cheap or free plugins that are truly essential

Not the good ones, not the great ones, but the exceptional ones.


TDR_Kotelnikov by TokyoDawnRecords – Freeimage10

  • Win: VST(32&64Bit), AAX
  • OSX: VST(32&64Bit) AU, AAX

“TDR Kotelnikov is a wideband dynamics processor combining high fidelity dynamic range control with deep musical flexibility.”

DN: A truly excellent master compressor that adds saturation your track with richness and new depths you probably didn’t know was there. Free plugins like this are very rare so this makes it a no brainer and a essential bus tool for every producer as there no other compressor like TDR_Kotelnikov,  you owe yourself this one.


SDRR by Klenghelm€23image1

  • Win: VST(32&64Bit), AAX
  • OSX: AU(32&64Bit), VST(32&64Bit), AAX

“SDRR was built to satisfy almost all of your saturation desires. It provides a comprehensive set of controls to manipulate the character of the saturation to make it fit exactly.”

DN: if you want the saturator that packs the most punch for lowest buck, look no further than SDRR from Klenghelm, cheap as dirt and with it’s 4 modes( turns it essentially into four different plugins in one. I love the slight detune tube mode creates when applied to leads, it’s also excellent for adding depths to drums. This plugin is a serious steal!

Not sure? Look into  IVGI by Klenghelm – Free  A free lite version of SDRR.

OTT by Xfer Records – Free

  • Win: VST(32&64Bit) AAXimage8
  • OSX: VST(32&64Bit) AU AAX

“OTT is a free re-creation of a popular aggressive multiband upwards/downwards compressor set-up used by many dubstep and electro producers.”

DN: A multi-band Limiter and compressor that sound great, it got this great crunch and bite you can add tpo your sound, Tip: try it on your master channel at 5-45% depths, 0% down, 25-100% up,  wet and see for yourself, musicians like Deadmau5 have been seen using OTT on his master channel during streams.


CS-3301 by TBProAudio – €49

  • OSX: VST, VST3  AU, RTAS, AAX (32&64Bit)
  • Win: VST, VST3, RTAS, AAX (32&64Bit)image7

“CS-3301 is a channel strip plugin with gate, EQs, compressor, saturation and oversampling.”

DN: First of all – PERFORMANCE – is unbelievable, The SOUND of this plugin is unbelievable and outperforms all other Channel strips I tried it against. This Plugin is a MUST HAVE in your arsenal and it only cost 49.00 €.


ToneBoosters v4 plugins   €30 / each

  • WIN/OSX: VST &  AU – (32&64Bit)



ToneBoosters v4 series packs an incredible punch for what they costs with a beautiful UI and extremely CPU efficient, you’re practically getting something that would cost 100-150€.
TB_Reverb_v4 is a very versatile reverb that is perfect fro gated snares, adding diffusion or richness to synths, and forr creating cathedral style soundscapes.
TB_Barricade_v4 is some of the best bus glue I’ve tried, and combined with the built in limiter it’s perfect to put on your groups.
TB_Equilizer_v4 is a power-horse, as a dynamic EQ with built in compression it’s awesome at bringing out harmonics as well as carving out mud in the mix, when a problem arise it can be the perfect solver. It also supports drive based sidechaining which opens up lots of possibilities

TB_TrackEssentionals3 €20
TB_BusTools3 €40

  • WIN/OSX: VST &  AU – (32&64Bit)

DN: I first bought BusTools 3 and from there I was sold. They were  just so good and so very chea so. I didn’t hesitate a bit and bought buying BusTool3 too. These 2 bundles are probably the best fiter/bus bundles I’ve seen. The only thing it’s missing is a proper channel stripper. TB_BusCompressor, TB_Ferox, TB_Fix/TB_Fix4 and TB_Evoke are some great gems.  I truly respect ToneBoosters for making these amazing plugin,  never let the low price be guideline to quality, these plugins are really that great.


TAL-Reverb-3  by TAL Softwares – Free

  • Windows XP or higher (32/64 bit)
  • OSX: OSX 10.7 or higher (32/64 bit).image6
  • AAX: Pro Tools 10.3.6 or higher

“TAL-Reverb-III is an easy to use stereo reverb plugin. It’s popular because it’s very diffuse sound”

DN: Just an excellent free reverb that also got that nice diffusion delay/reverb(instead of pre-delay AFAIK) which is quite rare among both free and paid plugins, this unique feature really makes TAL-Reverb-3 it a no brainer. The only other diffusion reverbs I know if is the  AirDiffusionDelay (One of my favorite FX ever!) and ValhallaShimmer.

Want to read more  about diffusion reverb/delay, read this excellent blog post by ValhallaDSP


CamelCrusher by CamelAudio – Free

  • WIN/OSX: VST, RTAS &  AU – (32&64Bit)image5

CamelCrusher is a free ‘colouring’ multi-effect plugin. It offers two characteristically different distortion sounds which can be blended together to create a wide variety of tones and textureGreat for guitars, drums and plenty more!”

DN: I love the British Clean preset(UREI LN1176 limiter?), CamelCrusher is a essential tool just like OTT for shaping my sounds. CamelAudio may no longer make plugins but their plugin’s legacy lives on, CamelAudio was acquired by Apple in 2015.


Vinyl by Izotope – Free

  • WIN/OSX: VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, RTAAS (32BIt/64Bit)image3

Vinyl simulate the dust, scratches, warp, and mechanical noise reminiscent of yesteryear for FREE with Vinyl. “

DN: It’s great for adding textures to shakers, percs, texture recordings etc


BitterSweet v3 by Flux – Free

  • WIN: VST 2.4, AAX & VS3 (64Bit)image9
  • OSX: VST 2.4, AU, AAX (64Bit)

“BitterSweetv3 is Flux:: acclaimed transient processor used by hundreds of thousands of users for audio transient management with the simple turn of a knob – Turning it to the Sweet side reduces the transients, and turning it to the Bitter side magnifies the transients.”

DN: I’ve tried many transient shapers and BitterSweet wins by offering most good amount of functionallity with great sound and also being free. You may or may not have heard of Flux before(they sure flew under my radar for a few years) but in my book they’re on par with FabFilters, Waves.

Other Transient Shapers to consider:

Transpire by Sonic Anomaly (Mac, Windows)
Transient by Sleepy-Time Records (Windows)
Transient by Audio Assault (Mac, Windows)



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