If you want to enhance your guitar tone with a fuzz effect, you’re in the right place. This article will show 10 Fuzz Plugins 2023, both paid and free.
Fuzz is one of the most popular guitar distortion effect musicians widely used in the ’60s and ’70s. Its main feature is the large number of overtones that dominate the sound.
Often they are located in the upper frequencies, so it can take away a certain amount of the mids. Overall, fuzz makes the guitar sound punchy, bright, and emotional. That’s why it’s so beloved by different generations of guitarists.
You can use fuzz in different ways. For example, you can apply it to a clean tone or mix it with a distorted amp – it will give you different flavors and interesting creative solutions.
In this article, we’ll show you the best software so that you can experiment with it right in your DAW.
Note that the fuzz plug-ins are simply emulations of pedals. Therefore, you must repeat the complete guitar chain to get a finished sound. We mean using a virtual amp with cab impulses or just some amp sim.
The 10 Best Fuzz Plugins Available 2023 (Paid & Free)
1. KUASSA Efektor FZ3603 Fuzz (Paid)
KUASSA’s Efektor FZ3603 will give you as many as five types of fuzz but without the hassle of setting it up.
The guys from the Indonesian company Kuassa are masters at making versatile and simple software at the same time. And that’s great because you can use their products quickly and in different situations. Just find the right sound, and you’re good to go. That’s precisely what their Efektor FZ3603 fuzz effect plugin is.
This software looks as simple as a guitar pedal. You get three basic settings and a switch between different types of fuzz. We must admit that they sound pretty different. And that’s a good thing because you’ll have a wide field to choose from. Let’s look at it all in more detail.
- Five Different Types of Fuzz
Overall, the types of these fuzz plugin range from old-school to more modern. In particular, you get two classic Zepp and Vintage. Of course, there’s also the more transistor-ish Trans, the singing Sustainer, and the gritty Big Fuzz. Pretty good variety, isn’t it?
- Three-Knob Adjustment
You can control each fuzz type individually with the three knobs at the top. These are Fuzz, Tone, and Level. The first will be responsible for the amount of distortion, the second for darkness and brightness, and the third for adjusting the output signal.
- Choose Your Oversampling
Like any other software where distortion is involved, FZ3603 allows you to change oversampling. The higher it is, the better the signal will be, but it will use more CPU. Overall you can choose oversampling options from 1x to 8x.
- Dry/Wet & Input Controls
The Input knob on the left will allow you to feed more signal into the plugin and get more distortion accordingly. As for Dry/Wet, this knob will help you find the proper ratio between the affected and original signals. It can be helpful to get just some flavor of fuzz in your guitar tone.
KUASSA Efektor FZ3603 is available for Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.5 or higher, both 32 and 64-bit. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.
KUASSA Efektor FZ3603 is an excellent fuzz plugin that gives you good sound quality and variety. If you need to apply this effect to the guitar tone quickly – just put the plugin in front of a virtual amp with a cabinet, and you will get the desired result. Of course, we advise you to play with the presets to hear what they can do.
2. Fuse Audio Labs DOZER-DRIVE (Paid)
With DOZER-DRIVE from Fuse Audio Labs, you get not only the fuzz but also the overdrive and the ability to blend them.
If you are looking for a versatile plugin that will expand your ability to use fuzz alone, this option might be for you. The developers from the German company Fuse Audio Labs decided to add here also the overdrive emulation. So you get two legendary sounds – one from the 1966 pedal and one from 1979.
A nice bonus is that in addition to blending the two effects, you will also be able to apply multiple mods. In addition, there is the option to use the pedals one after the other or in parallel. Let’s see how it all works.
- Fuzz & Screamer
The first thing that will catch your eye is that the pedal is divided into two sections – one is responsible for Fuzz, the second for Screamer. As for the first one, there are two knobs, Drive and Level. In turn, the overdrive also has the familiar Tone knob, with which you can adjust the frequency spectrum somewhat.
- Use One After The Other or In Parallel
Also, an important feature is that you will have to switch between the three modes of operation. In the first one, the fuzz will be before the screamer, and in the second one, after it. On the other hand, the third mod implies that the virtual pedals work in parallel. So you’ll have a Mix knob, which will allow you to adjust the ratio of the effects.
- Use Some Doom
If the classic fuzz sound isn’t enough for you, which can be pretty insignificant, you can turn on the Doom mode. This switch is located under the knobs. It gives you maximum distortion and a dirty guitar tone. But, of course, you can still change the amount of effect thanks to the Drive knob.
- Fat Mod
As for the screamer, it also has its separate switch – Fat Mod. If you activate it, you get more bumps in the low frequencies. So, in this case, your guitar tone will be thicker and fatter. But it will scoop up the midrange a little bit.
- NPN or PNP
And finally, one more feature is Transistor Switching. Dozer-Drive has a separate function that allows you to select the clipping characteristics. Specifically, NPN will be responsible for Silicone and PNP for Germanium transistors. So again, listen to what will work best for your sound.
Fuse Audio Labs DOZER-DRIVE is available for Windows 7 or higher (both 32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.12 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The DOZER-DRIVE from Fuse Audio Labs is a beautiful emulation of two legendary pedals that will give you plenty of options for getting your unique tone. In addition, you’ll be able to find new sounds by mixing the two effects and applying mods that bring your unique flavor. Plus, this plugin has an affordable price of almost 17 euros.
3. Audiority Blue Face (Paid)
If you want an emulation of one of the greatest fuzz pedals, you should check out Audiority’s Blue Face.
Few people haven’t heard of this famous round pedal from the late ’60s called the Dunlop Fuzz Face. It was used by many musical heroes of the time, including Jimi Hendrix. The pedal was designed to blow up amplifier tubes completely. But, of course, this is in the figurative sense. So now we’ll talk about the digital emulation of this unit.
It is Audiority’s Blue Face plugin, which emulates the sound characteristics of the original pedal quite nicely. You get the same layout, which consists only of a few controls. In addition, there are some cool extra features. So let’s talk about them.
