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Free Plugins of the Year: The Best Free Plugins of 2022

Source: BLEASS, Gearnews

On the last Sunday of the year, which happens to be Christmas Day this year, we take the opportunity to take a look back at the best free plugins of 2022. And it sure was a good year for free plugins! Our weekly freeware column was filled with many unique effects and innovative synths. These are my personal favorites from my weekly freeware series – perfect for taking a break from the family festivities! Merry Christmas!

Black Rooster Audio RO-GOLD

Free plugins RO-GOLD

Black Rooster Audio RO-GOLD is a fantastic free plate reverb plugin based on the iconic EMT 140. But the developer didn’t stop at modeling the classic. They’ve also upgraded the material to solid 24k gold plate (sounds expensive!) for extra-tasty vintage reverbs with a healthy dose of sparkle. You can adjust the pre-delay and fine-tune the sound using the Bass Cut and Damper knobs. If you’re a fan of classic plate reverbs, this is a must-have.

RO-GOLD is available for macOS (including Apple Silicon) and the Windows in VST, AU and AAX sizes.

Get RO-GOLD here

Superfly DSP Lost Tapes and Lost Vinyls

Lost-Vinyls Free Plugins

Need those delicious lo-fi vibes for your tracks? Superfly DSP has you covered! This pair of plugins brings the nostalgic sounds and artifacts of yesterday’s recording media to your DAW. Lost-Tapes lets you choose from different types of tapes and adds flutter, crunch and noise. Lost-Vinyls, on the other hand, offers the beloved buzz and crackle of old vinyl records. In addition to that, both plugins also provide a unique stereo widening effect.

Lost-Tapes and Lost-Vinyls are available for Windows, Linux and macOS (Intel only) in VST3 and AU sizes.

Get Lost Tapes Here

Get Lost-Vinyls here



ChowDSP is the DSP assistant that brought us the amazing Chow Tape Model, Chow Matrix and Chow Centaur plugins. His latest creation BYOD (Build Your Own Distortion) is a modular guitar effect that lets you create custom effects chains using a combination of modules. In addition to various distortion and tone-shaping circuits, BYOD includes other useful effects, as well as a bunch of amp impulse responses. There is also an iOS version for on-the-go sessions.

BYOD is available for Windows, macOS, Linux and iOS. Desktop plugin is available VST, VST3, AU, AAX and LV2 formats, and there is also a autonomous version. On iOS, BYOD works like a AUv3 plug-in.

Get BYOD here

BYOD in the App Store

2Rule TugGlicento

TugGlicento Free Plugins

Here’s another must-have: 2Rule’s TugGlicento offers rhythmic and modulated multi-effects. There are five slots you can fill with effects. Each slot can be sequenced independently using a grid sequencer, which can deliver some pretty wild results and complex rhythms. Additionally, TugGlicento features a Moog filter, ADSR envelope and LFO for additional sound shaping. A great way to turn any audio track into a unique rhythmic pattern!

TugGlicento is available for macOS (VST, AU) and the Windows (VST3).

Get TugGlicento here

Analog Obsession COMPER

Analog Obsession COMPER

Analog Obsession had a string of great releases this year, and honestly, I could have picked any of them. COMPER is a unique dual compressor with two independent sections. Each section can be used in VCA, FET or OPTO mode – or all at once. Additionally, the lower section has an external sidechain input. It’s like a rack of six compressors that you can mix and match in parallel and in series to your liking – compression heaven!

COMPER is available for macOS and Windows in VST3, AU and AAX sizes.

Get COMPER here

Public samples Oi! Grandfather

Public samples Oi!  Grandfather

The award for best-nominated free plugin this year goes to Oi! Grandfather. The colorful plugin is a four-voice granular synthesizer that lets you go crazy with four WAV files at once. Each voice offers independent controls for granular parameters, such as position, grain size, spread, and density. And to keep things interesting, Oi! Grandad also offers no less than 12 assignable and tempo-synchronizable modulation sources which can be envelopes, LFOs or sequencers. Great stuff!

Oh ! Grandfather is available for macOS, Windows and Linux like a VST and AU plugins.

Get Oi! grandfather here

BLEASS Monolith

Free plugins BLEASS Monolit

According to BLEASS, Monolit is a software synthesizer designed to combine the analog sound of Alpha with the expressiveness of Omega. It offers two oscillators with FM, several different filter types, a versatile LFO, a few envelopes and a built-in arpeggiator. The modulation section is compatible with MPE controllers, allowing for incredible expressive sounds if you have a keyboard with polyphonic aftertouch, a ROLI Seaboard, etc. I also really dig its very usable GUI.

Monolit is available for macOS 10.9 and later (including Apple Silicon) and Windows 8 or later in VST3, AU and AAX sizes. There is also a version for iOS or iPadOS 11.0 or later.

Get Monolit for Mac and Windows here

Monolit for iOS in the App Store

Smao Lab Tarabia MK1, TaraTube and TaraLead

Free Tarabia Distortion plug-ins

For fans of the original Tarabia distortion plugin released in 2018, this year brought some very nice surprises. The developer has not only updated Tarabia MK1 with a new refined version of the same algorithm. Smao Lab has also released two new distortion plugins. TaraTube is a tube distortion that lets you choose the number of tubes. TaraLead delivers extreme distortion, overdrive and fuzz using asymmetrical wave clipping. Get the whole trilogy for true warp bliss!

All three plugins are available for macOS (Intel only, unfortunately), the Windowsand linux in AU, VST and VST3 sizes.

Get the Tarabia Trilogy here

Audiomodern Panflow

Audiomodern Panflow

Audiomodern Panflow is a creative panning tool that lets you create custom, tempo-synced panning curves. You can choose from smooth or stepped curves that follow your track’s tempo at adjustable rates. The plugin also offers plenty of randomization options, including an Infinity mode that randomizes the curve on each bar. You can even use the Panflow Curve to control other elements in your DAW via MIDI. Panning just got a whole lot more interesting!

panflow is available for macOS 10.12 or higher (including M1) and Windows 7 or higher in VST, VST3, AU, AAXand autonomous sizes. There is also a version for iOS.

Get panflow here

panflow on the App Store

nakst Apricot

Free plugins nakst Apricot

Apricot is a superb hybrid synthesizer that combines virtual analog synthesis (including a unison mode inspired by the classic supersaw waveform) and a sample layer that lets you import your own samples. It also has a massive modulation section with two envelopes and LFOs each, over 70 destinations and easy routing, an arpeggiator/sequencer and a bunch of built-in effects, including a distortion module modeled after Access Virus.

Apricot is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. From now on, the software synth is exclusively available in the new TYPE format, so you’ll need a DAW that supports it (currently it’s Bitwig Studio and Reaper).

Get the apricot here

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Image sources:

  • black-rooster-audio-ro-gold: Black Rooster Audio
  • superflydsp-lost-vinyls : SuperflyDSP
  • chowdsp-byod : ChowDSP
  • 2rule-tugglicento: 2Rule
  • analog-obsession-comp : Analog Obsession
  • publicsamples-oi-grandad: Publicsamples
  • bleass-monolith : BLEASS
  • smao-lab-tarabia-distortion : Smao Lab
  • audiomodern-panflow : Audiomodern
  • nakst-apricot: nakst

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