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Best Vocoder VST Plugins

Vocoders are a type of audio effect used to process the human voice, they’ve been made famous by artists such as Herbie Hancock, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk, 2Pac, and countless others.

They work by modulating an external carrier signal, such as a vocal, with additional oscillation signals to add harmonics and create an interesting sound. These futuristic vocal effects sound great in many styles of music including hip hop, trap, disco, house, and more.

With VST plugins, classic vocoder sounds are just a few clicks away! No need for all those huge hardware units… We’ve been exploring some of the best vocoder VST plugins on the market for your recommendation.

I tested 10 products and found Izotope VocalSynth2 to be the best plugin for vocoding and vocal effects. Bang for buck, this plugin is undefeated. It does way more than most vocoder plugins and opens up new, unheard sounds. The interface is streamlined and removes much of the confusion presented by vocoders.

Vocoders are one of my favorite audio processors. Obviously, they sound cool running vocal through them, but I like to use them on all kinds of instruments, not just voices. Like many people, I’ll often use a vocoder on guitars or synths. But one of my favorite secret tricks is using vocoders on drum tracks, it can create some crazy unique beats. I’ve tried loads of vocoders through the years, both hardware and software. These days I stick to using digital plugins rather than hardware, the workflow is much more efficient.

Vocoding is a relatively complex audio process that some people find confusing to navigate. Fortunately, some plugins are more streamlined and make the process simpler. Although this often restricts customization depth. For this reason, some plugins are better suited to professionals and others for hobbyists. We’ll point this out for each one.

Keep reading for a roundup of our top 10 vocoder vst plugins.

Best VST Vocoders in our tests

  1. XILS 5000 Vocoder €149
  2. Izotope VocalSynth 2 – $199
  3. Antares Autotune EFX+ $199
  4. Waldorf Lector $140
  5. Native Instruments: Razor – $99
  6. TAL Vocoder- Free Vocoder plugins! Download
  7. Vocodex Image-Line £80
  8. Waves Morphoder – $79
  9. UAD Softube Vocoder £149
  10. Polyverse Manipulator $119

10 Best VST Vocoder Reviewed in Detail

#1 XILS 5000 Vocoder

XILS 5000 Vocoder

A retro-style analog modeling vocoder plugin, the XILS 5000 is a feature-rich, pro-grade tool that leaves no stone unturned. Simple to use, but still packing deep levels of customization, it boasts a 22-band filter bank, band-level analysis for a clean and precise sound, dedicated pitch modulation, frequency shifter, and pitch tracking.

The matrix patching area allows connections of any analysis bands to the filter bank, which can create new and experimental sounds, or enable precise sculpting.

Product Specifications

  • Mac OSX 10.8 and later: VST, Audio Unit, AAX
  • Windows 7,8,10 ; VST, AAX
  • 1 GB RAM, 2 GHz processor.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Analog Sound
  • Flexibility
  • Matrix Mode
  • Interface

Conclusion

This is a highly versatile and powerful vocoder that can achieve a broad range of sounds. The XILS 5000 is a great choice for pros or hobbyists, but the price tag is closer to the professional side. The interface could be a little too retro for some people, where a more modern UI design is preferred, like Antares.

#2 Izotope VocalSynth 2

Izotope VocalSynth 2

This groundbreaking plugin from Izotope is a vocal processing powerhouse packed to the brim with voice-changing features.

This is definitely one of the best vocoder plugins, but it is also so much more. This produces rich vocal harmonies and vocoder sounds with real-time auto-pitch correction, 5 different digital algorithms, a voice synthesizer with human vocal tract modeling, formant shaping tools, bit crushing and glitch effects, vintage talkbox style envelope modulation, and voice doubling.

The MIDI mode is also incredibly powerful and helps to make great harmonies and melodies from vocal lines.