- Only Two Main Controls
As with the original pedal, you only get two controls – Volume and Fuzz. The first will be responsible for the amount of output, and the second will adjust the amount of distortion. By the way, the developers slightly modified the circuit so that you get more effect with minimal settings.
- In-Built Noise Gate
It is a beautiful modern feature in many Audiority virtual pedals – a built-in Noise Gate. This control is located in the lower right corner of the window. Thus, you can clear the sound of unnecessary noise at the stage before your virtual amplifier.
- HQ & Randomizer
You will also have a special HQ button, which lets you make the signal more qualitative, for example, at the mixing stage. In addition, another Randomizer function will provide random pedal settings every time you press it. So have fun experimenting with them.
- Blend It to a Taste
And, of course, the plugin has a Mix control, thanks to which you can mix the effect to the original signal. It can come in handy if you are using several distortion pedals at once and want to get just a little flavor of fuzz.
Audiority Blue Face is available for Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.7.5 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Blue Face is a great plugin that helps you get a vintage fuzz tone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any mods like other Audiority virtual pedals. But you don’t need them here, because the software does its job perfectly.
You can just put it in front of your virtual amp and immediately get a round and warm sound. Besides, you can experiment by applying this plugin to bass and other instruments. As for its price, it’s affordable at $20.
4. KiloHearts Faturator (Paid)
The Faturator from KiloHearts is suitable for you if you want to have a fuzz and a whole set of tools to bring life to your tracks.
Of course, having a plugin with fuzz is not a bad idea. But what if we show you more than just a distortion effect? That’s precisely the kind of software KiloHearts’ Faturator is. Thanks to it, you can turn your dull sound into something massive and exciting.
It has everything from saturation to stereo imaging. In addition, you can influence the coloring of the sound. Plus, the developers claim that this software preserves the dynamics of sound. The plugin’s design, in the style of old video games, also deserves special attention. So let’s explore what it has, one by one.
- Add Some Drive
The first regulator here is responsible for adding saturation, called Drive. You can take any track and make it heavier and fuller. It will immediately seem clearer, but at the same time bigger.
- Fuzz Control
This digital fuzz will work mainly in the upper frequencies. Thanks to it, you will get some digital flavor. So it can be a great tool to give more grit to your sound. But, again, you can experiment by adding it to any instrument.
- Color Your Sound
Another great feature of the Faturator plugin is the ability to give Color. You will be able to choose which frequency to enhance. As for the circuit, it will happen before distortion so that the sound will be more pleasant.
- Stereo Turbo
Do you need extra width? No problem – this plugin has this feature as well. It is called Stereo Turbo and works by creating a slight delay in the right or left channel. It is through this difference that you will get a broader stereo picture.
KiloHearts Faturator is available for Windows and macOS, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
A versatile tool that can make your tracks fatter. That’s how we can briefly describe the Faturator from KiloHearts. It is an ultimate processor with built-in saturation, fuzz, coloring, and stereo expander. Notably, you can use it not only on individual tracks but also on groups of instruments and the whole stereo bus. As for the price, it’s relatively big, and it’s $59.
5. Audiority Big Goat (Paid)
If you’re looking for an emulation of the legendary pedal that provides a huge fuzz – Audiority’s Big Goat may suit you.
Of course, if we’re talking about fuzz, it’s impossible not to mention another famous unit here – the Big Muff pedal from Electro-Harmonix. This vintage fuzz was very popular in the 70s and still is today. The pedal was used by countless musicians, including Kiss, Thin Lizzy, Frank Zappa, and many others.
The Italian company Audiority tried to emulate one of the first versions of this unit, and, we have to admit, they did pretty well. This plugin is Big Goat. Like the original pedal, it has only three control knobs. But the developers didn’t leave us without additional features, which we’ll discuss below.
- Choose Your Tone
You will find the Tone knob in the middle. This one is responsible for how bright your sound will be. Turn it to the right, and you get more high frequencies. In the opposite position, the sound will be much darker, emphasizing the mids and lows.
- Sustain Control
The Sustain controller is somewhat similar to Gain. The more you turn it up, the more fuzz you get. The tone will be compressed, giving you a longer sustain. Experiment with this to get the right sound for your situation.
- Volume Adjustment
Of course, the third knob is called Volume and implies control of the output signal. Use it in combination with Sustain to find the right balance between the two.
- Use a Noise Gate
As with the other Audiority plugins, the creators have ensured that you have a Noise Gate. The fact is that fuzz can provide a fair amount of annoying hiss, so with this feature, you can quickly get rid of it.
- In, Out, and Mix
Also, near the Noise Gate, you’ll have Pre and Post Effect Gain controls that allow you to send more signal to the plugin. In addition, there are Mix control for balancing dry and wet signals. Use it for parallel processing.
Audiority Big Goat is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Big Goat will give you that famous fuzz sound used on many albums. Overall, this virtual pedal will provide a pretty big and hairy tone. You can use it for both guitar and bass, or you can experiment with other instruments. Plus, this plugin has a pretty attractive price of only $20.
6. Distorque Face Bender (Free)
The free Face Bender plugin will give you the emulation of two fuzz pedals at once.
Now it’s time to discuss the free options you can get for your music production. That’s precisely what Distorque’s Face Bender software is. It will give you two virtual pedals and enough options to shape the effect to your creative needs.
As you can guess from the plugin’s name, it includes emulations of two popular units – Fuzz Face and Tone Bender. It has a reasonably simple interface, two oversampling types, and many tweaks to help you get the tone you want. Let’s break it all down in more detail.
- Switch Between Two Pedals
The starter pedal is the green Face Bender. In general, it has only two controls, Volume, and Fuzz. In the lower right corner, you will see the second unit, a gray Face Bender. Click on it to switch to this pedal. Its sound will be a little brighter and is also controlled by the two Level and Attack knobs.
- Tweak Function
You can click on the Tweak button and get several additional pedal settings. In particular, in the window that opens, you will find Gate, Input Filter, Input Level, Clean Blend, Lo, and Hi Cut. These settings will be enough to dive into tone sharpening in more detail.
