There's a lot of free plugins around, it can be a little overwhelming, our free Pro Tools plugins list has over 130. So are they any good and if so what are the standout ones to use in a mix?
Members of the team are nominating their most used free plugin, this does not include the stuff that comes with Pro Tools but those created by 3rd party plugin developers, there are some real gems for both music and post production mixing.
As Alan shared in his article, we tend to use less free plug-ins in a post workflow, Alan doesn't use any and I use very few but for me Stereo Tool from Flux: is one of two free plug-ins that are still in my Pro Tools plug-ins folder.
So Why Is It My Choice?
Most of my work is in radio post production and mixing TV docs that have been self shot. So I have to deal with a lot of content that has been recorded on the fly by non audio professionals, so the stereo soundfield can be all over the place.
I have used Stereo Tool since it first came out and continue to use it now it is in its 3rd iteration. It's great for sorting out stereo recordings that are off centre as panning doesn't always fix it for me so to be able to tweak the gain of one side it great. Then there is a stereo width control. Sometimes the recording I get are too wide. I am presented with a ping-pong interview and I can bring it in with one control. I will often drop an instance on my dialog tracks and automate the appropriate controls.
When I was installing Pro Tools systems for radio post production, I would always install Stereo Tool on my clients systems so they had access to it too.
What Is The Other Free Plug-in?
So I am going to cheat here and tell you what is the other free Pro Tools plug-in that lives in my plug-in folder. It doesn't get used a lot but when it does it is the right tool for the job and that is Vinyl from iZotope. I was so pleased when they released it because I had missed not having it around.
Its great for creating a vinyl record effect and you can really push it, the scratch feature is a favourite one for me but just to be able to drop it on a music track and take people back to the 60s, 70's or 80s. Result!