There are so many great free Plugins, VSTs and Software Synths available for Music Producers.
As time goes on, competition and the drive to innovate Music Tech is leading more companies and devs to develop Free software plugins to entice potential customers.
Before dipping into your savings to splash out on some expensive software, its important to first ground yourself in what you can get for free.
There is a lot out there to chose from, so we decided to put together our top 10 specifically for Drum & Bass producers!
If you aren’t new to production, many of these may already be in your library.. but maybe there is one you missed?
Xfer OTT – Multiband Compressor
Vital by Matt Tytel – Synthesiser
Valhalla SuperMassive by Valhalla DSP – Delay & Reverb
Camel Crusher – Compression & Distortion
Cable Guys Pancake 2 – Complex Precision Panning
D16 Frontier Limiter – Self Adaptive Versatile Limiter
Izotope Vinyl – Texture Generator
Krush – Unique Crushing & Downsampling
FerricTDS mkII by Variety Of Sound – Tape Saturation
Izotope Vocal Doubler – Vocal Effect
Xfer OTT – Multiband Compressor (Free Download)
✅ Great for Improving A Sounds ‘Presence’ & ‘Power’.
Xfer Records provide a great free staple Compressor plugin called OTT.
The name stands for ‘Over The Top’ and is an aggressive upwards / downwards Multiband Compressor that can achieve some great sounds.
This plugin is so simple yet very effective, with an uncanny ability to make most things sound better!
Check out the video below for a useful audio demonstration of the plugin, if you are looking for more guidance at how to use this plugin, we’d recommend Evosound’s ‘unofficial’ OTT Manual.
Vital by Matt Tytel – Synthesiser (Free Download)
✅ Great for Creating Powerful Synths With Complex Modulations.
Vital provides a Free version which gives users access to the full plugin, but a limited number of wavetables and presets.
These can be unlocked by paying a monthly subscription, more detail on the pricing tiers is available on the Plugin’s Main Site.
But on the whole, this is considered a free plugin as you have full access to everything for free which is great.
Paying unlocks lots of bonus perks, wavetables and presets.
Vital’s UI is really nice to work with, making it easy and fun to use.
From its extensive bells and whistles, its clear the synth itself is very complex under the surface.
Vital somehow manages to provide an intuitive and smooth experience despite this, it’s well worth having in your library.
The wavetable editor is certainly a highlight and the color scheme is great – always nice to feel like you are operating an alien spaceship when producing.
To download Vital, visit the product page, click the “Get Vital” button in the top menu.
Vital is compatible with VST, VST3, AU, and LV2 plugin hosts on Windows, macOS, and Linux. Only 64-bit digital audio workstations are supported.
Valhalla SuperMassive by Valhalla DSP – Delay & Reverb (Free Download)
✅ Great for Sound Design, Vocal Presence and Big Crazy FX.
Offering some stunning presets and a really impressive level of quality for free, Valhalla SuperMassive is a fantastic plugin that you should explore!
There are some really nice settings for the more extreme places that Reverb and Delay can go to, making it a great tool for interesting and characterful Sound Design.
Camel Crusher – Compression & Distortion (Free Download)
✅ Great for Distorting DNB Basses, Beefing Up Breaks and Unique FX Fills.
Famed for its ability to make a great sound even better, when it comes to nasty growling DNB Basses or powerful Reeses, Camel Crusher will give you that edge you are looking for as a Drum & Bass Producer.
If you are a Logic Pro user, this plugin is in fact available as one of apples stock plugins, it’s called Phat FX.
Cable Guys Pancake 2 – Complex Precision Panning (Free Download)
✅ Great for Unique Sound Design and Precise Stereo Manipulation.
PanCake is a free plugin created by Cable Guys and it gives you amazing control over panning modulations.
As a producer having more precision and versatility in what you can do gives you more creative freedom, most DAW’s don’t provide the level of detail in panning that this plugin gives you, its worth having for this reason alone.
You can construct your own modulation curves which can be easily drawn and as crazy as you like.
D16 Frontier Limiter – Self Adaptive Versatile Limiter (Free Download)
✅ Great for all your Limiting needs!
This is a great plugin, its unique and powerful character is a result of the algorithm developed by D16.
This Limiter is regarded by many as the best free limiter plugin out there and for good reason!
Limiting is an important tool in a Producers arsenal, so its well worth upgrading your stock limiter to the D16.
Izotope Vinyl – Texture Generator (Free Download)
✅ Great for Adding Texture and Nice Detail to Elements.
We are advocates of working with textures and foley creatively to give detail and depth to your Instruments and FX – read more about using Textures and Foley in Music Production.
So it comes as no surprise that we love this plugin, it’s got some great tones you can blend into your tracks to add that subtle layer of detail / character.
It provides some nice texture loops and sounds that can easily be implemented into your tracks.
A great place to start before investing in more Foley and FX sounds yourself – check out our Grains Vol.1 texture Sample Pack.
Krush – Unique Crushing & Downsampling (Free Download)
✅ Great for Distorting Drum Fills and Extreme FX Sounds.
Some great controls including the modulation section that allows you to create some fantastic and unique downsampling and crushing FX.
The interface is nicely designed and it pairs really well with drum fills and breaks, especially during buildups and transitions in a DNB Track.
Vocal applications are also worth exploring.
FerricTDS mkII by Variety Of Sound – Tape Saturation (Free Download)
✅ Great for Increasing Perceived Loudness and Thickening Sounds.
Tape Saturation is a brilliant tool with a wide range of applications – read more about How To Use Saturation.
Variety Of Sound offers this great free Tape Saturation plugin and it has a stunning sound.
Well worth picking this one up!
Izotope Vocal Doubler – Vocal Effect (Free Download)
✅ Great for adding width and presence to vocals to help them stand out.
Izotope also offer this great Time-Based vocal effect that is great for adding width and presence to vocals.
Audio processing like this often makes a big difference on vocal led tracks.
This plugin is great for achieving powerful and all encompassing vocals, regardless of if you are dealing with a melodic singer or MC rap vocals.
Whether you are just starting out in the world of drum & bass production or are a seasoned veteran looking for something new, these 10 plugins should help you get the creative juices flowing.
With incredible features and no price tag, these plugins are the perfect way to level up your D&B production game in 2023.
So give them a try and see what you can come up with!
What is on your list of best free plugins for Drum & Bass production? Share with us in the comments below.
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