- HQ Mode
The guys from Distorque also allow you to switch between the two modes of the plugin – HQ and LQ. So, for example, you can record in LQ to save some load on your computer and mix in HQ, which will give better signal quality.
- Stereo & Mater Volume
You can also switch between Mono and Stereo modes by pressing the corresponding buttons on the right side of the window. In addition, there is a Master Volume slider to help you adjust the total amount of output signal.
Distorque Face Bender is available for Windows, both 32 and 64-bit. It comes in VST format.
Face Bender by Distorque is an excellent free fuzz plugin that will give you a vintage guitar tone. There are two virtual pedals and a lot of different settings. The first effect will be more standard, and the second more bright. The only disadvantage of this software is that it is only available for Windows users.
7. Analog Obsession Zupaa (Free)
With the Zupaa plugin from Analog Obsession, you can get the legendary fuzz tone for free.
The Tone Bender was one of the first fuzz pedals. It played an essential role in shaping the sound of many famous British musicians in the 1960s. For example, legends such as Jimmy Page, Pete Townshend, Mick Ronson, and many others used these units.
Analog Obsession has created a pretty good emulation of this pedal called Zupaa. At least, that’s what the design of this plugin tells us. It’s incredibly straightforward because it only has two controls. Nevertheless, this virtual pedal provides excellent sound quality as a free fuzz. So let’s try to break down its features.
- Adjust The Filter
As far as tone extraction is concerned, the right-hand Filter knob will be the main one for you. It is responsible for the amount of effect. In the leftmost position, you will already hear some fuzzy tone, but as soon as you twist it to the right, the sound will become fatter and sustain longer. Overall, you can get quite a bit of distortion here.
- Volume Control
The second knob is Volume, and it controls the amount of gain. Just use it to adjust the total amount of signal you want. This plugin is straightforward so you won’t find any other controls except the Bypass button at the bottom.
- Re-Designed Circuit
Analog Obsession took care to reproduce the sound of an actual pedal faithfully. That’s why the creators re-designed the circuit using authentic components. In particular, the OC75 transistor is among them.
Analog Obsession Zupaa is available for Windows and macOS. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.
Zupaa is an excellent fuzz from Analog Obsession that will give you a hairy old-school sound. It has quite a lot of distortion and only two knobs. We advise you to try this pedal with different amp sims as it is unusually responsive to different virtual gear.
Plus, you can get the plugin for free. But don’t forget to support the creators at the link above, as they try to provide great products for you.
8. Audio Damage FuzzPlus 2 (Free)
This straightforward FuzzPlus 2 plugin from Audio Damage can be a great solution if you need to apply the fuzz effect quickly.
Let’s say you want to apply fuzz very quickly, and you don’t have an opportunity to buy some fancy plugins. We have good news for you – you can try the plugin FuzzPlus 2, which is very simple and completely free. Yes, it’s pretty old software, but it does its job well.
Overall, this plugin is also modeled after one of the vintage fuzz pedals. You only get three control knobs and one Bypass button. We must say that its design leaves a lot to be desired. But if this factor is not essential for you – you can safely try it.
- Choose The Amount of Fuzz
The first knob on the left will determine the amount of fuzz applied to your signal. I must say that the distortion range itself is pretty extensive here. You can get both very slight and quite extreme effects.
- Tone Control
Similar to the familiar fuzz pedals, you will have a Tone control. It will help to adjust the frequency range of the effect somewhat. For example, the sound will be bright in the right position, and in the left position, it will be darker with a pronounced midrange.
- Balance The Output Signal
And, of course, another knob, without which it is impossible to imagine most pedals – it’s Output. With it, you can quickly adjust the amount of signal that comes out of the plugin. By the way, there is also a separate Bypass button, with which you can turn off the pedal at all.
Audio Damage FuzzPlus 2 is available for Windows (32-bit only) and macOS. It comes in VST format.
FuzzPlus 2 is a very straightforward and free fuzz plugin that you can use on both Windows and macOS. The only problem is that this software is quite old and supports 32-bit systems. Still, if it works for you, you can try it on guitars, bass, and other instruments, as it is efficient and does its job quite well.
9. 123Creative XL Cream Fuzz (Paid)
XL Cream Fuzz gives you a fat fuzz suitable for metal and funk.
Judging by the appearance of this plugin – it is another emulation of Big Muff. Other than that, this is also indicated by the sound of the software. It is positioned as the one that provides a creamy vintage fuzz. So we can assume that it could be your tool for getting the right guitar tone.
The developers from 123Creative created this plugin with an emulation of the architecture of actual pedals. Therefore, the sound is quite similar to analog units. In addition, if you have already dealt with such boxes – you will not have trouble setting it up quickly because the interface here is quite clear.
- Simple Settings Setup
You get the same settings as any other fuzz pedal. In particular, it is Drive that will determine the amount of distortion. As for the frequency spectrum, besides the usual Tone knob, there is also a Treble. So you can dive into getting the right tone in more detail, especially regarding the high frequencies. And, of course, the Output Control knob will adjust the overall signal level from the plugin.
123Creative XL Cream Fuzz is available for Windows XP and higher, 32-bit only. It comes in VST format.
XL Cream Fuzz by 123Creative is a pretty good fuzz plugin that will give you a silk vintage tone. In addition to the Tone control, there’s also Treble, which gives you more leeway to adjust the effect. Plus it has a small price tag, just over 5 euros.
10. Fuzzed By Fuzzed (Free)
The developers of the Fuzzed plugin have worked to give you a sound similar to the legendary Jimmy Hendrix tone.
Fuzzed is another free software that can please you with a good fuzz if you are a Windows user. The developers claim that it emulates the famous pedal used by Jimi Hendrix. Moreover, it has been done accurately, giving a nice sound quality.
The point is that a specific circuit scheme is used instead of general emulation of pedal behavior. Thus, it allowed the creators to achieve more precise unit behavior. Let’s now look at what the features are here.
