best free distortion plugins

Best free distortion VST Plugins in 2022

The origin of enriching instruments through distortion started when the first pieces of hardware were introduced. By overloading tubes and transistors distortion effect was created, adding different harmonic frequency content depending on the type of analog circuitry. Technology is getting close to mimicking the warmth and character of analog distortion and there are many great digital replicas out there. We’ve listed some of the top free distortion VST plugins down below.


Best free distortion VST Plugins in 2022 for music producers


1. OTTO8 Overdrive 

Otto Audio created this tube screamer which can be used for a subtle touch of overdrive or the shredding sound of an original pedal. OTTO8 mimicked the different input and output levels of the analog world, which affect the character of this plugin’s output. Included features are independent input and output gain controls, input up to 12 dB gain and output up to 10 dB gain.




2. Dr. Drive

Dr. Drive, made by Audiority, is a replica of the analog Horizon Devices’ Precision Drive pedal. Control the drive, tone, attack, levels, pre & post effect, and noise gate of the overdrive effect, suitable for both classic and modern metal and everything in between. Dr. Drive is available in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX.



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3. CHOW Klon Centaur Model

ChowCentaur is a ‘plugin in construction’, specially made for a school project. This standalone plugin is a digital model of the analog Klon Centaur guitar pedal, made by students at Stanford University. Control the gain, tone, level, and choose between a traditional or neural mode to achieve a different result. One of the most unique and top free distortion VST plugins out there.




4. Temper

Temper includes a unique phase algorithm that adds energy and clarity to the incoming signal. Get full control over the technical aspect of applying distortion by having a look at the spectrum, and comparing the input and output levels. Use the implemented resonant lowpass filter to select the affected frequency area or use the feedback path to shape its tone.




5. Face Bender

The original Fuzz Face pedal is a thick and warm distortion unit used by artists such as Jimmy Hendrix and Eric Clapton, whereas the original Tone Bender MKll adds more clarity to the sound and goes beyond a subtle touch of distortion. Face Bender is a digital emulation of both of these pedals, equipped with some additional features. It comes with an input level, input filter, gate, clean bend, low cut, high cut, selectable in 2x oversampling, and it runs in both mono and stereo. This plugin is only available on PC.



6. Plusdistortion

DTQ’s Plusdistortion unit mimicked the MXR Distortion pedal, featuring a stereo mode, 2x oversampling, input level, diode clipping, OP AMP clipping, input type, high cut, and a low cut. Control the harshness of the diodes distortion and decide how much of the effect will be applied to the incoming signal. It’s a simple but effective unit that can be used on any sound. Only available on PC.



7. Rangebastard

Rangebastard applies distortion by using transistors, resulting in a shredding lead sound. This full-range booster is an overdrive unit replicated of the Dallas Rangemaster. Control different pickups, grid current, stereo/mono, transistors, treble boost, input filtering, and the input level. Use the bold on/off switch to enable or disable the effect. Add a touch of overdrive or destroy the sound in order to achieve a surprising outcome.




Next article: 10 Best Free Delay VST Plugins in 2022

Image Credits: Temper

- DJ/Producer from the Netherlands. - Graduated from the Conservatory in Amsterdam. - Currently working as the technical writer at We Rave You

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