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FilterGrizzly2 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 2.0 on Windows
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A fat filter with a great tube distortion. While it's a filter first and foremost, I like the overdrive so much that it's one of my go-to distortion units.

I would love for it to feature a bandpass mode and LFO modulation but that would be asking a bit for a free plug-in that sounds this good.

TNT [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 1.2 on Windows
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This is a solid distortion unit, especially in its overdrive modes. It's nice that it comes in multi-band and single band options, which should be standard for distortion VSTs. It excels for the types of distortion used on drums and bass in drum and bass, but also works weirdly well for polyphonic/melodic distortion such as an electric guitar or epiano.

SpatialVerb [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 5.7.2 on Windows
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The best early reflections you can get in freeware. I don't even use the ER sections in my reverbs anymore, instead I layer this in parallel, or sometimes in serial with my main reverb sound.

City Piano [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
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This is the best truly free Piano rompler in the freeware world, especially since it comes wrapped up in a self-contained VST:

  • The piano is bright and recorded crystal-clear in stereo.
  • Proper release samples make a big difference compared to faking note-off sounds with an envelope.
  • Few free pianos have 4 velocity layers.
  • The VST it comes in is stable and loads quickly.
Grace [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 1.0.4.9 on Windows
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An intermediate-functionality sampler with a solid core sound (good pitching, envelope curvature, and filters). Supports drag-and-drop from your host's browser which is a critical function for samplers. It would be nice to have more looping options and more complex envelopes but for a free sampler it's unbeatable for most people's needs.

Panzertank PM4 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 1.1 on Windows
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This synth is ancient, but I haven't found a better one for learning FM (phase modulation and frequency modulation are identical with sinusoidal operators - the DX7 was phase modulation, marketed as FM because FM is conceptually easier to wrap your head around).

How to pickup FM is one of the most common questions among electronic production communities. Most people make it much too hard for themselves by watching confusticating tutorials and starting with fully featured synths like Dexed. All the tutorials, user manuals, wikipedia pages in the world don't hold a candle to simply locking yourself in a room with a simple synth like our guy Panzer here.

There are only 4 operators, each operator's parameters are vertically lined up (making it easier to visualize what's going on), and schematics for each algorithm (the different routing configurations between operators) are right on the panel for quick reference. You have no excuse for not having learned FM, and this is unbeatable for learning FM on.

drzewo Brzoza [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 1.0.3 on Windows
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I didn't know dirty FM was a niche I was looking for.

Brzoza has an emphasis on gritty, dirty sounds rather than 80's funky basses or soap opera keys. It's easy to run into delicious mush and you can make lots of great faux-distorted leads and reeces. It's not the type of FM synth to chase the clear, bright qualities of a synth like Dexed, or a passing DX7 emulation; it's more for metallic grime. I love it for horrific dissonance.

Tyrell Nexus 6 [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 3.0389 on Windows
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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The developer isn't kidding about its Juno inspirations. You can test out its faithfulness by dialing in a hoover sound, which it excels in making.

The core sound quality of Tyrell is a mixed bag, as it is based on solid analog modelling, yet it isn't effectively antialiased so you can come across some harshness in the high registries. This sometimes makes me want to close it out and use something else, but the foamy/creamy textures you get when moving its filters over more complex sounds keep me coming back. Aliasing aside, the oscillators and snappy envelopes are brilliant. Be sure to turn on its oscillator drift to go from a DCO Juno sound to more of an old school VCO Juno sound.

Neon [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 6th June 2018
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows
0 of 1 people found this review helpful.
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Of course the sound doesn't stand-up, it's literally the first VST synth ever.

Respect your elders.

Guitar Suite [read all reviews]
Reviewed By The Chase [read all by] on 7th May 2018
Version reviewed: 1 on Windows.
Last edited by The Chase on 7th May 2018.
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I'm reaching back into my old plug-in folders and some of these really stick out as being great beyond their time for old VSTs. The distortions may not fare well compared to modern freebies, but the two modulation plugs are indispensable in my collection of freeware modulation plugs. Particular the Univibe emulation, so creamy and lush, especially when played across your favorite chords.

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