And I love my plug-ins so here goes my list of the best free plug-ins I use:
Digital fish phones - The Digital Fish Fillets suite is great. Awesome compressor, bags of character, esp on kick drums. Kick drum compression is a black art. Get it right and people will get a warm feeling in their tummy.
ePhonic - Retro delay is awesome and my go-to delay. Lo-FI is awesome for anything from subtle dirt to absolute mangled filth. The Drumatic VE is great for booming 808 kick drums and 909 style snares.
Twisted Lemon - The Sidekick V3 is great for sidechaining. What's sidechaining? Listen to the mix I did of Faderhead's Dirty Girls...that kind of 'suck' on the bass. Essentially, when the kick drum kicks, it drops the volume of the bassline. Used creatively this can get you a head nodding groove going in minutes. Used subtly it can cut a sharp hole in the bass for the kick to sit in, essentially keeping the low end of the track at a more consistent level...result...you can get more volume out of it without artifacts when you compress/limit things which also helps cut down on the mud and sharpen your bottom end up.
Jeroan Breebaart - Ferox. This is a great little plug for adding warmth and presence to your instruments and tracks. It's a tape emulator that brings a lot of warmth and character to the mix.
Sonic Charge - Not a freebie but at $89 (£45) it isn't going to break the bank either. If you are wanting Trentemoller style techno with those phat glossy sounding drums this is the drum synth of choice. It's rich dense sound gives a real lustre to the drum track. Put some nice compression on the kick and you have something a bit special. Great for all kinds of weird techno bleeps and bloops too.
The Interruptor - A little of the unusual. You can expect warm and quirky plugs from this guy. As a dub producer you can expect a certain sense of experimentation and an organic feel to things. Wow and Flutter in particular is a fave for making things sound not quite right. Stick an old vintage synth/Rhodes through it and you are in instant Boards of Canada territory.
Kjaerhus - Their classic range is just that, classic emulations of old gear. Sounds great. And it's free. What more could you ask for? The whole suite gives you a great starting point...but don't let that fool you into thinking these aren't great sounding effects.
Illformed - Glitch. I'll give you a clue here. DO NOT JUST LEAVE THIS ON RANDOM. Because it's really obvious what you are using if you do. Mess around with the controls, maybe set things so you only have one effect working, or set the mix to part clean, part effected, automate the controls via the sequencer. Either way, it's great for chopping, destroying and generally glitching up your audio. A top trick is to leave a loop playing through this for a while. Then recording it as audio while you mess with it, then chopping that audio file up keeping the best parts.
Still want more? Try the Free Plugin List or the excellent KVR site.