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The Best Vocal Plugins for Music Production


The Best Vocal Plugins for Music Production  · 

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Whether you’re working at home or in a pro studio, you can still use the best vocal plugins to give your productions that commercial sound.

The quality of the plug-ins we have currently available makes it easier than ever to achieve the upfront vocal sound we hear on Pop records. However, how you record vocals is still a foundational part of getting these good results.

Once you have good takes recorded, there are a few tools you can use to give your vocal sound the character it needs to stand out amongst the crowd. So let’s find out how to find the best vocal plug-ins for your style of music.

The Best Vocal Plugins

As soon as you start to research the plug-ins available, you can find the sheer amount overwhelming. To make things a little easier to navigate, there are two opposing schools of thought when it comes to developing audio plug-ins.

A wide range of plug-ins is based on hardware units and modelling the behaviour and sonic character of the audio signal within their unique circuitry. (UAD, Softube)

Meanwhile, other plug-in developers focus on processing functionality that simply isn’t possible with hardware. (Oeksound, Zynaptiq)

Of course, there are no hard and fast rules. So many audio software developers may use a combination of these two philosophies. However, this should help you find the best plugins when you decide if you want a clean and clinical processor, or something more colourful.

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Oeksound Soothe 2

The Soothe 2 is a dynamic resonance suppression plug-in that took the industry by storm and instantly cemented itself into the must-have lists of the world’s top producers and engineers.

The best Soothe 2 Alternative: Soothe 2!
Soothe 2

The days of clip-gaining individual sibilances are gone, as Soothe’s multiband processing interface allows you to quickly isolate and reduce any part of the frequency range.

This is especially useful to achieve uniformity when mixing tracks that have one or more featured artists. Moreover, it can help reduce the proximity effect or harsh reflections from less-than-ideal recording environments.

*Note: If Soothe 2 is out of your price range, be sure to check out this article about more affordable alternatives.

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Soundtoys Little AlterBoy

Software tools like Celemony Melodyne, and Antares Auto-Tune, are widely used for doing both corrective and creative vocal pitch processing. However, a simple yet versatile tool called the Little Alterboy has become the standard for the pitched vocal effects used in Pop and Hip-Hop.

Soundtoys Little AlterBoy
Soundtoys Little AlterBoy

Why does Little AlterBoy sound so good? Well, the founding Soundtoys team has a rich history with the development of pitch algorithms, with members involved in the creation of the famous Eventide H3000.

Little AlterBoy has three basic operating modes: Transpose, Quantize, and Robot. Moreover, the Drive control introduces saturation from one of the Decapitator’s tube models.

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FabFilter Pro-Q 3

If you want to perform surgery within the vocal frequency range, the FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is always one of the first plug-ins you will reach for. Pro-Q has been the industry standard parametric EQ plug-in, but with version 3 it embraced the concept of dynamic equalization.

Pro-Q3 from Fabfilter
Pro-Q3

Pro-Q 3 has the ability to introduce dynamic processing with external sidechain triggering to any of the 24 possible bands. Moreover, the plug-in offers Mid-side processing, as well as individual left or right channel processing on each individual band.

Overall, the impressive combination of advanced utilitarian features and an intuitive interface makes the Pro-Q 3 an absolutely essential mixing tool. You’ll use it on everything, but especially on vocals.

*Note: if FabFilter Pro-Q 3 is out of your price range, be sure to check out this article about more affordable alternatives.

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Universal Audio 1176 Classic Limiter Collection

Compression is an essential part of any vocal chain. So, when you want more character than the cleaner more clinical processors like the Pro-C 2, the classic UAD 1176 will become your closest ally.

Universal Audio 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection
Universal Audio 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection

The collection gives you three versions of the classic 1176 peak limiter including revisions A, E, and AE. Moreover, each one is meticulously modeled on the specific hardware characteristics and provides features like the legendary all-buttons and no-ratio modes.

In addition, you have access to a sidechain filter and a range of artist presets to get you started. Overall, it’s a great-sounding processor that is easy to work with and the 1176 can be used on far more than just vocals.

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Waves Renaissance Vox

What comes at the end of the plug-in chain on your vocal channel? For years, the answer has been RVox. Whether you’re a fan of Waves software or not, it’s still a highly relevant tool for achieving consistency with multiple vocal processors running.

Waves Renaissance Vox

Chances are you’ll use it on every individual vocal track, but it also does wonders on vocal groups, effects returns, and busses. The interface may look simple, but the processing is extremely responsive, so you can hear it working immediately.

By combining a noise gate, soft-knee compressor with auto-gain, and limiter, you have the perfect tool set to push your vocals to the front of the mix. Also, there are alternatives like FabFilter Pro-C 2, where its Vocal mode can produce similar results.

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More about the Best Vocal Plugins:

*Note: This article contains advertising links that help us finance our site. Don’t worry: the price for you always stays the same! If you purchase something through these links, we receive a small commission. Thank you for your support!

Image Sources:

  • Soothe 2: Oeksound
  • Soundtoys Little AlterBoy: Soundtoys
  • Pro-Q3 from Fabfilter: Fabfilter
  • Universal Audio 1176 Classic Limiter Plug-In Collection: Bonedo
  • pb: Plugin Boutique
The Best Vocal Plugins for Music Production

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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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