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Best Soundtoys Plugins

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Best Soundtoys Plugins

Soundtoys is one of the most beloved plugin developers on the market today, offering a unique mix of precision, fidelity, and attention to detail in each one of their plugins. If you’ve heard of Soundtoys and you’re thinking about getting your hands on some of their plugins, come dive in with us as we explore the best ones in-depth. 

 

 

Note: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I would receive a commission - at no cost to you - for any products you purchase 

 

 

About Soundtoys

 

Soundtoys is a unique plugin developer that crafts plugins mostly based on under-the-radar analog gear. These plugins offer unique ways to add color and character to your digital studio projects. From saturation to modulation to reverb and beyond, you can find a Soundtoys plugin for each one of your needs. 

 

About Soundtoys Rack

 

The Soundtoys Effect Rack is a wonderful rack-style plugin system in the Soundtoys bundle that allows users to combine multiple Soundtoys plugins for out-of-this-world effects chains. You’ll find plenty of presets in the Soundtoys rack to get you started, including those for vocals, drums, guitar, and beyond. From regular saturation chains to left-field effects chains for space and modulation, the EffectRack caters to all of your sonic possibilities. 

 

 

The drag-and-drop design makes it easy to experiment with several combinations of effects so you can discover new sounds. Plus, since all of your effects are in this self-contained plugin, you never have to worry about taking up room on inserts. 

You also get a massive discount by buying Soundtoys Effect Rack, making it the best value among the Soundtoys plugins. It's basically 14 Soundtoys plugins for the price of 3 Soundtoys plugins.  Note: Effect Rack does not include individual plug-ins, and not all Soundtoys effects are in the Rack Little AlterBoy, Little Plate, Little PrimalTap, Little MicroShift and Little Radiator are NOT included in the Effect Rack.

It includes:

  • Crystallizer
  • Decapitator
  • EchoBoy
  • EchoBoy Jr.
  • PrimalTap
  • Devil-Loc Deluxe
  • Radiator
  • MicroShift
  • Tremolator
  • Sie-Q
  • FilterFreak
  • PhaseMistress
  • PanMan
  • Devil-Loc

 In other words, almost all of Soundtoys' best plugins are included in the effects rack bundle.

 

Echoboy

 

Echoboy might just be one of the most versatile delay plugins on the market today. Within this plugin, you’ll find an entire history of delay unit emulations, as well as forward-thinking delay algorithms for all of your spaced-out needs.

You can start by choosing from one of the thirty built-in delay styles, most of which were modeled using vintage analog gear. Some of our absolute favorite delays include the Memory Man, Space Echo, EchoPlex, TelRay oil can delay, and the almighty DM-2.

 

 

Beyond delay, EchoBoy comes with a wide range of chorus effects, one of which is the CE-1 Chorus, which is often considered the holy grail of guitar chorus effects.

It’s clear that Soundtoys designed Echoboy with musicians in mind, as it’s so easy to dial in your favorite delay effects and get expressive with them. You can dial in parameters like rhythm, feel, groove, and accent, sync your delay with your tempo or drive the signal going out using the included saturation knob.  

The library of tones feels nearly infinite, giving you a delay for just about any mixing or production situation you find yourself in. With Echoboy in your arsenal, you won’t need another delay plugin. 

Click here to see our review of the Best Delay Plugins.

 

Decapitator

 

Whether you need some subtle saturation to help your vocals pop through the mix or some aggressive distortion to give your drums that extra bit of punch, Decapitator is your best friend. 

Saturation is the essence of analog. It’s the reason why old analog recordings are so pleasant to the ears. You can hear your music move through real circuitry, transistors, and tubes. It’s also one of the most versatile effects, as it can be used to give a signal edge, provide warmth, thin elements out, beef things up, or push things to the front of the mix. 

  

 

Decapitator does all of that and more with five different analog modes to choose from, each of which has its own distinct flavor. The modeled tone control allows you to shape your saturated sound to pull it back or push it forward in the mix. You can then use Decapitator for a bit of parallel processing, thanks to the included Mix knob. 

You can tell that the developers over at Soundtoys worked hard to get the true feel of analog gear with this plugin, as it’s incredibly responsive to the changes and dynamics of instruments you run through it. That’s what analog is about, and Decapitator nailed it. 

 

Click here to see our review of the Best Saturation Plugins.

 

Little Alter Boy

 

Little Alter Boy has to be one of our favorite voice alteration tools on the market, perfect for getting a wide range of vocal transformation effects in a single plugin. You can shift the pitch of a voice using the handy pitch knob or shift the gender of a vocal using the formant parameter. 

It also beautifully transforms guitar solos and synth lines.

For robotic sounds, you can lock onto a single pitch or use MIDI to get creative with vocoder-like effects. Little Alter Boy even includes a little Drive knob that is based on the saturation style from Decapitator. 

 

 

One of our favorite uses for this plugin is to pitch the vocals down an octave with the formant knob all the way to the left and slowly dial in the mix knob until we have some lower octave beef underneath the original signal. 

