Let’s talk about plugins. More specifically, let’s talk about the best mixing plugins that you can get for free!
You really don’t need fancy plugins to mix your music! We live in a world where an abundance of plugins can blind us to what we do need – a hand full of plugins that do what they’re supposed to well. And, in fact, there are so many free plugins that do this!
This list is going to give you our ten favorite free plugins for mixing music. We’ve got meters, delay and reverb effects, vocal plugins, compressors, and a two-band EQ with onboard effects! And these free plugins will help you mix drums and vocals, instruments and synths, and bass and percussion with ease.
So let’s take a look at these free mixing plugins so you can determine which is right for you!
Xfer – OTT
Xfer’s OTT compressor plugin is a notorious bit of software. This free plugin is based on an Ableton Live multiband compressor preset, and it aims to give users of other DAWs the same signature sound.
OTT is a 3-band compressor that compresses downward, but it offers upward compression (expansion) too. Its ‘Depth’ control acts as a Dry/We control, ‘Time’ as an Attack/Release for all bands, while ‘In Gain’ & ‘Out Gain’ allows you to adjust the levels going in and out of the plugin.
OTT excels at making sounds and instruments more pronounced in a mix. It can add brightness by accentuating the mids and it can beef up the lows and add fatness. In short, OTT is a must-have free mixing plugin that all music producers must have in their arsenal.
Valahalla – Supermassive
Now, it’s time for another notorious free mixing plugin – Valhalla Supermassive. Supermassive was built to offer users huge delays and reverbs in one plugin. The effect gives you massive waves of feedback that are so useful for creating crazy textures and all-encompassing reverb.
Furthermore, Valhalla Supermassive is actually a mix of delay & reverb effects. In fact, the developers built the plugin with a number of feedback delay networks where each delay in the structure can be up to 2 seconds long. And, on the user side, the plugin offers a WARP control that gives you echoes that fade in and out, rich reverbs, and even reverbs that take minutes to decay.
Sixth Sample – Deelay
Here’s a free mixing plugin that feels like it shouldn’t be free at all. Deelay offers a modern user interface with an extremely intuitive randomize button that gives awesome, unexpected, results. Oh, and, its A-B switch lets you toggle between two different configurations, and you can even switch mid-song!
Moreover, Deelay gives you a couple of parameters for adding filters, distortion, and modulation over time too. But more traditional delay settings include a ping-pong mode and a mono switch, but it goes beyond the mould by giving you triplet and dotted modes timed in milliseconds! Finally, Deelay gives you a Ducking parameter, whereby you can attenuate the volume of the processed signal when the dry signal triggers. As a result, you can avoid muddiness and enjoy a spectral environment of groovy textures!
Youlean – Loudness Meter
Moving on, the next free mixing plugin on our list is YouLean Loudness Meter. Loudness Meter gives you the information you need at a glance with neat visuals that don’t lack detail. It makes sense of the raw numbers with colors that aid you in identifying problems.
Ultimately, Loudness Meter gives you the information in real-time, informing you about what’s happening with the overall loudness of your mixdown so you can make informed decisions accordingly. And the plugin gives you access to visual customization features – more so in the Pro version – so you can make changes to the True Peak Metering graph and the others.
Youlean Loudness Meter gives you a real-time display of all track metrics with mono, stereo, and surround options. Its interface is resizable, and it even gives you presets for film, TV, and gaming platforms!
iZotope – Vocal Doubler
iZotope is a music software developer that needs no introduction. Their free mixing plugin, Vocal Doubler, gives you an interactive UI with simple controls. For example, you can simply drag in and out to increase or decrease stereo separation, and drag around to add natural human-like variation to the signal.
The intuitive user interface gives you real-time information as the intensity of the doubler effect increases, therefore making it easier for you to notice how the signal is being affected. You can rotate the dot for more variation in the effect, and move the dot further away from the center to get more separation. The result is a vocal doubler plugin that doesn’t sound like the others.
Audio Fusion – SeteChave
A lot of compressor plugins offer as much of a transparent sound as they can, right? Well, SeteChave is an analog emulation that does things differently. Rather than simply relying on ordered harmonics like many other analog emulations, SeteChave begins to distort the signal in interesting ways the more compression you apply.
So, the more you compress the signal, the more the signal distorts in a really cool way. In other words, SeteChave isn’t your traditional clean compressor, it’s a superb free mixing plugin for many music styles in rock and electronic genres.
OSC Audio – BFM
Much like the Youlean Loudness Meter, BFM (Big F*king Meter) is designed to provide you with a reading of the overall loudness of your track. However, the main objective of the plugin is the ease of readability so you can see from across the studio and keep your tracks clip-free while performing. And it offers 5 modes of metering!
BFM offers Text View, which offers the most values with RMS, Peak, Peak Hold, and LUFs values available, Bar View, which offers a more traditional meter better for seeing the range of values showing RMS, Peak, and Peak Hold, Wave View, which gives you a look at your waveform after your channel effects with the ability to quickly mark where you want to see your signals peak, a VU Meter which gives you a quick look to make sure your incoming levels are what you expect, and Spectrum View, which is a simplified frequency spectrum view.
While this article is about the best free mixing plugins, BFM isn’t actually free – it’s $1. But for what this plugin gives you, it’s very much worth $1!
Unitedplugins – Trap Tune Second-Hand Edition
You’ve heard of Autotune, now get ready for a free autotune mixing plugin! Trap Tune Second-Hand Edition by UnitedPlugins is based on a paid autotune plugin by the developer, and it’s designed to give you an auto-tuned vocal style that’s common in Trap, House, and other electronic music in addition to Hip Hop.
This free version does give you access to all presets available in the full version, the difference is that limited controls are available. One knob controls how intense the tuning is while additional controls let you adjust voice transposition, key, and so on. A delay, reverb, a stereo mode that activates TrapTune’s doubler, and a distortion effect are available too.
I know, Trap Tune Second-Hand Edition is a free plugin with a lot to offer!
BPB – Dirty LA
Next, have an awesome free mixing plugin from Bedroom Producers Blog. Dirty LA is a limiting amplifier for musical-sounding compression inspired by several vintage limiting amplifiers. Additionally, BPB’s “Dirt” algorithm allows you to saturate our input signal while applying compression too!
BPB Dirty LA offers a Peak Reduction knob that allows you to control the threshold value of your signal while you control the compression you’re applying to your input.
I would recommend using Dirty LA in conjunction with the EQ you use already because it only offers two frequency bands. I think Dirty LA is a fantastic effect more than a precise EQ tool, but it can still function as a trusty EQ!
Analog Obsession – Rare Program EQ (BPB Edition)
The BPB edition of Analog Obession’s Program EQ is a passive EQ classic Pultec hardware. It offers an optional pre-EQ gain stage whereby you can saturate your signal before it enters the EQ “circuit”, and it comes with an oversampling feature that you can access by clicking on the logo. As a result, the plugin will remove any aliasing artifacts but it will put more strain on your CPU.
Furthermore, Rare Program EQ gives you two EQ frequency bands to play with. It also offers separate Boost and Attenuation controls, and you can fine-tune your target frequency range and bandwidth.
Now, take from this list of free mixing plugins what you want. I doubt all of the plugins will catch your eye, but any of these mixing VST plugins will improve your mix with very little stress. They’re easy to use, cost little in CPU usage, and… they’re free!
Remember not to get swamped by all of the plugins that are released constantly. I myself find it hard to remember that you don’t need every plugin ever to make good music – you need a handful of good plugins that do the job.
Let us know which plugins you went for in the comments!