I made this list a long time ago, and I think it would be a good fit for this subreddit! I personally use/have used every plugin on this list and I can vouch for their quality. I hope it helps someone! Synths:
1 - Helm
: A very visually-oriented and user-friendly subtractive synth. Its biggest advantages are its 3 assignable LFOs and envelopes, its step sequencer, and its keytracked comb filter. You can get sounds out of this thing that'd be impossible with really any other plugin.
2 - Synth1
: An analog emulation synth based on the Nord Lead 2 (popular hardware synth from the 90s). Its greatest advantage is its presets - there's a free bank with 25,000 of them. You can also get the free Synth1 librarian add-on to manage your 25,000 presets.
3 - Spitfire LABS
: A host for several free instrument libraries. Perfect for orchestral sounds.
4 - DSK
's assorted instrument plugins : Dynamic Guitars
, and Strings
aren't on the same level as $500 Kontakt libraries, but they sound fairly good with the right processing. Use these alongside LABS and you'll be all set for making orchestral pieces.
5 - Ample Bass P Lite
: Free bass guitar plugin. Sounds good with saturation.
6 - Keyzone Classic
: Piano plugin. If you use the Yamaha Grand Piano preset, this is the best-sounding free piano plugin you can get. Effects:
1 - OTT
: A multiband compressor based on a well-known Ableton multiband compressor preset of the same name. It's a big part of the "EDM sound", put it on anything from basses to leads to make them sound tight and compressed.
2 - Ozone Imager
: A stereo imager that is actually good. Has a stereo visualizer, and only two controls - Width, which increases or reduces a sound's existing stereo width, and Stereoize, which adds stereo width to sounds using the Haas effect.
3 - dblue.Glitch
: A step-sequenced glitch plugin. It's up there alongside Gross Beat and Halftime as one of the best ways to add weird time-based effects.
4 - dblue.TapeStop
: Simulates the downward pitch slide and volume reduction caused by stopping a tape player. Useful in nearly every genre. Only two knobs, one of which is automated to trigger the effect, one of which controls the length.
5 - CamelCrusher
: A compression/distortion plugin perfect for fattening up basses. More versatile and customizable than sausage fattener too.
6 - Krush by Tritik
: Basically the best bitcrusher you can get.
7 - PanCake
: Super customizable auto-panning plugin. You will never need another auto panning plugin ever again.
8 - NC-17
: Soft clippe Chebyshev filter plugin. Makes things loud, dirty and distorted without destroying the base sound.
9 - Saturation Knob
: Super simple 1-knob saturator, great for adding a little bit (or a lot) of analog warmth to sounds.
10 - SPAN
: Really good spectrum analyzer. Great for checking mixes, and can be used alongside Parametric EQ 2 for more precise EQing.
11 - Izotope Vinyl
: The essential lofi plugin. Simulates playing stuff on an old record, and has a bunch of settings to adjust the character of the simulated wear and tear
12 - Voice of Snow
(link cause it's hard to find from googling alone) : Lets you independently control the volume of the noise and tonal elements of a sound. Great for processing samples and cleaning up noisy sounds.
13 - the Melda Production FreeFX bundle
: A bundle of free plugins with a ton of really good effects. And it's not just the basic stuff, this pack includes a pitch correction plugin, a frequency shifter, a comb filter, and a bunch of other cool stuff.
14 - Transpire by Sonic Anomaly
: A very capable transient processor, simple to learn and use with a sleek GUI. Great for modifying drums, plucks, and everything else with a transient. Samples/Presets:
1 - Cymatics Free Download Vault
: A bunch of high-quality free samples and presets, all in one place.
2 - SampleFocus.com
: These aren't generally as good as the Cymatics samples, but it's not a bad place to find those specific odds and ends that you can't find in the Cymatics packs.
3 - Polysonic 10 free dubstep snares pack
: This is just some random small sample pack, but I use these snares all the time. The dubstep snares in the Cymatics packs just aren't as good as these.
4 - 99sounds
: They have some good free ambience sample packs