Free plugins are one of the best things about being a producer in 2021. Quality music production tools have never been more accessible for the average musician. But with more freeware plugins showing up on the scene every day, knowing which ones are worth your time isn’t easy. That’s why we’re bringing you our top picks for the most useful and creative free music software every month.

In this edition—rare tape echos, classic bus compressors, sequenced gate effects and more.

Today’s roundup of free plugins features functional basics and experimental effects side-by-side.

From old school analog hardware to cutting edge sequencing, there’s something in this collection for every producer.

Here are the free plugins we loved most in March.

There’s something magical about real tape echo units. They have a warm delay sound with an atmosphere you can’t get anywhere else.

They worked by recording onto a loop of magnetic tape and playing it back further down the tape path.

The resulting sound was dark, saturated and a bit warbly. Brands like the Maestro Echoplex and Roland Space Echo are legendary, but there were plenty of other great tape echo effects that are all but forgotten today.

There’s something magical about real tape echo units. They have a warm delay sound with an atmosphere you can’t get anywhere else.

One of those is the vintage WEM Copicat. These lesser known tape echoes have a great sound that’s just as compelling as the priceless classics.

GSi Varispeed brings the sound of a specific old WEM IC-400 model Copicat to your DAW.

This tape echo featured a varispeed control capable of extreme lo-fi effects at the slowest tape speeds.

GSi Varispeed reproduces the vintage behavior with all its quirks and non-linearities.

Analog Obsession BusterSE free plugin

You can never have enough quality analog compressor plugins—especially bus comps.

A bus compressor is a compressor that’s used on an aux return channel or the master bus of a whole mix.

They’re stereo compressors meant to work on multiple sources at once.

One of the most popular bus compressors ever is the legendary SSL bus comp found in the G series console. It’s known for its unique ability to glue a mix together.

Analog Obsession’s BusterSE is a fantastic take on the classic SSL bus comp sound that you can download for free right away.

bedroom producers blog HY-ESG free plugin

Sequenced effects can make a dull, static sound come alive with movement and action.

One of the best known versions is the trance gate effect that was common in the 90s. It works by sending a rhythm track to the sidechain input of a gate plugin so it triggers along to the beat.

Unfortunately, if you want to change the pattern you’ll have to to change the source signal too.

Bedroom Producers Blog HY-ESG takes the core concept and makes it flexible, fun and creative.

Sequenced effects can make a dull, static sound come alive with movement and action.

HY-ESG lets you program the gate pattern directly with its unique euclidean sequencer.

It’s a mathematical approach to sequencing that promises to get you thinking outside the box with your rhythmic patterns.

caelum audio flux mini free plugin

Speaking of animated sounds, Caelum Audio has launched an exciting free effect called Flux Mini.

It’s a combination filter and VCA effect with a unique visual pattern interface.

You can draw the shape of the wave to easily create complicated rhythmic curves not possible with a regular LFO.

Choose from HPF or LPF filter types or Amp mode for interesting pattern tremolo sounds.

It’s a refreshing alternative to painstakingly writing automating your synth parameters by hand.

superdsp flying delay free plugin

Tape delays may be the holy grail, but sometimes you need a simple solution that covers the whole range of delay sounds effectively.

SuperDSP Flying Delay is a clean and simple delay plugin with tempo-sync, saturation and high and low pass controls.

If you just need an easy-to-use free delay that can serve up sounds fast, Flying Delay is worth a look.

Free is the best price

Keeping up with every single free plugin takes a lot of effort. Check back in with LANDR to get an easy digest of the best new releases you need in your plugin folder.

If you’ve made it through this article you’ll know about some great new plugins you can download for free to get inspired.