Best new mixing plugins, effects and VST instruments out this week

Software instruments, effects and mixing plugins – here’s everything fresh in the plugin marketplace.

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Man making music using a MIDI controller

Credit: Getty / Михаил Руденко

In music production, plugins are software add-ons that expand the capabilities of your DAW; these could be virtual instruments and creative effects, EQ and compressors, or tools that make editing a lot more manageable.

Below is a rolling list of the new plugin releases that catch our eye, so you can keep on top of any software goodies you may have missed that could be essential to your production process. We update this list every week, so be sure to check back regularly for the latest virtual instruments, effects, mixing plugins and more. Happy producing!

Latest virtual instruments, effects and mixing plugins

(Last update: 12 April 2024)

Bass Hammer by Nembrini

Nembrini Audio has released Bass Hammer, a new plugin built for advanced bass tone sculpting. Featuring Adaptive Gain Sculpting, comprehensive EQ controls, and versatile cabinet simulations, Bass Hammer delivers legendary tonal characteristics and dynamic versatility in a digital format.

Buy Bass Hammer for an intro price of $29.99 (desktop version) or $9.99 (iOS) until 30 April on Nembrini.

Dove by Acustica Audio

Acustica Audio’s new innovative plugin, Dove, is a processing suite featuring a Dynamic Harmonics Compressor/Suppressor and De-Harsher, available in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Letting you apply precise adjustments to your audio, Dove provides dynamic EQ bands adjustable down to 1/256 octave, ensuring balanced audio. Choose between two GUI options and enjoy features like blend control and powerful range control.

Buy Dove on Acustica Audio for an intro price of €89 until 2 May.

Bloom Bass Impulse by Excite Audio

Bloom Bass Impulse is Excite Audio’s new bass-focused instrument blending modern synth bass loops, samples, and one-shots to infuse your tracks with versatile low-end power. Using this, you can spice up your productions with dynamic basslines, seamlessly blend between styles, and sculpt unique layers with expressive modulation. With 250 presets and intuitive controls, this is an inspiring plugin for creating cutting-edge bass.

Buy Bloom Bass Impulse for $39 on Plugin Boutique.

Primavera by Pulsar Audio

Pulsar’s new Primavera plugin is a 6-in-1 reverb that gives you sought-after vintage spring reverbs from the ‘50s through to the ‘70s. From lo-fi to hi-fi, each tank faithfully emulates the original units’ character, offering a wide sound palette with next-gen features. Explore physical modelling for unique sound design possibilities and manipulate spring tension and excitation in real-time. With integrated saturation, filters, and ducking controls, you can use this plugin to sculpt your signature “twang” tone effortlessly.

Find it for $59 on Plugin Boutique.

BLEASS Multiband Compressor

BLEASS Multiband Compressor is a powerful plugin designed to enhance the loudness, power, and impact of your music mixes, stems, and tracks. With a colourful and clear interface, it offers precise control over the dynamics of your music.

A multiband compressor is a dynamic processing tool that divides the audio signal into multiple frequency bands, allowing for independent compression of each band. This enables targeted control over the dynamics of different frequency ranges in the audio, resulting in a more balanced and polished sound.

Buy it for $19.99 on BLEASS.

pure:unmask by Sonible

Sonible’s pure:unmask streamlines mixing by creating space between tracks in the frequency spectrum. By dynamically lowering frequencies in background tracks that clash with prioritised ones, it ensures clarity without audio issues. With minimal setup and four intuitive controls, it achieves professional results swiftly, using AI and spectral unmasking for seamless integration.

Find it for $29 on Plugin Boutique.

Verve Analog Machines by UAD

UAD has launched a new tape emulation plugin called Verve Analog Machines. On offer here, all within a fun animated interface, are 10 different tape models to play with. They’re packed with analogue texture, and can give your audio the colourful saturation and effects heard on countless tracks within hip-hop, lo-fi, electronic, rock, and experimental. With simple controls and diverse options, it’s ideal if you’re looking to add vibrant analogue tones into your project quickly.

Verve Analog Machines is free until the end of April. Find out more on Plugin Boutique.

Number Seven by Samplicity

Samplicity is a brand that loves to recreate classic hardware reverb effect units. This new offering, Number Seven, emulates the Bricasti Model 7, a reverb used widely in the early noughties.

Featuring 136 accurate presets, Number Seven offers modulation control for rich tails, sidechain compression for dynamic mixes, and noise gating for vintage drum sounds. Its well-developed interface streamlines workflow, making it a go-to for cinematic and post-production work, says the brand.

