With all the accolades and challenges in the world of music, the hunt for the mixing and mastering plugins start yet again.
This time, however, the article will only discuss the plugins which are free to be used and every poll, forum, expert opinion, and professional advice had been scouted to deliver the top ten plugins.
There is no distinguished order and it is not ranked as best to worst, or vice versa. Alright, get your DAW powered up!
Youlean Loudness Meter 2 by Youlean
This software is best known for its proper mixing and mastering capabilities along with its monitoring, both audio and visual. This software is a free to use plugin which features 4 metering modes; LUFS, LRA, DR and true peak.
This is also a very handy plugin to anyone on a tight budget as it is free and the ability the plugin has to produce a quality output of mastering with quality monitoring.
It will also help the engineer to determine the proper amount of loudness without sacrificing the sound quality and dynamic range of the track.
When compared with the V1, the reduced CPU usage (no need to worry about your PC crashing) and the better-looking GUI of the plugin are clear cut advancements.
Bitter Sweet V3 by FLUX
The company FLUX is renowned in the world of plugins for its high-quality products which are also adored and respected by studio professionals and ‘Bitter Sweet’ is the latest edition to the company’s free to use plugin range.
More specifically, this plugin is a tone and transient sharper which will make either the individual tracks smooth or hard from its original tonal composure.
The smoothness offers some simple transients and some modest tonal characters.
The hardness, on the other hand, offers more complex and aggressive tonal characteristics which are vital for percussion and rhythmic instrument.
The UI doesn’t take much time to learn with its simple to use features with a primary knob for controlling the effects.
Stereo Buss by Minimal System Group (MSI)
The stereo bus is specified to windows and it will not work in any other device, the only downfall for this pretty awesome plugin.
But the upside to its lies in the genuine quality of this compressor.
Though there are many other free to use buss compressor plugins in the market nowadays, this stereo buss would undoubtedly top any of those free to use plugins by some good margin.
The reviews for this plugin, both by professional musicians and experts in the area have been that good.
SPAN by Voxengo
The creators of this plugin, Voxengo, is a very well known brand among the freeware VST users and is highly praised by all.
This plugin is a simple spectrum analyzer for metering in which this plugin firmly taps ahead of the competition with its high quality and simplicity.
This is the best plugin if on the lookout for spectrum analyzers and the qualities this plugin possess in unparalleled even with the pay to use counterparts.
The ballistics and the responses of the graph are controllable even though it might be complex for a beginner.
However, this makes the plugin flexible enough to perform a wide variety of tasks.
This flexibility goes to an extent where the routing multiple tracks into SPAN and comparing their frequency content are even made possible.
Hence, it will be a great addition to the YOULEAN loudness Meter 2 and this free to use software would undoubtedly be of great importance in the market.
Freeware Plugins by Brainworx
Though not an official collection, the handpicked freeware plugins might be handy to any producer and the brains behind Brainwokx had created some decent free to use plugins:
The bx_solo is a powerful tool for working with M/S due to its inclusion of the legendary M/S technology from the bx_control V2.
The bx_subfilter is a subharmonic content processor which shapes the sub-content and adds more oomph to the signal with body and punch. This plugin is highly recommended for the production of EDM and trailer music.
The bx_cleansweep is an extremely powerful Hi/Lo-Pass filter which uses the most advanced Brainworx technology up to date.
Wider by Polyverse Music
Though Wider is a veteran in this field, it is not at all outdated.
This is a simple freeware VST plugin which widens the stereo signal with a very unique ability to broaden the stereo width of the signal without causing phasing issues when played back in mono.
It is as simple as it gets.
The slider is responsible for the amount of stereo processing but it should be used with caution due to the possibility of too much stereo widening which could make the track sound as if it doesn’t exist in the same space with other in the mix.
However, this is a highly recommended plugin that needs some extra caution to use.
Neutrino by iZotope
This Neutron plugin by iZotope is responsible for some very unique technologies in the present day.
Though being a lot limited with its paid counterpart, the full-blown Neutron, there is still space to achieve some great productions through this freeware.
The software opts out undesirable resonances which are caused by poor aesthetics of the backgrounds and opts out heavy-handed processing as well.
The creators of this software, iZotope, calls this effect as ‘Spectral shaping’ which bears close similarities to gentle, low-ratio multiband compression.
The GUI is very simple to handle and understand since it only features two knobs for controlling the effects and 4 buttons for selecting the sound source.
Limiter No.6 by VLADG/Sound
This plugin is a state of the art plugin which is packed with different features. When this is combined with the previously mentioned YOULEAN Metering and Voxengo SPAN, a free mastering power tool is automatically generated.
The limiter No.6 features 5 separate modules which are commonly known as gain stages. A compressor is followed by a peak limiter, high-frequency limiter, clipper, and a protection module.
The protection module does its best not to clip the signal output while each module can be individually controlled.
The modules also can be turned on and off separately without obstructing the others. This plugin also produces a warm pleasing output when the necessary changes are made.
Overall, this is a must-get plugin to properly complete a musical production.
MFreeFX Bundle by MeldaProduction
The brand is also well known for some great plugins earning and keeping the trust of the professionals and experts in the field for a long time.
The whole bundle features 30 free diverse plugins ranging from compressors and EQs to ring modulators and oscilloscopes.
This is a perfect plugin for an amateur or beginner simply because of its range of plugins.
Melda’s state of the art randomization system gives the user complete control and can randomize parameters in 3 ways:
- Complete full randomization of everything.
- Subtle small random changes to your current state.
- Smart randomization.
Melda’s smart randomization engine learns using information based on existing pre-sets to offer better values that will result in more successful changes.
The user can even lock certain parameters’ needs to be excluded from the randomization.
This level of control can really the creative block and offer up fresh and inspiring ideas have that are never thought of.
Most plugins in the market change loudness of the output audio, which makes browsing presets inconvenient without the mention of randomization.
However, this plugin includes automatic gain compensation, which quickly adapts to current settings and ensures the output sounds as loud as the input.
Some plugins can intensely increase gain when exposed to specific audio materials and this plugin offers a rare safety brick wall limiter, which ensures the output stays below 0dB and prevents the equipment and ears from potential danger automatically.
Nova EQ by TDR
The NOVA EQ is the go-to free-to-use plugin to cut and chop down the irritating frequencies, the nightmare of every producer.
Each EQ band of the plugin has a dedicated dynamics section allowing the EQ to cover a wide range of frequencies as well.
With its four dynamic EQ bands and additional high-pass and low-pass filter sections, NOVA can meet the most exotic demand.
Intuitive equal loudness functions help to find the optimal setting without getting distracted by loudness differences.
The GUI is also very simple and easy to use.
While there are some sweet paid options out there, you can get by at the beginning by using the bad boys on this list.
To be honest, these free mixing and mastering plugins are perfect to learn more about the basics of mixing and mastering!