When I first tried the plugin, I was very disappointed. Changing the different modes, adjusting the threshold to very low values didn't made me excited. The sound change was only subtle or not in a taste I like for distortion or saturation. Couldn't understand the hype about it.
Playing a bit more with the knobs, I figured out that the most important parameter of the plugin is, very suprisingly, the input gain control (in conjunction with the output gain control to adjust the volume to unity gain).
Driving the signal into the plugin quite extremely and by adjusting the output volume provides a more rich and thick sound without to even come close to clip the signal in the conventional way. Great!
Checking my analyzer by listening to an asumed way louder signal, it was very shocking that the peak volume even was less than before (Quintic mode has been used). Another more in-depth check gave the answer: Peak was reduced by around 3db, but average LUFS was increased by almost 1.7 dB. So it seems that FreeClip is not only a distortion plugin, it can be used to control dynamics as well.
Very useful for that purpose and now I know that I will use this plugin more often than I thought.
There are still 3 nitpicks why I reduce one star:
No Bypass-button. (Why, oh why? It could have been so easy to implement) If you use this tool for mixing or mastering, you need that feature for A/B comparison very, very often.
No manual, no tips, no explanation. I would have liked if the developers could have given more insights or tips about the use of the plugin (especially the different clip modes). And this is not only meant for this plugin. Venn Audio seems to not quite like the nearer documentation of their plugins. Other manufacturers provide very much (even additional) information. Shame.
Another thing I would like to see in the plugin would be a Dry/Wet knob.
I would wish that the developer could improve these things.
This is a useful clipper with a nice sound and nice oversampling features. Also the CPU usage and loading time is just incredible low. The modes do sound different and are easy to access. Only thing I did not like that much is the GUI. The input and output volume is a bit clumsy to set. Luckily I found the "next version" of this plugin, which isn't free, but costs not so much: V-Clip. While this gives you more options, which are not always needed.
For people with a small budget this Free Clip is a really nice and useful clipper for free.
There are a lot of clippers out there. Some paid, some free.
StandarDCLIP and KClip Pro are excellent paid plugins; Clipmax and Free Clip are excellent free plugins.
However, the amazing quality of the free ones has not justified the demand for the paid ones, and I can quote Free Clip as a major responsible for this.
After a few weeks of exhaustive testing, at least on the personal criteria of my own audition, I feel comfortable and secure in stating here that Free Clip is top.
Using it for mastering purposes in "Hard" mode, 1x Oversampling and -0.1dB Clip Ceiling, I got the most transparent result I could expect. No other plugin, paid or free, hit Free Clip.
A single lack I felt - the parameter "Gain" could be able to handle negative values. But this absence does not stain the surprising quality of this plugin, since I use the alternative features of my DAW.
Free Clip, with due respect, makes it unnecessary to use commercial alternatives.