If you’re looking for third-party plugins to expand your growing collection, look no further than The Ultimate List of Free Pro Tools plugins.
Whether you need a Pultec-style EQ or a trigger gate for electronic music stutter effects, this list has it all! Virtual instruments, amp simulators, modulation effects, EQs, compressors, and everything else you might want is here. Most of them are also available in formats like VST, so if you’re using a DAW other than Pro Tools, these plugins will still be compatible.
The best part: all of these plugins are completely free to download and use! They’re organized alphabetically by developer name with brief descriptions of, and links to, each plugin.
Cheese Machine 2 Free: A string synthesizer expanded with oscillators, built-in reverb, other “vintage” effects, and more.
Ticky Clav 2 Free: Ticky Clav, originally from Big Tick Audio, was quite possibly the first virtual instrument that used physical modeling to emulate the hugely popular Hohner D6 Clavinet, made famous by Stevie Wonder’s hit song “Superstition.” Ticky Clav 2 updates this gem with 64 bit sound, expanded controls and an easy to use graphic interface.
A1StereoControl: This plugin allows users to adjust the stereo width of their tracks or mixes using just a single knob. There are also key features like “Safe Bass” and more for added versatility.
A1TriggerGate: A powerful tool for achieving that gated stutter effect popular in EDM, hip hop, dubstep, house, and more.
Multiply: Acon Digital Multiply is a free and versatile chorus effect with a unique twist. Each simulated voice is processed with a phase randomizing filter so that unpleasant comb filter effects are avoided!
Reverb Solo: An incredibly simple, single-knob reverb plugin for dialing in everything from bright, slap-back style echoes to cavernous ambient spaces.
Delay: A simple stomp box style delay plugin with built-in high and low pass filters, the ability to create tempo-synced ping-pong delay, and more!
Tremolo: A simplified, streamlined GUI, with direct access to the plugin’s parameters. The user can adjust both the speed and depth of the plugin’s tremolo, and the speed and depth of stereo panning. Both effects are routed to a mixer, so the user can adjust the wet/dry signal.
Ample Bass P Lite II and Guitar M Lite II: Guitar and bass sound simulation via a plugin synthesizer. The Lite versions of each are totally free to try!
Rare EQ: A plugin model of the famous Pultec EQP1A equalizer. Everyone should have a Pultec-style plugin in their arsenal, and this one is available at no cost!
YALA: A vari-mu style limiting amplifier useful for leveling vocals on the a bus, bass guitar, or anything else that could use a little extra ‘glue.’
ampLion Free: Free amp and cabinet simulation software from ampLion. The free version contains several amp and cabinet models as well as the ability to virtually adjust microphone placement.
GK Amplification 2 LE: This plugin is an exact model of Gallien-Krueger MB150 amp and a GK speaker. It can be used as a standalone application or VST/AAX/AU plugin.
Black Rooster Audio
Canary: This plug-in let’s you expand and recover some fundamental aspects of the drum signal that may have been lost during the recording process or which haven‘t been there in the first place. These include tone, attack, sustain and some very basic filtering,
Cypress TT-15: Cypress TT-15 will help to get the job done right away, whether if you‘re looking for clean through crunchy guitar tones or if you want to achieve biting, distorted lead sounds.
VHL-3C: Offering 3 simple and intuitive controls, the VHL-3C allows you to effectively remove rumble, hum or harsh frequencies from your signals.
Blue Cat Audio
Freeware Plug-In Pack II: This bundle contains a wide range of premium modulation effects, a guitar amp simulator, a single and dual-channel equalizer, a unique midi-controllable gain suite, as well as a professional spectrum analyzer.
See more: Blue Cat Audio Freeware Review
Boz Digital Labs
Bark of Dog 2: Bark of Dog 2 is a unique, stereo/M-S low-frequency enhancer that combines a resonant filter and Pultec-style boost-attenuation EQ in a simple, easy to use plug-in.
Panipulator: With simple streamlined controls, you can you check mono compatibility, speaker polarity, identify phase issues in multi-miked instruments, isolate speakers in mono, and more
Width Knob: Width Knob allows you to quickly and easily adjust the stereo width of your bus or track.
DeeGain: Insert DeeGain between the other effect plugins, then it will work like the gain/trim control of a mixer console.
DeePanpot: A simple pan pot which also adds Haas Effect to reproduce more realistic pan.