What’s great about this plugin is that it follows the pitch really well. Some octave plugins, especially the old-school stompbox-style plugins, have a hard time following pitch to a T and often deliver latency as a result. 

Little Alter Boy is a potent little tool for vocals and other monophonic signals that we know you’ll absolutely love. 

Click here to see our review of the Best Pitch Shift VSTs.

 

Radiator

 

Radiator is a unique saturation plugin that delivers the magic tone of a 1567a tube mixer straight to your desktop. This plugin is an absolute beast on drums and bass, though it can truly be applied to just about anything. 

The plugin is based on the Altec 1567a tube mixer, which came out in the 1960s. The original unit was a rack-mounted mixer with five inputs and removable transformers. It also featured a two-way EQ knob and a whopping 97dB of gain.  

 

 

By today’s standards, the sound of the Altec 1567a is nothing short of gritty. You get all of the hardware noise with this plugin that was once a nuisance to old-school engineers. The Altec 1567a was used on many Motown hits back in the day, meaning Radiator is the perfect choice for those who want to impart a vintage tone on their tracks. 

The mic preamp emulation sounds incredible, and you can dial in everything from a slight bit of saturation and color to a full-fledged overdrive. Radiator also comes with a smaller version of itself called Little Radiator, which you can place on every one of your input channels without bogging down your system.

 

Tremolator

 

The sound of tremolo is an instantly recognizable effect, especially for guitarists and Rhodes players. Whether you need a tremolo effect that can mimic the sound of an old-school Wurlitzer electric piano, a Fender Vibrolux amp, or a modern, helicopter chop-style trem box, this plugin has got you covered.

The beauty of Soundtoys' Tremolator is that it goes so far beyond your typically tremolo stompbox or amp effect. You get access to tons of dynamic controls that allow you to dial in your tremolo effects, so they respond to the music. If you need a tremolo effect that is clean and breathes with the music, you can use the MIDI sync algorithm to lock it to tempo. 

 

 

Of course, the true beauty lies in the Rhythm Editor, which allows you to write out custom patterns and rhythms, turning Tremolator into one of the most outrageous rhythmic modulators on the market. We love being able to look at shapes and get as in-depth as we want with the movement of our music. 

As with many Soundtoys plugins, Tremolator also comes with a decent heap of presets to get you started, perfect for those who don’t have the time to spend tweaking. 

Click here to see our review of the Best Tremolo VSTs.

 

FilterFreak

 

Whether you’re looking for resonant squelches to amp up your productions or silky-smooth analog sweeps to take your transitions to the next level, FilterFreak has you covered. This simple plugin takes analog filtering to the next level, providing everything from funky envelope following to resonant LFO sweeps. 

Most of FilterFreak’s algorithms follow the parameters of classic hardware gear, as you could expect from Soundtoys. You’ll find sounds reminiscent of popular pieces of filtering hardware, such as the Sherman Filterbank and the classic Mutron. You can create campy sci-fi tones or add an auto-wah to your guitar to get that extra spank.

 

 

There’s an entire rhythmic section built into FilterFreak, which you can choose to control manually or lock it into tempo to let it breathe with your track. Thanks to the pristine analog modeling, you can expect nothing short of warm and fat tones. 

Of course, with the endless possibilities of digital, you’ll also find plenty of exclusive features that aren’t available in the original, such as rhythm and groove tools and a real-time filter display. Plus, when you buy FilterFreak, you also get FilterFreak 2, which delivers a double dose of analog filtering action for your creative needs. 

  

PanMan

 

Soundtoys took the idea of auto-panning to an entirely different level with the introduction of PanMan. This rhythmic auto-panner comes with some great classic features and analog color, mixed in with total digital control.

Panning is a necessity in the stereo world we live in. There’s nothing quite as simple in the mixing process as moving your sounds from the left to the right channels to create space and interest. Of course, panning can also be so much more. 

  

 

With PanMan, you open up an entirely new world of possibilities in the stereo field, from creating complex rhythmic patterns to using trigger panning to move from left to right based on the dynamics of a track. All of the modulation techniques that are made possible with panning can be found in PanMan. 

As with all Soundtoys plugins, you get the main interface and a hidden interface, which gives you access to more nuanced tools. You can choose a filter type, pick a cutoff, and decide between multiple analog styles to give your sounds a bit more crispy, crunchy saturation. 

The customization possibilities feel endless with PanMan, and it wasn’t until using this plugin that we realized how far you could really stretch the idea of having a stereo field to move about in. 

 

Phasemistress

 

Phasers are some of the most instantly recognizable effects out there. They’ve been used on psychedelic rock vocals, jazz-fusion synthesizers, disco hi-hats, and funky guitars. Phasers have been key elements in thousands of records around the world for many decades. 

In Soundtoys fashion, with Phasemistress you have all of the legendary phaser sounds from the 1960s to today packed into a single, easy-to-navigate plugin. 

