While every DAW comes with a stock selection of plug-ins, some of them don’t extend too far beyond the basics. But you don’t need to spend any extra money to find some bread-and-butter plug-ins that offer something a little bit different. Here, some of the most-often used effect types—reverb and delay for the Send channels and EQ for everything else—are represented. The Reverb Solo matches its quality algorithm with its simplicity of use; the TAL-Dub-II delay offers interesting processing options to create a warm, tape-like sound; and the Q3D equalizer provides an elusive “Air” band that’s coveted even on high-end plug-ins. Enjoy.
Volko Audio Q3D Equalizer Plug-in
With its experience modeling the API 550a, 550b, and 560 vintage console equalizers for its Q American Series ($299) plug-in bundle, Volko Audio knows about hardware EQ emulation. Now you can get a six-course taste of that with Volko’s free Q3D 6-band EQ plug-in, which emulates the NTI Nightpro EQ3D rackmount equalizer.
This free EQ has four lower bands with a wide 2.5 octave Q, five bands with ±15 dB variability and a high-frequency shelf, boost-only “Air” band with a variable cutoff. Many producers love the Air bands on other high-end plug-ins for giving a distinctive sheen to vocals and other tracks.
Designed for low-CPU operation, the Q3D works in Mac/Windows AAX, AU, VST, and VST3 hosts.
Acon Digital Reverb Solo - One-Knob Reverb Plug-in
Brought to you by the music gear commerce site Reverb.com, Reverb Solo is a one-knob plug-in programmed by Acon Digital, the makers of such well-regarded products as the Acoustica audio editor and the Verberate reverb. Besides a Dry/Wet slider, Reverb Solo has a single big knob that sweeps from a Small/Bright reverb to a Large/Dark reverb. Its lush sound is all about establishing a sense of space: Do you want the source to sound close or further away?
Try it on an effects Send channel, individual tracks, or busses.
ToguAudioLine (TAL) Dub-II Delay Plug-in
As an olive branch to potential customers, ToguAudioLine (TAL) makes older (no longer supported) versions of its most of its commercial products available as freeware. Two months ago, it released its latest plug-in, the TAL-Dub-X delay plug-in ($25) with a saturation stage and filters that give it a sound of its own.
But you can get the TAL-Dub-II for nothing and experience the tape-like warm sound and most of the features of the TAL-Dub-X. TAL-Dub-II has vintage-style distortion, resonant lowpass filter, a parameter-modulating LFO, MIDI Learn and 20 presets. Get this today and enjoy it’s many tempo-synced delay times, including tripled and dotted notes, and its lo-fi sound.