Many musicians have a limited budget to buy new instruments or effects. Above all, many of them use their budget to buy hardware and less about software. One of the effects I personally love on hardware as well as software are beside reverb / delay also distortion. Good sounding plugins can be expensive but there are several that cost you nothing. This list features free bit-crusher, distortions, overdrive, waveshaper… plugins.
I consider only free distortion plugins that are:
- for PC & Mac at the same time
- free for everyone
- no time restriction
- 64-bit compatible
Ignite Amps Pro.F.E.T
ProF.E.T. is a digital emulation of an high gain distortion preamp/stomp-box for guitar. It has been developed to accurately model its real hardware counterpart, designed and built by Ignite Amps in 2018. The ProF.E.T. core circuit is capable of delivering tons of tube-like saturation using carefully tuned JFET based gain stages and filters to keep the distortion aggressive and rich of harmonics.
A 4 controls based tonestack with 2 different modes ensures maximum versatility and tone shaping options, whether you use the ProF.E.T. as a preamp or a distortion unit in front of a clean amplifier.
- Ignite Amps proprietary JFET non-linear modeling engine.
- 4 controls tonestack with additional Shape switch.
- Mono / Stereo processing support.
- Selectable oversampling rate (up to 8x).
- Global input / output level controls.
- Double precision (64-bit) floating point mathematical model.
- Fully automatable controls.
- Ignite Amps proprietary preset management system with bank file import/export functions.
Available here: Ignite Amps
Nimble Tools Misstortion
Misstortion is a free and open source distortion plugin for VST-based hosts. It does its best to be like Logic’s Clip Distortion, which makes it very useful for the Hardstyle genre:
- Hard clip: Simple hard clip distortion.
- Soft clip: Hyperbolic soft clip distortion.
- Symmetry: Make your waveform asymmetrical for more finetuned distortion.
It’s free. It runs on Windows and Mac DAWs, both 32-bit and 64-bit, so there’s no need to bridge them by hand. It’s also open source.
Available here: Misstortion
Smaolab Tarabia Distortion
Tarabia Distortion is a free distortion plug in effect that destroy nicely your sounds: kicks becomes hard dicks, snares comes very consistent snares, on audio loops, it produces nice distortions artifacts.
The plugin is based on two special algorithms: Tarabia formula (hard distortion) and Yamaha 80’s synth soft distortion formula.
Available here: Tarabia Distortion
Damage Records DYSTROYED
Dystroyed is a creative plugin with distortion and conversion algorithms for inspiring sound-design.
Parameters: distression for distortion, bit-crushing, sample-rate reduction, sample-rate envelope, side-chain function for sample-rate, volume-control
Available here: Damage Records
With its bit crushing and downsampling algorithms, Krush combines the crispy taste of the digital realm with the warmth of its drive stage and analog modeled resonant filters. A modulation section allows you to quickly add extra life to the sound by modulating any parameter. The sound palette produced by Krush ranges from the dirtiest digital effects to crunchy modulated colours, with all the classic and weirdest bit-crushing effects in between.
Krush is available as VST, AudioUnit, and AAX for Mac and Windows
Available here: Tritik