It costs €113 until 12 April, then goes back up to €189 thereafter. Find it on Samplicity.

TIZE & VYBE by Soundware Inc.

Soundware Inc., a specialist brand in sample-based instruments, has gifted the producer world with two free plugins. These are TIZE, a rompler instrument, and VYBE, a “time-bending effect”, says the brand.

TIZE is a rompler featuring a diverse collection of electronic music sounds, suitable for beginners or those seeking affordable options like Lethal or Nexus alternatives. VYBE is a time-bending effect plugin targeting genres like trance, with features comparable to FL Studio’s GrossBeat or MRhythmizer. It offers reverses, half-tempo effects, and tape stops.

Download these plugins for free on Soundware.

Icarus 3.0 by Tone2

Tone2 says this is “the most powerful synthesizer on the market”. That is, of course, an incredibly bold claim, and one we can’t wait to put to the test, potentially, in a future review.

The third update to Icarus now sees the soft synth with 62 synthesis methods, a built-in drum sequencer, 65 filter types, and various other features. Its intuitive interface offers visual feedback, context-sensitive help, and easy customisation. With over 2,000 meticulously crafted sounds and low CPU usage, it could be an ideal asset to your synth arsenal.

It costs $169. Find it on Tone2.

Rekraft by BeatSkillz

Rekraft is all about those vintage lo-fi wobbles. With 200 factory presets and five swappable modules, it’s a multi-effect plugin offering intricate control and simplicity, letting you infuse their tracks with vintage warmth.

It has a nice, fully resizable GUI, customisable textures, handy tooltips for each control, random behaviour effects, and audio demos. The effects modules include noises, scratches, redux, bitcrush, distort, tempo-synced shapes, reverb, and wow & flutter tape effects.

Rekraft, as an intro price for now, is $59. Download it on Plugin Boutique.

BEAM by Lunacy

We don’t do standard, singular effects plugins around here. Yet another recently launched multi-effects plugin to mention is BEAM, developed by Lunacy. It’s a cutting-edge granular engine, convolution reverb, and dynamic audio graph system.

With 250+ global presets, 150+ impulse responses and 100+ node presets, it lets you build unique sounds. Featuring deep modulation, intelligent preset design, and compatibility with major DAWs, BEAM aims to push audio processing forward. It also has a really cool-looking interface.

Buy BEAM by Lunacy for $59 at Plugin Boutique.

Shaper by Kilohearts

Shaper is, well, a shaper. It shapes… things.

Hm. Let’s try that again. Shaper, a new plugin by Kilohearts is a free distortion plugin for Windows and Mac (64-bit only), expanding its Essentials Collection. Integrated with Phase Plant, Snap Heap, and Multipass, it offers flexible controls like Drive and DC filter. Users can also customise waveforms, utilising its recent updates for easier editing.

Download Shaper for free from Kilohearts.

How to install VST and AU plugins on Windows, Mac and iOS

If your plugin came as a .zip file, and not an installer, you may have to manually install it. Here’s how…

VST3 plugins:

  1. Unzip the plugin folder
  2. Copy the .VST file to your default plugin folder (Windows default: C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3, Mac default: /Library/Audio/Plugins/VST)
  3. Start your DAW
  4. Rescan your plugin directory

AUv3 plugins:

  1. Download and install plugin from the App Store
  2. Insert plugin in your DAW
  3. Select the AUv3 plugin from the Audio Unit Extensions tab

Where to download freeware plugins and VSTs

Our freeware section is an excellent place to start; each month, we also compile round-ups of the best free plugins and samples to download.

The production community is full of passionate developers who’ve given away instruments, effects and other plugins as freeware. Some of our favourites include Valhalla’s Supermassive reverb, Apogee’s Soft Limit and Matt Tytel’s Helm polysynth. Remember, most developers also offer free trials for their plugins.

Are DAW stock plugins good enough?

Most major DAWs these days will come with a more-than-serviceable collection of ‘stock’ plugins for music-making: Logic Pro’s software instrument library is rich and varied; Ableton Live’s synth engines cover additive, subtractive and granular methods, and the Pro Tools suite of mixing plugins is still widely used by pro engineers.

A good producer isn’t their plugin folder, but their ability to make good decisions. Increase your knowledge: instead of buying a synth samples, learn about the fundamentals of synthesis; kick drum sounding too skinny? learn to compress properly.


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