We know how important it is to keep up to date with all the music technological innovations. Even if you don’t have a more generous budget, you can still benefit from some pretty powerful free audio plugins that will definitely improve your mixes.
In 2021, we have prepared a list of the most important and useful audio plugins available for free download. Keep in mind that this list is constantly updated until the end of the year so you would do well to save this link and revisit it regularly.
Also note that it is not a TOP, it is a chronological list. Each plugin is different and has different functions, some are effects, others are instruments, utility, etc.
Best free plugins of 2021 list:
Four EP by SampleScience
Four EP is a free virtual piano instrument that features 4 electric piano sounds created using additive and FM synthesis. The sounds have been sampled at multiple velocities and embedded in a free VST plugin instrument. Four EP plugin comes with a simple GUI and simple parameters (LFO to pitch, amplitude, pan, lowpass filter, reverb) to shape your sound. If you need a new free digital piano plugin, Four EP deserves your attention.
More Details: Four EP
FirComp 1 by Jon V Audio
FirComp is a free zero-latency compressor plugin that can handle fast attack settings, even in zero latency mode. If you need to add more punch to your drums or smooth your basses without worrying about distortion, this plugin is at hand. The interface is quite simple with access to all compressor parameters. This makes things easy to understand and use.
FirComp 1 is free, but if you need more parameters you can try the more complex version FirComp 2 for £23. I recommend you start with this plugin and if you need more power then yes you can upgrade. FirComp 1 is available as a 64-bit VST3 plugin for Windows and as 64-bit Audio Unit (AU2) for Mac OSX 10.11+.
More Details: FirComp 1
Flying Delay by SuperflyDSP
Flying Delay is a free delay plugin effect for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Inspired by the analog delays and tape echo effects this free plugin brings you some cool effects such as ping pong delay mode, tape emulation effect for more saturation, and host sync capabilities. The graphic user interface has a cool design comparable with commercial plugins. It’s freely resizable to your screen resolution and offers quick access to all the adjustable parameters.
More Details: Flying Delay
Uraleq by Flandersh Tech
Uraleq is a free multiband compressor VST plugin available for Windows only (not Mac or Linux). This is a quite advanced comp plugin suitable for mixing, mastering, or even bus processing. Each of the four bands comes with a compressor, balance control, dual delay, and VU-meter. Although it is free, this compressor gives you almost everything you need to get premium results!
More Details: Uraleq
Flux Mini by Caelum Audio
Do you need to bring more “life” in your mixes? Flux Mini is a free modulation audio plugin perfectly suited to do this. This free plugin adds life, character, and dynamism to your tracks! With the LFO shaper editor, you can draw a custom LFO shape and create new custom modulation shapes. Flux Mini is available as a VST3 and AU plugin for Windows and macOS (32-bit and 64-bit plugin hosts).
More Details: Flux Mini
Chorus GAS by Stone Voices
Chorus GAS is a free creative chorus effect plugin available in VST format just for Windows. This audio plugin will provide different effects such as chorus, phaser, flanger, and vibrato, plus multiple time/pitch-based modulation effects.
Thanks to tuning the delay lines to the key, you can achieve quite interesting types of tonal choruses, flangers, and other sound combinations that cannot be realized through other effects. Another good feature is the presence of an adjustable high-pass filter in the feedback loop, which gives a peculiar flavor to the sound, reminiscent of flight.
More Details: Chorus GAS
EXC!TE Snare Drum PLugin
EXC!TE Snare Drum is a free snare drum virtual instrument available for Windows only in VST3 plugin format. The creator of this snare plugin is The Center for Haptic Audio Interaction Research (CHAIR Audio). They are well known for creating ultra-realistic plugins through physical modeling. This plugin is not an exception! It uses physical modeling algorithms to emulate an acoustic snare drum. Besides using the conventional snare samples, this plugin gives you the ability to create endless custom snare sounds.
More Details: EXC!TE Snare Drum
Specomp by Analog Obsession
Specomp is another great free compressor plugin released this year by Analog Obsession and it’s inspired by the popular hardware S-Type SSL master bus console compressors but heavily modified. You can add warmth, saturation, quick, and easy using this great compressor. The GUI is pretty nice, with all the parameters at your fingerprint, such as Threshold, Ratio, Make-Up, Release, Attack, Knee, and a Bypass switch. In the center, you will see a simple meter to show overall gain reduction and frequency compression. Compared with other similar emulations, the Specomp plugin is really a good choice. Take advantage of the power of free!
More Details: Specomp (no longer available)
LV 50A by Viator DSP
Now it’s time for an EQ! LV 50A is a free equalizer plugin effect available for both Windows and Mac OS and it features oversampling and CPU-saving functions, a tidy GUI with 4 EQ bands, each with proportional Q and 12 dB of boost/attenuation. When the gain of a band is set to 0 dB, the filter circuit disables, which saves loads of CPU if you aren’t using the band anyway. Saturation algorithm on the output, the EQ pushes into it. When the drive is set to 0 dB, the circuit disables to save on CPU.
More Details: LV 50A (no longer available)
GSat+ by TBProAudio
TBProAudio and Gearspace bring GSat+, a free advanced saturation VST plugin available for both Windows and macOS producers. GSatPlus is based on the previous CS5501 channel strip plugin from TBProAudio but adds extra features requested and suggested by the Gearspace.com team. This free saturation plugin can be used to add more saturation to your tracks. You can choose from clean, warm, crisp, and classic.
More Details: GSatPlus
Chow Kick by Chowdhury DSP
Above we have presented a plugin capable of generating analog snares. Now for the beat to be complete you need to add some kicks. Chow Kick can be the right drum kick plugin you are looking for to finish your beat. Based on physical modeling of old drum machine circuits, this free drum plugin uses a resonant filter with several nonlinear modes for creating a wide range of drum kick sounds, even those 808 deep basslines. Don’t forget to check out more free plugins from Chowdhury DSP (link below).
More Details: Chow Kick
CVoice1 by SNFK Music
CVoice1 is a free versatile pitch modulation plugin capable to create vibrato and unison detune effects with up to four voices. It features Detune, Stereo Enhancement, Voices, and Saturation. CVoice1 is available for Windows and macOS in VST3 format, completely free at SNFK Music’s Patreon webpage (link below).
More Details: CVoice1 (no longer available)
I hope our list of freeware plugins released in 2021 has already helped you find a good plugin. Don’t forget to save the link for future updates and don’t forget to share this post with your producer friends on social networks or even on your own website.