15 Best Vocal VST Plugins 2022

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Best Vocal VST Plugins

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You can’t expect to produce pristine, perfect sounding vocal tracks without setting up your effects chain.

But what effects do you need to make your vocal tracks sound their very best? And how do you even choose from the many VST plugins that are out there?

In this guide, we look at the best vocal VST plugins.

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EchoBoy by Soundtoys – Best Overall

EchoBoy by Soundtoys – Best Overall

Obsessed with delay effects, Sountoys sought to create the ultimate echo unit emulating their favorite vintage gear. That’s how they came up with EchoBoy, a unit that reportedly goes on all of Peter Gabriel’s vocals.

EchoBoy comes with 30 echo styles ranging from Memory Man and DM-2 to Echoplex and Space Echo, tape sound modeled on the Ampex ATR-102, saturation, tape flutter, and diffusion controls, dual and ping-pong modes, shuffle, swing, and accent controls, Rhythm Echo mode, and even a chorus modeled after the CE-1.

More than a mere delay (which undoubtedly will come in handy for vocal processing – especially on tracks where you want to create a spacey, dreamy effect), EchoBoy lets you add vintage analog character and warmth, while customizing your delay with onboard controls and rhythmic patterns. No wonder it’s so loved by producers.

It might be a tad on the expensive side, but what you’re getting in exchange is a powerful effect full of character.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Auto-Tune Pro Vocal Studio by Antares – Best Premium Option

Auto-Tune Pro Vocal Studio by Antares – Best Premium Option

We’re not here to argue over the upsides and downsides of auto-tune. The point is, if you’re recording pop, R&B, hip-hop – really any electronic genre – you’re probably going to need it.

Now, auto-tune can go from subtle pitch correction all the way over to T-Pain style robo-vocals, and Antares Auto-Tune Pro Vocal Studio is just the tool to give you everything you need in one convenient package.

Auto-Tune Pro Vocal Studio comes with the fully loaded Auto-Tune Pro, as well as AVOX 4, featuring 11 additional vocal processing plugins. There are just so many features, we can’t cover them all, but we’ll do our best to offer up a summary here.

First, Auto-Tune Pro. This is everything you’ve probably already heard about, and possibly a little more. Use this tool for pitch correction, that signature robotic vocal effect, time correction (yes, you can touch up timing errors in your vocals), along with auto-key automatic key and scale detection, Audio Random Access, and MIDI parameter control.

Auto-Tune Pro saves you from having to do endless retakes to get the “perfect” vocal take, while giving you access to the tools necessary to touch up, fine-tune, and optimize your vocal tracks for release.

Now for AVOX 4. This includes Harmony Engine Vocal Modeling Harmony Generator, MUTATOR Extreme Voice Designer (for vocal effects and post-production sound design), Mic Mod EFC Classic Microphone Modeler, ARTICULATOR Digital Talk Box, WARM Tube Saturation Generator, and ASPIRE Aspiration Noise Processor (control the breaths in a vocal performance).

You also get THROAT Physical Modeling Vocal Designer (change the singer’s vocal qualities), DUO Vocal Modeling Auto-Doubler, CHOIR Vocal Multiplier (up to 32 individual unison voices), PUNCH Vocal Impact Enhancer (increase dynamics), and the SYBIL Variable Frequency De-Esser.

Getting all these tools means you might not need a lot of the others mentioned in this guide. So, while the Auto-Tune Pro Vocal Studio might cost more than the others, it’s also a very convenient, near all-in-one solution for vocal processing. For that reason alone, we had to choose it as our best premium option.

The downside? Well, Auto-Tune does what it does best – auto-tuning. They have a lot of other great effects included here, but bottom line, some of them might not compare to other VSTs. Meaning, not every effect is the best in its category.

There’s still no denying that this is a great bundle, though, especially for producers who know they need to build out their VST vocal processing suite.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

MChorusMB by MeldaProduction – Best Budget Option

MChorusMB by MeldaProduction – Best Budget Option

Although it’s sometimes forgotten in vocal processing, honestly it can do a lot of cool things for your vocals, whether it’s a doubling effect, widening vocals, or adding a bit of robotic modulation. What am I on about? Chorus, of course!

