5 Free Saturation VST Plugins That Emulate Analog Warmth


One of the biggest appeals of analog music equipment is their warm and fuzzy sound. 

So much so that even as music production becomes increasingly digital, many producers still try to make their tracks sound as if they were produced using hardware. 

This 'warming' effect can be simulated using saturation, a common mixing tool that combines distortion and compression to make your music punchier and groovier.

We scoured the Internet for the best free saturation VST plugins that will give your music an analog feel. 



The SGA1566 captures an authentic analog sound with a circuit simulator that mimics a vintage tube preamplifier. Use it as a saturation compressor to boost the warmth of your track. Or get dirty using the tube overdrive. 

Shattered Glass have been open about the significant CPU strain this plugin can cause. The latest version includes three CPU modes that you can choose from based on your computer processing power. 

Download free here



Softube Saturation Knob

We love the Saturation Knob. It's simple, effective and sounds good on just about everything. Choose a saturation setting, then explore the limits of the knob. Easy. 

It can be used as a subtle warmer for basslines, vocals and drums. Or as a total sound destroyer. Explore the highest settings to completely mangle and distort samples.

Download free here




The FerricTDS is another tape emulator on this list. It's a simple but great-sounding plugin that will warm up your mixes and masters. 

Based on high-end reel-to-reel tape machines, the FerricTDS will bring a smooth and classic sound to anything that's run through it. An overall great saturation sound with added harmonics and a helpful peak limiter. 

Download free here




Use the TAL-Tube to add extra analog umpf to drums and digital sounds. It's an easy-to-use and powerful plugin that can create anything from a light hiss to heavy metal noise.

TAL always delivers with their plugins, and the Tube is no exception. Another great saturation plugin for your producer toolkit. 

Download free here

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Yuono Soft Saturation

The Yuono Soft Saturation plugin offers two slightly different types of harmonic distortion. It's a basic (but effective) plugin that packs a warm punch.

One of the novelties of the plugin are the built-in oscilloscopes. Observe the changes between the incoming and outgoing wave shapes as you apply saturation. 

Download free here



Better Saturation Means Better Music

Saturation is a great tool that helps to glue together all the individual elements in your track. 

Not sure where to start when applying saturation? Try out these techniques:

  • Use it at low dry/wet settings on drum loops for a more physical sound
  • Apply to vocals for shimmer 
  • Add a tape emulator to your master bus for a vintage sound
  • Get freaky and distort samples into new forms 

Explore the SPL Analog Sample Pack on Outro—50 free samples and loops compressed and saturated using the SPL Kultube. 




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