- Only Three Controls
The two central knobs for pedal control will be Volume and Fuzz. As you already know, the first is responsible for the overall signal level, and with the second, you can turn down or add distortion. In addition, a third knob, Input Gain, is on the left side. With it, you can feed more signal into the virtual pedal.
Fuzzed is available for Windows, 32-bit only. It comes in VST format.
The Fuzzed plugin can be a good option if you need to get a known fuzz tone in your DAW. This software simulates the original pedal quite well, thanks to its algorithm. Unfortunately, the plugin is quite old and available only for Windows users.
As you can see, you have plenty of opportunities to enhance your virtual pedalboard with a fuzz plugin. They are pretty easy to use and emulate famous units that you may not have been able to get before. To conclude this post, let us recommend a few best plugins, in our humble opinion.
If you need a universal solution where several different types of fuzz are collected at once, check out plugin number 1 – Efektor FZ3603 from KUASSA. Also, great emulations of famous pedals are Audiority products – these are #3 Blue Face and #5 Big Goat. And if you need free software – then feel free to download #7 Zupaa by Analog Obsession.
Experiment and use different flavors of fuzz. Also, mix them with your high-gain distortions or use the effect alone – that way, you’ll know better which guitar tone will be the one. Good luck!
8 Best Overdrive & Tube Screamer Plugins 2023
You’ve arrived at the perfect location if you need to add additional energy to your guitar track and other instruments. We have prepared Top 8 Overdrive Plugins 2023 as well as 6 FREE plugins for you.
The purpose of overdrive pedals and processors is to either push an amp into a natural, punchy condition or simulate a cranking tube amp. Overdrive aspires to accurately reproduce the interplay between a guitar and a tube amp. This indicates that overdrive pedals don’t significantly alter the original sound.
Indeed, they respond well to performance characteristics like pick attack and volume level changes. The distortion channel of an amp may also be utilized in combination with pedals. Metal musicians frequently employ this technique to “tighten” their sound and emphasize it more.
In other words, you connect your guitar to the pedal’s input, and the pedal’s output connects directly to the input of the amplifier. Placing an overdrive in the signal chain is very individualized if you use a range of other pedals and have constructed a pedalboard. However, musicians will set it down afterward using wah and tuner pedals.
Having said that, let’s have a look at the top eight plugins.
Top 8 Overdrive & Tube Screamer Plugins 2023 Great For Guitar & Bass
1. Kuassa Efektor OD3603
Kuassa Efektor OD3603 is a contemporary overdrive with a variety of modulations.
In a box, the Kuassa Efektor OD3603 is rock ‘n’ roll. Volume is something that guitarists have always aimed for. These many sounds are reproduced in one portable device by the Kuassa OD3603. It’s not only for guitarists; practically all instruments may benefit from its warm crunch sound and vocal distortion.
The Overdrive and Tone knobs and the five distortion modes allow you total flexibility over fine-tuning your sound. The Dry/Wet slider determines the level of distortion in the raw, undistorted audio. The configuration options include input controls and configurable oversampling multipliers, providing you with more choices than most inexpensive overdrives.
The overdrive effect first appeared as a byproduct of amps being pushed up excessively loudly, producing crackling sounds and erratic curves. However, although the overdrive relationship with the attraction of the gritty garage sound never totally vanished, the completeness of the sound evolved far further than a random distortion of the raw signal.
This is especially apparent with the OD3603 Overdrive Effector, which gives you the option of warm, clear, or powerful sounds and unlocks the full potential of Overdrive.
The Efektor OD3603 has three overdrive modes: Boutique Overdrive for a bespoke overdrive that sounds thick and powerful, and Blues Overdrive, which imitates British overdrive amps. Pro Overdrive produces a vintage-style warm, tight scream, Modern Overdrive may be driven into deep distortion, and Mad Overdrive is thick and forceful while maintaining the dynamics of your playing.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
Over time, Kuassa has provided several high-quality guitar effects and amplifiers. In my observation, famous guitarists habitually frequently employ picks in their music. Therefore, the Efektor OD3603 Overdrive is a great pedal.
The overdrive settings are well designed and sound well, but the clean signal isn’t that clean, which can be detrimental to the realism it aims to replicate. Nevertheless, I advise you to try it because it’s inexpensive, simple to incorporate into the signal chain, and straightforward.
2. Audiority The Driver
Audiority The Driver is a plugin that introduces analog era into the modern day in a fresh way.
The driver is an analog emulation of the classic Marshall Drivemaster overdrive stompbox that was first released in the 1990s to mimic the driving tone of the JCM800TM amplifier.
As part of their “amp in a box” line, the Drivemaster debuted in 1991 alongside the Bluesbreaker and Shredmaster. Additionally, Audiority has expanded the original circuit with fascinating new modes for extra tonal options.
You can manage plugin presets, activate the plugin, and modify certain global properties using the toolbar. For example, you may visit their website and social media accounts, register a plugin, adjust the interface, and alter the paths for the license and preset files by selecting the AUDIORITY logo in the toolbar’s upper left corner.
- HQ button
When the signal gets saturated, the HQ button will activate oversampling, which helps lower aliasing. Use the Randomize and Reset buttons to change between presets or reset them.
Using the gain knob in the main settings, you may change how much gain is given to the signal. You can use the BASS, MID, TREBLE, and VOLUME knobs to control the tone stack. You may switch between different circuit models by changing the settings in the global footer controls.
- Additional effects
The gate sets the noise gate threshold and has pre and post-effect gain. The DRY/WET signal mixer may be changed using the Mix. Additionally, there are controls for resizing the plugin interface, allowing you to select between SMALL, DEFAULT, and BIG SIZE options to decrease, increase, or reset its size.
There are various pedal circuit implementations, each with its own set of tonal characteristics. HI gain, for example, is a more aggressive distortion that raises the gain and replaces with a silicon diode for asymmetrical clipping.
