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My top 3 free plugins : It’s worth it!

As an engineer, producer or musician, you might be looking for some new free plugins. It might be because you don’t have enough money to spend in plugins or simply because you want to discover some new free ways to manipulate your mixes. Whatever the reason, those 3 plugins should be a priority in your wish list. And here’s why…

3 free plugins

Let’s answer an important question first: “Does “free plugin” means bad quality plugin ?” The answer is pretty simple: No!
But then, why are those plugins free ? It really depends on the manufacturer’s motivations. Most of the time, it is simply a more “basic” plugin whose the conception was more simple than usual.
Sometimes, simplicity is what we need to get the best quality at the end. This is why those 3 next plugins can be a great solution for you.

Leeeeet’s go!

1. SPL Free Ranger

SPL Free Ranger - Plugin Alliance

SPL is known to be a really good brand in the audio field, especially for their hardware products. And since the computer has grown throughout the years to become the central piece of our studios, SPL started to invest in plugins creation.
The SPL Free Ranger is actually the free version of the SPL EQ Rangers bundle which includes three 8-band EQs: Vox Ranger, Bass Ranger and Full Ranger.

This plugin is separated in 4 usable bands:

  • 16 kHz: Pushing this bands allows you to get a really nice brillance on the source you’re manipulating. It works really well with vocals.
  • 1,8 kHz: This band can bring out vocals and guitars in a breath-taking way.
  • 150 Hz: This band can be more useful than you think to add warmth and make your source sound fuller.
  • 40 Hz: Manipulating this band allows you to get full control on the sub in a very precise way.

If you’re looking for a new EQ for your vocals or your guitars recordings, this Free Ranger is a must!

2. Youlean Loudness Meter

Youlean Loudness Meter

The Loudness Meter 2 is the free plugin to have in your pocket if you don’t have money to spend in big analyzers (which is totally my case, to be honest).
This free plugin will provide you all the tools you need to release your mixes with the right levels on streaming platforms (or other supports, obviously…):

  • LUFS level: The most important value for mastering. The one that all streaming platforms focus on to let their algorithm decide at which level the song will be played for listeners.
  • Dynamic range: It’s always useful to know if your master is over-compressed or, at the opposite, if you need a little bit more compression to reduce the dynamic of your master.
  • True Peak level: The TP level is often the big forgotten in the mastering field. But it’s important to keep an eye on that value. Loudness Meter offers that opportunity, don’t miss it!

In conclusion, this plugin is probably the most important one between all those 3 plugins.

3. Izotope Vinyl

iZotope Vinyl

The most creative plugin of the three!
By using this great plugin, your goal will be really simple: adding a vintage touch to your source.
Really intuitive, easy to use, the Izotope Vinyl plugin has all the tools (even the craziest ones) to add a really realistic vintage color to your mix.
You can also play with the input and output gain and push them to their limits to get a really cool distorted sound.
The most incredible one is probably the spin down button. Turning that button on creates… something… Well, I’ll let you discover that by yourself!

Well, now you know what will be your next plugins on your DAW!
Those 3 plugins are obviously not the only ones that can provide you amazing results. Vocal Doubler, TDR Kotelnikov, TDR Nova, Valhalla Super Massive, Supercharger,… they’re all crazy to use!
The cool thing about all those free plugins is that you don’t lose nothing by trying them. If you don’t love one of them, you can simply delete them. Nothing easier!

HAVE FUN !!

IDeez

IDeez (real name Gauthier Claude) is the owner and head engineer of IDeez Studio. He has been working as a mixing engineer in pop and hip-hop music for several years and collaborates with many artists and independent labels around the world. His goal is to provide quality online mixing services and to teach, through his blog posts, the principles and techniques of mixing in pop and hip-hop music.

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IDeez

About IDeez

IDeez is the head sound engineer of IDeez Studio. He studied BA and MA in sound engineering at IAD (Belgium) and has been a specialist in vocal mixing for several years, especially in pop and hip-hop music. His goal is to help artists, rappers and singers in their mixing process through online mixing services, tutorials, blog articles and e-books. Contact him for any information!

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