In this article you’ll find VST effects which are most widely used in 2024 by music industry professionals - producers, mixing and mastering engineers. We’ll go through all the effect categories to give you a complete overview of what's definitely worth getting in 2024.
Let’s get started!
1. Free Effects
MeldaProduction Free FX Bundle
The MFreeFXBundle is a remarkable collection of 37 high quality free audio plugins. The bundle encompasses a diverse range of effects, including EQs, compressors, filters, autotuners, stereo wideners, waveshapers, and analyzers, providing a wealth of creative possibilities. Particularly noteworthy are Melda's modulation effects, featuring a ring modulator, flanger, tremolo and vibrato, each offering incredibly in-depth parameters.
Saturation Knob from Softube is an incredibly simple plugin which offers three modes – Keep High, Neutral, and Keep Low – making it versatile for various applications like enhancing drums, bass, vocals, and more.
Xfer Records OTT is a free plugin re-creation of an Ableton Live preset in the Multiband Compressor effect. It's an upwards/downwards compressor set-up used by many dubstep and electro producers. The sound of OTT is incredibly popular, and using the effect is one of the top techniques for making powerful sounding synth sounds.
Polyverse Wider 2
Polyverse Wider 2 is a unique stereo widener plug-in is able to expand a fully mono signal to full stereo. It maintains mono compatibility, ensuring the widened signal remains in phase even when summed back to mono. The new version introduces features like the ability to exclude low frequencies from the widening effect and a mono button to check compatibility.
CamelCrusher by Camel Audio is a completely free, legendary distortion VST. It features four modules: Distortion, Filter, Compressor, and Master, each with very simple controls. Its two distortion algorithms, Tube and Mech, offer a range from smooth analog-like textures to grittier, dirtier tones. The plugin also includes an analog-style low-pass filter and a one-knob compressor with a Phat Mode for a fatter sound.
2. Plugin Bundles
FabFilter Total Bundle
FabFilter's Total Bundle for desktop is a comprehensive set of professional-grade audio plug-ins, including EQ, reverb, compressor, and more. The plugins are acclaimed for their sonic capabilities and sleek user interfaces. Especially worth mentioning are the Pro-Q (Equalizer), Pro-L (Limiter), Pro-R (Reverb) and Pro-C (Compression), which made their way into countless music studios worldwide.
The Soundtoys 5 Bundle enables you to create luscious reverberation (SuperPlate), amazing distortion (Decapitator, Radiator, Devil-Loc), singature echo (EchoBoy, PrimalTap), great vocal effects (Little AlterBoy), and reverse shimmer delay (Crystallizer). It also takes modulation to new heights with beat-synced rhythmic effects from PanMan, Tremolator, FilterFreak, and PhaseMistress.
UAD Producer Edition
Among many other bundles Universal Audio offers, the Producer Edition stands out. It offers a curated collection of instrument plug-ins, such as Electra 88 Vintage Keyboard Studio, Moog Minimoog, and effect plug-ins like the 1176 Classic Limiter Collection and Galaxy Tape Echo. It’s a great choice for anyone in need of vintage-inspired synths, in-the-box grand pianos, analog warmth for vocals and instruments, as well as iconic tube compressors and EQs for professional mixing purposes.
T-Racks 5 MAX v2
T-RackS 5 MAX v2 is an extensive mixing and mastering suite. With 53 high-end audio processors, the collection includes compressors, limiters, equalizers, channel strips, reverbs, and much, much more. Especially worth mentioning are the emulations of classic devices like TASCAM 388 & Porta One, Roland Space Echo, various incredible tape machines, Leslie speaker emulation, as well as plenty of iconic compressors and channel strips.
Arturia FX Collection 4
FX Collection 4 features 30 creative audio effects - both iconic studio emulations and experimental plugins. Included are 3 various distortions, 6 spatial and reverb effects, 5 equalizers and preamps, 3 delays, 5 compressors, as well as 8 modulation effects. With upgraded classics like Rev LX-24 and innovative additions like Dist COLDFIRE, Rotary CLS-222, and Filter MS-20, the package covers a very wide range of effects.