 

 

Flipping through the phaser types, you’ll find emulations of some of the most well-known phaser hardware throughout history, including the Trine, Small Stone, Moogerfooger 12-stage, Phase 90, Boss Super Phaser, Bi-Phase, and many more. The plugin does a brilliant job at nailing the warm and silky analog sound that these pieces of hardware exude. 

Phasemistress also takes these sounds one step further with tons of tweakability and a wide range of unique rhythmic tools. There are 69 presets to get you started, an array of LFO shapes to choose from, and an in-depth rhythm section that allows you to tweak the shape of your waves. 

Overall, Phasemistress is one of the most powerful phaser plugins on the market today. 

Click here to see the 5 Best Phaser Plugins.

 

Crystallizer

 

We could spend an eternity talking about Crystallizer, as it’s one of the most interesting and otherworldly effects plugins we’ve ever laid our hands on. You can use it to transform even the most mundane of signals and instruments into something unique and innovative. 

Crystallizer is baked on the Reverse Shift algorithm found on the Eventide H3000, delivering old-school pitch-shifting and granular echoes in a single, powerful tool.  

 

 

If you’re a fan of 80s music, you no doubt heard the sounds of the Eventide H3000 effects processor on countless records. It’s hard to mistake the sound for anything else. From spreading single vocals throughout the stereo space to transforming minimal guitar lines into shimmer, symphonic textures, there was so much you could do with it.

It’s one of our favorite go-to plugins when we want to take a sound and expand it beyond belief. There are tons of great presets to get you started, which we absolutely recommend using to get your footing with this plugin. From detuned echoes to spacey crystals to haunting reverse algorithms, with Crystallizer you can create rich and evolving effects to breathe life into your tracks. 

 

Devil-Loc Deluxe

 

If you want something a bit more aggressive for your mixes, we highly recommend checking out the Devil-Loc Deluxe. This pounding, crushing, and obliterating compression/distortion module is designed to add grit, power, and mayhem to your digital signals.

The beauty of this plugin lies in its simplicity. You can dial in the Crunch and Crush knobs for some heavy-handed distortion and compression, shape the compression with fast or slow release times, and dial the overall tone of your output signal using the Darkness knob. 

 

 

 

In addition to these controls, you’ll fnd a small mix knob on the end of the plugging, which allows you to automate in as much of Devil-Loc’s magic as you need without sucking the soul out of your tracks.

This plugn is an emulation of the Shure Level-Loc, which was a brick wall limiter that came about in the 1960s and was used in public address systems. With a gritty sound and extreme compression characteristics, it wasn’t long before it became a secrete weapon for mixing engineers around the globe. 

Devil-Loc Deluxe is the perfect plugin to reach for when you know an instrument needs more aggression to reach through the mix, but you can't quite figure out what you should add.

 

Devil-Loc Deluxe vs Decapitator

 

The Devil-Loc Deluxe, with its built in limiter has a much more "flat" feel to its distortion than most settings on the Decapitator. That said, with it's built-in mix knob, the Devil-Loc Deluxe can be a great way to add an aggressive source of parallel compression. The sounds you get from Decapitator, especially when pushed hard, tend to be brighter, crisper, and more distorted.

Overall, I'd say the Decapitator is the more useful of the two, but the Devil-Loc Deluxe can be really useful at times. I would guess that I use at least one instance of Decapitator on every mix. But with the Devil-Loc, it's rarer to need.

 

PrimalTap

 

PrimalTap is another one of Soundtoys’ delay offerings, but it's much more specific.

Soundtoys developed this plugin by reimagining the features and sonic characteristics of the Prime Time delay, which was a classic digital delay from the 80s. The original unit combined the best characteristics of digital and analog, packing an unusual amount of vibe and grit for a digital delay. 

 

 

The sonic possibilities with this delay feel almost infinite. We love messing around with the Multiply control, which double the delay time, while halving the sample rate with each switch.

 

PrimalTap vs. EchoBoy

 

Whereas EchoBoy is focused more on recreating tape echo tones of the 1960s and 1970s, PrimalTap is based on a retro delay with “freeze” and lo-fi characteristics. If you need the sound of a tap delay that provides that distinct 80s character, this is it. It’s a wondrous little plugin for mind-bending sounds.  

 

Microshift

 

Microshift is THE plugin for getting super wide vocals. Whether you need to widen your lead vocal or guitar solo to make it pop, give background vocals a bit more width, or add a unique flavor to your mono synth, Microshift is a great plugin to do so.

Microshift is based on the Eventide H3000 and AMS DMX 15-80s units. There are three different flavors of classic stereo widening, which you can employ with a few simply knobs and buttons.  

 

 

The reason Microshift does so well at spreading sounds out is because of its unusual pitch-shifting recipe, which has a delay that varies ever so slightly over time. It’s such a simple plugin to use that you’ll almost want to throw it on everything, though we feel it’s best used in small doses. 

As with some of the other plugins in the Soundtoys lineup, this plugin also comes wtih a little brother called Little Microshift, which features the same sound, though has limited features and CPU usage, perfect for a bit of no-fuss widening when necessary. 

Click here to see the best stereo imaging plugins.

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