DeeSpeaker: DeeSpeaker is a plugin which simulates near-field speakers placed at the proper angle, simulating the sound of the sweet spot.
BitterSweet v3: An acclaimed transient processor used by hundreds of thousands of users for audio transient management with the simple turn of a knob – turning it to the Sweet side reduces the transients, and turning it to the Bitter side magnifies the transients.
Stereo Tool v3: StereoTool offers ultra-precise control of input gain and individual pan for left and right channels, accurate visual feedback reflecting the signal content with; a vector scope, PPM meters for inputs/outputs, phase correlation meter permanently monitoring the signal and individual left and right polarity reversal.
System Basic: HOFA SYSTEM basic is the free version of the popular EQ, dynamic & FX toolbox. 29 plugins are available, although some have limited functionality.
CompExp: HoRNet CompExp is a compressor expander based on the design of a compander chip designed for telephone lines and used in many electronic devices to reduce the noise.
Harmonics: HoRNet Harmonics is a wave shaper based on the Chebyshev polynomials. Its non-linear processing lets you adjust the level of harmonics added to the signal, warming it up in different ways.
StereoView: HoRNet StereoView is a correlation meter designed to help you visualise the stereo image of your tracks.
Ignite uses state of the art analog modeling technology, deriving systems of non-linear differential equations directly from schematics and solving them in real time through carefully optimized C++ code. Their entire line of amp sim plugins is free to use, with voluntary donations keeping development going.
SampleTank Custom Shop: SampleTank is a virtual instrument platform. The free version contains 30 instruments right from the start. It lets users get creative with 3 sample engines, 57 high-quality effects, 20-channel mixer, and other advanced features.
Ozone Imager: Born from Ozone 8’s Imaging technology, Ozone Imager can narrow or widen your stereo image with simple controls, stunning visuals, and incredible sound.
Vinyl: Simulate the dust, scratches, warp, and mechanical noise reminiscent of yesteryear for free with Vinyl. Perfect for music production and audio post, Vinyl lets you control each nostalgic element independently, giving you all the vintage turntable sounds you love.
Vocal Doubler: iZotope Vocal Doubler is a free plug-in designed to support your vocal with a natural doubling effect, adding rich tone and depth.
KR-Reverb FS: KR-Reverb FS is designed for ease of use by adjusting internally the equalization and damping controls to optimal levels for producing a warm reverb sound suitable for a wide range of applications.
KR-Delay FS: KR-Delay FS comes with many new features like host sync capability for durations from 1/64 to 1/1 plus Triplet and Dot modes, three operating modes, Stereo Link and Ping-Pong, fully independent controls for all parameters in Stereo mode, independent Low Pass / High Pass resonant filters, and Panning controls.
Chorus: Chorus enhances the stereo effect and presence of a sound by mixing it with delayed versions of itself.
Delay: The kHs Delay can be run both free running and tempo synced with various stereo and feedback options. Most notable however is the duck feature, which optionally only lets the echoed sound through when there is no dry input signal. This allows for long and heavy delay while still avoiding clutter over the original sound.
Limiter: By looking a little bit into the future, a limiter can make sure your signal never goes louder than you want it to without distorting or destroying transients. Even with the knob turned to 11.
Snap Heap: Snap Heap is based around up to 4 routable lanes of modular “snapin” effects. Each lane can contain any number of snapins, and have individual gain, panning and dry/wet mixing. You can also move things around easily using a state of the art technology from the future of 1984 called “drag and drop.”
Stereo: Another stereo width plugin! 😉
DC1A: DC1A is the little brother of the compression monster DC8C. DC1A has a few tricks up its sleeve: negative (over) compression, parallel (New York style) compression, option to compress left and right channel independently (via the DUAL MONO switch), peak and RMS compression (RELAXED switch on) and DEEP activates a high pass filter to reduce pumping on bass heavy material.
IVGI: IGVI is a saturation plugin that can work very subtilely on a master buss, or can be driven into dense and dirty distortion on individual tracks.
MJUC jr.: A variable-mu compressor with lots of vibe, the MJUC Jr. is capable of smooth leveling but also heavy pumping effects.
FreeAMP: When processing audio through FreeAMP you’ll get the sound of tape and tube saturation at the same time. It can be used on anything that needs to be vitalized, from single tracks, stems or full mixes.