Modern adds gain and sharpens the frequency response to get a more moderate overdrive tone while Bright brightens the main circuit. Default follows the original schematic while additionally including certain hardware measurements.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
The Driver is a great overdrive pedal that precisely replicates the classic Marshall Drivemaster. The plugin has several presets that may be used to understand the pedal better. The controls are also well-integrated and simple to use, and the parameters are snappy, allowing you to make precise adjustments with this pedal. It is unquestionably a fantastic solution to achieve a genuine guitar tone.
3. AudioThing Valves (Vintage Tube Overdrive)
Valves by AudioThing is a Vintage Tube Overdrive with a distinctive style.
Valves is a multimode resonant filter and cabinet/EQ section plugin that emulates old valves. With additional grain and unique gain control, the valve portion is designed after old tubes of the past. In addition, several modeled cabinets are available in the cabinet/EQ section, each with traditional bass and treble EQ parameters.
- User Interface
The four components of the GUI are each well defined, which is more appealing to me than the attractive tube visual glows whenever a signal enters it. By turning them off, the first three of the four sections, Valve, Cabinet/EQ, Filter, and Master, may all be bypassed.
The filter component is built on a conventional multimode ladder filter with a choice of two or four poles. Low pass, high pass, band pass, and notch are some filter modes available, but the pre/post option lets you choose where you should place the filter in your chain.
You may simulate many guitar amps with the Cabinet/EQ section’s easy bass/treble settings. Amp kinds include names like Deluxed and Oranged that gently indicate the style of sound you might anticipate.
The triode/pentode switch, actuation, bass, and tone knobs are located in the valve section. When set to triode, you’ll probably hear more distortion or a more traditional tube sound with less linear frequency response. Pentode mode gives you more strength and precision, but these generalizations and other parameters will also work.
- Additional features
The plugin has a resizable window, and 35 presets. Although a resizable window isn’t the most spectacular feature, it prevents a lot of annoyance when using a single screen. Furthermore, the plugin’s up to 16X oversampling offers a little bit more accuracy when required. However, Oversampling will as predicted, slightly raise the CPU burden.
This plugin is available for macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in standalone mode and VST2, AAX, and AU plugin formats.
I like how many tweaks the Valves plugin allows you to make. With tube simulation, losing too much top-end detail and distorting the sound is simple. Moreover, you could desire to do that, so you should move forward. However, the Valves plugin is highly adaptable and allows sufficient adjustment to obtain your desired tone.
4. Green Reaper GR9
The original Tube Screamer may also be found in the Audiority sound. The Green Reaper GR9 is a multi-circuit overdrive pedal.
The overdrive plugin includes an analog model with settings for drive, tone, and volume. In addition, Audiority has meticulously reconstructed the original pedal and added various goodies, including some tweaked circuit versions to sculpt your guitar tone.
Due to its ability to produce one of the most responsive and smooth overdrive sounds with just three knobs, this pedal quickly gained popularity. Because of this, this pedal continues to be one of the most copied and altered ever. Audiority has meticulously reconstructed the original pedal and added various goodies, including some tweaked circuit versions to sculpt your guitar tone.
- 316 mod
It adjusts how much bass signal is sent to the overdrive stage. The gain was increased for the Drive stage. For the positive cycle of the signal, an LED was used in place of the cutting diode, and for the negative cycle, an LED was connected in series with a 1N4148 diode. Asymmetric clipping boosts power output while producing a warmer overdrive. +12.2 dB Amps are maximum.
Standard Mode for Wampler. The bass response, richness, and dynamics are improved with more gain. Asymmetric cropping is achieved using a series-connected LED and germanium 1N34A for the negative signal cycle and a 1N4001 diode for the positive cycle. +11.3 dB to the amplifier.
Another traditional modification lowers the mid-pedal hump signature and “flattens” the pedal’s frequency response by omitting the clipping capacitor. +3.8 dB up to the amplifier.
- Pedal Parameters
The pedal’s settings are pretty simple; by DRIVE, we mean we may choose how much overdrive is applied. For example, you may use the overdrive pedal as a booster, add a little dirt with the minimal overdrive settings, or obtain a distorted tone by turning the DRIVE knob up.
We can change the overdrive’s timbre using TONE. At the same time, as it provides full brightness at the maximum level, its lowest settings provide a gloomy tone. And LEVEL regulates the pedal’s level to the amplifier, as you are likely familiar with.
- Global Controls
The “To AMP” function in the global controls maintains the output level following the circuit reaction. TYPE alternates between several circuit models. The Gate features a PRE/POST effect gain, a DRY/WET signal blend, and a noisy gate threshold. The HQ button in the Toolbar turns on oversampling.
It is a good pedal that effectively emulates multiple different pedal types in one, having many Modes or, more accurately, Circuit Types. The sound is of high quality, and I appreciate how it manages the clean sound and avoids adding distortion when it is not required. In addition, the responsiveness to low frequencies is very good.
5. Audiority The Shredder
The Shredder transforms you into an 80s rock star by forcing you to play the loudest solos imaginable.
The Shredder, which is based on a Marshal Shredmaster and was released in the 1990s with Bluesbreaker and Drivemaster as a part of the amp in the box series, is the pedal for individuals who wish to perform metal solos. This pedal has the darkest tone of the three.
The Audiority employees used to inform us that this pedal features a variety of circuits, each of which has a distinct tonal signature. DEFAULT This circuit version adheres to the original schematic, including certain hardware measurements. BRIGHT An improved iteration of the main circuit Sharp is between the original and Bright versions, a more neutral tone.
Incredible metal shredding device from the 1980s with a distinctive sound that makes your hair fall out and has that Hair Metal feature. It makes a unique sound.
- Additional feature
In addition to having pre- and post-effect gain, the gate determines the noise gate threshold. The Mix allows you to adjust the DRY/WET signal mixing. There are controls for changing the size of the plugin interface as well, enabling you to choose between SMALL, DEFAULT, and BIG SIZE choices to change its size.
The Shredder precisely does what it sets out to achieve, just like the other two. It is my favorite instrument in our lineup since it is the most adaptable and has the Eddie Van Halen sound you remember from your youth. It will undoubtedly make you grin and faithfully recreate a tiny portion of history.
