In the realm of music production, filter plugins are indispensable assets that can add depth and character to your tracks, helping to craft distinctive and engaging sounds. Whether you're aiming for a gentle filter sweep or a dramatic sonic transformation, the right filter plugin can revolutionize your mix. While there are countless filter plugins out there, not all of them require a hefty investment. In fact, there are numerous high-quality, free options available that can deliver remarkable results. In this article, we've explored some of the best free filter plugins available today, highlighting their unique features and functionalities that can provide that much-desired enhancement to your music. Let's get started!
Filterstep, by Audiomodern, is a modern motion filter plugin that offers a wide range of filtered effects with an exceptional level of sonic detail. It's designed to let you craft and manipulate unique textures easily within its user-friendly engine.
This free filter VST plugin syncs to your DAW's tempo, enabling real-time generation of filter grooves. Its innovative features and ease of use make Filterstep a great tool for creative music production.
Filterjam, developed by AudioThing, is a unique multi-band resonant filter plugin. It's capable of creating interesting, ringmod-like filter effects by dividing the input signal into four bands and then summing or multiplying them based on the selected mode.
Despite its simplicity, Filterjam is highly versatile. It can produce both harsh, saturated effects and gentle, understated filters. Whether you're looking to add brightness or depth to your sounds or completely transform acoustic sources, Filterjam has you covered.
One of the key advantages of Filterjam is its light CPU usage, making it an efficient choice for any music production setup.
BPB Dirty Filter
The BPB Dirty Filter is a freeware VST plugin by Bedroom Producers Blog. It's a versatile tool that can add subtle coloration or transform your audio signal with its distorted filter effect.
This plugin features a pair of resonant filters, emulated analog tube circuitry, a high-pass and a low-pass filter combo, and adjustable filter slope. It also includes a Mix knob and an output volume control for easy gain staging.
In its basic mode, it operates as a transparent filter plugin, perfect for cleaning up audio. However, when the Drive knob is increased, it becomes a hardcore distortion plugin, ideal for sound designers looking to add grit and distortion to their audio.
Brainworx BX_Cleansweep V2
Brainworx BX_Cleansweep V2 is a free filter plugin that offers analog-style filter curves without the typical Nyquist problems. This results in a great sounding filter design that can clean up the mud from the bottom and the grit from the high end, often serving as the first stage of the mixing process.
BX_Cleansweep V2 is designed to be the first plugin in every mix channel, allowing you to filter out any unwanted high-end and low-end frequencies. The result is a clean and tight mix.
Despite being free, BX_Cleansweep V2 doesn't compromise on quality. It uses high-quality Brainworx filters with "Anti Crush Technology," providing the same professional quality as its more famous counterparts like bx_digital V2. This technology uses analog-style filter curves to eliminate common digital sound problems like harshness and aliasing.
HY-Filter3, available for both Windows and Mac, is a multi-mode filter plugin that offers two filter modes: SVF and Reso. Despite being a free plugin, it boasts a vast array of features, including a randomizer option and EQ parameters.
What sets HY-Filter3 apart is the exceptional control it provides over your filter curves, making it ideal for detailed, advanced automation. It also comes with a comprehensive bank of filter presets for you to experiment with.
With its extensive features and user-friendly design, HY-Filter3 is a highly recommended tool for any music producer seeking a versatile and powerful filter plugin.
Ohm Force's Frohmage is a free multi-band resonant filter plugin that can transform your audio in unique ways. It's capable of creating everything from slow and deep filter sweeps to the most savage tones with high resonance settings and heavy distortion.
Frohmage features a highly resonant low-pass filter, adjustable slope, and a selection of up to 15 additional bands, harmonically distributed. It also includes a distortion stage, unit auto-gain, switchable clip protection, and sample exact A/B comparison. The plugin supports stereo, left, right, mid, and side channel selection, flexible channel monitoring, output gain, and signal mixing.
Despite its powerful features, Frohmage is known for its unique and funky user interface. While it might take some time to get used to, users have praised it for encouraging them to listen more closely to the sounds they're creating and for its inspirational qualities.
Phuturetone's Philteroid is a dual filter effect plugin, suitable for use on various types of rhythmic sounds, including drums, bass, synth, and guitar. Beyond pure filter work, Philteroid is also capable of frequency modulation (FM), amplitude modulation (AM), and saturation, transforming plain sounds into ones with unique character and interesting texture.
Philteroid offers various filter types, from basic (LP, BP, HP, BR) to uncommon ones, which can be obtained with filter type blend control and parallel/serial routing of filters. Filters can be synced in eleven predefined harmonic offsets between filter frequencies and modulated internally by audio signal (FM), ADSR envelope, envelope follower, LFO, or through external input.
In addition to its filtering capabilities, Philteroid is equipped with various amplitude modulation sources and can be used as an envelope shaper, expander, noise gate, and ring modulator.
Polyverse's Filtron is a 12dB state variable filter plugin that can smoothly transition between lowpass, bandpass, and highpass modes. It's capable of self-oscillation with resonance levels that can reach up to 11.
Filtron also features a fat sounding internal saturation algorithm and a sizzly post overdrive with two modes to choose from: cold and hot. This makes it a versatile tool for adding unique character to your sounds.
You can also seamlessly connect it to Gatekeeper to leverage its advanced modulation features.
Rast Sound Mad Filter
Mad Filter is a free filter plugin that stands out with its warm, sweet, and state-of-the-art filter and drive circuits. Despite being free, it's designed to deliver high-quality, analog-like sounds, making it a potential go-to filter for your music production needs.
This plugin offers a unique feature that allows you to transition between different filter types (low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, notch) to create unique movements. This kind of filter type mixing is exclusive to Mad Filter, adding to its uniqueness.
Mad Filter also includes complex LFO motion and 'Mad States' for playful randomness. You can trigger natural, complex LFO movements by clicking small circles on top of each knob and add further randomization with a 2-level 'Go Mad' button.
The user interface of TAL-Filter 2 is straightforward and intuitive, featuring a graphic editor that allows you to visualize your filter curves. It provides a range of filter options and pan/volume modulation possibilities, making it a versatile tool for any music producer.
In addition, TAL-Filter 2 includes seven filters borrowed from the iconic TAL-NoiseMaker VST synth plugin: LP 24 dB, LP 18dB, LP 12dB, LP 6dB, HP 12 dB, BP 12dB, and N 12 dB. This feature further enriches its capabilities, making it an excellent choice for those seeking high-quality and versatile filter plugins.
TBPro Audio STilt
TBPro Audio's STilt is a free linear/natural phase and IIR filter plugin that tilts the audio spectrum around a given center frequency. Despite being free, it offers a range of features that make it a valuable tool for music production.
STilt's features include a distortion-free processing engine and an adjustable slope from -6dB/Oct to +6dB/Oct. It also offers adjustable center frequency and three filter modes: linear phase, natural phase, and zero delay. The plugin provides unit auto-gain, switchable clip protection, and sample exact A/B comparison.
It supports stereo, left, right, mid, and side channel selection, and offers flexible channel monitoring, output gain, and signal mixing. The GUI is free-scaling, and the plugin is available in both GPU and non-GPU versions.
In conclusion, this handpicked selection of top-notch free filter plugins is an essential resource for music production. It provides a broad range of options for adding depth, color, and unique character to your tracks. Whether you're looking for subtle filter effects or intense, transformative distortions, these plugins are ready to deliver. They enable you to achieve the sonic texture that aligns best with your production style. As you explore these tools, you'll discover new realms of creativity and enhance the quality of your mixes.