Having plenty of plugins to use with Ableton Live can really enhance what you can do as a DJ or producer. There are many awesome free plugins out there that are worth utilizing, and even though they don’t cost a thing, they are still valuable.
My name is Donovan, and I’ve done extensive research to find out what some of the best free plugins available for Ableton are. I’ve looked over a number of various plugins to uncover the most worthwhile options out there.
This post will highlight the best free plugins for Ableton Live. I’ll give you some background on each option, tell you why I think it’s a great plugin, and provide other related tips and information. I want to help you get the most out of Ableton Live.
Let’s dig in.
Quick Notes & Tips
The plugins listed below aren’t ranked in a particular order because many of them have a completely different use. So, I don’t have a single best plugin that I recommend.
Instead, I recommend getting all of the options you see here. In my experience, taking advantage of free plugins is a great way to beef up your library while gaining a lot of extra tools to use as a producer or DJ.
I don’t think you can have too many plugins, and I’m constantly downloading new options – both free and paid. Whether you are searching for a particular plugin or want to start increasing your collection, all the options here are recommended.
Now, here’s my list of the best free plugins for Ableton Live.
1. Kontakt 7 Player
Kontakt 7 Player is an awesome plugin that gives you access to a ton of different virtual instruments. It’s a free version of Kontakt 7, which expands upon an already excellent platform to enable you to take your DJ and production skills up another level.
This isn’t a plugin in a traditional sense, and Kontakt 7 Player essentially acts as a host program where you can access various virtual instruments to use with Ableton Live or other DAWs. But it still makes the list because it’s free and great to work with.
You get access to thousands of different instruments here, which opens up so many creative possibilities. You can also choose paid instruments if you run out of free options, but I still haven’t scratched the surface and have been using it for months.
It’s straightforward to use and integrate into Ableton Live, and I think it’s a great supplemental instrument package for just about everyone. You can never have too many instruments in the library when it’s time to create.
2. Spitfire LABS
Another great free sample instrument plugin to use with Ableton Live is Spitfire LABS. This is more than one plugin, and Spitfire offers many free instruments and soundscapes you can use however you’d like.
I think all these virtual instruments sound amazing, and if you’re looking for excellent replicas of strings, bells, keys, or just about anything else, you’ll find them here. Be sure to explore all the free options so you know what’s available.
There are also plenty of paid options within LABS if you find something you really need. But with so many free choices to explore initially, any Ableton Live user should be occupied for a while. This is another solid way to boost your library immensely.
I really like the Vintage Drums and LABS bass guitar free plugins. If you are looking to make authentic-sounding tracks in the box, this is your key to doing that. But I haven’t found one that I don’t like using here.
3. Valhalla Supermassive
If you are looking for an outstanding delay and reverb plugin, look no further than Valhalla Supermassive. I use this plugin all the time on all sorts of different tracks, and it provides rich reverb and tasty delays.
I like how simple to use this plugin is, and there aren’t too many bells or whistles to get lost in. But everything sounds great, and it’s easy to control the parameters with a straightforward user interface that even newbies can use.
Supermassive comes packed with 18 different delay and reverb modules. That’s a lot to work with, especially with a free plugin. I like the Orion and the Great Annihilator, but I haven’t been disappointed with any of them.
Whether you are a seasoned pro in Ableton or just diving into the DAW for the first time, Supermassive is highly recommended. I like it better than most of the included reverbs, and it’s so easy to use.
4. Grallion 2
Grallion 2 is a solid autotune and pitch-changing plugin that gives you professional-level capabilities that won’t cost you a thing. It’s another essential free plugin for Ableton Live that comes highly recommended if you record vocals.
This can be a great tool to utilize if you make your samples, as it gives you a lot of parameters to work with. The pitch shift is effective, and it can also help you dial in auto-tuned notes without too much trouble.
This is another easy-to-use plugin thanks to an intuitive interface that looks professional without the matching price tag. The free version does have some limits, but you can dish out a little extra for the full plugin if you want or need to.
I’ve used Grallion on several different projects, from EDM to hip-hop, and I think it works well throughout. If you want to adjust vocal samples or make your own, it’s well worth exploring.
5. Fresh Air
Fresh Air is a unique plugin worth getting into your Ableton Library. You might not use it on every project or track, but it can certainly play a role when you need a little something to enhance things that you can’t place your finger on.
