11 Best VST Plugins For Cubase 2024

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Cubase is loved by producers, composers, songwriters, and more, and in a way, it set the standard for Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) to come.

Cubase comes with many of its own virtual effects and instruments, and there aren’t many gaps in its feature set. But since it does play well with third-party plugins, it’s well worth considering strategic advanced upgrades.

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

Sektor by Initial Audio – Best Overall

Sektor by Initial Audio – Best Overall

Cubase doesn’t have anything by way of wavetable synthesis, the sound that has practically come to define modern music (especially electronic music). If you’re serious about finding a powerful wavetable synth, there’s a good chance you’ll be spending a bit of money on it. So, why not consider Initial Audio’s moderately priced Sektor?

This polyphonic wavetable synthesizer is easy to use, while offering plenty of customization, and a high-quality sound besides.

Sektor gives you access to 16 voices per wavetable oscillator with OSC+ (with parameters for the waveform, pitch, phase, stereo spread, level, detune on each unison voice), two effect racks (with reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, distortion, compressor, stereo shaper, and a four-band EQ).

With 750+ presets, 200+ wavetables, a built-in sampler engine with hundreds of samples, and much more, Sektor is ideally suited to hip-hop, trap, R&B, EDM, dubstep, Drum & Bass, and virtually any electronic genre you can name.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Chandler Limited Curve Bender Mastering EQ by Softube – Best Premium Option

Chandler Limited Curve Bender Mastering EQ by Softube – Best Premium Option

A powerful EQ is a must-have for every producer, but there’s just something about a capable mastering EQ you can’t easily duplicate. Could Softube’s Chandler Limited Curve Bender Mastering EQ be that EQ for you? There’s only one way to find out.

The hardware original is still considered the best of its kind, and possibly even the best piece of analog studio equipment available.

Softube couldn’t resist adding some upgrades to the original, of course, with four bands (as opposed to the original’s two), 51 fixed filter points (up from nine), additional Q and gain options, and even new low and high pass filter options.

Softube also threw in mid / side processing, channel linking, and professionally created presets (via Tony Maserati, Joe Chiccarelli, Howard Willing, and others) to propel this baby to the modern era.

Whether on individual tracks, instrument groups, or the master bus, Chandler Limited Curve Bender Mastering EQ has the reputation of sounding good on everything. Try it for yourself.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter

FabFilter Pro-Q 3 by FabFilter

Leveling up your EQ game is as simple as FabFilter Pro-Q 3. FabFilter has come to define what it means to be “industry standard,” but not in the same way Pro Tools did (effectively by force). No, FabFilter products are legitimately overpowered, especially when it comes to mixing staples like EQ, reverb, compression, and the like.

We could talk about all the features of this plugin, and it wouldn’t be a complete waste of time, but we’d also be here for days.

Here’s what you need to know. FabFilter Pro-Q 3 sounds great, is easy to use, and it has great visualization features besides. That means you can see exactly how you’re affecting your tracks with your EQ settings, which will teach you the ins and outs of effective EQ.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Chor’X by XILS Lab – Best Budget Option

Chor’X by XILS Lab – Best Budget Option

Chorusing is a powerful effect for creating depth, doubling, widening, and more. It’s perfect for vocals, guitars, synths, drums, and other instruments that need some thickening and/or modulation.

XILS Lab’s Chor’X is quite superb, given that it combines four vintage style chorus effects with a Bucket-Brigade Delay (BBD) emulation. It also comes with a True Stereo Dynamic Spatializer. This deadly combo makes it possible to add depth, dimension, and space to your tracks.

If you want to keep the tweaking simple, stick to the Legacy view. But if you want more control over the effect, use the Advanced view to make finer adjustments. Brilliant.

But what four modes do you get? Chor’X includes CS-80, Synthex, Dim-D, and V+ 300, each of which have been meticulously studied and emulated. The plugin also comes with the True Stereo Dynamic Engine (TSDE) so that you have more control over the stereo field (something certain choruses were famous for being able to do).

