Free Audio Plugins – Adding VST Warmth to an Audio Recording

Adding a Hint of Analog Beauty to a Digital Audio Recording – Tape Emulation VST / Free Audio Plugins

Black and White Image of Bomber Jacket, Free Audio Plugins - VST Warmth

Photo by OpenClips / CC0 1.0

Want to warm up your sterile digital recordings. You could try putting a jacket on them, but I don’t believe that would be very effective. Back in the old days, the only way to have warmth in a recording was to record to analog magnetic tape. And I do not mean cassette tape (sorry cassette, I still love you). I’m talking about 2″, 1″, or 1/2″ analog reel-to-reel. Tape compression is the key here. People still use it today. So why is it so appealing, you might ask? Tape, as physical media, can be very difficult.

There are plentiful issues that can be encountered with analog recording gear that do not exist in the digital world (generation loss, mechanical issues, wow and flutter, storage and preservation concerns). But without getting too technical, the way in which audio is applied to magnetic tape allows it to be saturated in a way that is very rich, full, and warm. Digital cannot be saturated like this. You often just get nasty clipping. However, over time, digital recording gear has continued to improve and the need for analog equipment has disappeared for many folks. However, if you still are not satisfied with your digital recordings, here are a few free audio plugins/VST effects that have been created to help. There are also free audio plugins that emulate tube preamplification, another often expensive method of adding audio warmth. Give tape emulation VST plugins a go… or not.

Image of TesslaSE Analog Saturation VST Plugin - Free Audio Plugins Page

TesslaSE – Transformer-style saturation with analog color

User Interface of the Apophis Compressor Plugin by Antress

Modern Series by Antress – Over thirty plugins in total, includes Neve recording gear/EQ emulation

User Interface of FerricTDS Saturation Plugin

FerricTDS – Smooth dynamics shaping, saturation, and limiting

Ruby Tube - Tube Amp Simulator VST Plugin

Ruby Tube – Tube amp simulator

R2R - Reel to Reel Tape Emulation VST Plugin

R2R Free – Reel to Reel tape emulation VST plugin

MusiCrow Tube Preamp Emulation Plugin

MusiCrow Preamp Emulator – Tube preamp/recording gear emulation

JB Ferox Tape Saturation Modeler Plugin

JB Ferox – Tape saturation modeler, packaged in an effects bundle

Acustica Nebula3 Free Analog Hardware Emulation Plugin - Free Audio Plugins

Nebula3 Free by Acustica – Analog recording gear/hardware emulation, a bundle of VST plugins

Voxengo Microphone Tube Preamp Emulation - Free Audio Plugins

Voxengo Tube Amp – Microphone tube preamp emulation

Related Article: M-Audio – Analog to Digital Converters For Less