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Starship Krupa

Favorite Freeware FX Thread

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These are some great links! Who needs a sticky when this keeps getting the bump? Of course I cheat it a bit by not posting the masses of links like mibby did!

Boz Digital Labs has some good stuff, especially Bark of Dog, which is a bass management/enhancement tool that used to ship with Sonar Platinum as a ProChannel module. It's now up to Bark of Dog 2, which unfortunately doesn't come in a ProChannel module format.

Boz is a good guy, though, and if you tell him that you're running CbB and ask him nicely, he might let you download the original, which will install both the VST and the ProChannel module.

Another note about the Computer Music plug-ins, one of them is Sidewidener by Boz Digital and Joey Sturgis Tones, and it is my hands-down favorite way to stereoize and enhance mono sources like iPhone recordings. One challenge I take on for fun is to take mono rehearsal recordings, like where someone set their phone down at band practice, and polish them up as best I can using things like Sidewidener, iZotope RX, proximity eq+, iZotope Neutron's transient shaper and so forth.

My friends marvel at the results and it's a fun challenge and a good way to learn what the tools are capable of. Sidewidener is the best.

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One of my favorite compressors for the drum bus is Audio Damage Rough Rider 2.

I think you can get an idea just from the name, but if you want to get all squashy on a drum mix, this is a very good tool.

There's also an interesting fuzz plug-in for free on the site.

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Lot's of good stuff! Here is another one worth checking out

https://michaelwillis.github.io/dragonfly-reverb

 

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On ‎7‎/‎17‎/‎2019 at 6:29 PM, Starship Krupa said:

These are some great links! Who needs a sticky when this keeps getting the bump? Of course I cheat it a bit by not posting the masses of links like mibby did!

Boz Digital Labs has some good stuff, especially Bark of Dog, which is a bass management/enhancement tool that used to ship with Sonar Platinum as a ProChannel module. It's now up to Bark of Dog 2, which unfortunately doesn't come in a ProChannel module format.

Boz is a good guy, though, and if you tell him that you're running CbB and ask him nicely, he might let you download the original, which will install both the VST and the ProChannel module.

Another note about the Computer Music plug-ins, one of them is Sidewidener by Boz Digital and Joey Sturgis Tones, and it is my hands-down favorite way to stereoize and enhance mono sources like iPhone recordings. One challenge I take on for fun is to take mono rehearsal recordings, like where someone set their phone down at band practice, and polish them up as best I can using things like Sidewidener, iZotope RX, proximity eq+, iZotope Neutron's transient shaper and so forth.

My friends marvel at the results and it's a fun challenge and a good way to learn what the tools are capable of. Sidewidener is the best.

Love Boz's stuff and the Sidewinder I think was my introduction.  I used that all the time.  

However, when Izotope came out of the free Imager, I found that became my go-to and Sidewinder the backup.   Both are excellent.

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Posted (edited)
On 7/10/2019 at 4:53 AM, Starship Krupa said:

I think that a person can put together an excellent system entirely with freeware, and CbB is of course an excellent foundation.

I hope this thread will be a "virtual sticky," that is, I expect it will be bumped often enough to stay near the top.

I'm going to start listing favorite tried-and-true free plug-ins and links to where to download them. They are all ones that I have used extensively with Cakewalk, so they are safe to use in that environment. My recommendations will be only for 64-bit VST's.

This thread is intended to be of assistance to our fellow users, especially new ones, in finding good plug-ins to augment the collection that comes with Cakewalk.

I'll start with the bundles that I think every DAW user should download straightaway, whether they're on a budget or otherwise.

First is the Meldaproduction Free Bundle. This bundle of 34 plug-ins has been described as the best value in the plug-in world, and I agree wholeheartedly. The Compressor and EQ surpass most of the payware competition and wind up on most of my projects to this day, 5 years since I first downloaded the bundle. Download it, spend an evening trying out all of the FX on some material and be amazed at what Meldaproduction is letting us use for free. As a promo, it sure worked on me, I've paid to upgrade the Free Bundle and also bought licenses for other Melda plug-ins. There are utilities in here like signal and noise generators and analyzers in addition to the excellent sound processors. If you only get one of these, make it this one.

The ReaPlugs from Cockos, makers of REAPER. Six highly-configurable, very powerful effects, a compressor, multi-band compressor, EQ, delay, gate, and FFT dynamics processor, plus a couple more utilities. It may not sound   so exciting, but these are very versatile, and very configurable, much like REAPER, the DAW that is their main product. The EQ and MB compressor allow as many bands as you want, the delay as many taps as you want, etc.

Next is Voxengo's Assortment of goodies. I mostly stick with SPAN, the spectrum analyzer, and MSED, their mid-side utility, but Boogex, their amp simulator, and Stereo Touch, their stereoizer, are both excellent at what they do. I find the standard UI theme colors to be challenging on my eyes, so I tone them down  in the settings.