6. Lancaster Audio Nobels ODR-1 Natural Overdrive
Nobels ODR-1 is a closely guarded secret used by producers. It is now available in a virtual format and is accessible to everybody.
Every session musician and engineer is aware of the Nobels ODR-1 overdrive pedal as one of the great studio secrets for guitar tone, but for some reason, it wasn’t widely known until later.
And now Lancaster Audio is offering this great pedal as a plugin! The original pedal’s design was based on the idea of producing a bluesy sound that would respond well to changes in guitar loudness. This plugin wonderfully reproduces that sound.
It contains a tolerance shaping randomizer that, in the same way as different ones coming off the line will be somewhat different, randomly changes the tolerance of the shaped components to offer you diversity in sound. You can also adjust the voltage for more or less headroom.
The pedal makes the characteristic sound. It is not extremely high gain, but it does need some effort to achieve a mid-gain rock tone or a little additional hair. It will provide a fat sound with more gain if you push a high gain amp with it, like a clean boost, and it may thicken up a thin amp tone. This pedal is an excellent choice when you enjoy the sound of your amp but need more punch and juice without sacrificing its dynamic features.
This plugin version is great. It’s immediately the most stunning plugin I’ve ever come across; the 3-D representation of the pedal is perfect and photo-realistic. Although it doesn’t improve the sound, seeing it on screen is pleasant.
- Additional features
Along with the well-known ODR-1 sound, several additional features have been included, giving you even more possibilities than the actual pedal, such as switchable low cut and voltage that can be adjusted (from 5v to 18v).
Therefore, the Lancaster Audio Nobels ODR-1 plugin can do the trick if you’re searching for an alternative to the numerous Tube Screamer clones available and want a beautiful, transparent overdrive sound with tons of killer features that make it even easier to use. to your taste.
7. Audiority The Bluesman
The Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrive pedal is emulated by the Bluesman. It is a pedal with several circuit modes.
Audiority The Bluesman, an analog imitation of the classic Marshall Bluesbreaker overdrive pedal that was released in the 1990s to reproduce the tone of the 1962 Blues Breaker amp, would amaze electric guitarists seeking a Marshall blues amp sound.
The Bluesman enhances the original circuit with additional adjustments for more tonal options. It also has an HQ knob that enables oversampling to lessen aliasing when the signal becomes saturated.
The initial iteration of the circuit, which includes certain hardware measurements, operates according to the original plan. Fat has a slight center and is darker by replacing the diodes with a series of 1S2473. HOT increases gain and tone brightening. Asymmetric silicon diodes are used to replace diodes.
Small, Default, and Big Size is provided to resize the plugin interface, but if you’d need complete control over the size, a receiving corner is also available and can be located in the bottom right corner of the GUI.
In general, features like Type, which alters the circuit mode, Gate, In, Out, and Mix can be located at the bottom of the plugin. These options let us design the pedal according to our needs and adjust it to the final tone.
A great pedal; the sound is clear, and I enjoy how well it mimics the tone of a Marshall Blues Breaker. It merits a shot.
8. Waves MDMX Distortion Modules
The most distorted sounds you know and love are easily accessible, thanks to this oversaturated color palette.
The SCREAMER, OVERDRIVE, and FUZZ distortion plug-ins are available through the MDMX distortion modules based on traditional distortion modes. As a result, wild fuzz tastes have the option to remove thick, round overdrives.
MDMX plug-ins contain many options you may play about to obtain the sound you prefer. Dynamics, EQ, and tone settings are included, along with ‘Temperature’ controls that may change the overall color and warmth of the sound and Mix controls that combine clean and distorted signals.
The SCREAMER produces a thick, saturated, round tone without being rigid, evoking the sound of an overdrive tube amp. The classic overdrive pedal effect inspired it. The SCREAMER delivers a smooth tone that works well on synthesizers, bass, guitars, and vocals. In addition, it has a distinctive hump in the 470-750Hz region.
The BOOST button gives the TONE control a 6dB boost and functions as a hi-fi tilt. A unique master EQ curve may be mixed using the TEMPERATURE parameter, changing the “color” and “warmth” of the overall effect. Use the MIX button to combine the original and distorted signals. Options for special M/S processing that let you overdrive simply the mids or only the sides.
Overdrive, the most flexible member of the three, may provide a subtle or not-so-subtle edge to a passage. Finally, a soft clipper can enhance a sample, instrument, or speech while maintaining its original timbre. Use it to stand out from the audience without taking center stage during your performance.
It features a notable overdrive at higher volume levels that can be tailored and altered for precise results. There are two drive types: one favors the high end and has a higher gain, and the other favors the low end. Under the Dynamics section, you may choose between a RIDER mode and a PUNCH mode (fixed-ratio compressor with three settings: mild, severe, and extreme) (automatic gain rider)
A powerful high-gain fuzz effect that may adjust for optimum versatility. Fuzz offers shockingly high levels of saturation while still letting you manipulate the distortion, create octaves, and take charge of the tonal imprint using EQ and compression. 2 distinct fuzz tastes are available from FUZZ.
The same 4-band EQ is there, as well as a compressor component with settings comparable to the OVERDRIVE. Pitch-shifting on input pre-distortion is what the OCTAVE feature does. The low cut on input and the mid/side processing choices are two more aspects that FUZZ and OVERDRIVE have in common.
These three Waves distortion modules are excellent. They are undoubtedly making waves in the music industry thanks to their simple UI, carefully located controls, and realistic sound. You may utilize these three plug-ins on various songs, including guitar, drums, and vocals. They are extremely welcome, and the Waves team always does a good job.
Best Free Overdrive Plugins 2023
1. Audiority Dr. Drive
The Horizon Devices Precision Drive served as the inspiration for Dr. Drive, a free analog emulation of a contemporary overdrive. This overdrive is suitable for a wide range of metal guitar playing styles, both traditional and contemporary.