Slate Digital, the manufacturer of this plugin, says it is a high-end frequency processor. That doesn’t describe much, but I can tell you from experience that the results are certainly high-end. And just like its name implies, this one can add fresh air to your mix.
This plugin essentials gives you some presence and sparkle to any track you want to use it on. This can come in useful on vocals, live recordings, or samples that you want to clean up and make a little more airy.
This one isn’t as versatile as some of the other plugins on the list, but it’s still recommended because it’s very effective when needed. Fresh Air can help polish up some tracks when nothing else will.
Another amazing free plugin for Ableton Live is Deelay by Sixth Sample. This is another delay-based plugin that hits all the marks you need when looking for a bit of texture that only this type of effect can provide.
It’s a simply designed plugin that still has plenty of features. The user interface is easy to grasp, and the hands-on dials put fine-tuned precision at your fingertips. With so many options to tweak, dialing in a custom sound that’s all yours is easy.
This one comes with 100 factory presets you can explore, or you can figure out your own unique sound really easily. I’ve used this on vocals, guitars, and lots of samples to make everything stand out with my personal production touch.
Deelay is another plugin that I think just about everyone using Ableton Live should get. It’s free and effective while earning high marks from everyone I’ve talked to who has used it. This isn’t a super-complicated plugin, but it doesn’t need to be.
PTEq-X by KVR Audio is another solid free plugin to explore. This one is great for mixing, as it’s a combination of three different vintage equalizers. I like this one better than any of the EQs that come stock with Ableton.
I’m a big fan of vintage sounds during the production process, so this one wasn’t a hard sell for me. And even though it is a digital replication, it still sounds great and can add a lot of depth to your projects pretty easily.
PTEq-X has a great analog sound that can stand out if you are recording a band or just want a classic sample to throw into your projects. You can also automate the controls to help work it into things without missing a beat.
This one might not be a great option for beginners who aren’t doing much mixing or mastering. But this free EQ enhancement is hard to beat if you’re fully into the entire production process. It’s worth throwing in the library for sure.
8. Ozone Imager
Ozone Imager by Izotope is another cool free plugin to explore if you handle mixing and mastering tasks in Ableton Live. This one essentially helps you quickly adjust the width of your mix, which is super handy when you need it.
If you need some assistance with the stereo spread or just want a quick way to add ambiance and similar effects, this plugin has you covered. It’s great for visual people who aren’t the best in-the-box producers.
I like the vectroscope meters built into the imager, as it puts this visual side of audio on full display. It’s a fun tool to play with that can help speed up the mixing and mastering process a bit as well.
Again, this might not be for everyone as it’s somewhat of a specialty plugin. But I still recommend it because it’s free and can be super effective when you are deep in the mix.
Another favorite free plugin of mine is Fracture. This is a fun tool to use in all sorts of ways and is great if you really like playing with sounds and tweaking things in a unique way. It gives you a lot of creative control that is easy to access.
This one is essentially an effects processor that was designed to add glitches to a mix. While a glitch sometimes sounds like a producer’s worst nightmare, the glitches here refer to subtle adjustments to an audio track that make it stand out.
Fracture features a buffer, delay, and filter, which you can use all together to get a wide range of soundscapes and effects. You can use the plugin on instruments, drums, vocals, and many other applications.
A cool feature of this plugin is you can set it to random and have it dial in a sound for you. That’s a good way to get over any creative humps that might be holding you back.
Vital wraps up the list of the best free plugins for Ableton Live. This is another highly recommended free tool that you can use to create unique synth sounds in any of your Live Sets or other projects.
It’s a visual synthesizer plugin that allows you to shape sounds with knobs while also seeing the waveform. That’s another solid tool for anyone who wants to see sounds in action, but it will also help you dial in amazing audio elements.
If you want to build customized sounds, Vital is a fantastic free tool to take advantage of. This is true of any synth modulator/builder, but Vital is accessible, straightforward, and highly effective.
This is also a really easy-to-control and use plugin, which makes it great for beginners and experienced Ableton users alike.
All of the plugins on this list can add a lot to your Ableton Live projects. That’s reason enough to explore using them, but the fact that they are all free makes it even more exciting. I recommend getting every option you see here.
There are so many free plugins out there that it’s challenging to make a single list. If you don’t see a plugin you want or need here, be sure to search around for the option that best meets your needs or preferences.
What’s your favorite free plugin for Ableton Live? Let me know in the comments below.