VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugins are computer software that simulates real devices and instruments. One of the first things we start looking for on the web are VST plugins when we start to get interested in music production, sound processing, mixing and final mastering. There are a lot of them and we can count them in hundreds or even thousands. Finding really good and useful ones requires many hours of testing and analysis. Some are more advanced and are used in professional music production, others are easier to use and practically everyone will be able to handle them in an intuitive way. Most of us starting our adventure with music production start with these free or very cheap VST plugins. Unfortunately, most of them are of poor quality, are very simple and offer little editing possibilities, and consequently will not be of much use to us. Compared to the advanced, paid ones used in professional production, they look rather pale, but there are also some exceptions. Now I will present you five very good and free plugins that are really worth using and that can easily compete even with these fully professional paid plugins. They are available for both Mac and Windows.
The first is Molot compressorwhich is a great compressor especially suitable for a group of percussion instruments and for the sum of a mix. Its appearance refers to the equipment from the 70s of the last century. In the upper part in the middle I have a graphic interface, and on the sides and underneath I have knobs that perfectly illustrate this. It is designed rather than aggressive sound processing. It is a plug-in with a very clean sound with a large range of control parameters. In some magical way, it glues everything nicely together and gives the piece a kind of character, which is rather unusual in the case of free compressors.
The second useful tool is Flux Stereo Tool, a product of a French company used for precise control of stereo signals. It is perfect not only for measuring stereo images, but we can successfully use them with phase problems, as well as use it to track the width of the image and control panning. It is thanks to this device that you can easily check the differences in stereo recordings.
Another gift plug is Voxengo Spanwhich is a measurement tool with frequency graph, peak level meter, RMS and phase correlation. It is a very good spectrum analyzer for controlling everything that happens in the mix, as well as for mastering. We can configure this plugin any way we want, set, among others preview range of frequencies, decibels and even select only the frequency that we want to listen in.
The next tool you should have for your desktop is Slickeq. It is a three-range semi-parametric equalizer which, apart from fulfilling its basic function very well as an equalizer, also has the option of selecting a different sound characteristic of individual filters. There are four filters in this equalizer and each of them is equipped with a Low, Mid and High section, which can be correlated in any way. For this we have signal oversampling and automatic volume compensation.
The last tool that I wanted to introduce to you in this article is a plugin TDR Kotelnikovwhich is a very precise compressor. All parameters can be set very precisely. This tool will be perfect for mastering and it could easily compete with paid plugins. The most important features of this device are undoubtedly: 64-bit multi-stage processing structure ensuring the highest accuracy and overband oversampled signal path.
There are countless such tools on the market at the moment, but in my opinion these are five free plug-ins that are really worth getting acquainted with and that are worth using, because they are great for music production. As you will see, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to equip yourself with the right tools to work with sound.