5 FREE essential VST plugins for Mac that will revolutionise your mix

Everybody likes something for nothing, and when putting your studio together probably cost a fair way more than nothing, it seems even more important. Fortunately, thanks to some wonderful people- from hobbyist audio junkie coders to major brands doing their marketing- there are plenty free ways of bringing extra sounds and effects into your studio with free plugins.

It can be very easy to download everything that says ‘free’ next to it, but you can not only lose hours of your life looking for something lost in your plugin folder, but you can also suffer from the creative bottleneck of having too much choice, meaning that you never commit to anything and get on with finishing something off! So, to cut through some of that, we thought we’d periodically highlight some of the best free plugins, well, some of our favourites anyway!

We’ll make an effort to stick to plugins that are available for both the Mac and the PC, as there are few things more frustrating than coming across a ‘best free plugin’ list and finding out that it doesn’t work on your platform of choice.

So, without further ado, part 1 of the best free VST plugins for Mac!

1. The Elysia Niveau filter. An excellent ’tilt’ EQ plugin from the makers of some equally excellent gear!

2. Ignite Amps’ The Anvil. A great virtual preamp for those high-gain metal guitar sounds.

3. The Audio Damage Rough Rider Compressor. Everyone needs a few compressors, and this one helps lets you use your ears by not putting the time on the attack and release controls!

Audio Damage Rough Rider Compressor

4. Togu Audio Line (TAL) Noisemaker. Simply a lovely wee synth to have around: straightforward to program, yet still very flexible.

Togu Audio Line Noisemaker Soft Synth

5. Voxengo Span. This spectrum analyser plugin crops up in probably every ‘best free plugins’ list, but with good reason: it’s great.

Voxengo Span Analyser Plugin

 

Well, that covers our first installment of the best free plugins. What about your own choices?

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Fynn Callum

producer, guitarist, engineer & dj
From indie guitarist to deep house producer via Northern Soul dj; mix engineer, producer and gear enthusiast. Jaffa Cake aficionado.

6 Responses to “5 FREE essential VST plugins for Mac that will revolutionise your mix”

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  1. Jamie Soar says:

    Smartelectronix Ambience is a must-have reverb, it sounds great and is capable of going beyond decay values of most other commercial reverb plugins, allowing for some really dreamy textures. On that same note, not exactly a plugin, but Paulstretch is a must have, I hear it used in records so much these days, it's really a marvel. I must recommend the Tokyo Dawn compressor, it has a really smooth sound that's great on pretty much anything, and is really customizable. Flux STTool, while I dislike it for the aural qualities (It's not a very good stereo enhancer in my opinion), it is useful as a Goniometer, something I've missed from Logic, and has the bonus of plotting out an average during playback, which remains there until you resume playback again. Good to get an overall feeling of the stereo spread of some instruments and for checking to see if something is true mono or only mostly mono. CamelCrusher is a must recommend, a great distortion tool for sound design, though subtlety is key with that plugin, for sure. Synth1 receives a lot of praise, and is very much a staple of electronic music in the far east from what I understand. Lastly, the mda plugin suite is a fantastic collection of good sounding odds and ends, Madeon supposedly relies on the mda Piano plugin for it's M1esque qualities, and a few other plugins in that suite sound great. They're not perfect, and can take a little bit of faff to get working (32 bit, some plugins don't run well in certain DAWs) but for a free set of plugs, you can't really complain!

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