Blue Cat's Freeware Pack includes a good spectrum analyzer, a really nice guitar amp sim, and a good handful of modulation FX. Very attractive GUI's.

Finally, if Cakewalk didn't come with anything, or if someone just wanted or needed one each of every standard effect plug-in, The Dead Duck Free Effects Bundle has 25 essential no-frills FX, nothing fancy, just functional and easy on the eyes. Compressor, Gate, EQ, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Bit Crusher, Expander, Channel Strip, they're all there. I've tried them and they work. Nothing fancy about the GUI's, they're nice and attractive, no fake brushed aluminum. As for the sound, no attempts here to inject "mojo" or "vintage warmth" or anything, they do what they say they do.

If you download and install everything you can get from those five sites, you'll have in the neighborhood of  80 new plug-ins to try out.  Each of them, even Dead Duck, has unique effects and utilities that might wind up being your favorite thing or just handy to have in your plug-in bin in case you need to do a bit of attenuating or boosting or analyzing or bit crushing or whatever.

I'll be back with many more, and of course, I hope that others will jump in with great suggestions. These are just what I consider the freebie essentials, the Cheapskate's Choice.

And sure, we'll have another thread for VSTi's. Start one!

Erik, I know you are a freeware expert, why don't you ask the moderators to put up a Freeware FX and VSTi subforum like the deals subforum. If we can have a subforum for third party profit making entities, then surely we can have one for freeware. This would also be consistent with Bandlabs community focus surely.

It could be a subforum of this forum, (instruments and effects). That way, it would be for instruments and effects only, not for DAW's or other stuff.

 

 

 

Edited by Tezza

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I like that idea. I presented the idea of a sticky, but the powers that be seemed lukewarm on the idea, and are probably at Summer NAMM right now anyway.

They don't seem to like sticky posts and threads. I really want one for the topic "I have Sonar. What happens if I install Cakewalk by BandLab?" but no go on that one and it seems like I answer that question in one form or other several times a week.

My strategy is to start these two threads and see if people are interested. Then if it stays popular we can ask to make it a sticky or subforum or whatever.

On the old forum, it seemed like people were more interested in commercial plug-ins, and even some finger-pointing when people would experience crashes, an assumption that freeware licensed plug-ins were more likely to be buggy. People would say "are you using any freeware plug-ins?" if someone was experiencing a crash.

So it's good to have a list of plug-ins that are known to work well with Cakewalk. That helps with the uncertainty and prejudice. Cakewalk is free, and has become more stable since it became freeware licensed, as I hoped it would.

We should ask about this in another week, maybe? It's a good idea.

P.S. I don't know if I'm a freeware expert. Maybe I'm just broke!

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22 hours ago, Brian Walton said:

Izotope came out with the free Imager, I found that became my go-to

Yes, what Brian said. iZotope have a number of freebies. If you click on Products on the main page and select Ozone Imager and Vocal Doubler you can get those. Both are excellent, not surprisingly. The Vocal Doubler is their advanced take on the "automatic double tracking" effect used by the Beatles at EMI Abbey Road.

If you download the trial version of Neutron 3, after it expires you get to keep the rather mind-blowing Visual Mixer. The way this works is you put a plug-in on each track you want to control with the Visual Mixer, and the plug-in controls level and pan. Then the Visual Mixer shows all these tracks on a screen as icons, which you drag around to place in the mix wherever you want. It's the direct opposite of "mix with your ears," I guess, but it's frickin' awesome for songs that have a lot of backing vocals.

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Time for a bump to the top.

Another of my favorite stereoizer is Polyverse/Infected Mushroom Wider.

Said to create stereo from mono without phase issues, man oh man can this effect ever get extreme. I've not tested what it sounds like summed to mono.

If, like me, you like having a, uh, wide variety of ways to turn mono sources into stereo, grab it. The UI is pretty cool.

 

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Thumbs up to @sping for the gvst link.  The "g-clip" wave shaper has become my  go to tool  for taming  those really fast spikes that cause me problems later ...    mark

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Posted (edited)
On 7/25/2019 at 3:09 PM, Starship Krupa said:

Time for a bump to the top.

Another of my favorite stereoizer is Polyverse/Infected Mushroom Wider.

 

wtf? I think someone was on mushrooms when they named that one, it also looks like it might be a paid one.

Edited by Tezza

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No, it's a free license, like Cakewalk,  I just had to give them the Yahoo email address I use to sign up for things like free software.

I suggest that anyone who regularly takes advantage of free offers that require you to give up your email address create an account at Yahoo or GMail or Proton or wherever just for this purpose.

And here's a security tip from someone who used to work in IT for a nationwide security company (me).

