Today we pay a virtual visit to Prague, the Czech Republic, home of MeldaProduction (www.meldaproduction.com).
There we find the MFree Effects Bundle, a sizable helping of free versions of many of the company’s commercially available VST plug-ins. Contained in a single downloadable zip file, the bundle includes MAnalyzer, MAutoPan, MAutoPitch, MBandPass, MComb, MCompressor, MEqualizer, MFlanger, MFreqShifter … (breathe) …, MLoudnessAnalyzer, MNoiseGenerator, MPhaseer, MOscillator, MTremolo …
You get the idea. For the complete list, just visit the website. It’s quite a pile of freebies. Unfortunately, it does not include any of their reverb or delay plug-ins. As is the case with most free versions of commercially available effects, some features are disabled. Most notably, these don’t include any presets, nor can any user presets be saved. There are also a few “ticklers” on the interface, suggesting you upgrade to the paid version, but these are by no means intrusive.
Speaking of interface, these plug-ins are easy and intuitive to navigate. Many parameters are shown as horizontal bars. When the mouse pointer is placed over one, a small up-down arrow appears. Left-click dragging adjusts the parameter. For effects such as EQ or compression, a graphical interface is provided to make frequency, bandwidth, or threshold adjustments. Other features common to all the plug-ins are programmable preset “hot keys,” A/B comparison, mono summing, mid-side and surround settings and AGC.
This last feature provides gain compensation, ensuring that the output level of the effect matches the input level. Another interesting feature is the Morphing control. This allows the plug-in to morph from one setting to another in real time. This feature is automatable. Many of the effects include a limiter button, which engages a safety limiter, keeping levels from peaking above 0 dB, thus protecting your audio chain, speakers, and even your ears. While MeldaProduction advises against keeping it on all the time, as it does eat into CPU processing power, it’s handy for experimenting with extreme settings.
That’s what seems to set these plug-ins apart from others. They contain features that I’ve yet to see in others, especially free ones. While they don’t directly affect the audio, they are handy nonetheless. One example is the Areas button in the MEqualizer. It presents colored overlays on the EQ graph, indicating what certain frequency bands affect. For drums, it will show areas like “Bass boom” or “Snare punch.” Need to include some written notes with a particular track? The MNotepad offers a window where notes can be typed and attached as a plug-in.
These plug-ins come in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions for Windows XP, 7 and 8. Just visit www.meldaproduction.com/plugins/bundles to find the MFree Effects Bundle.