SVEP: Svep is a stereo modulation filter effect suitable for any sound. All parameters are easily editable in one screen and the clean and responsive user interface encourages creativity. Tweak it to produce anything from old-school phasers to subtle choruses.
Le Sound (for Post Production)
AudioSteps Free: AudioSteps is used to create realistic footsteps sound for post production or video games. No limitations, with one full databank!
AudioTexture Free: AudioTexture Free is the free version of AudioTexture plugin which loads and processes contents from Freesound. A dedicated browser interface has been designed for an integrated workflow to use Freesound content with AudioTexture. You can search with filter/sorting criteria and preview right in the browser.
AudioWeather Free: AudioWeather Free is the DAW plugin version for Le Sound’s renowned dynamic weather system for game audio. It demonstrates how AudioWind and AudioRain can be linked with an intelligent weather model. The goal is to allow sound designers rapidly shape the weather synchronous to the video images, saving tedious hours of manual editing of recordings.
Limited-Z: Limited-Z is a specialized and easy-to-use limiter, based on the foundation of being a capable look-ahead brickwall limiter suitable for final mixing or mastering.
PhreePhuzz: PhreePhuzz is a saturation plugin, pure and simple!
2BusControl: 2BusControl offers five essential options for specialized monitoring modes plus highly responsive and user- friendly metering for left/right balance and correlation.
Mercuriall Audio offers a huge assortment of free plugins, including a modeled Metal Zone MT-2 pedal, a stereo chorus pedal, a Mesa/Boogie Grid Smasher model, an Ibanez TS-808 model, a Marshall JCM800 preamp model, and more! If you’re a guitarist, or even just looking for interesting guitar-based effects to add to your mixes, look no further than Mercuriall. Following the attached link will take you to a page with all of their free stuff.
Border: Border is a second order Butterworth Low-Pass, High-Pass filter combination for general use, characterised by smooth response and an analogue character.
Muscle: A single-knob plugin designed to increase perceived loudness without adding compression.
Fat: Another easy-to-use plugin with one knob designed to add the desired amount of “Grease” to your mix or track. Suggested use for club mixes like techno, dub, and reggae.
Thin: The third in a series of free one-knob plugins, Thin is useful for adding a bit of air and etherealness to the desired track. For anything that sounds a bit dull, give it a lift with Thin.
Native Instruments offers a nice selection of free stuff, including versions of Komplete, Reactor 6 Player, Kontakt 6, Guitar Rig 5, and more! Have a peek at their website for an in-depth look at all of the free offerings from the titan Native Instruments!
Noisemakers (for Post Production)
Ambi Converter: Ambi Converter is a simple free plugin (VST, AU, AAX) to convert B-format signals from FuMa to ambiX and vice-versa.
PANO Player: Pano Player is the plugin version of PANO (VST, AU, AAX). Plug it in your favorite DAW as a virtual instrument and instantly add dynamics, naturalness, and infinite variations to your soundscapes and Foley effects.
SIREN: SIREN is very simply a free synth for psychedelic dub effects!
Snapshot 2: Snapshot is a simple idea: take a picture of anything you are using in your recording session and store it in the tracks of your DAW.
Frohmage: Whether you want to emphasize or attenuate some frequencies or else brighten, colorize or dirty any source lacking character, Frohmage will assist you in many circumstances. Despite its deceptively simple interface, the possibilities are tremendous and you will have a lot of fun working with it.
Alter/Ego: Alter/Ego is a real-time singing synthesizer based on the award winning technology featured in chipspeech, but instead of targeting Vintage voice technology, it focuses on more ‘modern’ (1990+) singing synthesis algorithms and research. It is specially tailored for musical needs – simply type in your lyrics, and then play on your MIDI keyboard.
sforzando: sforzando is a free, highly SFZ 2.0 compliant sample player. Advanced sample hobbyists now have a powerful tool to experiment and share instruments without relying on proprietary formats.
Plugin Alliance features several useful free plugins by multiple developers, including Brainworx, Elysia, SPL, and Schoeps. SPL’s Free Ranger graphic EQ is an easy-to-use musical tool, and Elysia’s niveau filter works like a set of scales, reducing lows when you add highs and vice versa. Browse around their page of freebies to find what works for you!
Code Red Free: Code Red Free accurately emulates preamp circuits, EQ curves, bold and punchy character, and the warmth of the classic ’60s all-tube British console that the Beatles recorded most of their material on. The recognizable overdriven sound of the Beatles’ Revolution was created by playing a P90 guitar through two chained preamps from this console.