D16 SilverLine Collection
The SilverLine collection includes effects like reverb, chorus, phaser, bitcrusher, multiband distortion, and vintage tube distortion. Notable effects include Toraverb (Reverb), Fazortan (Phaser), and Redoptor (Tube distortion). Syntorus, a chorus plugin, stands out for its warmth and analog pathway emulation, while Decimort delivers typical lofi sound as a bitcrusher.
Waves Diamond Bundle
The Waves Diamond Bundle includes 76 audio mixing and mastering plugins, covering dynamics, EQ, reverb, pitch correction, spatial imaging, and much more. It's great for various studio applications, including tracking, mixing, mastering, sound design, and audio restoration. It encompasses the huge selection of plugins from Waves Platinum, Restoration, and Transform bundles, as well as additional tools like V-Comp, L3 Multimaximizer, NLS Non-Linear Summer.
Moogerfooger Effects Plugin Bundle
The Moogerfooger Effects Plugin Bundle offers a digital recreation of Moog's classic analog effects pedals, capturing the legendary tone and musicality of the original hardware. It includes seven meticulously recreated effects, such as the MF-101S Lowpass Filter, MF-104S Analog Delay, MF-108S Cluster Flux (Chorus, Flanger and Vibrato), as well as the MF-109S Saturator. Each plugin preserves the lush, distinctive tones of the original analog circuits.
3. Vocal Plugins
Soothe2 is a dynamic resonance suppressor designed to remove harshness from any sound source, manage sibilance in vocals transparently, and treat tonal imbalances from suboptimal recordings. Its intuitive interface and effectiveness have garnered praise from industry professionals like Skrillex, making it a versatile tool for various audio applications.
Antares AutoTune Pro X
Auto-Tune Pro X stands out as the industry's most sophisticated pitch correction effect, boasting innovative Throat Modeling and Formant Correction controls for unparalleled vocal optimization. Its redesigned Graph Mode, Auto Mode for real-time correction, an exclusive collection of artist presets, as well as the new Presets Manager fast-track your creative process when recording and mixing vocals.
Melodyne empowers you to intuitively edit individual notes of recordings and samples, encompassing their characteristics, scales, keys, chords, timing, tempo, and tone color. It uses a sophisticated analysis process that delves deeply into your audio material. As a result, it’s able to replace waveforms with a note-based system, allowing intricate manipulation. It’s used in top studios worldwide, and proves to be particularly useful for advanced vocal editing.
iZotope Nectar 3's exceptional sound quality and user-friendly design make it a highly recommended tool for enhancing vocals in various genres. It encompasses plenty of advanced tools designed for vocal processing (EQ, Pitch, Dimension, Compressor, Reverb, De-esser and much more). The recent update also includes an innovative AI Vocal Assistant for automatic processing.
4. Reverb Plugins
Eventide's Blackhole reverb excels on guitars, strings, pads, and even adds an angelic sheen to vocals. From extreme space-warping effects to subtle musical enhancements, Blackhole offers versatility that goes beyond the ordinary. Its innovative features like the "Gravity" control, Kill Switch, Mix Lock, and flexible stereo field options make it a powerful and inspiring tool.
Valhalla reverbs are widely acclaimed for their exceptional sound quality, and Plate maintains this standard with ultra-smooth, realistic, and convincing sounds that feel alive and dynamic. The plugin's various modes offer luscious colors suitable for diverse mixing scenarios. It also features a streamlined interface that allows for quick and effective results without overwhelming parameters.
Lexicon PCM Native
Lexicon is one of the most widely recognized companies producing hardware reverb units. Based on the legendary PCM96 hardware unit, PCM Native Reverb Plug-In Bundle delivers hardware-quality reverb in a software format. Included are 7 Lexicon reverbs, including Vintage Plate, Hall, Room, and more, offering flexibility and finely-crafted presets for professional mixes.
