Menu

Login

New to Audio Assemble?

Register

Already have an account?

Best Vocal FX Plugins

Want to jump straight to the answer? Our choice for the Best Vocal FX Plugin is the iZotope VocalSynth 2!

If you have read through our guides on vocal production tools that all happen in earlier stages of the mixing process, it’s time to dive into the best vocal effects plugins.

Though many multi-effects plugins can generally get the job done, there are some tools that are far more suited for the task of making vocals an instrument all their own, and making your voice stand out, whether or not it’s in a choir.

When it comes to vocal fx plugins there are 4 different types of effects that plugins make their focal points. Most times these effect types can be found in other plugins that dive into the more intricate aspects of the overall effect but aren’t tailored toward the subtle nuances of dealing with vocals.

Quicklook: Best Vocal FX Plugins

  1. iZotope VocalSynth 2 — Best Vocal Effect Processing Plugin
  2. Antares Mutator — Best Voice Modulation Effect Plugin
  3. Polyverse Manipulator — Best Pitch Manipulation Effect Plugin
  4. Image-Line Vocodex — Best Vocoder Plugin for Windows
  5. TAL-Vocoder — Best Free Vocoder Plugin
  6. SoundToys Little Alter Boy
  7. Waves – Renaissance Vox
  8. Waves – CLA Vocals
  9. Antares: Auto-Tune Pro
  10. Waves – Vocal Rider
  11. iZotope – Nectar 3 Plus
  12. Antares – AutoTune EFX
  13. KSHMR – KSHMR Essentials

Jump To

1. iZotope VocalSynth 2

Best For: Vocal Effect Processing Plugin

Since releasing the original Nectar plugin, iZotope has become one of the leading plugin developers in the world of vocal processing tools. Since Nectar’s initial launch the company has released a second incarnation of the Nectar engine, the Nectar Pitch Editor, and a breath controlling plugin that also comes in the Nectar 2 vocal suite. iZotope’s VocalSynth2 is equal parts vocal synth and digital talkbox. Featuring a host of controls that can turn your voice into anything from a monster to a machine, vocal synth is the ultimate vocal effect plugin.

Price:

Formant Shifting: Yes

Vocoder: Yes

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Yes

Talkbox: Yes

Pitch Correction: General

Other FX: Distort, Filter, Transform (speaker and amp convolutions engine), Shred (glitch engine) and Delay effects.

2. Antares Mutator

Best For: Voice Modulation Effect

Antares may be best known for its flagship pitch correction plugins, but that doesn’t mean that’s where the buck stops. Antares’ Mutator is one of the easiest yet comprehensive voice modulation plugins on the market. The mutator allows users to make alternate mutations to a voice and continue to mutate it further with a simple turn of a knob, if you really want to get crazy you can turn on the Alienize feature to create a whole new you. Like AutoTune, users can also change the vocal range, throat length, or width and shift the pitch.

Price:

Formant Shifting: Yes

Vocoder: No

MIDI Control: No

Harmony Engine: Within mutations only

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: No

Other FX or Features: Alienize and Tempo Sync.

Hey producers!
Looking for fresh new sounds?
You’ll find a bunch in our sample pack marketplace.

3. Polyverse Manipulator

Best For: Pitch Manipulation

Helmed by Dim Mak legacies Infected Mushroom, Manipulator is one of my favorite tools to use on vocals to bring out the closest thing the audio world has to the uncanny valley. Through tools that are normally only found in granular synthesizers, Manipulator allows users to drastically change characteristics of a vocals timbre and pitch. Unlike many of the other plugins on this list, Manipulator can be used fully live and includes a comprehensive real-time time stretch.

Price:

Formant Shifting: Yes

Vocoder: No

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: 4 part harmony engine.

Talkbox: Yes in the form of a Synthesizer Voice Transformation

Pitch Correction: Pitch Processing

Other FX: Smear (distort), Glide, Sequence, Detune, Stereo Imaging, FM Synthesis in Harmony Engine and Alienize.

4. Image-Line Vocodex

Best For: Vocoder Plugin on Windows

If we’re being honest, Image-Line is known for one thing, and one thing only; FL Studio. Though the companies singular focus has made it the gargantuan it is today, PC users shouldn’t miss out on the awesome plugins they’ve developed, one which became ReFX’s Nexus, but to really look no farther than its heroes would be a shame, especially when the internal plugins that it brought beyond the veil of FL Studio created a host of amazing tools, which also have singular focuses. Vocodex is one of those singularly focused plugins. Not only is the GUI on Vocodex one of the best that you will find on most digital vocoders, it’s also extremely helpful in the way that you use the tool. With its individually controllable 100 band format, Vocodex is actually one of the most intuitive and expansive vocoders on the market.

