Best music freeware finds of 2021

As with the “best purchase” thread, this one is in the interest in sharing the knowledge about particularly good freeware finds in 2021 (even if you found them earlier but found them particularly useful in 2021):

For me:

Native Instruments Supercharger compressor - very quick to get good sounds, very low latency.

I guess I’m the only cheap-skate using freeware? :rofl:

Oh well, I’ll post a few others I really liked in 2021 and maybe someone finds them useful:

Tokyo Dawn - Nova - dynamic EQ
Variety of Sound - ThrillSeekerXTC - EQ/exciter hybrid


Bespoke is amazing.

And so is Vital

Vital can be used offline, though does need an account to download.

Both are free but have paid tiers. Bespoke’s is a donation, Vital’s gets you more wavetables and presets.

I used these to good effect this year …

Valhalla - Super Massive
John V - fircomp 1 -

The compressor was a real surprise for quality & free.



For me still at the top of the list: Surge - incredible that this synth powerhouse is free!

Also pretty useful: OB-Xd - while there are pretty tasty paid-for Oberheim options available, this one isn’t so far off, at least for the mainstream sounds. Not 100% identical with the original (e.g. on filter sweeps), but a great free option to get one’s hands dirty on an Obie-style synth.

The Tokyo Dawn stuff is definitely nice - I just don’t use it in my Cantabile setup, since most of their plugins introduce significant latency. But for production, definitely a plus.

Other very useful free stuff:

  • For guitarists: take a look at the free Mercuriall offerings - great pedals in there
  • Ignite Amps also have some good free stuff - NadIR is a very useful convolution host for cabinet IRs, and PTEq-X is to me the best free Pultec EQ out there
  • Variety of Sound has a broad range of free plugins - and they are in the process of moving all of them to x64, which is a definite plus - I don’t want any legacy 32 bit plugs in my arsenal; just one more thing that can go wrong…




I added the free Klanghelm plugins to my collection, still working on getting used to them.

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+1 on both. Surge is a great beast.

I suppose another one for me was the Blue Labs pitch shifter. Probably too latent for live but its solid for projects shifting an instrument or adding harmonic character a fixed interval off the note played.

How is cpu for this one for you? I have it in a project and it definitely is hungry, but maybe just the particular preset? Definitely has some great sounds.

It was a complete non-starter on 3rd gen i7 (3740qm).
But on 4th gen with AVX2 it runs ok.
It’s not nor will be multicore according to the dev, so it could well be a candidate for Brad’s mono to poly midi filter.
Some patches are stinkers for CPU.
I’ve not tried using it live yet as I’ve been running the 3rd gen laptops.
I’m part way through converting 2 x Dell T1700 workstations into rack pcs.
They have Xeon 1271 v3 chips; very similar to i7 4790.
Not stellar performance but good enough, and importantly saving them from the scrapheap.
TBH I’m having to jump through some Dell hoops and I’m regretting not getting AMD 5600g instead.

I would reeeeally recommend also taking a look at the paid-for plugs (VUMT, MJUC, …) that Tony provides - they are absolutely top-notch, and the price-tag is ridiculously low.

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Same here…patches with relatively long release times, when playing more than one note at the same time, produce lots of audio glitches with my usual settings (44.1kHz, 512 sample buffer, no double buffering =>11.61 ms).
Checking “Double Buffered Audio” already makes things much better.

My system is a Ryzen 5 3400, as listed here:


Edit: Here is a link to the complete thread where I found the table above

Thanks for the heads up on that one, I tried it and really like it. It will probably earn the spot as “transparent comp go-to”. The NI has earned “character comp go-to”. Kinda funny that two new comps make my list of plugins. I normally try to avoid using comps altogether if possible.

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