Music production and recording nowadays largely relies on the use of Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) and plug-ins. Plug ins can be roughly split into two categories:
- Virtual Instruments
Virtual instruments can either be used to mimic real instruments by employing software (modelling or sampling based) or can be new types of instruments altogether, and can be based on synthesis or other technologies.
These are recorded “in the box” and typically controlled via a physical piano-like keyboard or any other dedicated hardware controller attached to your Mac or PC, though you can use them 100% via software.
Effects are… well, effects. You know, delays, modulations, reverbs … notably, virtual amplifiers or virtual preamps for vocals and guitars also fall into this category, so effects plug ins can be seen as something you place in your signal path after your voice or recorded real/virtual instruments.
Here’s a list of Effects plugins I recommend. Stay tuned for a future update regarding Instruments.
LePou Guitar Plugins: AmpSim pack and LeCab.
Though not updated since 2016, this pack is still very good sounding, and it’s developed by an independent French software author who took great care in modelling some historical and modern amps. (Marshall, ENGL and others) Furthermore, LeCab is one of the best free IR mixing tools for the creation of “your” cab sound, which is so crucial to the realism of the guitar sound altogether.
Ignite Amps great sounding guitar-based plug ins stretch beyond simple Amplifier simulators: they include a tube-like EQ, TS-909 style pedal emulations, preamps and even bass amps. Check these out.
As the name implies, GlitchMachines’s free plugins are… well, great tools for creating weird, unusual, artificial sounds to spice uo your recordings and are especially useful for electronic music production.
A super good sounding pack! Includes a wide range of premium modulation effects, a single and dual-channel equalizer, a unique midi-controllable gain suite, as well as a professional spectrum analyzer.
The TAL vocoder is a fantastic sounding emulation of a vintage vocoder, specialising in voice processing.
Packs a lot of great features and rivals even the best commercial vocoders.
Make sure to also check TAL Reverb out
A no-nonsense, super easy to use, amazingly sounding saturation/distorsion plugin from Softube. Use it everywhere from drums to vocals to bass lines to anything.
A great looking, great sounding multi band EQ combined with a dynamics processor.
Sometimes, great things DO come for free.
AutoTune for everybody. A simple, but very effective, “traditional” auto tune pitch correction for singers.
Not fancy as some other premium plugins .. but works very well.
A great sounding emulation of a vacuum tube compressor. Try it on your final mix!
If you think I missed out something in this list, feel free to Contact Me or leave a comment below to give your suggestions!