In this user-friendly interface, the key pedal settings are accessible. A tone control called bright may change the tone between brighter and darker. Level controls the volume the pedal provides to the amplifier, and Attack controls the overdrive’s bass response. You may make it more contemporary and transparent or fuller and thicker. Controls for the drive or foot switch are also included.
Use the Randomize or Reset buttons to make your presets random or to return to the previously stored version if you wish to interact with the presets.
- General Controls
The gate knob, a component of the pedal in real life, is part of the Global Controls category and is found at the bottom of the Plugin, along with other controls like In/Out and Mix. By choosing Lock Parameter from the context menu after right-clicking, you may also lock any knob or slider.
In the world of modern Metal, this design is now creating waves. It sounds real, focused, contemporary, and clear. Dr. Drive offers an excellent imitation of this pedal called Audiority for free in celebration of their tenth anniversary.
2. Nembrini Audio 808 Overdrive Pro
A guitar overdrive pedal by Nembrini Audio called 808 Overdrive Pro is based on a “Japanese green pedal,” which is frequently referred to as the “Holy Grail” of overdrive pedals.
The primary area of the plugin has the major controls, typically typical of a traditional 808 overdrive. In addition, there are controls for the Drive, Tone, and Level.
The sound is authentic, and it fulfills its promises. The knobs respond to orders and have a clear sound. The excellent overdrive may handle even low-tuned guitars.
It is a good free plugin with a crisp and precise sound. Nembrini Audio 808 Overdrive Pro is unquestionably a wonderful choice if you want to experience this sort of overdrive.
3. Analog Obsession OverDiver
An overdrive pedal in the SD1 fashion is the OverDiver. The OverDiver maintains the fine details of a player’s picking style precisely like the original while producing an overdrive tube amp’s warm, natural distortion. Overdrive pedals that are subtle and smooth, ideal for blues and rock. Indeed, a supporter of Death Metal tones!
A sound that provides a lot and three primary knobs. In the main section, there are three controls: Drive, which operates the drive like the original pedal, Level, which simulates volume, and Tone, which allows for exact control of drive sound.
This pedal has the authentic distortion sound, works wonders with a tube amp, and manages the player’s picking style. As a result, it can be used in various musical styles.
It is a decent pedal that emulates what it suggests nicely and is highly adaptable. In addition, it has so much overdrive that it may be used to create the sound of a meaty Metal guitar.
4. Over Diver od82o
There are three knobs (drive, tone, and level) on the appealing user interface, which has the same vintage design as the renowned Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer. This feature makes it incredibly simple to dial in various overdrive settings, from a light warm, and crisp tone to a heavier distortion effect.
In addition, while skilled amp purists frequently have diode-based overdrive pedals at their feet and are connected to the amplifier, the plugin contains a diode clipping circuit with a distinct “crunch” sound instead of the vacuum tube-based distortion they like.
- ASYM clipping mode
Waveform clipping may be changed to create various tonal effects. For example, negative harmonics are produced by symmetrical clipping, whereas even and odd-numbered harmonics are produced by asymmetrical clipping, resulting in a brighter, sharper tone.
- User Interface
The overall quality of the drive circuit, the oversampling resolution, the stereo processing, and the symmetrical/asymmetrical diode clipping are all controlled by four buttons at the bottom of the GUI.
Furthermore, the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer‘s standard features are on the main panel ”Drive, Tone, and Level”. The pedal’s gain function, located on the back, makes excellent use of drive, yet the controls are still extremely sensitive.
- Gain Amount
By adjusting the Gain Level knob, which is located on the pedal’s rear panel, you may filter the gain amount of the input the pedal receives. Although you did gain staging, you identified the proper position. It is a beneficial feature since the pick attack can occasionally be more aggressive.
It’s a practical pedal that accurately reproduces the sound of the Ibanez TS9 Tube Screamer, and the fact that it is free makes it deserving of a spot in your collection of plugins. However, if you simultaneously utilize oversampling on many guitar tracks, the DAW’s latency may need to be increased since it can consume excessive CPU resources.
5. TSE BOD 3 Bass Overdrive
Bass guitar effects are a bit of a rarity in VST plugins, especially for freeware. However, while virtual bass instruments are far less widespread, virtual guitar amps and pedals are frequently available for free.
However, the TSE BOD bass overdrive pedal is an awesome plugin with a good tone and an easy-to-use user interface that allows getting the right sound quickly and easily. TSE BOD 3 is an upgraded version of their free BOSS ODB-3 or, most likely, the Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI bass overdrive pedal emulation.
Level, drive, low-pass, and high-pass filters, mix, and presence are controlled through the user interface’s six knobs. At the bottom of the plugin are a setup wheel, input, output level controls, and a silver bypass button with an ON/OFF LED.
An input channel selector, a stereo ON/OFF input selector, and an oversampling section with manual and automated settings for oversampling the audio signal to eliminate aliasing are all accessible by clicking the setup wheel.
TSE BOD’s algorithms have been changed in this iteration to mimic the original better, resulting in a more authentic sound overall. In addition, the TSE BOD V3.0 is based on a pedal renowned for bass preamps so it will provide an authentic version. If you are a bass player or mixing engineer who frequently combines bass guitars, you need to know that this freeware from TSE Audio will sound authentic.
In terms of bass, TSE BOD is unquestionably the right pick. It’s a plugin that simplifies your work because the UI is user-friendly, and the controls provide precise settings. It provides you with everything you need for a present and high-quality bass, and the sound it reproduces is authentic.
6. Synthscience Drivefactor
Mention it comes with tons of presets
The Overdrive/Distortion plugin Drivefactor offers a variety of clipping settings, from light clipping to more intense distortions. It is input-sensitive. The user receives some vintage solid-state overdrive and distortion sounds with lots of fuzz, building on the functionality of typical overdrive and distortion stompboxes.
Drivefactor is a fickle plugin that responds to input dynamically, acting differently in response to subtle and loud input noises.
The plugin is simple to use and contains features that allow you to adjust the intensity level, trim the high and low frequency of the overdriven sounds, and combine the dry sound with a filtered one.