You might not add it to every vocal track, but honestly it can be quite addicting if you get the settings just right, because a chorus like MChorusMB can make a track really pop in a mix.

This multiband chorus is fully adjustable and is perfect for guitar tracks and full mixes alike. Yes, it’ll make for a nice vocal chorus too.

MChorusMB features up to 10 voices, six stereoizing algorithms, a dual user interface, one to six configurable independent bands on three transparent crossover algorithms (analog, linear-phase, hybrid), continuously adjustable oscillator shape, four global modulators, and integrated tube saturation.

You also get up to eight channel surround processing, full randomization, adjustable 1x to 16x up-sampling, automatic synchronization to host tempo, MIDI controllers with MIDI learn, global preset management and online preset exchange, a fully automatable design, and more.

Chorus is generally used sparingly on vocal tracks if at all, but it never hurts to have the option.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter

When it comes to killer VST EQs it’s honestly hard to think of a better one than FabFilter Pro-Q 3. This certainly isn’t to say there aren’t better EQs out there but man oh man, this one is popular, powerful, and tends to live up to every ounce of hype it gets.

So, EQ. Why is it so important for vocals? Funny you should ask.

Look, while mixing, there probably aren’t too many tracks you won’t add EQ, compression, and reverb to. This isn’t for the purpose of taking a performance you don’t like and turning it into something better, mind you. Even the best producers can’t really polish junk to the point of making it shine.

No, EQ is primarily used to boost and attenuate frequencies. For a bit of ultra-high crispness for your vocals, you might boost 15k, as an example. And you will boost and cut frequencies with other tracks too to avoid bunching and clashing. It’s a big part of achieving a great mix.

Now, if you get all that already, hey, no harm in supporting the newbies, right? So, let’s talk about a few of the features.

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 gives you up to 24 EQ bands, optional dynamic EQ mode, “brickwall” slope setting for LP and HP filters, surround support, external spectrum visualization from other Pro-Q 3 instances (as well as collision detection), per-band mid / side or left / right processing, and multiple modes (zero latency, linear phase, natural phase).

You also get Flat Tilt filter shape, spectrum grab, filter shapes (Bell, Notch, High / Low Shelf, How / Low Cut, Band Pass, Tilt Shelf, Flat Tilt), universal filter slope, EQ match, built-in spectrum analyzer for Pre-EQ, Post-EQ, and external spectrum visualization, auto gain and gain scale, optional piano roll display, intelligent solo mode, and crazy amounts more.

Audio News Room said Pro-Q was better than all stock DAW EQs, singer-songwriter Matther Koma loves everything FabFilter does, and Eddie Thoneick said he couldn’t go without it.

You should be starting to get a sense of just how powerful Pro Q-3 is, and if you want to see it in action, you can check out the video below.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

FabFilter Pro-R by FabFilter

FabFilter Pro-R by FabFilter

Reverb is an essential when it comes to vocal processing. You don’t want your tracks to come out sounding like they were sung through a bad karaoke mic blasting through a bad PA system, though. Ideally, your verb should complement the voice, give it depth, smooth out the rough edges, and add a creamy, spacious richness that doesn’t detract from the performance or enunciation.

It’s a tall order to be sure. And while there are no best reverb solutions when it comes to vocals, we see no issue putting a bug in your ear about FabFilter Pro-R, because it’s an excellent effect regardless of what you’re planning to add reverb to.

Producer / engineer Rik Simpson likes to call it a “space” plugin, and engineer Liam Nolan loved how the plugin looked and sounded.

The interface tells at least a part of the story. Instead of relying on “conventional” naming schemes for onboard parameters, they opted for more intuitive tags like brightness, character, distance, and space.

FabFilter Pro-R comes with a variety of room models, retina interface, Stepless Space control (combines room model and decay time of the verb), Decay Rate control, Intelligent Stereo Width control, Distance control, Character control, perfectly tuned Brightness knob, and Mix knob with a Lock Mix option, Predelay control.