You might be worried about Chor’X sucking the bass out of your instruments, but the Dry tool lets you treat audio material while leaving transients dry.

With all this and more, Chor’X Is going to prove hard to top, especially at this price point.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Chandler Limited Germanium Compressor by Softube

Chandler Limited Germanium Compressor by Softube

Dynamics processors are a practical necessity in mixing and sometimes mastering, but some processors can do more than others and bring something special to the table. That’s certainly the case with Softube’s Chandler Limited Germanium Compressor, a powerful and nuanced emulation of the original.

Why do producers love it? Because the Chandler Limited Gemanium Compressor can replace multiple effects in your processing chain – EQ, filters, transient shapers, saturation, and of course compression.

If you’re looking to colorize, add character, or even give your tracks some needed “mojo,” you’ll find this compressor indispensable. This compressor can work for subtle tweaks to sound design, and everything in between.

Chandler Limited Germanium Compressor comes with Clean Comp and Dirty Comp settings with control over Total Harmonic Distortion (THD), comp curve, attack and release, gain / Gemanium drive and feedback, external sidechain, external sidechain gain, mid / side processing, and much more.

If you think your compression game might require a kick in the pants, this premium compressor ought to do the trick.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Diva by u-he

Diva by u-he

Diva’s name is up there with some of the best and most recognizable synthesizers – Pigments, Omnisphere, Serum, Hive, Vital, and more. But Diva is a beast all its own. This is a virtual analog synthesizer, and that’s where it shines – in delivering classic hardware synth sounds.

With 1,200+ presets, an oscilloscope, and all the goodies that make for a powerhouse synth – filters, envelopes, effects, modifiers, trimmers, and more – Diva can deliver all those classic synth sounds everyone drools over.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Rift 2.0 by Minimal Audio

Rift 2.0 by Minimal Audio

If you’re looking for a powerful, modern hybrid distortion, you should check out Minimal Audio’s Rift 2.0. With a multi-band design, Rift 2.0 lets you customize your distortion to the nth degree.

In total, Rift 2.0 comes a multi-polar distortion engine, with 30 distortion types, six stages of processing, physical modeling of feedback and delay, morphing filters, modulation sequencing, pitch snapping, transposition, MIDI tracking, intelligent randomization, in-app tooltips, oversampling, over 400 presets, and more.

Rift 2.0 also comes with a dark mode, which should be easier on your eyes, especially at night.

Rift can be used for a variety of applications, whether it’s adding weight to a kick, adding texture to bass, or otherwise.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

UltraVox by Leapwing Audio

UltraVox by Leapwing Audio

Setting up an effects chain for vocals is generally a lengthy process. And even if you find yourself using the same four to five effects every single time, you probably end up having to tweak each to suit the specific singer and performance, which can be time-consuming.

Leapwing Audio’s UltraVox vocal processor aims to take the hassle out of dialing in perfect vocals, a job it does with flying colors.

UltraVox is super easy to use, with four unique algorithms optimized for various types of vocals, and a set and forget design.

The plugin is built on a few simple effects to optimize your vocals for the big leagues. First is compression, which will help with balance and consistency in the performance. Then comes gate, which helps eliminate room noise as well as breaths and other mouth sounds that can be emphasized post compression.

Next up is harmonics. As it sounds, it’s basically a saturation effect. Then, you can use the air control to boost the high end without making it piercing and hard to listen to.

And that’s all there is to it. Simple, easy to use, and effective, UltraVox works well first in line in your vocal processing chain.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

MultiBender by W. A. Production

MultiBender by W. A. Production

“Delays are all the same, aren’t they?”

Well, I know what you mean. The effect as well as its intended application is basically the same across the board. So, besides some subtle differences to tone and character, most delays are basically the same.