If you don’t want to utilize additional plugins, this plugin also offers a Phase inverser. The signal can be limited, and the parameters you enter into this plugin can be seen in the signal chain on the right.
Drivefactor can save 64 settings and is completely automated. It already has a few pre-programmed. We should highlight that they provide a ton of presets to utilize, letting you see the variety of uses for this plugin. They are undoubtedly practical, and I can state that they are well built and cater to all preferences. This feature will make your experience much more enjoyable.
Regarding the realm of plugins, those from Synthescience have provided a wide range of alternatives throughout time. In addition, they introduced high-caliber plugins prepared for usage in your mix to the market.
Drivefactor, a very useful and user-friendly plugin, is one of these remedies. It modifies the sound in a true-to-life manner and gives the user the chance to understand it practically with free presets that integrate very quickly following the loud demands. I will undoubtedly use the additional Synthescience options because this plugin is great.
Fazertone Overdrive Essentials
Popular analog distortion pedals are all represented using unique real-time neural networks in the Overdrive Essentials plugin. You may select from various vintage fuzzes, distortions, and overdrives using the simple interface, from storied 1970s models to contemporary boutique tones. Overdrive Essentials has nine different distortion pedals to pick from, making it easy to create the ideal crunchy guitar tone, give character to synthesizers, or add a gentle warmth to drums and vocals.
Victor Lewis founded Fazertone in the year 2020. The initial step was tackling analog replication from a new direction: utilizing machine learning to mimic analog music’s nuanced, warm sound directly. Combining a passion for old gear and a love of cutting-edge DSP techniques.
- The Arbiter
It’s one of the first fuzz pedals ever made, and because germanium transistors were used, it has a special asymmetrical distortion with a certain softness. It might not be easy to manage, but it can give your guitar or other instruments amazingly rich harmonic tones when utilized properly.
In addition, the volume control alters the input gain rather than the output gain, allowing for a wide range of distortion, from a light fuzz to complete tonal destruction. Set the volume knob to its maximum setting and utilize the additional output boost control if you wish to maintain the device’s original 1960s functionality.
- The Screamer
No guitar pedal collection would be complete without this instantly recognized green pedal, one of the most well-known distortion pedals of all time.
Created in the 1970s to mimic the warm harmonic tones of an overdriven tube, we transformed it into a plugin with our machine learning-powered simulation so you can use it right out of the box as part of your guitar stack or to add some analog magic to any instrument – adjustable with additional pre/post/mix controls.
- The Klone
This pedal, perhaps among the most well-known ever, was the first on our list to be converted into a plug-in utilizing our neural network technology. When pushed to the maximum, this pedal’s “transparent” overdrive transforms into a crisp, clear distortion while maintaining the original sound qualities made possible by a clever circuit. It fits in perfectly with any guitar tone stack, giving synthesizers, drum machines, or even voices individuality.
It features a reasonably user-friendly layout, with options like Input Gain, Output Gain, and Dry/Wet at the top that is required for a guitar signal. The plugin’s functionality is otherwise pretty apparent; it displays an actual appearance of the pedals it imitates in the middle and offers several customizable parameters on the right.
As a result, we can state that this additional plugin from our list of the best provides a unique perspective in terms of the variety of alternatives it gives you. The most significant overdrive, distortion, and fuzz pedals are all incorporated into one plugin in the first place.
Second, an DSP AI was used to construct the pedals, so the sound should be as genuine as possible. I definitely recommend you to listen to some demos and why not, to give it a chance.
We explored many methods for saturating the guitar’s tone through this top and other techniques. We could see that several of these overdrive pedals might be used with other instruments. The fact that we understood what they were useful for and why it occasionally made sense to add an overdrive pedal to our signal chain was maybe the most significant realization.
Although some of you might already own a real Tube Screamer, we’ve included several virtual overdrives in this top that you should try using in your song to give it a unique touch.
The only variation between them is when they use a different engine and capture technique. Many of them carry out the same task. I did learn about a new method that replicates circuits and lets you model the pedal in any way you choose. It is nice, and in my opinion, this feature adds a note that leans closer toward reality.
Producers from Audiority are, without a doubt, the ones that simulate their pedals most originally. They included my favorite Horizon Devices pedal and simulated various vintage overdrive pedals widely utilized in the music industry. It is unquestionably a choice that will help you be creative and save you a ton of time.
Another choice to consider is the Waves solution. I found it fascinating how they considered how overdrive and fuzz distortion might be applied to various instruments. Throughout the assessment, I learned many aspects that inspired me for a future composition. Therefore, Waves MDMX Distortion Modules is a full set that is enjoyable, practical, and simple.
This list would not be complete without its latest upgrade’s authentic and unparalleled TSE BOD 3. It is well-known and widely used in the bass music industry, and considering that it continues to get upgrades and sounds so amazing, I’d say it does everything. Unfortunately, few plugins aren’t many plugins available for bass music, but recently I’ve seen several producers also concentrating on this area. But in addition to being free, this plugin is also one of the nicest things you can do for your bass songs. Therefore, it merits a spot in your collection of plugins.
Over Diver od820, a free option that flawlessly replicates a TS9 Tube Screamer merits special notice. You may change the pedal using some characteristics, making it extremely simple, and you have complete control over how the signal is received and sent. However, the drive used in its implementation is of a high caliber. Analog Obsession OverDiver is an excellent clean plugin that adds a clean drive to your guitar tone.
We can conclude that all of these possibilities are getting more and more accessible, and the most significant overdrive pedals—not only those that have been physically implemented—have been emulated virtually does not necessarily make sense our task any simpler. Nevertheless, while none of those mentioned above alternatives comes close to the real thing you put into a real amplifier, these overdrive plugins work well during the creative process and beyond.
Ilarion Ivanenko is a remote mixing and mastering engineer from Ukraine, a musician with more than 15 years of experience. Specializes in rock, metal, progressive and the other genres. He can’t imagine his life without music, as it is the biggest passion in his life