Best 16 Free Distortion VST Plugins that sound Great!

Here’s a list of the best 16 distortion/saturation/fuzz plugins available to download for free!

Let’s get straight into it…

FuzzPlus 3 by Audio Damage

Available for Windows and Mac

FuzzPlus 3 is an updated version of the original FuzzPlus pedal emulation which is a straight up fuzz-sounding effect and not so much of a distortion- or saturation one.

The interface is super intuitive and it offers five simple control parameters.

It also features a spectrum analyzer that shows you the amount of clipping going on.

All in all, I think FuzzPlus 3 might be a great addition to your plugin arsenal.

You can download it here.

Related: Here’s a huge list of the Best Free VST Plugins ever.

Krush by Tritik

Available for Windows and Mac

Krush combines the crispy taste of the digital realm with the warmth of its drive stage and analog modeled resonant filters.

A modulation section allows you to quickly add extra life to the sound by modulating any parameter.

The range of sounds you can achieve with this plugin go all the way from extremely dirty signals to crunchy and warm ones.

Features

  • Crunchy drive stage
  • Bit depth reduction
  • Sample rate reduction
  • Analog modeled resonant filters (low-pass and high-pass)

You can download it here.

Temper Distortion by Creative Intent

Available for Windows and Mac

Temper is a modern digital distortion plugin featuring a rich saturation stage and a unique phase distortion.

Use the variable saturation curve to add warmth and edge to your sound, and let the phase distortion bring character and clarity through your mix.

Temper also features a simple resonant lowpass filter and a feedback path to drive the intensity of the tone.

This is by far one of the best distortion plugins available, even when compared to premium ones.

You can download it here.

Related: Here’s a list of the best free Arpeggiator Plugins.

SGA1566 by Shattered Glass Audio

Available for Windows and Mac

SGA1566 brings the authentic tone of a single channel vintage all tube mic preamplifier.

The whole circuit is simulated in real time using the high performance circuit simulator to recreate every nuance of the preamp circuit, from subtle coloration to overdrive and distortion.

Use SGA1566 to add warmth to a track, as a saturation compressor, or to add “dirt” with tube overdrive.

Features

  • Authentic analog sound through real-time high-performance circuit simulation.
  • Two-band active Baxandall EQ that can be placed either before or after the preamp.
  • Up to 4x oversampling.
  • Mono or stereo processing mode.

You can download it here.

Tube Saturator Vintage by Wave Arts

Available for Windows and Mac

Tube Saturator Vintage uses circuit simulation technology to faithfully reproduce the sound of a dual triode preamp.

While it sounds great, the circuit simulation technology is very CPU intensive…

That’s why they released the Tube Saturator 2, which sadly isn’t free but it goes much easier on the CPU.

The reason it uses so much of your CPU’s power is because Tube Saturator uses state of the art circuit simulation technology to capture every nuance of an analog circuit.

Basically, it sounds fantastic… at the expense of using more of your CPU’s resources than other Saturators.

You can download it here.

Related: Here’s a list of the best free Delay VST Plugins.

Saturation Knob by Softube

Available for Windows and Mac

The saturation knob is literally one knob that allows you to add some warmth and shimmer to the vocals, guitar, and any other track you’d like…

Basically, it just adds volume and warmth.

Just don’t go overboard with the saturation, if it starts sounding distorted, dial it back down a bit… unless that’s what you’re going for.

One huge issue I have with this plugin is not the plugin itself, but all the hoops they make you jump through to be able to use it.

You have to register with them, also register with ilok.com and then link those accounts…

AFTER that, I know… super annoying, you download the gobbler app and install the plugin, now you can finally use it!

I have to say though, it’s worth the trouble!

You can download it here.

Metal Area mt-a by Mercuriall

Available for Windows and Mac

The Mercuriall Metal Area mt-a is based on the Boss MT-2, which is a super popular distortion pedal.

The funny thing is that most people think that it doesn’t really sound all that great…

However, in the right hands, some pretty cool tones can be achieved.

This just means that some tweaking is required in order to get a good sound out of the pedal, and this is also the case with this plugin.

It comes with controls for Level, Dist, High, Low, Middle, MidFreq, Input Gain, Mono/Stereo, Quality switch and an On/Off knob.

If you’re in need of a distortion plugin that will allow you to create some cool metal tones, then by all means check this one out.

You can download it here.

Related: Here’s a list of the best Guitar amp sims.

Greed Smasher by Mercuriall

Available for Windows and Mac

Greed Smasher is based on the Mesa/Boogie Grid Slammer overdrive guitar pedal.

Being a virtual overdrive pedal, the plugin is aimed mainly at guitar players and music producers who use distorted guitars in their music…

However, effects like this one can work equally well on virtual instruments and even hardware synthesizers.

Some users reported that this plugin would crash sometimes, but it definitely sounds great and I didn’t have that issue.

Features

  • The modeled circuit is based on a Mesa/Boogie Grid Slammer Overdrive.
  • Low CPU usage.
  • Stereo and Mono modes.
  • Low (2x oversampling) and High (4x oversampling) Quality switch.

You can download it here.

Marauder by AudioParlour

Available for Windows only

Marauder is an interesting free dynamic distortion effect which sounds absolutely phenomenal.

It is based on a network of four gain stages which work together to create a superb organic distortion effect.

It can be used as a subtle saturation tool that can add some warmth to you mix, as well as to create some cool distorted sounds.