Price:

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: Yes

MIDI Control: No

Harmony Engine: 100 part band control.

Talkbox: Yes with sidechain input

Pitch Correction: No

Other FX: Soundgoodizer {limiter}, Doubler, Reverb, Band Unison, Sytrus Synthesizer Carrier for unique vocoding ability, Vocal Contour and Noise Reduction engine.

5. TAL-Vocoder

Best For: Free Vocoder Plugin

TAL-Vocoder
TAL-Vocoder

If there is one thing that can be said about TAL Software is that they know their aesthetic. Whether it’s a recreation or reinvigoration, TAL has the sound of the 80s on lock, and with artists like Carly Rae Jepsen, Solange, and Bruno Mars working with the model of something old, something new, TAL has the perfect addition to your plate reverb filled productions. The TAL-Vocoder, though free, is an excellent addition to your vocal effect plugin arsenal. It features a multiband vocoder with a de-esser and a multi-wave carrier engine. Though this may not be the newest or most advanced tool on the block, it does have some tools to get the job done and done well for free.

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: Yes

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Rudimentary, but yes.

Talkbox: Yes, depending on carrier.

Pitch Correction: No

Other FX: Chorus, DeEsser, Tune, and Glide.

6. SoundToys – Little AlterBoy 

If you want dramatic voice alteration, then Little AlterBoy is the one for you. This Vocal FX plugin isn’t subtle, you can perform realistic pitch changes, and even switch the singer’s gender with a few clicks of formant shifting. 

It’s easy to control the melody of the singer — this plugin actually has vocoder capabilities as well. Vocal mixing and recording has never been so easy. 

You’ll also have access to a classic saturation tube model that can add a lot of character and edge to your vocal track. Little Alterboy really lets the vocals shine, by giving you the power of pitch modulation and freedom to alter the audio material. 

Another bonus is the option to lock on to one pitch for a robotic mode. Pitch shift is also carried out smoothly. 

Price – $99

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: Yes

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Yes.

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: Yes

Other FX: Hard Tune FX, Robot Mode

7. Waves – Renaissance Vox 

Renaissance Vox is a powerful waves tune that has stood the test of time in music production. There are just three simple controls in which you can alter compression, gating, and even output gain. This is a fantastic tool for preserving the original sound while making a professional mix. 

The echo styles and pitch shifting are exactly what you need in this excellent tool. 

Still not convinced? Drake’s music producer called this plugin (R-Vox) one of the most important plugins to have ever been made. And if it’s good enough for Drake, you can be sure it’s good enough for us too. 

Price: $29.99

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: No

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Yes.

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: Yes

8. Waves – CLA Vocals

This is another must-have plugin for vocals and voices. Mixing becomes that much easier with Grammy Award winner Chris Lord-Alge’s plugin. There are multiple echo styles and different sounds you can achieve with this tool, and it puts total control in your hands (not to mention that it sounds amazing!) 

This is a multi-effect plugin, where you can enjoy the benefits of reverb, chorusing and double tracking, delay and compression as well as the perfect mix of bass and treble on the quiet parts of the vocals. The end results are professional mixes with stereo delay. 

Price: $35.99

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: No

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Yes

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: Yes

Other FX: Chorusing, Doubling, Reverb, Delay Plugin

9. Antares: Auto-Tune Pro

Auto tune has a bad rep for sounding fake and lazy music production. This Antares Auto-Tune Pro plugin makes the vocal track sound professional with a powerful pitch shifter. This is a highly advanced version of the regular auto-tune capabilities. You can achieve lots of different sounds with the different modes and echo styles. All the options are ones you can use for mixing vocal tracks on the daily. 

Auto Mode has capabilities of real-time pitch correction which reduces post production efforts. The Auto key mode allows you to detect the key and scale instantly and work with it. Other modes include Graph Mode, Classic Mode, and Vibrato Control. 

Price: $399

Formant Shifting: Yes

Vocoder: No

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Yes

Talkbox: Yes

Pitch Correction: Yes

Other FX: Autotune, Humanize, Throat Modeling, Low Latency, Scale Editing, Vibrato Control, Time Correction

10. Waves – Vocal Rider

We just had to include a third plugin by Waves since this one can create powerful audio. This modulator vocal rider makes your life so much easier by automatically stabilizing the levels of the vocal track without you having to tinker with the physical mixing console fader. Of course, you need to set a target range of the vocal track and then the Vocal Rider will adjust the gain of the voice, according to any deviation from the target you set: higher or lower. 