But W. A. Production’s MultiBender shakes things up and offers something a little different. This delay comes with multi-band processing, four simultaneous delay modules, and tempo syncing.

The parameters at the top of the interface control the delay processing, which is split into three distinct modules. All you need to do to adjust the frequency ranges for the three bands is to drag the crossover points in the waveform.

You can then adjust the delay time, gain, and feedback level for each band. If, for example, you want a short delay on the bass frequencies but longer delays on the high and mid frequencies, you can do exactly that. Yes, you can control the three bands of delays per frequency.

W. A. Production could have certainly left it there and you’d still have a unique delay on your hands. But they didn’t. They also made it possible to add three effects per band – detuning, saturation, and bit crushing. Again, that means you can effect each frequency a little differently.

If you want to create a subtle stereo effect, you can utilize the built-in HAAS control to offset left and right channels. MultiBender also comes with many presets for guitar, synth, bass, drums, and more.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

RC-20 Retro Color by XLN Audio

RC-20 Retro Color by XLN Audio

In some ways, we hate to keep bringing it up, but for those that need a comprehensive saturation / lo-fi effect with a built-in reverb, we’re not sure you can do much better than XLN Audio’s RC-20 Retro Color. Besides the obvious benefits of its six-module design, it’s also very reasonably priced.

So, what does RC-20 Retro Color come with? You get a mix of saturation and distortion (with a variety of distortion types), noise generator, wobble and flutter, degrader and bitcrusher, and volume drops modules.

These are all the essentials you could possibly want in aging tracks, making them pop, adding some warmth and character to them, and more. And let’s face it – that is kind of the name of the game nowadays. Pristine recordings can sound lifeless and boring.

It may seem like snake oil, but once you’re hooked you probably won’t look back. If you want to do more with saturation and lo-fi effects, check out RC-20 Retro Color to see whether it’s right for you.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Saturate by Newfangled Audio

Saturate by Newfangled Audio

You’ll find a few distortion and saturation tools throughout this guide, but Newfangled Audio’s Saturate is the most affordable. That doesn’t mean you should underestimate what it can do, mind you.

Saturate acts as a spectral clipper, which the Elevate Mastering Limiter played a significant part in popularizing. This plugin lets you add up to 24 dB of overdrive, and with the SHAPE control, you can morph between hard clipping and a smoother curve.

Saturate is simple to control and features minimal parameters. But it does come with independent input and output levels, auto output level scaling, saturation curve display and meter, anti-aliasing mode, Symmetry control for adding more harmonics, and a Ceiling control for setting the clipping threshold.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A VST Plugin For Cubase?

We’ve covered several types of plugins in this guide – saturation / distortion, chorus, compression, delay, EQ, vocal processing, and synthesizers. Unless your budget is unlimited, it would be a good idea to consider what upgrades you want to make at this juncture.

But what qualities should you be looking for in a VST plugin for Cubase? Here are some thoughts:

  • Sound quality. Listen to everything – sound clips, video demos, video reviews, all of it. We know this takes time, but it’s the surest way to end up with a purchase you can write home about.
  • Features. What does the plugin come with? Are these features important to you? Will you be using them? Are there any features you don’t understand or haven’t heard of? Could you research these features? Again, a thorough exploration of feature set can help the buying process. But always remember – straight comparisons do not apply to plugins in different categories – EQ and reverb, for example, are in entirely different realms.
  • Budget. Before buying anything, run it through your budget. I know, it may seem like I’m raining down on your parade, but before you get too excited, you should consider how much money you have available for studio related purchases. We don’t recommend going into debt for any purchases, so be careful with that credit card of yours!

Top VST Plugins For Cubase, Final Thoughts

My advice? Spend a ton of time with every VST plugin you purchase. Learn it inside and out. That way, you’ll know exactly how it works, as well as how it can be used creatively in your projects. That goes for any stock effects you’re using too – learn them inside and out, because this will make you a better producer.

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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