Saturday, December 1, 2007

Plugins To the People!

Back in my days of working at music stores, there was nothing I found more alluring and mystifying than the expensive and complex world of rack-mounted effects units. I would scratch my head as a I saw some guy dropping $300 for a used Lexicon reverb unit, thinking to myself 'Um, doesn't he know that $75 Peavey Rage comes with reverb?' At the same time, I couldn't help but wonder if these long, thin pieces of gear held the key to why my four-track recordings sounded so thin and lifeless. But it was all theoretical. I mean, I was a college kid and any money I had went straight to beer or guitar gear. These things were way out of my pay-grade. Even the physical racks they screwed into were expensive!
Lately, I've found myself falling headfirst into another expensive and mystifying world: Computer based home recording. Learning and experimenting with new techniques is like crack and I need another hit! The world of computer recording is full of outrageously priced toys, but one thing that surprised and gratified my wallet is the world of free vst plugins!
Here are the same styles of effects and tools I drooled over long ago in their rack mounted versions, but now they are free for me to download! Some are samples put out by the manufactures to entice you to buy packages of other plugins. Some are developed by software designers for fun or to prove their skills! No matter the cause, we home recordists are reaping the benefits big-time!
Like so much on the internet these days, music, blogs, podcasts, you have to wade through a lot of drivel to get to the good stuff. Not to worry, weary traveler, I have made it my mission to find the greatest free plugins on the web! Here's a few of my favs so far, and I apologize in advance for gushing like a gear geek over these plugins:

Despite what young PT thought, having a great studio reverb unit is essential. And finding a good free one is anything but easy. I've downloaded quite a few bad ones. However, I was eventually referred to the Ambience Reverb, and I haven't been disappointed. Quality stuff! Get it here!

These were among the first free vsts I downloaded and I still use them all the time. Kjarehus is a company that makes high end plugins, but their 'Classic' series is available for free! Their free Classic Chorus is considered by many to be one of the best available, free or otherwise! I also use the master/limiter quite a bit. Check 'em out at: is my latest discovery, and I'm loving it! The Fish Fillets pack includes a sublime compressor, a desser, and an expander/gate. They are all good. They also offer the Endorphin, an excellent master channel compressor.

JMan introduced me to the Studio Devil vst Amp simulator over on the Another cool free set of guitar plugins can be found here:
It includes sims of:
- Boss DS-1 (Distortion stompbox)
- Boss SD-1 (Super Overdrive stompbox)
- Tube Screamer (Overdrive stompbox)
- Oberheim PS-1 (Phaser stompbox)
- Univox Univibe (Modulations stompbox)
- Fender Twin 1969 (Guitar amplifier)
- Marshall JCM900 Dual Reverb (Guitar amplifier)
Not bad! And I'll say it one more time: All free!!!


JMan said...

Haha.... look what I have turned you people into ...... I'm quite proud !!! LOL

Here's another set of free plugins (one Distortion and one Guitar Amp) I can definately recommend for Guitarists!!


Jacko said...

Jman, stop it! You're driving us nuts. haha.

Love your vast knowledge man. My learning curve is mucho improved because of you.

I'm loving this virtual effects thing too. I just have to make sure I actually practice and play guitar and not spend my time in front of the computer.