You also get a six-band Decay Rate EQ, six-band Post EQ, real-time spectrum analyzer, full screen mode, three interface sizes (medium, large, extra-large), MIDI Learn, undo / redo and A/B comparison, smart parameter interpolation, sample-accurate automation of all parameters, help file, and more.

Overall, FabFilter Pro-R is easy to use, great sounding, and very versatile.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Vocal Rider by Waves

Vocal Rider by Waves

With multiple powerful vocal processing plugins, Waves is a go-to for a variety of VSTs that will add power to your VST library.

Vocal Rider automatically adjusts your vocal levels. The only thing you need to do is set the target range of the vocal level based on the rest of the mix. From there, Vocal Rider will take over and raise or lower your vocal gain intelligently.

Like a professional sound tech riding the fader, Vocal Rider will make the hard work of automation curves a cakewalk. Even better, unlike a compressor, it won’t add any coloration to your vocals, making it perfect for those who aren’t interested in squashing all their precious performances.

Musician / producer / composer Chris Craker found the plugin incredibly useful, mix engineer Rob Kinelski thought the Vocal Rider offered amazing control, and producer / mixing engineer Derek Garcia said it was his personal favorite for controlling vocal dynamics.

With Vocal Rider, you’ll barely need to adjust any parameters to get optimal results. Whether you don’t like compression or would like to make the tedious work of automation curves streamlined, this one is sure to come in handy.

Learn more: Waves

Renaissance Vox by Waves

Renaissance Vox by Waves

Compression is an essential when it comes to vocal processing. So much so that we’ve got a couple of VST compressors featured in this guide. After all, there are different strokes for different folks.

As someone who loves streamlined workflows, though, the idea behind Waves’ Renaissance Vox does appeal to me.

This VST compressor comes with just three controls – gating, compression, and output gain. But don’t let the simplicity of the design fool you – this plugin has been utilized by countless Grammy-winning producers on innumerable award-winning hits.

With a dynamic curve that helps any vocal cut through a mix, this baby works on just about any source material, regardless of whether you’re compressing a female vocal or a podcast interview.

The latest version of Renaissance Vox features presets by the likes of Michael Brauer and Lu Diaz, as well as an updated interface with three skins (Light, Dark, and Legacy).

Mixing engineer / producer Leslie Brathwaite said he uses it on a large percentage of mixes, mix engineer Rob Kinelski offered that Renaissance Vox finds its way onto 99% of his vocal chains, and producer / DJ / recording artist Mark Ronson thought it was a great plugin.

Learn more: Waves

Doubler by Waves

Doubler by Waves

Nowadays, it’s not really an unusual thing to double-track one’s vocals. I know producers that double-track everything, be it guitars, synths, or otherwise.

The challenge, then, is getting performances that are close and “tight” enough to sync with each other. I mean, sure, there are a lot of great tools that help you do this but… Using a Doubler is one way to achieve a similar effect (and get wider vocals) without having to capture two perfectly in-sync performances.

To get a professional sounding doubling effect, Waves’ Doubler is sure to prove satisfactory. With delay and pitch modulation, you can add body and richness to your vocals, instrument tracks, and even full mixes.

This double-tracking / chorus plugin also allows you to create an 80s harmonizer and pitch detune effect.

Composer / musician / producer Tom Holkenborg loved the simplicity and sound of the plugin, mixing engineer Justin Hergett says he uses on almost all his mixes, and mix engineer / producer Howie B loved the presets.

Learn more: Waves

Greg Wells VoiceCentric by Waves

Greg Wells VoiceCentric by Waves

Ever wanted access to Grammy-award winning producer Greg Wells’ signature vocal sound? Well, that’s exactly why Greg Wells VoiceCentric exists.

Setting up the perfect vocal chain can be work-intensive and challenging, but with VoiceCentric, you can dial in a near-perfect sound heard on the recordings of Katy Perry, OneRepublic, Adele, and many others, in mere seconds.