5. Drive Plugins
U-he Satin provides a comprehensive and flexible solution for tape saturation. The effect offers plenty of presets, emulating classic professional tape machines, tape delays, flanging/chorus effects, and more. Two large knobs for input and output levels are highlighted as crucial controls in Satin, ensuring a familiar feel for users of analogue recording gear.
Fazertone Overdrive Essentials
Overdrive Essentials is an AI-modeled distortion pedal plugin featuring the authentic analog sounds of nine legendary drive and fuzz gutiar pedals. Using neural networks, it captures the essence of classic units. The plugin includes emulation of the legendary RAT, Tube Screamer, Boss DS-2, SD-1 and BD-2, Big Muff, Fuzz Face and even The Klone!
RC-20 Retro Color
RC-20 Retro Color is a versatile "Lo-fi" creative effect plugin designed to infuse vintage warmth into any track or mix. With six effect modules, including a Noise Generator, Wobble & Flutter, Saturation & Distortion, Degrader & Bitcrusher, Reverb, and Volume Drops, RC-20 Retro Color provides a range of textures and sonic enhancements.
Fabfilter Saturn 2
FabFilter Saturn 2 is a powerful distortion and saturation plugin inspired by vintage sounds of tubes, tape, transformers, and guitar amps. With 28 distortion styles, Saturn 2 allows users to achieve everything from subtle warmth to wild multiband guitar amp effects. The multiband design with per-band controls for dynamics, drive, mix, feedback, tone, and level provides a huge amount of control over the sound.
6. Other Effects
Izotope Ozone 11 Advanced
Ozone 11 Advanced offers all the essential mastering effects in one plugin, as well as plenty of modern, unique additions. With cutting-edge processing modules and AI-powered workflows, it's able to maximize the power of your tracks. It continues the legacy of being an industry-standard mastering plugin, maintaining its position as a go-to choice for many musicians over the past two decades.
Sonible Smart EQ 3
The smart:EQ 3 is an intelligent equalizer designed to enhance detail, clarity, and transparency in single tracks or arrangements of up to six channels. What makes it special are the AI-powered functions, thanks to which you're able to quickly achieve spectral balance, clean up resonances and notches for a well-balanced sound.
Slate Digital Virtual Buss Compressors
The Virtual Buss Compressors from Slate Digital offers three distinct compressor emulations. The FG-Grey emulates the SSL 4000 G-Series Buss Compressor, providing a snappy and in-your-face compression ideal for pop. The FG-Red replicates the Focusrite Red 3 Compressor/Limiter, preferred by renowned mix engineer Chris Lord-Alge, and offers a versatile saturation function. The FG-Mu is based on the Fairchild 670 tube compressor, providing a lush and vintage-flavored compression suitable for slow tracks. The bundle also includes the FG-Rack, allowing users to audition and combine the compressors in series.
Glitch 2 is a versatile creative processing plugin which enables you to easily create interesting effects and transitions. With its wide choice of built-in effects and the improved sequencer, you are able to be as gentle or brutal as desired. It's great for slicing, dicing, chopping, and transforming sounds into radical new forms, with tempo-synced effects and controls for shaping the output.
Izotope RX-10 Advanced
RX 10 Advanced, the award-winning audio repair suite, is a trusted tool among leading audio engineers. Built on decades of research, it provides an intuitive and intelligent solution to restore, clean up, and improve recordings in various applications, such as post-production, music, and content creation. With features like the Repair Assistant, Text Navigation, Multiple Speaker Detection, De-Hum, and Upgraded Spectral Recovery, RX 10 is designed to deliver superb sound quality.
If you’re in need of guitar equipment emulation, IK Multimedia's AmpliTube 5 is the one-stop solution. It offers a massive collection of amps and effects with first-class modeling, many of which have officially been approved by major brands. It stands out for its hyper-realistic UI, intuitive user experience, and powerful preset browser, making it a versatile and creative sound design package for guitarists and other musicians.