I propose that, aside from having the ampsim thread, that we also have a thread for free (or cheap or whatever) vst or other plugins.
First of all, of course we have Stillwell Audio, who have a mishmash of different plugins that are already ridiculously cheap, but even CHEAPER if you use them for Reaper! How great is that? The ones that I use a lot are:
The Bombardier Buss Compressor
The Vibe EQ
The 1973 EQ
There's a ton of them. You really can't go wrong, and if you want, they have unrestricted demos of every plugin! Check em out if you haven't!
There's also the Antress plugins. There's a couple different series of these plugins: the general plugins, modelling edition, and special edition. I haven't played around with them too much, but the modelling edition plugins are kinda cool. They are modeled after older rack units, such as:
Seventh Sign (based off of the 1176LN Compressor)
Fire chainer (Fairchild 660)
Black Dragon (Pultec EQP-1A Program Equalizer)
Pretty cool stuff. Give em a go.
Another set are the Bootsy effects from Variety of Sound. Again, a nice little set of a bunch of different plugins. I really like to use the Boot EQ mkII on synths and sometimes vocals. You can get a nice, but subtle warm sound out of it.
Here's the Kjaerhus Audio Classic Series plugins. There's a couple other plugins on that page, but I've only ever tried the Kjaerhus ones. for being free, they're pretty good. And also, like the website says, the limiter is pretty solid for mastering. I tend to use Ozone (not free or cheap ), but if I'm writing music for a movie or something, and not recording a big rock CD, I tend to just throw the Kjaerhus limiter on the master bus. Pretty solid.
Quick little mention to the Nebula3 Free plugin. I haven't tried it yet, but supposedly it's supposed to be pretty beastly for a free programs. What I've gathered is that it's supposed to emulated different types of hardware. Pretty interesting stuff.
Then there's the GVST plugins. These don't look like much, but they seem to be pretty powerful. You can pretty much get a little of everything from this bundle, including:
a ducking delay:
a multiband compressor (my favorite type of plugin ever):
and granular resynthesis!
And of course, if you don't use Reaper, but use VSTs, download the shit out of the ReaPlugs. Pretty simple things, but amazing for the plugins that come with a cheap DAW like Reaper. Personal favorites are:
the ReaComp, which you can use for side-chaining and all of that fun stuff!
ReaXcomp, a multiband compressor
ReaFIR, which can be used for EQ, compressor, and can be used to filter out unwanted noise!
If anyone has anymore to add, let me know and I can just add them into the OP.
Could very easily be a great thread. I'd like to contribute, but soooo cant be arsed copying in dozens of links.
A few favourites then, as a compromise:
Toneboosters Track Essentials. Basically if you dont buy this, at 20 quid for a batch of kickas plugs, you were dropped on your head as a baby. Then your head was stamped on. Then removed and replaced with banana icecream.
Stillwell, since you brought them up:
I dont like Vibe and use 1973 a bit but sparingly. I do very much like bombadier, so +1, and will add:
Bad Buss. Its mental, but underestimate how much you'll like it when the time is right for it at your peril. I dont use it all the time, but have used it on every instrument, and the master buss, and will again.
Bad Buss Mojo | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
For the record, I dont even know what it really does, sort of a saturatory compressory weird little bastard that can utterly destroy a sound on extreme settings, but can impart massive cool used judiciously.
Major Tom | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
Major Tom, colour comp, minimal controlability, but it sounds good.
The Rocket | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
Rocket. More transparent, precision comp.
Transient Monster | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
Transient monster. Fast Expander, basically.
Verbiage | Stillwell Audio - It's About The Sound
An OK reverb (I like Toneboosters verb better).
I can also vouch for GVST. I've found that a lot of their stuff can sound anemic and dull if you push it too far (the comps especially) but for £0 you really cant not try em.
I use a lot of Voxengo:
They come under the 'not free but very, very worth it' category for me.
Elephant. Shouldnt really need an introduction. Kickarse limiter.
Audio mastering limiter (maximizer) plugin (AU, VST) - Elephant - Voxengo
EQs. Loads. They have quite a variety and somehow they all manage to find their uses.
Gliss is a frankly bizarre, but awesomely powerfull EQ and multiband comp/exciter thing
Dynamic equalizer plugin with spectrums (AU, VST) - GlissEQ - Voxengo
Harmony is similar but with harmonic excitation as well as compression and expansion
Harmonically-enhanced audio equalizer plugin (AU, VST) - HarmoniEQ - Voxengo
Linear-phase spline equalizer plugin (VST) - CurveEQ - Voxengo
Curve is a mixing "I WIN" button. Seriously, I try not to use its most apealing feature (copy and past spectra)...its second most apealing (very fine and controlable precision EQing) sees a lot of action with me though.
Transient-driven filtering system plugin (VST) - Transmodder - Voxengo
Good mix/mix element clarification tool (I dont use it too much, as I like a denser mix, but if you want to seperate things out and add snap and punch its a good way to do it without having to settle for an EQ balance you never really wanted. Mentioned because of its awesome power, rather than its regular use by me.
Also; Marvel and overtone EQs, and Voxformer Vocal channel strip audio plugin (AU, VST) - Voxformer - Voxengo is very handy indeed.
Its...well....soniformer....its a 30 band multiband compressor, MS processor and stereo modifier innit? What else would it be?
Spectral mastering dynamics processor plugin (AU, VST) - Soniformer - Voxengo
Warning: can make, or utterly annnihilate your mixes, use with caution!
Meh, that'll do for now, its most of my favourites (that werent already mentioned). Beyond these I use some Cakewalk and Reaper plugs (as I use reaper but have sonar prod 7 installed as well so I can use the plugs, as I like their plugs, but its all normal stuff and you need to buy sonar to get them).