The truth is that you will need to tweak- and fiddle around with the controls a bit in order to get a great sound…

However, once you get the hang of it, you will be able to create some great sounds!

Features

  • Analog inspired distortion.
  • Four unique gain stages.
  • Goes from subtle to extreme.
  • Organic, syrupy sounds.
  • Contour your overdrive with a feedback-compressor styled envelope.

You can download it here.

808 Tube Screamer by TSE Audio

Available for Windows and Mac

This is an emulation of the Infamous Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer pedal and man is it great!

It sounds great, you can use it for all kinds of music, to get a blues tone, to make those rock sounds have that little extra bite to them.

I absolutely recommend this one since it’s just fantastic plugin!

You can download it here.

Tubes Creamer 808 by Mercuriall

Available for Windows and Mac

Mercuriall Audio Software’s Tubes Creamer 808 Core is a free virtual Ibanez TS-808 Tube Screamer pedal emulation.

The Ibanez TS-808 was used by artists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan which was, in a way, how he got such an amazing tone.

The Tubes Creamer is an emulated version of this pedal and it sounds absolutely fantastic, and best of all… it’s free!

Just add it to the chain in your DAW and you’re ready to go!

If you’re looking for an awesome blues or rock tone, then absolutely give Tubes Creamer a chance!

You can download it here.

TNT by Ourafilmes

Available for Windows only

TNT is a Distortion/Saturation plugin which was originally created for audio processing on drums, as well as FX and bass sounds.

It comes in Multi-band and single-band both with mono and stereo components.

Both share the same saturation/distortion algorithms but the single band features a Tone knob that is not present in the multi-band version.

This Tone knob features a transparent 6dB crossover filter that separates the low and high bands where you can use different saturation/distortion algorithms on each band.

There is also a balance knob that helps to level both bands before final output.

Features

  • Midi learn (right click on the knobs).
  • Zero latency.
  • Full automation.
  • Modifier keys: Shift (fine tuning) and Control (default value).
  • Clear, intuitive, easy to use GUI.

You can download it here.

Plusdistortion by Distorque

Available for Windows only

The Plusdistortion plug-in is an emulation of an MXR Distortion+.

It has a wide range of distortion sounds from a little bit of dirt to a giant fuzz/crunch tone.

It emulates the germanium diode clipping used in the Distortion+, as well as the lo-fi op amp and just about every other aspect of the circuit.

Many parts of the effect are also tweakable, so you can craft your own D+ based distortion.

In addition to the normal distortion and output controls, the following controls have been added:

  • Input level – This is a volume control on the input of the effect. You can adjust this to compensate for different pickups, different input levels, etc.
  • Oversampling – This turns 2x oversampling on and off.
  • Input Type – ‘Pickup’ adds a resonant low-pass filter on the input to emulate the interaction between the 1nF cap on the input and a guitar pickup. ‘Buffered’ removes this filter.
  • Op Amp Clipping – This controls the amount of distortion contributed by the emulated op amp.
  • Diode Clipping – This controls the hardness of the distortion from the emulated diodes.
  • High Cut – This reduces high frequencies on the output. Many distortions use controls like this to reduce harshness.
  • Low Cut – This reduces low frequencies on the input. Many distortions use controls like this to reduce muddiness and increase clarity.

You can download it here.

Face Bender by Distorque

Available for Windows only

This is an emulation of a Fuzz Face and a Tone Bender MKII with added controls for tweaking.

It runs in mono or stereo, and has selectable 2x oversampling.

The Fuzz Face was first made by Arbiter Electronics in 1966.

It had a thick, fuzzy distortion and was made famous by artists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and David Gilmour.

The Tone Bender MKII was also released in 1966, by Sola Sound.

Compared to the Fuzz Face, it has a brighter, more distorted sound.

This plugins sounds pretty damn good and is really easy to set up, so what’s not to like?

Features

  • Accurate emulation of the Arbiter Fuzz Face and the Sola Sound Tonebender MKII.
  • Material control allows for a hot silicon tone, or a vintage germanium sound.
  • Switchable 2x oversampling.
  • 32-bit and 64-bit versions.
  • Stereo and Mono operation.
  • Tweak controls: Input Level, Input Filter, Gate, Clean Blend, Lo Cut, Hi Cut, Material.

You can download it here.

Buz by Buzzroom

Available for Windows only

This is an old sounding distortion/fuzz pedal effect.

There are loads of VST distortion effects out there (some top ones too -JCM 900, green machine etc), but only a few have a bigmuff sound like this.

Buz has a nice wide tonal range, and the ‘edge’ control really adds some “sleaze” to the sound.

It allows you to get that authentic 60s garage band sound without much effort.

You can download it here.

Ouradrive by Ourafilmes

Available for Windows only

This is a basic valve overdrive vst effect.

It uses almost no cpu resources and it’s very simple to use:

It only has two knobs and an on/off switch.

Simply apply the desired amount of valve overdrive to the sound using the DRIVE knob and then adjust the OUT gain knob to the desired output level.

You can also use use the automation feature if you so desire.

This effect works best with sounds that have lots of low – low/mid frequencies.

Use it on synths, basses, guitars, leads, lo-fi sounds, voices or any sound that you want to slightly push harder, warm, overdrive or even distort.

You can download it here.

Conclusion

The one I like the most of all the plugins on this list is definitely Temper.

However, all of them sound great and will surely help you give your mixes more personality.

I hope you found this information useful…

Have a wonderful day!

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