Product Specifications:

  • Mac: OS X 10.8.5 Mountain Lion – macOS 11 Big Sur
  • PC: Win 7–Win 10
  • Supported Hosts: Logic Pro X, Ableton Live 9–10, Pro Tools 10-2018, Cubase 9.5, FL Studio 12, Studio One 3-4, Reason 10, Reaper 5, Bitwig Studio 2

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Modular style effect design
  • Tonnes of features
  • Fairly expensive
  • High CPU usage

Conclusion

VocalSynth2 has a huge amount of sonic versatility. This is an incredible vst for vocal production with a top-class sound and an innovative interface. It’s relatively expensive but great value for money and a worthy investment for any producers who work creatively with vocals.

#3 Antares Autotune EFX+

Antares Autotune EFX

Widely recognized by the industry as a leading brand for auto-tuning software, Antares are tuning and vocal specialist plugin manufacturers whose plugins show up on our roundups time and time again. For a good reason! Their plugins are consistently solid, flexible, and feature-rich, with little competition in the auto-tune sector.

EFX+ is a streamlined and more affordable edition of their Auto-Tune Pro plugin. This has all the core tuning and vocoding features needed for creative voice processing. Quality pitch correction, auto-tune, and auto key. The Retune and Humanize controls give some cool sounds, and there are additional pitch/throat, duet, mutation, and vocode effects.

Product Specifications

  • Mac 10.13-15: AAX, VST3, AU.
  • Win 8-10: AAX, VST3, VST2

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Fantastic Auto Tune Sound
  • Modern Interface & Workflow
  • Accurate Pitch Shifting
  • Pricey
  • High CPU use

Conclusion

This plugin, whilst a slimline version, still contains a lot of great and unique features. The price tag is worth paying just for Antares’ auto-tune algorithm, let alone all the additional effects and presets. For hobbyists or pros looking for an extended auto-tune and vocoding plugin, this is a top choice!

#4 Waldorf Lector

Waldorf Lector

A 16 voice vocoder, this wacky and versatile vocal tool sure is fun to use. The Lector is made by historically and internationally renowned synth builders Waldorf and has a deep feature set with uncompromising sound quality. Over 100 frequency bands at your control, stereo bandpass filters, envelope shaping, analog modeled components can be used to shape external sound sources. Separate controls for analysis and synthesis give great design opportunities, and the included effects spice up external sounds.

Product Specifications

  • 32 & 64 bit – VST2, VST3 and AU Host.
  • Windows – 7, 8.1 & 10
  • Apple OSX – 10.9.5, 10.10.5, 10.11.6 and 10.12.x or higher,
  • 64 MB free RAM
  • 200 MB free hard disk space

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Flexible
  • Customisable
  • Minimal PC Resource usage
  • overly complex interface

Conclusion

This may be over-complicated for some producers, but for people who like getting in deep and tweaking knobs, the Waldorf Lector is a diverse and powerful vocoding plugin.

#5 Native Instruments: Razor

Native Instruments: Razor

Differing from traditional vocoder designs, Native Instruments Razor is an additive synthesis plugin that enriches sounds with sculpted oscillators and partials.

Razor has a beautiful and innovative interface that enables musicians to control the science of additive synthesis. It has all the normal control you’d expect, oscillators, filters, envelopes. It works by listening to a given sound and adding new harmonic partials that correlate with the original pitch.

It can be used to create awesome exaggerated synthesis sounds. It can be used to blend perfectly tuned new waveshapes into vocals, creating sounds never heard before…

Product Specifications

  • Requires Free REAKTOR 6 PLAYER (free Download on the NI website!)
  • macOS 10.14, 10.15, or 11 (latest update), i5, 4 GB RAM
  • Windows 10 (latest Service Pack), Intel Core i5 or equivalent CPU, 4 GB RAM

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Powerful Additive Synthesis Engine
  • Well designed
  • Easy to use
  • Relatively CPU Hungry
  • Not strictly a vocoder

Conclusion

Razor is more than a vocoder, it is designed to work with all kinds of sounds, not just voices. A useful tool for sound designers and producers, this is a modernized vocoder-style plugin not to be ignored! The internal carrier synth, ring modulation, and configurable modulator signal make this a serious contender.