With one main control and three secondary controls, this streamlined plugin offers delay, doubler, and reverb settings for fine-tuning (this will also save a lot of time setting up the perfect effects chain).

Artist / songwriter / producer Lucas Silveira said the Greg Wells series of plugins has saved him many times, singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / film composer / producer Mike Patton called it “some serious magic,” and FOH and monitor engineer / production manager Lucas Pinzón is a big fan.

With VoiceCentric, there are many things you can achieve, but to me it sounds like it adds presence while giving the vocal a bit of modulated wobble and pleasing echo. Check out the video to hear how it sounds soloed and in a mix.

Learn more: Waves

Tube-Tech Compressor Collection by Softube

Tube-Tech Compressor Collection by Softube

Now, when it comes to evening out the dynamics, compression isn’t your only option anymore. But let’s face the facts, sometimes you just love the character of that compressor, or it makes your tracks sit ever so nicely in the mix…

Softube’s Tube-Tech Compressor Collection is honestly just so sweet, it might make you want to use it on everything.

What you’re getting in this collection is the CL 1B and CL 1B Mk II, which are more distinct from each other than you might think. The CL 1B is beloved as a vocal compressor on a variety of genres, while the CL 1B Mk II adds side-chain low cut filters, parallel mixing, as well as added detail and punch.

Overall, the compressor features simple, intuitive controls, making it easy to set up for a variety of vocal styles. It’s a versatile compressor with some serious character, and if that’s your thing, it would be unwise to move on before checking out how it sounds in the video below.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

VocAlign Project 5 by Synchro Arts

VocAlign Project 5 by Synchro Arts

So, you’ve captured numerous perfect vocal performances (doubling, harmony, etc.). But now you need to line them up and spend time in editing to ensure they’re tightly synchronized. The process can be long-winded and agonizing.

Well, you can let Synchro Arts’ VocAlign Project 5 do the heavy lifting for you. This plugin will take any two vocal performances and automatically align them in a matter of seconds.

Take advantage of the tightness control, SmartAlign, alignment presets, enhanced waveform displays, and resizable GUI to fine tune your vocal tracks without spending hours matching them up.

VocAlign Project 5 can also be used on instruments and sound effects, and it comes with the Revoice Pro Alignment Algorithm, SmartAlign Intelligent Processing, ARA2 (Audio Random Access) support, and more.

VocAlign Project 5 works just as it sounds. You won’t always get a perfect result out of the box, but if you do some fine-tuning using the onboard controls, the process should prove effortless. Also see it in action in the video below.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Weiss Deess by Softube

Weiss Deess by Softube

Post-processing, vocal tracks can come out sounding a little too crisp. After all that hard work of getting those vocals to stand out in a mix, you can’t just dial down the high-end EQ and expect to retain the result you originally created (since you probably boosted it for the extra presence in the first place).

This is exactly where de-essing comes in, and Softube’s Weiss Deess (emulating the legendary Weiss DS1-MK3 Digital Mastering Compressor) is a high-quality de-esser you can use on unruly vocals, piercing cymbals, or even harshness in a master.

Weiss Deess comes with two bands of de-essing, low-latency mode, and all the controls you need to create professional results.

Mastering engineer Maor Applebaum called it “magic,” and founder of Weiss Engineering Daniel Weiss himself thought the plugin had the golden sound boasted by the original hardware.

For calming sibilance, and removing excessive harshness in your vocal tracks, Weiss Deess is a superb option.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Radiator by Soundtoys

Radiator by Soundtoys

Producers love the sound of the 60s classic Altec 1567A tube mixer, used prolifically on early Motown hits. Soundtoys’ Radiator is a dual drive tube input channel EQ based on the original hardware.

Producer-engineer Billy Bush thought the plugin gave his vocals and drums an instant vibe, and producer / songwriter Butch Walker thought it sounded phenomenal on vocals.

