Have you ever wanted the most random set of plugins to experiment with? Good news, this is a list of 5 free Plug-ins that you can go crazy with.

(I am personally using Fl studio 21 on Windows 11. Some may or may not be available on Mac and Linux. I will list out which platforms they are available on.)

dblue glitch (No longer available through the publisher. Windows)

dblue glitch was a plugin mainly used during the glitch trap era of music, during the late 2000s. Since then, this plugin hasn't seen much use from contemporary artists in the electronic sphere due to how overused it was and the preference for manual effects. However, this could become a staple in the cybergrind vocabulary due to the sheer amount of experimentation you can do with this one plugin.

To start, you are given a line at the top and 9 different effects. In the line, you can decide when certain effects are triggered or you can randomize what effects can be triggered at any given moment. You can do this by clicking a color at the top, corresponding to the effect and drawing it in. White is the color for random. Each effect has parameters that you can set for the desired effect, including the likelihood of it being triggered at random. This is a very versatile plugin, even for a one use case such as needing a tape stop every 8 bars without changing the tempo of your track or drawing in the automation clips for a tape stop.

MeowSynth (Windows)

Have you ever wanted a cat to sing the lead melody of a song like it’s KK Slider? Good news, with MeowSynth, you can do exactly that. This is a very limited synth because the only sounds it can produce are various cat meows. However, you can control almost everything about the cat's meowing in the settings. You can’t do that with just a cat sample. I know because I have tried. This is just a fun plugin to throw on top of things at random. Imagine a hardcore cybergrind drop kicking in and you randomly start hearing a cat meow. This is the future I want to live in.

PaulXStretch (All platforms)

This is a plugin where you can stretch any audio without stretching artifacts in the sound. For me to do an in-depth guide on this, I would have to write a book. The basics are, you can stretch sounds out, pitch sounds up or down, and add in or drop out harmonic values. So basically, you can make long, stretched-out passages with a very in-depth EQ. 

I recommend playing around with it and experimenting because you can make super cool ambient pads and soundscapes with this plugin. You can also make unique noises with this plugin based on any sample you give it. Imagine a pad being made from Steve from Blues Clues' final speech before leaving. You can do that with this plugin.

Emergence (Windows and Mac)

If the last one needed a book to explain, this one would need a book series. On a base level, Emergence is based on granular synthesis. It takes small chunks from the sound you are feeding into it and plays it back with the parameters you set. You can play the sound back at different pitches, speeds, reversed, pans, and volumes. You can also change how many chunks are being activated and how fast they are being activated.

An easy way to think about this is multiple delays stacked on top of each other with a bunch of parameters that you can change at any time. You can make very cool flourishes on sounds with this plugin, and you can create arps. This also works really well with adding into soundscapes and making noise very quickly.

Decent Sampler (All platforms)

This is a free sampler plugin that you can get a lot of cool and unique instruments from. You can go to https://www.pianobook.co.uk/ and download free instrument libraries that communities make for Decent Sampler. In the picture shown, one of the creators of Decent Sampler sampled a vocal synthesizer and posted it on their Patreon. There are paid libraries for this, but for the most part, there are a metric ton of free libraries from pads, drums, guitars, orchestras, wind chimes, the concept of breathing, the sound you hear when your car starts up. If you can think of a sound, someone has or will make it usable in music.

Each library has its own set of changes you can make, such as the attack, reverb, wavetable, expression, etc. If you are looking to add an instrument but do not feel like trying to find a crack, you may want to look here first to save your time and privacy. These are high-quality sounds that I use most of the time over other paid plugins.

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