. With that in mind, TAL’s Reverb-2 is an easy to use, plug in with plenty of character and the ability to really make your ambient dreams come true.
The PG-8X is inspired by Roland’s JX-8P, an analog polysynth that delivered some of the 80s’ most iconic sounds but was notoriously difficult to programme. Thankfully PG-8X’s interface has been based on the PG-800, a super easy to use and experiment with controller for a number of Roland synths. But not only is this VST great entirely in the box, it’s patch-compatible with the hardware meaning you can use original JX-8P SysEx files, most of which are out there on the internet.
A Minimoog Voyager but for free? Yeah, thought that would get your attention. That’s essentially what the VK-1 Viking Synthesizer is touting, and it does a commendable job. Consisting of three variable wave oscillators with a number of features like oscillator sync, frequency modulation, noise generation and two ladder filters making up the meat of the synth, there’s plenty of room for experimentation and the ability to design some great sounds. But if you’re lazy like me, the VK-1 has 228 presets to dive into which are simple to tweak to your needs.
Firstly all of Blue Cat‘s stuff is great on the free VST circuit. But seeing as we’ve already covered a chorus plug-in with the TAL-Chorus-LX, we plumped for Blue Cat’s flanger, an excellent program touting 70s and 80s style flange that really works perfectly for dance music today. Yes, the interface is simple but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a range of subtle effects to alien-esque vocal transformations and he dedicated spread-slider is a nice touch to utilise the stereo field. Seriously just whack this thing on a break or some hi hats and you’re golden.
Like psytrance raves or the unreleased Bicep meme, Voxengo’s SPAN will always be there, standing strong and offering up point-perfect spectrum analysis in the face of an oncoming apocalypse. So it made absolute sense to include it in this list. Obviously not the sexiest of selections in regards to the rest of the picks but when it comes to mixing down it’s top of the line. Look, if you want all the super nerdy shit then head here but just know SPAN is the steady hand that will see us through this crisis.