SpectrumAnalyzer Free: SpectrumAnalyzer is a state-of-the-art spectrum analyzer plugin, which offers a lot of opportunities to display the spectral content of your audio material and helps you create a better mix this way.
Saturation Knob: The free plug-in Saturation Knob is a modeled output distortion that can be used anywhere you need some grit. Use it to fatten up bass lines, add some harmonics and shimmer to vocals, or simply destroy your drum loop.
SonEQ: SonEQ is free equalizer plugin that takes parts from some vintage gear and combine them in one. SonEQ has 3 bands, bass, middle and treble. Also, SonEQ has a pre-amp section. SonEQ is a free VST/AU/AAX plugin for Mac and Windows.
Muteomatic: MUTEOMATIC is an elegant and simple plug-in that automates the activation of a talkback or listen microphone channel according to your DAW’s transport state and boldly displays the channel’s activation status.
Fat Filter: An analogue style HP/LP filter. The FAT Filter has been developed using our ever popular analogue modelled algorithm, which results in super smooth transitions, whilst being incredibly light.
Ravage Lite: Ravage Lite is a scaled back version of our forthcoming Ravage Creative Distortion plugin, which is perfect for when you just need a touch of extra warmth and sparkle in a highly CPU friendly way. The Ravage Lite has just one flavour of distortion which is a combination of the 6 distortion styles found in it’s big brother. The Ravage Lite also includes up to 16x oversampling.
LABS: LABS by Spitfire Audio is a collection of free virtual instruments, including soft piano, strings, hand bells, pedal pads, a music box, ‘scary strings,’ and more!
aXMeter: aXMeter is an Ambisonic meter plugin that shows the RMS and peak levels of all the Ambisonic channels, up to seventh order. The channels for each order are grouped together for easy inspection.
AutoFilter: SC Autofilter gives you all the functionality you’d expect from of a professional filter, but with extra features that extend its capabilities. In addition to controlling the filter cutoff frequency and filter resonance, you can sweep the filter frequency with a range of LFOs, vary the range of the frequency sweep, duty cycle warp the LFO, and control the wet/dry mix.
BitCrusher: SC BitCrusher allows you to control bit rate, rate reduction, and stereo spread (with visual feedback). We’ve also added a filter section on the noise to allow you to alter the characteristics of the noise, taking it from white (full spectrum) to pink, or anything in between. The addition of an LFO on the filter even lets you sweep the noise for a truly unique effect.
TAL-Chorus-LX: A simple chorus effect based on the Juno-60’s chorus.
TAL-DAC: The TAL-DAC emulates a sample recorded on a low sample rate with reduced bit depth and upsamples it to the desired host sample rate.
TAL-NoiseMaker: TAL-NoiseMaker is an improved version of TAL-Elek7ro and has a completely new synth engine and a lot of improvements in sound and usability. The synth also includes a small effect section with a reverb, chorus and a simple bit crusher effect.
TAL-Reverb-4: TAL-Reverb-4 is a high quality plate reverb with a vintage 80’s character.
TAL-Vocoder: TAL-Vocoder is a vintage vocoder emulation with 11 bands that emulates the sound of vocoders from the early 80’s. It includes analog modeled components in combination with digital algorithms such as the SFFT (Short-Time Fast Fourier Transform).
dpMeter 4: dpMeter 4 is a precise digital audio multi channel meter including RMS, EBU R 128, DialNorm, and TruePeak (intersample) measurement. It is the successor of the very popular dpMeter II and adds GUI resizing and preset management.
ISOL8: Isol8 is an advanced mix monitoring tool. It divides the frequency range into 5 bands. These 5 bands can be soloed or muted individually. This will help you to concentrate on certain frequency ranges during the mixing and mastering process.
mvMeter2: mvMeter2 is a multivariable meter including RMS, EBUR128, VU and PPM measurement. mvMeter2 is the successor of mvMeter and adds single/dual meter display, adjustable reference level for all meter modes, adjustable meter delay and preset management.
sTilt: sTilt is a linear phase filter which tilts the audio spectrum around a given center frequency
- RELATED: What Is Linear Phase EQ
Tokyo Dawn Records
TDR Kotelnikov: TDR Kotelnikov is a wideband dynamics processor combining high fidelity dynamic range control with deep musical flexibility. As a descendant of the venerable TDR Feedback Compressor product family, Kotelnikov has directly inherited several unique features such as a proven control scheme, individual release control for peak and RMS content, an intuitive user interface, and powerful, state of the art, high-precision algorithms.
