10.21.2016

New stuff up and free light/low CPU 64-bit VST plug-ins

Some new stuff up.
With this, I set out to do a totally retro thing; like if nothing happened in culture since the Nineties. Low gain and fuzz, lots of saturation, tape echoes, short plate reverbs, vintage keys and synths, old drum machines. Experimentation within a heavy rock context that reminds me a little of Celtic Frost's Into The Pandemonium, Black Sabbath's Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Skin Chamber. Maybe I just did a big mess, but the intentions were good.


Now, moving on to something else: I've been meaning to compile an essential list of 64-bit VST plug-ins that require little CPU power, because I simply couldn't find something alike anywhere around.
After a lot of tweaking and upgrading, I find myself having a fairly old computer setup with a 64-bit OS. For a system used as a DAW, this introduces some problems when it comes to VST plug-ins and software in general: for older software, 64-bit support isn't always available and newer software designed for 64-bit systems is developed with newer, more performing hardware in mind.
Core 2 Duo and Quad processors (like the Q9550 I have), in particular, are still capable of handling audio production and recording and they support 64-bit, but they belong to an era when 64-bit software was in an embryonal stage, with WindowsXP's and Vista's 64-bit versions being nowhere near their 32-bit counterparts in terms of popularity and stability and a fairly high end PC wouldn't have more than 4GB of RAM.
While there is an infinite number of options for free, good 32-bit plug-ins, all of this makes it tricky to find 64-bit VST's that don't require a lot of processing power. One could always resort to bridging, which would allow to use 32-bit plug-ins in a 64-bit DAW, but that isn't always ideal and, personally, I would rather not rely on it. That's why I thought I'd share what I found so far, in the hope this could help whoever finds himself in the same unlikely situation or, for some reason, prefers to keep the CPU usage low (like for very large projects with lots of tracks and effects or multi-layering guitars). This is particularly important for VST's used to monitor in real time what's being recorded, like amp sims and virtual instruments.


First off, using the 64-bit version of Reaper, like I do, pretty much gives you the possibility of getting the job done with only stock plugins. There's still something lacking, though: namely, a sampler capable of loading formats other than plain .wav and virtual instruments like softsynths. Also, there are cases when the included plug-ins just don't cut it, al least for me: an example would be the JS amp sims, named Convolution Amp Model and Convolution Dual Amp Model. While this works to add extra grit and realism to clean guitars or bass DIs (that do not absolutely require cabinet simulation anyway) or even lead guitars, it's less than ideal for high gain stuff.
That said, the ReaPlugs by Cockos and the JS plug-ins almost always require little resources, as Reaper itself does. Exceptions are the IR loader ReaVerb and ReaFir, but they're not heavily CPU-hungry.

Other developers whose products fit in this league are: George Yohng, Voxengo, TAL and Audiorammer. Not every plug-in by TAL qualifies, their TAL-Dub II being a bit of a hog.
MDA Plugins are also available in 64-bit, apparently. They include an amp/speaker sim, a leslie emulation, a modulated delay, an overdrive and some instruments.
Distorque Audio's plug-ins are pretty lightweight.

Now, for a more detailed list, I'll proceed by categories.
Distortion/Overdrive/Amps: not many options for stomp-boxes emulations. Audiorammer has a few: all of them feature built-in cabinet simulation, not always possible to by-pass. This could be an advantage, though, letting one to use only the pedal to monitor while recording and later bypass the cab when mixing. Their California Sun amp sim is also very light on CPU. TS-999 by Ignite can also be quite light if oversampling and buffer emulations are turned off. CamelCrusher is still available somewhere in 64-bit and can be used instead of a fuzz pedal. JS Distortion & Distortion (fuzz).
Studio Devil British Valve Custom and Grindmachine Free are a little heavier than California Sun, but still lightweight. Shattered Glass Audio Ace. JS Convolution Amp Model & Convolution Dual Amp Model (as I've said, I don't suggest these for high gain, modern tones).
Voxengo Boogex is both an amp and a cab sim and it's possible to switch off the built-in reverb to consume even less power. NadIR by Ignite is also a light IR loader.
AXP offers some free guitar effects. SoftDrive GV emulates a Marshall Guv'nor distortion pedal. It requires little CPU power, but I think it adds a little latency. SoftDrive PSA is an emulation of a Sansamp PSA-1 which is light on the CPU despite its complexity.
A developer named NSP has made Over Diver od82o, a very tweakable Tube Screamer emulation but pretty light on the CPU, and the equally lightweight but simpler Blackbooster, a booster pedal effect for guitar as the name suggests.

Synths/Virtual instruments: Synth1, FreeAlpha, Charlatan are the lightest options I could find and the most versatile, too. Synth1, in particular, has a ton of user-made presets available which makes it good for someone who can't/prefers not to program sounds from scratch. FreeAlpha is a little more complex and Charlatan a little simpler, but they're well reviewed as well. There's also the limited ReaSynth, which can be enhanced by using other plug-ins and/or parameter automation and modulation options or, if nothing else, used just to monitor while recording the MIDI and than replaced with something else.
All VSTi's by Full Bucket Music. GSynth & GSynth 2. All VSTi's by George Yohng.
Samplers: TX16WX, ReaSampleomatic 5000 (only works with .wav), Sforzando by Plogue, MTPowerDrumKit.
Frequency analyzers/Metering tools: Voxengo SPAN, the Frequency Spectrum Analyzer by Cockos, JS Goniometer, JS Audio Statistics, JS Dynamic Range Meter.
Reverbs: ReaVerbate, ANWIDA Soft DX Reverb Light, Vacuumsound PoorPlate, Voxengo Old Skool Verb.
Delays: ReaDelay (others among the JS plug-ins).
Tape/Modulated delays: Vacuumsound ADT, JS Delay (Floaty).
Compressors: ReaComp, JS Dirtsqueeze, JS Digital Versatile Compressor & Digital Versatile Compressor 2, JS Major Tom, JS Master Tom, JS Express Bus, JS 1175, JS Fairlychildish, JS Compciter, JS Transient Killer (others among the JS plug-ins).
Limiters/Clippers: George Yohng's W1, GClip, JS Softclipper, JS Event Horizon & Event Horizon 2, JS Master Limiter, JS Simple Peak Limiter, JS MGALimiter & MGALimiterSt, JS Zero Crossing Maximizer (others among the JS plug-ins).
Equalizers: ReaEQ (others among the JS plug-ins).
Tape saturation/Tube saturation/Channel strip/Console emulation: JS Saturation, JS Non-linear, Klangheim Audio IVGI, Voxengo Tube Amp, Shattered Glass Audio Code Red Free.  
Harmonic Exciters: JS Exciter, JS Exciter (Treble Enhancer).
Chorus: TAL-Chorus, Distorque Audio Azurite, JS Chorus (many others among the JS plug-ins).
Flangers: TAL-Flanger, JS Flanger, JS FlangeBaby.
Wah/Filters: TAL-Filter & TAL-Filter 2, JS Wah.
Distortions/Bitcrushers: TAL-Bitcrusher, JS Paranoia Mangler, JS Waveshaping Distortion.
Noise gates: ReaGate, GGate.
Tuners: GTune, ReaTune.
Stereo wideners: Upstereo, JS Stereo Enhancer.


That's it for now, I'll add it if I find anything else.   

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