Hello Everyone,

I'm a novice sound designer with a bare bones setup. I have only been building it for a couple of weeks and on a strict budget.

So far everything I have is 100% legit and paid for though, so I take some pride in that. It seems like everyone that's learning just pirates everything but I feel the funnest part is getting gigs and using the money to slowly build a studio.

Anyways, I have a good enough PC, a copy of Reaper, Reason 4, Komplete Elements, Cut my samples and such with Audacity, do my field recording with my Tascam DR-05, Compose/perform sounds with an M-Audio Ozone. Still saving for proper monitors so for now I'm learning on a pair of Skullcandy cans and a pair of JVC's not amazing I know but so far I've only spent like 300.

Anyways, I have found about a billion and 3 free Synths but not a ton of things for manipulating my samples. I will be buying VST's as I need them for jobs or as I can afford them, but until then I would like to know if there is anything I'm missing.

I currently use:

Alchemy Player, Ambiance by Mangus, EQII for EQ, Round Pan for auto panning, Waterverb for under watery kinds of effects, Dblue Glitch for various effects, mostly electronic

I think that's about all off the ones that I use the most.

A few things I would like to find: (If possible)

HQ Doppler Effect, Something like Scapes could be fun, Something to slow down or speed audio up, Something to pitch audio up or down, Something like the GRM stuff, Something similar to the full version of Alchemy, Anything else for HQ effects/shaping

I know that's a lot to ask for out of Free VST's so I'm not expecting to find a replacement for every high end tool out there. Mainly just tools to learn on/placeholders until I can afford to expand.

I'm exited to try any plugins you guys know about even if they are just better versions of what I have.

Thanks in advance!

7 Answers 7


Audio Damage make superb quality plug-ins that are great for mangling or transforming sounds. Check out their recent rerelease of Kombinat, a multi-band distortion.

True, these plug-ins are not free. However, they are very reasonably priced. Think of it this way, set your sight on something, scrimp and save. Anticipate. Research. And when you're finally able to drop $50 on that shiny new plug-in, you'll be the happiest cat.

  • Thanks! I haven't seen these before, also their free compressor looks pretty nice, I'll have to try that out as well as pick some of their stuff up later!
    – Jamesabels
    Dec 11, 2011 at 8:29

Good on you trying to stay legit; the moment I decided to start trying to make this my career I took on the same philosophy and use only legit plug ins.

The Sound Hack plug ins and app are great. http://soundhack.henfast.com/freeware/

The Sound Hack app is great, but the learning curve is a little steep. There's a few (not great) videos on YouTube explaining some of the parameters and how to use them.

The ValahallaDSP plug ins are pretty celebrated for their quality and price. There's a free frequency shifting delay there that can make some great sounds if you play with the delay times etc. http://www.valhalladsp.com/


If you haven't already, go to http://www.kvraudio.com/ - it's free to sign up, and you can do searches for lots of VST in varying categories including (most important in your case) free (You do have to sign up in order to use the database). Just a quick look under "Spectral Processing", "Modulation", "VST", "Windows" and "Free" brings up 127 search results, so you should find some interesting stuff there. Also dontcrack.com has good free stuff and great deals on paid stuff.

BTW... you have some pretty decent kit there in terms of software. Don't feel you have to "load up for bear" with plug-ins. It's much better to have real control of a few tools than to have dozens of ones you can barely use. I'm actually in the process of "pruning" my plug ins to the ones I only use on a regular basis.

  • I have used KVR, that is where I have found what I do have now but just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything good on there. Also I get what you mean, I actually dumped a bunch of them last night and kept mostly the ones I mentioned and some mastering stuff.
    – Jamesabels
    Dec 10, 2011 at 21:24

Get a MAC when you can. Michael Norris has a series of free AU spectral plug ins called "Spectral Morphing" http://www.michaelnorris.info/software/soundmagic-spectral.html

  • Yes, I have seen those before and they look sooo good. I think I may have to pick up a mac mini sometime, probably not soon though =/
    – Jamesabels
    Dec 10, 2011 at 21:27

You may like to try out 'Fracture' by Glitchmachines:


It's a buffer effect, a multimode filter, three LFOs and a delay - basically it'll mess your sound up beyond all recognition and it's quite fun just hitting randomize to see what happens.

A bit of a work around for the doppler effect is 'Proximity' by Tokyo Dawn:


This is primarily an all in one distance fader, taking into account stereo width, air absorption, delay etc. (brilliant for taking the edge of foley). I found if you automate sharp 'distance gain' spikes with the true delay option enabled you get quite a good doppler effect - although you will need to pan left/right if required.

The above approach is a great way of creating your own selection of whooshes - just lay down a fairly dense and consistent audio layer; city noise, air con, whatever and draw in a load of random but abrupt distance gain spikes all over it to see what you pick up.


Any similar free RTAS plugins? Or can these be "wrapped" for use in protools?

Try Sugar Bytes plugin s like Turnado. all are awesome

  • Checked them out, they look very nice and Turnado looks amazing but they do not appear to have anything free, it's all demo mode kinds of things. Though if I find myself making any money with this new sound design obsession than I will pick them up.
    – Jamesabels
    Dec 10, 2011 at 21:26

dBlue glitch is a useful free multi-effect plugin. Among its more prominent effects is the ability to cut up and rearrange incoming audio, making "glitchy" effects.

  • 1
    Can you add more detail to why it is good?
    – AJ Henderson
    Jun 2, 2014 at 15:01

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