The Best New Free Music Maker Software: Essential Free Synths, Drum Machines & Effects for August 2022

Everyone loves a free plugin. We bet even the most affluent music makers, reclining comfortably in their overstuffed studio chairs while basking in the radiant glow of a spec M1 Mac, feel a twinge of excitement when a free VST pops up on their 6K. Retina display.

That’s what our monthly freeware roundup is all about. It exists to serve you, the curious and financially prudent producer, in your search for the Internet’s best free software. We know you’re a busy bunch, so here we bring you the most intriguing freebies from our regular news coverage that you may have missed, plus anything that caught our eyes (and ears) at course of the last 30 days.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this month’s goodies, which include an orchestral offering from Spitfire Audio, an 8-module effects rack from IK Multimedia and not one, but two lo-fi vibe-shapers.

Platforms: Mac/PC | Format: VST/VST3/AU/AUv3 | To download (opens in a new tab)

IK Multimedia’s MixBox is a colossal modular effects package that gives users the ability to build an entire processing chain in a single plugin. The paid version is definitely worth your attention, but what we’re really here for is MixBox CS, a lite version that IK offers for free.

This should give you a taste of what MixBox has to offer, as it comes with 8 starter modules (including compressor, tape delay and overdrive) equipped with over 30 presets to get you started. . Pro tip: IK has a ton of other free stuff, including a free version of their flagship Syntronik 2 software synth, available at their website (opens in a new tab) – go see.

Novation Bass Station and V-Station

Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST/AU | To download (opens in a new tab)

Designed to emulate two of the company’s 90s/noughties hardware synths, Novation’s Bass Station and V-Station plugins are now quite long in the tooth themselves. In fact, the company has now discontinued them as commercial products and made them freely available as “legacy” software. It should be kept in mind that there is no guarantee that they will be compatible with your operating system and DAW.

Bass Station is designed to create the monophonic 1993 material of the same name in your DAW. Like the original, which was used on countless dance records in the 90s, it features two digital oscillators and an analog filter. The V-Station, on the other hand, is an emulation of the K-Station synth released in 2002. It features a 3-oscillator sound engine with noise and FM capabilities, an arpeggiator, effects, 200 user programs and 200 factory presets.

Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover

Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST3/AU/AAX | To download (opens in a new tab)

Previously available for $49 or as a free download for anyone willing to take a quiz and wait 14 days, Spitfire Audio’s BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover plug-in is now free for everyone.

Designed to be an easy-to-use entry point into the world of orchestral composition, Discover features 33 instruments (these cover strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion) and 47 playing techniques, all mixed in a single signal. The instrument offers simple controls and weighs just 200MB, although Spitfire claims the sound is nevertheless “remarkable”.

car test drive

Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST/VST3/AU | To download (opens in a new tab)

Car testing is an age-old method of testing a final mix. Just leave the house, hop in the car, and play it through your vehicle’s stereo system to get a feel for what it might sound like when you’ve made it big and they play your hit on the radio.

The only problem is that not all of us own a car. And even if we do – well, gas is expensive these days. For these reasons and more, we’re glad to see that Rocket Powered Sound has come up with a workaround in the form of a new free plugin. (opens in a new tab). Car Test does exactly what you’d expect, processing your mix to produce a simulation of how it will sound when output from a car stereo. All you have to do is upload it to your main channel, hit the big green button, and you’re away.

Karp Synthesizer

Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST3/AU | To download (opens in a new tab)

This free synth from developer Nathan Blair is a nifty little plugin that uses Karplus-Strong synthesis, a variant of physical modeling synthesis that is often used to emulate the sound of a plucked or strummed string, or simply to design sounds synth with a chord-like character. Karp has an undeniably nice, springy tone – sample the sound in the video above.

Mastercode Music Substrate Subharmonic Bass Booster

Platforms: Windows | Formats: VST2/VST3 | To download (opens in a new tab)

Bass sounds are notoriously difficult to design, mix and process compared to the high frequency elements of a track. It’s especially hard to get a punchy, underweight bass sound that doesn’t overwhelm the rest of your mix. Substrate’s new free plugin, the Subharmonic Bass Booster, may be able to help with this. Designed to spruce up your bass with extra sub-harmonics, it should make sub-bass frequencies more audible on quieter systems.

Ronan Fed Pneuma

Platforms: PC | Formats: VST2/VST3 | To download (opens in a new tab)

Pneuma is a feature-packed subtractive polyphonic synthesizer plugin. Equipped with four multi-voice oscillators, a noise oscillator and two sample oscillators, it features a multi-mode filter, two LFOs and a modulation matrix for sound shaping and sound design. The real draw here is the outstanding effects capabilities: Pneuma comes with EQ, Chorus, Phaser, Delay, Reverb, Compressor, Overdrive and Distortion all built in. Too bad it’s not Mac compatible.

Viator DSP Vibe Mechanic


(Image credit: Viator DSP)

Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: VST3/AU | To download (opens in a new tab)

If your tracks fall short in the vibe department, look no further than Viator DSP’s Vibe Mechanic, a new lo-fi effects plugin that’s “designed to give you different flavors of vibe shaping.” Vibe Mechanic does its magic by running the audio through EQ, Distortion, and Reverb modules, each of which can be manipulated and controlled independently. It’s good vibes.

Quantization of SR music

sr music

(Image credit: SR Musics)

Platforms: PC | Format: VST3 | To download (opens in a new tab)

If Vibe Mechanic wasn’t quite your vibe, see how you fare with Quantize, another free lo-fi plugin of the vibe-imparting variety. The makers promise it’s capable of reproducing everything from classic 8-bit grit to the dusty goodness of old samplers, thanks to the built-in bitcrusher and filter, and two switchable circuit modes.

Manifest Audio Mod Squad v2

Platforms: Mac/PC | Formats: Ableton only | To download (opens in a new tab)

If you’re a Max for Live user, we recommend maximizing your modulation capabilities with this 15-pack of modulators from Manifest Audio. Designed to “inject life into your ensembles and compositions”, the set is comprised of six MIDI effects and eight audio effects, all mappable to up to eight parameter targets and capable of producing ADSR envelopes, LFO cycles and Moreover. .