This week’s best free plugins and music software: synths, a VST host, and a classic guitar pedal

Best free plugins

Falling in love with a new plugin feels great, but if that plugins happens to be free, the love feels even sweeter.

Fortunately, free instruments, effects, apps and samples land in our lap pretty frequently so, each week, we’ll be rounding up the finest freebies for you to go and download.

Let’s start with a Moog-flavoured treat from our friends at IK...

IK Multimedia Syntronik Bully

IK Multimedia Syntronik Bully

IK Multimedia has a springtime treat for anyone who signs up to its newsletter: a copy of its Syntronik Bully bass synth for free.

Based on a combination of sampling and modelling, this emulates the sounds of the classic Moog Taurus I, II and III synths, pedal-powered instruments that were famous for their massive low-end growl.

You can find out how to get your free synth on the IK Multimedia website. Bully runs on PC and Mac.

Tone2 NanoHost

NanoHost is a free host application that can load your favourite VST synths and turn them into standalone, playable instruments.

Other things to note are that no plugin-scanning is required, latency is said to be super-low, and, because the software is so small, load times should be extremely fast. The output of a plugin can be recorded to a WAV file, and NanoHost can even create random patches for you. There’s compatibility with 32-bit plugins, too.

You can find out more and grab NanoHost on the Tone2 website. It runs on Windows and Linux with Wine.

Mercuriall Audio MT-A

Mercuriall Audio MT-A

Mercuriall Audio loves a free guitar plugin, and its latest, the MT-A, pays homage to a stompbox that will be familiar to metal fans the world over.

It’s an emulation of the Boss Metal Zone MT-2, a ubiquitous distortion pedal that’s adored and derided in equal measure.

Available for PC and Mac in VST/AU/AAX formats, you can download the MT-A now from the Mercuriall Audio website.

Sample Fuel Cycle-Lite

Sample Fuel Cycle-Lite

Promising to make “amazing sounds with almost no effort,” Cycle-Lite is a 4-layer sample-based soft synth that rhythmically cycles through each layer in tempo with your host/DAW. You can also turn the cycling off to create beefy 4-layer pads.

You can use Cycle Lite standalone or as as plugin via Steinberg’s free HALion Sonic SE player. Find out more on the Sample Fuel website. 

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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Get over 70 FREE plugin instruments and effects…
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