Since it’s real time, there’s no need to worry about any latency issues when you hear the audio track. There’s also a Spill feature which allows you to differentiate the main vocals from the background vocals. 

Price: $47.99

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: No

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: No

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: No

Other FX: Spill feature, Real time Vocal Rider

11. iZotope – Nectar 3 Plus

Our top pick was iZotope’s VocalSynth2, but the Nectar 3 Plus also deserves a special mention. Unmasking has never been so clean and easy, without any artifacts with the Unmask with Vocal Assistant feature. There’s incredible Pitch Modulation that’s possible with the Nectar 3 Plus, thanks to the Learn mode that cleverly detects the singer’s register and offers three possible key change and transpose options. 

You can smoothly transpose the entire vocal mix to match the music, and EQ is adjusted in real-time according to any level inconsistencies. The vocal mixing that happens automatically with the iZotope Nectar 3 Plus is unparalleled. 

Price: Rent on Splice for $9.99 a month or buy for $249 on PluginBoutique. 

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: Yes

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Yes

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: Yes

Other FX: EQ vocal mixing, Transpose, Key Detector, Pitch Module, Vocal Coach, Vocal Assistant, Voice Doctor

12. Antares – AutoTune EFX

It’s no secret that Antares does AutoTune best. This AutoTuneEFX plugin excels at real-time tune and pitch correction. The multi-effects rack has a wide range of capabilities, including but not limited to a pitch-shifting melodic pattern generator (the AutoMotion plugin). 

With parameters for Retuning Speed as well as a Harmonizer, the AutoTune EFX is all you need for mixing vocals. Auto Key detects the key and gets rid of inconsistencies in real time. The low-latency processing makes this plugin the perfect choice for live performances on stage, or even vocal recording in the studio. 

Price: Rent on Antares for $24.99 a month or Buy for $199. 

Formant Shifting: Yes

Vocoder: Yes

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: Yes

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: Yes

Other FX: Retune Speed, Auto Key detector, Harmonize

13. KSHMR – KSHMR Essentials

This signal chain is perfect for mixing vocals, but that’s not all it does. The KSHMR essentials makes your entire track sound brighter and punchier in every aspect. The bass is boosted and highlighted and more saturation added to the Drum mix. An extra low end to the Kick in the sub module makes a big difference, as well as the Magic EQ curve for Synth with the glue compressor. 

The gate dial of the vocal sound ensures that your post-production work is made easier without any background noise and rogue breaths. 

Price: Rent for $4.99/a month or buy for $35.99 on W.A Production.

Formant Shifting: No

Vocoder: No

MIDI Control: Yes

Harmony Engine: No

Talkbox: No

Pitch Correction: Yes

Other FX: Synth, Drums, Bass, Kick

The main vocal effect plugin types are:

  1. Vocoders / Synth – Vocoders use carriers to create harmonic or melodic parts from the initial signal side-chained into the plugins key-input.
  2. Talkbox – Made popular before the age of vocoders, talkboxes do the same things, except with organic inputs.
  3. BitCrushers – Much like filter and EQ tools that are used earlier in the mixing stage, bit crushers are used to create drastic changes to a vocal in the form of harmonic distortion to get more robotic or grittier sounding options.
  4. Pitch Manipulation – The most straightforward of all of the vocal effect plugins, is also the hardest for most software developers to get right. Pitch manipulation plugins do just, but the key to finding the correct pitch shifting plugin is the quality in which it shifts the vocals.
  5. Modulators – Are somewhat like pitch shifters, but focus on shifting specified frequencies, formants, or tones. Modulators allow the users to create complex vocal outputs that move beyond the conventions of pitch shifters.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a Modulator do?

A modulator can add multiple effects to a track, as well as use an oscillator to add a rhythmic feel to it.

Should I use the Vocal FX on the track itself or on an effects bus?

That comes down to how you are wanting to use the effect. If you are simply wanting to blend an effect in the background, it is easier to use a bus, but if you are wanting to have the effect determine the main vocal’s final result, you will want it directly on the channel.

Rent To Own Plugins On Splice

Gain access to premium plugins — all for one low monthly fee. Rent to own saving more money upfront, and even start with a free trial.