Welcome to my second blog-entry about producer tips where I show you some of my weapons of choice when it comes to electronic music production.
There are many great tools that give you the power to enhance your music, and there is a multitude of free VST plug-ins out there which are worth a shot (and a donation to support the developers). A few of the available non-commercial plug-ins on the web are really outstanding gems though, and I am showing you a small selection of free plug-ins that I consider to be amongst the best.
Here are my personal top 5 free VST effects:
1. E-Phonic LoFi
This one is such a versatile effect, that it became an essential part of my virtual production environment. You can pitch down the sound, twist and distort it using the waveshaper-section, bitcrush your sounds and do some filtering too. In my productions I love to use E-Phonic LoFi on percussive parts to give them a gritty and nasty edge. A highly recommended, easy to use effect with the potential to turn you into an addict to lo-fi sounds.
Available in different versions, I am a sucker for the first, initial version of this outstanding tape-delay effect. TAL-Dub sounds wonderful on synth-pads, vocals, atmospheric sounds, lead-synths, percussions… or to cut it short: TAL-Dub is a wonderful VST-masterpiece that can add spice to almost everything in your track, that has the need for some kind of delay effect.
3. Novakill Killergate+
A gater by Novakill that you are going to love. This one has got more to offer than just a pretty interface, because Killergate+ throws in a distortion unit, LFO and various filter-types too. I have already made use of it on synth-sounds, percussions and even the full mix for a sweet effect.
4. Variety Of Sound Nasty-LF
Nasty-LF is part of a download-package consisting of various very useful plug-ins. If you feel that your production sounds a bit too “digital” and if you wish to add a more “analogue” touch to the lower end of your sounds, call Nasty-LF to the rescue! You can adjust the amount of boost and low-end frequency to define how much additional “oompf” your bass needs. Make kickdrums sound less static and give a new breath of life to otherwise dull-sounding synthesizer basslines, simply by adding Nasty-LF on top. Also included is Nasty-HF which does the same thing for the upper frequencies. Grab these marvelous sound-enhancers and start to get nasty!
This is a great bit-reducing plug-in which sounds excellent to my ears. And it looks good too with a very intuitive GUI. You should give the other VSTs on the site a try as well, since the creator of these plug-ins is a real genius. Trust me!
Now let us have a look at my top 5 selection of free instrument plug-ins:
1. SuperWave P8
The SuperWave P8 is both a true classic and a real virtual-analogue dream. I cannot express in words how much I love using this one-of-a-kind synthesizer in my tekkno productions. The thing I love most about it, is that it lets me reproduce the sound of the legendary JP-8000/JP-8080 synthesizer produced by Roland. North America’s finest hardtekkno-producers Integra & Darkside9878 own the actual JP-8080 and they have used it for lead-sounds in their track “Angry Germans” (published on the eighth Dark Force Recordings vinyl release) for instance. The SuperWave P8 enables you to come up with pads and lead-synths so similar to the JP-8000 sound, that you may think they could have been done by Roland’s real thing. A fantastic free VSTi!
2. E-Phonic Drumatic 3
E-Phonic’s Drumatic 3 is a splendid drum-machine for your VST-compatible DAW of choice. For some stomping hardtekkno-percussions just fire up Drumatic 3, select the “Brutal Kit”-preset, create a loop with its sounds and use a distortion plug-in to add a good amount of dirt and you will hear how my “secret formula” for drumloop-creation works (one out of many secret recipes, haha)!
3. Novakill Neokiller 3
Need a killer-VSTi to create some killer synth-sounds to kill your speakers (yay, I used the word three times in one phrase)? Look no further than this and get the Neokiller 3 plug-in by Novakill! Make your own sounds or tweak the presets to find out about the variety of sounds Neokiller 3 can provide to you. A really cool tool for lead-melodies and deep, dark basslines.
4. DSK Mini Drumz 2
Twenty classic drum-machines are united in one single VSTi. I find DSK’s plug-in very useful for adding vintage drumsounds to my tracks, and for the price of zero, nada, nichts and nothing you just cannot go wrong. The filter-section is a great addition too. Great stuff!
Why always use the same wave-samples for your hi-hats over and over again? Totally synthesized hats can be great for a change and this is what Dystopia can provide for you. It makes 100% artificial 808-like hi-hats and cymbals that you can modify and tweak at will. “Violent Beauty” is one of the tunes I produced using this sweet little drum-machine specialised on cymbals and hi-hats, and I was very pleased by the results I achieved by using Dystopia when I made the track. The hi-hat synthesis gave a totally different sound-colour and character to my production compared to previous tunes (sometimes such details can make a great difference). Hit the link below and have a try!
Now you know about a few of the plug-ins I use for my own productions (you can get hold of some tracks from the download section). Have fun with these very useful synths, drum-machines and effects, and use them in creative ways! I wish you happy producing!