If they make you create an account, don't use the same email, username and password you use for more sensitive activities. Not that the owners of the software companies will do anything nasty with the information, but we can't expect smaller companies to have the same protection against hacking that larger ones do. They just can't afford it. Wells Fargo's security dept. is probably larger than iZotope's entire company.

I use a system that allows me to have a unique password at every site, but if you don't do that, you can at least split them up so you have a "banking password" and a "buying toys password." And/or use a different email address.

Not trying to put the panic into y'all, just suggesting you maybe ease into doing this in future transactions if you aren't already.

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Saturday night's alright for freeware!

I'm not like some mix engineers who seem to use mostly emulations of classic analog gear, I kinda go the other direction. My philosophy is why should I constrain myself to what was possible in 1967 in hardware?

However, a lot of the records I love were made using that gear, and I do appreciate the value of simplicity and the effect of transformers and real world components on tone shaping.

Which brings us to Luftikus, my favorite analog "color" knob EQ. As described:

"Luftikus is a digital adaptation of an analog EQ with fixed half-octave bands and additional high frequency boost. As an improvement to the hardware it allows deeper cuts and supports a keep-gain mode where overall gain changes are avoided."

It also has "mastering" and "analog" modes, whatever that means, but basically, it's yer familiar 6-knobber, just happens to be my favorite.

The developer, ljkb, became slightly notorious in Cakewalk land for entering the 2018 KVR Developer's Challenge with TinyQ, the UI of which was a blatant copy/tribute to the collapsed version of the Sonar/Cakewalk Quadcurve EQ. When it was first released, the developer used a library called JUCE, which I guess at the time was owned by Google and the license for the version they used popped a splash screen and it was supposedly sending info to Google Analytics. I never even tried it, because, hey, I already have a free license for the original so who cares.

They have just updated the plug-ins to use "the latest version of JUCE," and I don't see the splash screen, so either they shelled out for the license or JUCE's license changed, but whatever.

There's a total of 6 plug-ins, all freeware. Luftikus is my favorite, but I've also messed about with ReFine, and they just came out with a linear phase EQ called QRange.

My usual "vetted by Erik 'Starship Krupa'" does not so much apply here because they've just put out these new revisions, but the previous versions were rock solid.

Please post back to this thread if there are problems with anything anyone suggests (which should go for any license model).

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Here's an odd recommendation, a sightseeing-only trip, because the plug-ins on display, while some are free, are all 32-bit, and at least one is known to me to have issues when I ran it with another host.

But Dutch Producer/Studio Owner/Plug-In Coder Terry West's site is worth a visit just because of Terry's unusual vision.

While some plug-in companies go for futuristic UI's and others go for skeumorphic imitations of vintage gear, Terry's stuff looks like what might happen if you took Hornet and had someone whose last gig had been designing video poker machines do the UI's. He kinda has one of everything, and they all have the same gold-on-black glowing Native American casino look to them. Which I sorta dig in a way, because why not. Man's got a vision.

Rock on, Terry, and I would drop the $15-for-everything license in a minute if his stuff were 64-bit. The stuff of his that I've tried sounds pretty good, although  some of them had a tendency to crash Mixcraft, so beware. His interests seem to run toward NY-style compression and mid-side manipulation, as well as various techniques of excitation.

When you get to his "MHorse" series is when things take a turn for the whoa Nellie.

The MHorses are his mastering all-in-ones, where he brings everything together, and there are 6 of them. The UI's get way more colorful, with neon added, and the knob and button count explodes. Here's  his description of one of them:

"MHORSE P3 Parallel Mastering Unit v3.6
Full Analog Parallel Mastering Processor.

* Full Bypass. * EQ Bypass. * In/Output -3dB option. * Output Inverse option. * 3 parallel parametric (serial) equalizers. * 6 Q wide settings per band. * 4 freq. for low, mid, high. * Boost/cut option per band. * Peak/LoShelf - Peak/HiShelf. * EQ dry/wet mixfader. * Loudness boost filter with 3 stages. * Special filters: Mellow, Punch, Body and Shine (39K) modes. * MS Parallel Clarity processor. * NY Parallel Compressor. * NY Compressor Editor (2 modes). * Two compressor modes (soft/hard)) NY Solo, link/unlink channels, Motown enhancer, Snap/Body EQ, Widener. * 3 bands Parallel Tape Saturator with optional Analog noise. * Tube PreAmp simulator. * DC remover. * MS Parallel Stereo Widener with Zero Width Freq. * CrossTalk emulator (2 modes: Vintage, Modern). * Low / High Exciters with frequency selectors. * Unique Deharsh processor with Stereo/Mid/Side modes. * Side Stabilizer, four frequencies. * Lopass and Hipass filters with selectable frequencies and 16/34 steepness. * Brickwall limiter with 4 thresholds. * Clipper with 4 thresholds. * Transient shaper with Attack and Release. * Auto Gain Control. * Two digital VU, one Analog VU meters (-60dB~+3dB). * RMS Meters. * Pan peak/correlation and Source material detector meters. * Input/output 3-color peak leds. * 3-color i/o headroom leds for low, mid, high. * Effects energy/compress meters. * Parallel/Serial switch. * 20 presets. * Tooltips."

