Best free audio plugins for mixing

Who doesn't like freeware? Specially when you get full functional tools and top sound! Here are four superb audio plug-ins that I always use for mixing and mastering, they have become essential tools for my workflow, give them a try if you don't already have them installed in your DAW!

And don't hesitate to post a comment and share your own favourite free audio plugins! Let's share the love and get more free tools :)

 

1. BRAINWORKS cleansweep

 

A straightforward duo of wide and transparent filters. I like the addition of a phase inverter and an input gain knob which lets you accurately do A/B comparisons. There's even a joystick-like controller to tweak both filters at the same time! It's a very musical plugin, I really love it and it's definitely the plugin from this list that gets most use here :)

  • great to tame high frequencies in a subtle way (on a bus, a master bus, a drum bus)
  • perfect to use before or after reverb and delays
  • sweet to reduce proximity effect on toms, vocals, acoustic guitars...
  • slightly reducing bass and high frequencies will help any sound easily integrate into the mix

I'll often use the Cleansweep on many single channels as well as busses, it helps clean up and tighten up the mix.

More infos: http://www.brainworx-music.de/de/plugins/bx_cleansweep_v2

 

2. ELYSIA Niveaufilter

This is a superb emulation of a tilt filter: with a single knob (EQ Gain), you can simultaneously reduce bass and boost treble (or vice-versa). Choose the corner frequency with the other knob (EQ Freq) 

This one is sweet and elegant, it always preserves the integrity of your original signal.

I use it when I need to do subtle brightening, or need to make a track or a bus slightly warmer. The results never really sound processed, which is simply great :)

It lets you stay as close as possible to the original sound, so it's great for vocals, acoustic instruments, on busses, and it also works very well for mastering.

more infos: http://www.elysia.com/software/niveau-filter/

 

3. SOFTUBE Saturation Knob

 

Softube makes some pretty amazing plugins, with tons of vibe and great analog emulations. This freebie is a nice and simple saturation / overdrive effect that can really add a lot of soul to your tracks!

The saturation is very well emulated, and it offers three modes, letting you saturate only high or low frequencies, or using the saturation on the full signal. Experiment with these different modes, it really does make a difference.

I like to use the plugin on guitar buses, on synths and keys (so cool on rhodes, wurli or organs) and in parallel on drums or vocals. 

It's fun to use it as an effect (aux/send track), and send various amounts of individual tracks to it (like you would do with a delay or reverb). This will add vibe, stability and character to your mix.

more infos: https://www.softube.com/index.php?id=satknob

 

4. FLUX Bitter Sweet

 

Once again a great freebie! This one is a transient designer, it will help you shape the initial attack of sounds (transients). Turn the knob to the 'Sweet' side to smooth out sharp transients, or turn to the 'Bitter' side to make transients stand out more.

I use it to add bite to instruments, add punch to toms or snares, smooth out bass lines, or reduce transients of acoustic guitars.

It has a subtle nice sound, and can be used on buses or for mastering as well.

It also has an complex feature (MS matrix) that adds a whole new dimension to the plugin: when using it on a stereo track (or a mix) you can choose to apply the effect only on the center or sides! 

 

more infos: http://www.fluxhome.com/products/freewares/bittersweet-v3

 

Your favourite free audio plugin

 

Do you already use these effects or have other freebies that you often use in your mixes? Post a comment and share your favourite free audio plugin! You can tell what you like about the plugin, how you use it and even post a link. THANK YOU :)