#6 TAL Vocoder – Free Vocoder plugins!

TAL Vocoder

This free vocoder from togu audio line is a retro, hardware-style processor with an old-school analog interface.
TAL Vocoder has 4 different vocoding oscillators: pulse, saw, sub and noise. 11 independent frequency range bands.
The range of the vocoder can be expanded across the octaves. It also contains a Poly mode and portamento.
TAL Vocoder contains all the envelope and ADSR controls needed. It also packs additional controls for the envelope follower.

Product Specifications

  • Windows: Windows 7 or higher (64-bit host)
  • OS X: 10.9 or higher (64-bit host). Universal Binary 2 with native Apple M1 support.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Great analog sound
  • Familiar Hardware Style Interface
  • Free!
  • Relatively limited features

Conclusion

This is one of the best, most easy-to-use free vocoder VST plugins around. TAL Vocoder sounds great and won’t break the bank. It modulates the carrier input signal with an audio signal blend from the 4 oscillators. The global tuning control and pitch shifting make this easy to tune into your track. Tal Vocoder features everything you need to create a vintage vocoder sound and funky sound effects. Who needs money when you have free vocoder plugins like TAL?

#7 Vocodex Image-Line

Vocodex Image-Line

Vocodex, complex and flexible, is a comprehensive vocoder perfect for manipulating human voices. It processes audio signals with speech enhancement modules, voice doubling, Soundgoodizer, and reverb capabilities. It gives controls for over 100 bands individually anywhere in the audio spectrum, controlled by the nifty vocoder panel. It accepts external sidechain inputs for both modulator and carrier signal, which is an incredibly powerful system. It also packs a bunch of internal per-band effects and a carrier synthesizer.

Product Specifications

  • Windows XP (SP2), Vista, Win7, Win8, Win8.1, Win10 – (32 & 64 Bit)
  • 2Ghz AMD or Intel Pentium 3 compatible CPU with full SSE1 support
  • 512 Mb RAM
  • 130 Mb disc space

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • External Sidechain for carrier and modulation signal
  • Onboard reverb
  • No Mac

Conclusion

This great-sounding vocoder is more in-depth and complex than some producers will need but provides an incredible amount of sonic potential. The Human Voice Synthesis elements make Vocodex a fascinating tool for experimental vocal production. This is a recommended purchase for advanced producers with knowledge of vocoder operation

#8 Waves Morphoder

Waves Morphoder

Waves are a company whose plugins have been known and loved by the industry for decades. Morphoder is one of their vocoder VST plugins, its quick and easy, with over a dozen distinct vocoder algorithms and vocoder modes. It works like most vocoders, manipulating a human voice audio track, or the built-in carrier synth, with a modulator track. Formant manipulation is a breeze. An interesting feature of Morphoder is its ability to accept a MIDI input, so keyboard notes can be used to control the modulator.

Product Specifications

  • Windows 10 or later
  • macOS 10.13.6 or later
  • Intel Core i5 / AMD Quad-core or higher, 8GB RAM minimum

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Reliable workhorse plugin
  • Sounds good, better than stock vocoders
  • The Waves update system can force you to re-pay.

Conclusion

Not many vocoders on this list work with a midi controller so that is a huge advantage. Overall this is a solid and reliable vocoder that performs well in most tasks. The interface and design aren’t as modernized or inspirational as others. This is a no-frills workhorse plugin at a fair price.

#9 UAD Softube Vocoder

UAD Softube Vocoder

This analog emulating plugin from UAD is a 20 band Vocal Re-synthesizer and vocoder.
With a clean and refined interface, vocoding with this plugin is a joy. It has all the features you’d expect, internal carrier synth, multi-band formant control, and spectral shaping. ADSR and envelope controls. The stereo width control is a nice addition for further spatial control.
The carrier synth is superb with -/+2 octaves of shifting, 4 wave shapes with a pulse width modulation control, and attack/decay.

