Rosemary Minkler, a music production instructor at Electronic Music Collective, has been doing her part during the COVID-19 pandemic and staying indoors. That hasn’t stopped her from getting creative in the studio and staying inspired. Here is a list she made of free music making plugins to keep you busy while you’re social distancing.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world are staying indoors these next few weeks for social distancing and self-quarantine in hopes of slowing down the spread of the virus. For musicians like myself, this unfortunately means having to take a break from going to concerts and playing shows but leaves me a lot of time to get creative in the studio. Luckily, many music and plug-in companies like Moog and iZotope are offering some of their products for FREE!

Here are some free plug-ins to keep you inspired while social distancing:

Minimoog Model D for iOS

The Minimoog Model D was first introduced by Moog in 1970 and was one of the world’s first portable synthesizers. Moog recently introduced this app as an even more portable iteration of this legendary synth. The Minimoog Model D for iOS includes capabilities not available in analog form, including the ability to play chords with up to four-note polyphony, an arpeggiator, real time looping recorder with unlimited overdubbing capacity, a tempo-synchronizable stereo ping pong delay module, and the Bender (a wide-range stereo time modulation effect module). The app can be used with compatible iOS apps like Garageband and comes with over 160 presets, more of which can be found in the Minimoog Model D App Store.

Korg Kaossilator for iOS and Android

The Korg Kaoss products use an intuitive X-Y pad to provide expressive musical control, allowing for music making to be more accessible to musicians and non-musicians alike. The interface of this app makes it easy for anyone to feel like a pro. The user can set the scale/key, create tracks up to five parts with the loop sequencer, control loops in real time for DJ-style live performances, and choose from any of the 150 built-in sounds. The Mix Play feature lets you live-remix and mashup your loop to explore different grooves. You can record your performance in real time or export your loop as an audio file and share with friends by sending it to your computer via iTunes. Another unique feature is that you can upload directly to SoundCloud for instant collaborations. The Android version is free through March 20th while the iOS app is free through the end of March.

Wavesfactory Cassette Transport & Old Tape Drums

Wavesfactory is a plug-in company that has several audio plugins and Kontakt instruments for free on their website. The Cassette Transport plug-in simulates the sound of tape speeding up and slowing down. It even includes noises from the buttons and rotor of a real Cassette unit. Play and stop times can be adjusted to a maximum of 8 seconds and can also be synced to the host tempo. Old Tape Drums is a free Kontakt Instrument featuring a Ludwig Vistalite drum-kit recorded in mono into a cassette tape. Effects include tape hiss, tape speed and sound effects for play, stop, pause, rewind, and fast forward. These drums have a very grungy and lo-fi sound but have a warm personality.

iZotope Vinyl

Vinyl is a free plug-in from iZotope that gives any track a vintage/lo-fi character. The UI is super simple and allows you to easily tune into your desired sound. Effects include mechanical noise, wear, electrical noise, dust, scratch, and warp depth. You can also choose the year and RPM as well as the warp model. I love using the warp depth on piano for a wobbly lo-fi sound.

With all this time at home now, I’ve been trying to stay focused and stay creative. I recently posted a collaboration challenge on my Instagram page in hopes of keeping others (including you!) inspired. Feel free to play your instrument over it, write a melody and lyrics to it, or remix it! Maybe you can even make use of the free music production tools above. Click the link below to download audio files.

Link to project files:


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