This analog modelled tube mixer with EQ comes with independent input and output amplification stages. Radiator also lets you load the transformers in two separate ways using the mic/line switch for different sounds.

For loud, warm, colored, and gritty sounds, there’s just nothing quite like the Radiator.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Transient Shaper by Softube

Transient Shaper by Softube

A plugin with a very straightforward name, Transient Shaper is a dual band processor letting you affect just the treble or bass part of a sound while leaving the rest untouched. That makes it more than just another attack and decay controller.

This makes it an effective tool for drums, as you get to control the sustain and boom. But it’s also great for adding clarity and presence to a vocal track with high frequency transience. Of course, you can go in the opposite direction by giving your vocals a darker, vintage vibe too.

Whether it’s guitar, piano, bass, or even electronic drums, you can do things with Transient Shaper you just wouldn’t be able to do with the average EQ. It lets you add or subtract sustain and punch to and from any track.

Check out the video below to see and hear the Transient Shaper in action.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

MicroShift by Soundtoys

MicroShift by Soundtoys

So, the vocals are sitting nicely at the center of the mix. But… there’s just something missing. Even after setting up your vocal chain with EQ, compression, reverb, and so on, it’s not as front and center as you would like. What now? Add saturation?

Obviously, there are different ways of dealing with this situation, but one solution that’s always worth exploring is stereo width. That’s where Soundtoys’ MicroShift comes in.

In addition to adding width to your vocals, MicroShift is a powerful tool for beefing up lead guitars, synths, and more. Whether you want to make a track pop or send it further into the background, this plugin can do both.

MicroShift comes with three classic stereo widening styles, with a special combination of pitch shifting and delay.

In creating MicroShift, Sountoys sought to emulate the likes of the Eventide H3000 as well as the AMS DMX 15-80s. The plugin comes complete with saturation and de-glitching algorithms to be as close to the source material as possible.

Though it’s a simple effect to use, fine-tuning controls are available. You can fine tune the character of the width with the delay, detune, and focus controls.

To sweeten the deal, Soundtoys threw in Little MicroShift, the original mini version of MicroShift.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A Vocal VST Plugin?

Vocal VST plugins come in many shapes and sizes. While there are bundles and collections that come with many vocal processing solutions, there isn’t necessarily any one package that’s going to cover all the bases.

If you’re just getting started, chances are your DAW comes with stock plugins sufficient to do some basic processing, but obviously there are going to be some limitations in terms of sound quality, features, and more.

Here are the main things to consider while shopping for the ideal VST plugin(s).

Selection

Consider your inventory. Do you have a reverb VST you’re already quite satisfied with? You might not need another. Don’t have a stereo widening effect? Might be a good time to add one.

Also look at plugins you’d like to upgrade. Could you use a better compressor? It might make a big difference.

Sound Quality

Check out the videos and additional audio samples as needed. Make sure you like the sound of something before you buy it. While some plugins are considerably more popular than others, pros always prioritize working with what they know and what they like most.

Features

Always ensure you’re comparing a reverb to a reverb, compressor to compressor, etc. Otherwise, a straight feature comparison isn’t very useful.

Also understand that features are sometimes hard to compare, and in such an instance, you might want to put sound quality above parameters and controls.

Budget

Don’t forget your budget when shopping for musical gear. Everything costs something.

VST plugins appearing in this guide go from about $50 to roughly $700. You can easily spend a lot of money in one go, especially if you end up filling your shopping cart with multiple plugins.

Please spend responsibly. We don’t recommend going into debt for a purchase like this. After all, you want your music career to be sustainable. So, be patient, save up for what you need, and if you can’t afford a lot of plugins right now, hone your skills with what you’ve got.

Final Thoughts

With the right tools in tow, you’ll be able to dial in the perfect vocal sound with greater efficiency than ever before. While it might still take a little work to get your vocal tracks optimized, today’s tools are more streamlined, efficient, and automatic than they ever were in the past. What a time to be alive!

Just remember to take your toys out of their wrapping and start playing with them before you bust them out at your next session. You’ll always do better work with tools you know how to use.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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