• Ben Gildersleve

Why aren't you using these 5 FREE plugins?

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

From synths to scopes, we’ve got you covered.

It’s a well-known fact that music production can be a costly endeavour. From expensive monitor speakers and headphones to the latest DAW upgrades and plugins; it all adds up.

We’re taking a closer look at 5 of our favourite FREE plugins that help to lighten the financial load of being a music producer.


1. Vital

  • Epic wavetable synthesiser

  • Can import custom wavetables

  • Loads of modulation capabilities

  • Jam hard using assignable macro controls

This spectral warping wavetable synthesizer has taken the music production community by storm since its release in November 2020, not just because of its intuitive UI, high-quality wavetable oscillators and massive modulation possibilities but because it also comes with a completely FREE download option.

Yep, unlocking the full version of the synth with more presets, wavetables and LFOs will set you back $80, however, the free version is still an absolute powerhouse in itself and much cheaper than its main rival Xfer Serum ($189).

Highly cost-efficient, we think.

Vital also sports a massive and highly active online forum community for sharing presets, feature requests and developer support directly from its creator, Matt Tytel. You should also check out infamous Youtuber Dash Glitch’s channel for the lowdown on how to get the most out of Vital.

Get Vital here:

Vital Spectral Warping Wavetable Synthesiser (Vital, 2020)
Vital Spectral Warping Wavetable Synthesiser (Vital, 2020)

2. Valhalla Supermassive

“Echoes that are too weird for ValhallaDelay and reverbs that are too massive for a general-purpose plugin” - Costello, S (2020)
  • Highly intuitive

  • Sounds MASSIVE

  • Comes with a host of high quality presets

  • Reverb and delay in one plugin

Not only do Valhalla DSP bring true affordability to their range of industry-standard reverbs and delays such as Valhalla VintageVerb and Valhalla Room, but they also love a freebie and in May 2020 they gifted the world with Valhalla Supermassive.

This free effects plugin is a cross between a reverb and delay, designed to create the biggest of atmospheres and launch your sounds into hyperspace! Jam that Warp knob to get some truly twisted textures into your track.

(It’s also worth checking out their other free plugins, FreqEcho and SpaceModulator.)

Get Valhalla Supermassive here:

Valhalla Supermassive (Valhalla DSP, 2020)
Valhalla Supermassive (Valhalla DSP, 2020)

3. occularScope

  • Perfect for checking kick & bass phase

  • Waveform synced to DAW grid interface

  • Fully Windows and macOS compatible (M1 chipsets)

How about visually checking out your kick and bass on top of each other in real-time? If that sounds good then an oscilloscope is exactly what you need. It enables you to check the phase compatibility of two sources, such as kick and bass, without having to render them to audio.

OccularScope, created by Richie at Bom Shanka machines (and named in memory of a dear friend) displays a waveform in bars or beats and allows for side-chain input from a second source. The plugin also boasts adjustable delay/latency compensation and is fullycompatible with Windows and macOS systems, including the latest Apple M1 chipsets.

Get occularScope here:

Occularscope, Bom Shanka 2020
Occularscope, Bom Shanka 2020

4. Xfer DeltaModulator

  • Exceeds other bitcrushers with its feature set

  • Simple interface

  • Great for adding crackle to leads

  • Inspired by Nintendo NES

As demonstrated in our own ‘Future Psychedelic’ Masterclass, DeltaModulator by Xfer is just the trick for adding some snap, crackle andpop to your lead synths. This plugin is a bit crusher effect that, unlike others, uses a signal modulation technique similar to that of the vintage Nintendo NES systems for that ultra-retro vibe.

Xfer have quite an arsenal of free plugins on their site that are also worth grabbing, including a DJM filter and dimension expander.

Get DeltaModulator here:

Delta Modulator, Xfer 2020


5. Voxengo SPAN

  • FFT spectrum analyser

  • Extremely customisable

  • Similar to RME Digicheck

  • Perfect for mixing and mastering

If like me you’re not lucky enough to own anRMEaudio interface with its renowned Digicheck analyser, then this is your next best option. Voxenogo SPAN is a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) spectrum analyser that will provide you with all the visual information you need to accurately mix and even master your tracks. The free version features a range of different metering modes and a fully adjustable x/y axis for focusing on specific frequency bands.

Get Voxengo SPAN here:

Voxengo SPAN (Voxengo, 2021)
Voxengo SPAN (Voxengo, 2021)