I know it’s rather late after the fact (the fact being a competition, hosted by KVR annually). But the competition is getting stronger every year. And thus it takes me longer to give them all a shot. to be fair, I have not (yet) tried them all. In all honestly I don’t think I ever did try them all, not with this years edition, nor any earlier ones.

What am I looking for?

With all the free tools out there, it’s sometimes a little overwhelming to dig trough all of the releases on KVR and the likes.  So what am I looking for in a free plugin? First of all it needs to sound good. But that is a bit of a hot topic, heavily influenced by taste and preference. however there are some things that we can objectively label as ‘good’. So for a plugin to sound good, it needs to be well written (as in writing code).  Since this takes a lot of time for a ambitious project, most free plugins have a small task or objective. I am not looking for a free DAW. While it sounds nice; you know there is no way a DAW can be developed by good coders completely free, offering the same updates and service the main players are at this moment. So this means that they need a good concept and purposely made with a special (small) task as goal.

#1 Transient by SleepyTime DSP

“transient” by SleepyTime Records

This little baby is a proven concept. Be it making a transient nice and punchy, or removing the reverberation on recordings. It does it all. And it does it well I must say! The interface is very nicely done and easy to navigate. The envelope timing allows for great control in combination with the two main parameters;  Attack and sustain.

Transient is a transient processing VST for Microsoft Windows operating systems. It marks the first KVR DC entry by Sleepy-Time Records!


#2 Proximity by vladg/sound / Tokyo Dawn Labs


Proximity by Vladg/ sound & Tokyo Dawn Labs

I love the work of tokyo Dawn Labs (Thanks Fabien!). The compressor he also made (mkII is available for WIN already!) is my favorite compressor for warm bus compression. Definitely worth a download! But, that plugin in was not in the competition. Instead he teamed up with Vladg/ Sound and made super handy post production tool and music recording cleaning/altering tool.

This plug-in is an easy to use distance “pan-pot” based on several psycho-acoustic models. The idea is to give mixing engineer a reliable tool which allows him to manipulate the “depth” of several sound sources in a straight forward and convincing manner.



#3 Thrillseeker XTC (blue & black) By Variety Of Sound

Bootsys’ Thrillseeker XTC

While this could easily be the number one, I already owned the earlier versions of  Thrillseeker and have given Bootsy plenty of praise on the blog. Variety of sound has been gathering quite the following on the net and rightfully so. Like it’s predecessors Thrillseeker XTC excels in character and design.

Bringing mojo back – Thrillseeker XTC is a contemporary exciter build around a true parallel analog style equalizer design. Thrillseeker XTC is all about adding weight, vibe and attitude back to the sound. It delivers all the character of an analog signal path and provides what digital processing usually is hard pushed to, including a rich low-end experience and that vibrant ‘expensive’ top-end.


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