Product Specifications

  • A UAD Apollo hardware system, UAD Satellite, or UAD Sound card.

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Super Powerful Vocoder
  • Feature Rich, Great Quality.
  • Requires UAD Hardware.

Conclusion

UAD plugins are known to have the greatest quality, and this vocoder is no different. With jaw-dropping sound quality, the UAD Softube Vocoder is a professional choice of vocoding plugins. It has all the features and more, everything can be tweaked to a fantastic amount of detail. There are no faults with this other than the price!

#10 Polyverse Manipulator

Polyverse Manipulator

Created in partnership with legendary psytrance and electronic artists Infected Mushroom, the Manipulator is a futuristic reimagining of the vocoder concept.

With its unique granular algorithm, it alters the timbre and pitch of audio to create completely new sounds. This isn’t another dusty old vintage vocoder. This is a cutting-edge modern tool perfect for creating artificial sounds or modifying a soft synth.

This Vocoder plugin abandons the traditional interface style, redesigning the interaction process to be more streamlined and creative.

Product Specifications

  • VST2 / VST3 / AU / AAX plug-in formats
  • Windows 64bit and OSX 10.9+ 64bit

Advantages & Disadvantages

  • Futuristic Design
  • More features and tools than most vocoders
  • Sequencer, Arpeggiator, Tonnes of Presets.
  • Not a typical vocoder, may not be able to perform traditional vocoder tasks.

Conclusion

Manipulator is a vocoder plugin from the future. One of the most interesting and unusual vocoder vst plugins, it is a fantastic transformation tool that breaks the mold of tradition. Recommended this for experimental and electronic-type producers requiring tools for creating abstract, face-melting sounds.

Checkout our post on Best VST Plugins for Trap Beats.

Buying Guide

There are a few important considerations to explore when buying VST plugins.

First, power usage and specifications. Make sure your computer has enough RAM and CPU to run the plugin smoothly. There’s nothing worse than buying and installing a plugin, only to find your computer is too weak.
Check that your DAW and OS are supported, not all plugins are made for Mac and Windows. 

FAQs

What is a vocoder VST?

A vocoder VST is a piece of software that integrates with a DAW to enhance its features. Not all DAW’s have stock vocoder tools, so often a 3rd party effect is needed. Usually, VST’s do not work on their own and require a host like Logic, Ableton Live, or Pro Tools to operate.
Vocoder VSTs are concerned with taking one audio signal and modulating it with a second one to create new, harmonically enriched sounds. Vocoders pre-date computer and digital music production. The vocoder process has been digitized and packaged into the VST plugin format.

What vocoder does Daft Punk use?

Daft Punk

Rumor has it, the classic Daft Punk vocoder sound comes from the Digitech Talker, a discontinued “advanced vocal synthesizer” effect pedal from the early ’90s. Daft Punk has been known to use the TalkBox preset to create their vocoder effect. These pedals can occasionally be picked up second hand on eBay, alternatively

Is Ableton Vocoder good?

vocodor

For a stock plugin, Ableton Live’s vocoder is rather powerful. Thanks to the sidechaining feature, it can use any sound as either a carrier or a modulator. This allows one channel to be vocoded by another, which is a feature not found in many software vocoders.
Whilst not anything special, the algorithm has a decent transparent sound quality that rivals many paid plugins, and the way it interfaces with Ableton Live makes the workflow efficient and powerful

Conclusion

The best Vocoder vst plugin on this list is probably Izotope VocalSynth2. For the price, the sheer depth of sound possibilities is undefeatable. This is a vocoder and much much more.
Most vocoders are trapped by the design features of the past. Izotope Vocalysynth takes these traditions, breaks them apart, and redesigns them into this modern beast of a vocal tool. 
Buy Izotope VocalSynth 2 now!

If you want to learn how to make your own VSTs, check out our new guide!