All this packed into a UI that looks like it belongs in Vegas (not the video editor) ca. 1982.

I have tried them and for put-it-on-the-Master Bus-and-try-a-preset roulette they hold their own with Ozone. All the functions do have their effects, although whether they map into things my poor brain can understand is another matter. These do not come supplied with documentation, which given their complexity is baffling.

If you try any of these things, do so at your own risk, and do so forewarned. One of the MHorses made springs shoot out of Mixcraft when I tried it. It's been years since I've seen a new plug-in or update on the site.

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Posted (edited)

 

https://imgur.com/a/YHkXA7G

I'm trying  to show a picture of the new UI for Meldaproduction's MTuner.

Given my history of success with putting images on this forum, somehow, I suspect it might not be. I don't want to use the forum's own thing where you click on it to enlarge it and it gets smaller. so I tried imgur, but I can only get as far as having the link show up as text.

However, that doesn't change the fact that while we weren't looking, or at least I wasn't looking, Vojtech made MTuner polyphonic. The picture, if you can see it, shows all 6 strings of my guitar ringing out and being analyzed by MTuner. And it's quite accurate, too. I can just call up an instance of MTuner, strum across all open strings, and tune away.

Just a heads-up (and a bumpity-bump for the thread). If you don't have the Meldaproduction Free Bundle, then for heaven's sake go get it.

Edited by Starship Krupa
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On 7/9/2019 at 10:23 PM, Starship Krupa said:

Finally, if Cakewalk didn't come with anything, or if someone just wanted or needed one each of every standard effect plug-in, The Dead Duck Free Effects Bundle has 25 essential no-frills FX, nothing fancy, just functional and easy on the eyes. Compressor, Gate, EQ, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Bit Crusher, Expander, Channel Strip, they're all there. I've tried them and they work. Nothing fancy about the GUI's, they're nice and attractive, no fake brushed aluminum. As for the sound, no attempts here to inject "mojo" or "vintage warmth" or anything, they do what they say they do.

Tried the Dead Ducks out yesterday, but there's something wrong with drawing the UI, at least in my system: the level meters don't work in any effect that have them and turning the pots only shows the value when I release the mouse. (Win 10 Pro 1903 with latest updates, Intel/nVidia combo with up-to-date drivers).

Does anyone else have this problem with these? I'd actually like to use many of these, but the UI... 😐

     -Pete

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I just tried DD Compressor with the latest build of Cakewalk, Windows 10/1903 on my Core 2 Quad system with nVidia card and all functions worked fine, including the ones you mention. Man, I'm sorry to hear it. It's a good bundle of FX and fun to go through all of them.

You might post a message to the developer on KVR Forum, he's active on there and very responsive the last time I saw. He doesn't like bugs, either. Wants them to work for everyone.

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4 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

I just tried DD Compressor with the latest build of Cakewalk, Windows 10/1903 on my Core 2 Quad system with nVidia card and all functions worked fine, including the ones you mention. Man, I'm sorry to hear it. It's a good bundle of FX and fun to go through all of them.

You might post a message to the developer on KVR Forum, he's active on there and very responsive the last time I saw. He doesn't like bugs, either. Wants them to work for everyone.

Met with the Ducks again yesterday evening and they were working fine, pot values and meters. Must've been some strange thing with adding plugins in CbB the first time. Now everything was as you'd expect.

Must give the Duckies a new try soon - I think especially the chorus, phaser and flanger are very good and clean, the filter as well. The minimalism of the UI is a delight. As  a Finn, I value clear design a lot. 😊

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Glad to hear it! I, too like the cleanness of the designs, both sonically and visually.

I've been meaning to have a try at mixing using nothing but the Dead Duck package just as an exercise, see how good I am without access to my fancier toys.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/17/2019 at 7:21 PM, Starship Krupa said:

 

https://imgur.com/a/YHkXA7G

I'm trying  to show a picture of the new UI for Meldaproduction's MTuner.

Given my history of success with putting images on this forum, somehow, I suspect it might not be. I don't want to use the forum's own thing where you click on it to enlarge it and it gets smaller. so I tried imgur, but I can only get as far as having the link show up as text.

Try copying the image link from the Imgur multiple choice list that is called "direct link", & post that here using the url selector in this forum.

That direct link typically ends with a ".png", "jpg", etc.

 

 

Edited by abacab
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