TDR Nova: NOVA is a parallel dynamic equalizer. Appearing in the familiar layout of a parametric equalizer, each band also includes a full featured dynamics section allowing the processor to cover an impressively wide range of applications. Be it a master lacking density, the drum bus asking for more crispiness, or a sibilance problem in your perfect take: NOVA has an elegant answer.
VOS SlickEQ: TDR VOS SlickEQ is a mixing/mastering equalizer designed for ease of use, musical flexibility and impeccable sound.
Podolski: Created in 2005 and still going strong. Podolski is a free, straightforward, CPU-efficient virtual analogue synthesizer. One oscillator, one filter, one envelope and an arpeggiator / sequencer. Simple, but with a few tricks up its sleeve. Create high quality sounds with ease.
Triple Cheese: le Cheese, winner of the 2006 KVR Developer Challenge, is a truly unique freeware synthesizer. No traditional oscillators or wavetables, no FM or phase distortion and no analogue modelled filters here. A touch unusual and a little cheesy, Triple Cheese is quite capable of some surprising sounds.
Zebralette: Zebralette is an introduction to Zebra2’s powerful oscillators. Zebra2 can seem overwhelming at first glance, so we stripped it down to a single oscillator plus a few other features and created Zebralette, the little Zebra. Once you master Zebralette you can move up to Zebra2 with confidence
Valhalla Freq Echo: Perfect for dub and all of your psychedelic needs. Sonic results range from subtle chorusing and double tracking to barberpole phasing and flanging to endless glissandos and runaway echos.
AnSpec: An analogue style spectrum analyzer.
Boogex: Real-time guitar processing and cabinet simulation.
Correlometer: A multi-band correlation meter plugin allowing users to detect phase issues.
Latency Delay: Latency Delay is an auxiliary plugin which allows you to compensate latency produced by any audio plugins.
MSED: MSED is a professional audio encoder-decoder plugin for mid-side processing which is able to encode (split) the incoming stereo signal into two components: mid-side pair, and vice versa: decode mid-side signal pair into stereo signal.
Marvel GEQ: Marvel GEQ is a linear-phase 16-band graphic equalizer plugin with multi-channel operation support (supporting up to 8 input/output channels, audio host application-dependent) for professional streaming, sound and music production applications.
OldSkoolVerb: This plugin implements a kind of “classic” stereo reverb algorithm which is technically simple yet optimal. It also produces a very clear spatial image that blends well with the mix.
Overtone GEQ: A graphic EQ designed to allow audio engineers to apply quick EQ shape adjustments together while adding a bit of harmonic richness to the source material.
Sound Delay: A simple delay plugin. You may specify delay time in both milliseconds and samples, with a high level of precision. This plugin – being technical in its purpose – provides a basic signal delaying function only, without signal feedback or modulation capabilities.
SPAN: A spectrum analyzer plugin with stereo, mid-side, and surround capabilities.
Stereo Touch: A stereo width plugin incorporating mid-side delay.
Tempo Delay: Tempo Delay is based on tempo, incorporating filter and tremolo sections with separate controls for each stereo channel. Instead of a single “delay length” control this plug-in features separate “delay”, “repetition period” and “delay panning” controls which allow you to create an evenly sounding “ping-pong” stereo echoes.
Tube Amp: A tube saturation plugin offering a mild “warm” overdrive to a fuzzy distortion.
Convology XT: Convology XT is a free convolution reverb, the result of a collaboration between Impulse Record and Wave Arts. Convology XT comes with 70 vintage impulse responses, a sampling of the 2,965 impulse responses in the Convology XT library.
SEE ALSO: BEST MULTITRACK RECODING SOFTWARE
Tube Sat Vintage: Tube Saturator Vintage is a free reissue of the original Tube Saturator. It uses circuit simulation technology to faithfully reproduce the sound of a dual triode preamp. While it sounds great, the circuit simulation technology is very CPU intensive, that’s why Wave Arts developed its successor, Tube Saturator 2. However, some users prefer the sound of the original and request it, hence they’ve have released it as a free plugin!
SEE ALSO: AVID PRO TOOLS FIRST REVIEW