Due to their undeniable complexity, a seasoned engineer can easily spend hours mastering a single vocal track…
Nova-67P is available for free download in 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows and Mac OS X. Download: Nova-67P. Tunefish 4 by Brain Control is a freeware analog synthesier developed to fit into about 10 kB of compressed machine code while still producing an audio quality that can compete with commercial synthesizers.
The free VST vocal effects plugin gives you the ability to control reverb parameters (pre-delay, space, time, and width), damping (low and high), EQ (lows, mids, and highs), and output gain (both reverb and dry). IZotope Vocal Doubler is a free plug-in designed to enhance your vocal with a natural doubling effect, adding richness and depth. Our acclaimed doubling technology has been reimagined with a brand new. This roundup features five free VST plugins for mixing vocals. It includes a vocal pitch shifter, tape saturator, one knob reverb, a glitch delay, and a harmonic exciter. Best Free VST Plugins 1. Native Instruments. Native Instruments has done a remarkable job by releasing KOMPLETE START. It’s a complete audio-mixing bundle that contains a variety of VST plugins, virtual instruments, thousands of audio effects, and several other free resources for music production. Earlier all these elements were available. Yes we know it’s another 32-bit Windows VST but the difference here is that this plug-in is a plug for a paid for version (that is 64-bit and will run on a Mac) which at the time of writing is just $15! Vocal King is essentially a smoothing preamp and compressor plug-in. Tonmann DeEsser is a basic high-frequency dynamic processor VST plugin, called a DeEsser because it’s mainly designed to get rid of “stinging” sibilants that may occur on vocals after compression or adding a high boost.
Afterall, compressing and paying special attention to levels on the most dynamic instrument only makes sense.
Luckily, there are several free vocal mastering VST plugins to assist in the process without breaking the bank.
In this article, we’ll dive into a couple of compressors, exciters, equalizers, and noise gate VSTs that mimic many of the tools used by the pros to give mixes the extra polish they need.
With vocal audio constantly wavering between high and low levels, a good compressor is nothing short of essential to the final mastering process. Check out some of these options to achieve a cohesive, condensed vocal sound.
Related: Proper Compression Settings for Vocals, Best Paid Vocal Compressors
With a simple yet sleek user interface, this plugin is approachable to engineers at all ends of the spectrum. The VST consists of 3 bands and is geared towards trap/electronic genres. OTT has the standard controls of any compressor: In/Out Gain, depth, and time without the clutter from any unnecessary bells and whistles. Each band is equipped with a modest visualizer, allowing you to see how your sound is being altered at different frequency ranges.
Although some producers may find the lack of options control-wise limiting, OTT is quick to get you to the sound you desire without wasting unnecessary time. Overall, the price is more than right, and OTT does an excellent job at evening out levels.
If you’re looking for a simple compressor to give your vocals a bit more of an analog/classic feel, the Klanghelm DC1A is an excellent free plugin to start with. Its most notable feature is the 4 built-in presets with deep, relaxed, negative, and dual mono compression modes.
To add to its retro vibe, the VST has an embedded meter that looks like those on vintage rack mounts and is just as useful. The meter itself is easily understood and has a delineated red threshold so you can tell whether or not you’re clipping even with just a quick glance. The main focus of the plugin is the input and output, nothing else really besides the compression modes, making it a great option for beginners.
Moreover, Klanghelm produces a bulkier compressor VST entitled DC8C, so DC1A acts as a great trial run before investing in a paid plugin. For a seasoned engineer, this VST may be oversimplified, but those looking for efficiency or that classic mono sound, this is an excellent choice.
When mastering a vocal, especially in pop/more current styles of music, producers commonly boost/cut out frequencies to help it stand out a bit more in the master mix. Here are a couple of free EQs that can fulfill all of your vocal mastering needs.
Related post: Best Paid EQ plugins for Vocals
In general, this EQ plugin is great for the entire production process, but it also has a couple of key features that lend themselves particularly towards vocal mastering. For example, the VST has a dial-in frequency feature that allows the user to enter precisely what frequency he/she would like to be emphasized or lowered. You are able to add an unlimited amount of bands to give absolute clarity to the vocal and add polish to its final master. The bandwidth can be widened or narrowed with a few mouse clicks, streamlining the process.
Moreover, each band has a separate bypass toggle, meaning that you can easily switch one on/off to compare a sound before/after processing. ReaEQ comes equipped with high and low pass filters, bands, much more. The central visualizer makes it easy to locate all of your bands. Although the plugin is not the most aesthetically pleasing, it certainly works well and has a lot of features that normally come with paid plugins.
It is a great plugin to download as a beginner, but able to translate into more mature mastering practices with its potentially highly specified input/output values. ReaEQ is a superb tool and comes as a part of the Rea PLugs bundle with many other useful VSTs.
This EQ is super useful in achieving a retro sound, as it is a digitized version of an analog-style Equalizer. Luftikus is set up like a traditional rack mount and has 5 fixed-frequency EQ bands with corresponding knobs. This feature could be seen as limiting during the mastering process as you cannot type in specific frequencies in the same way that you can with previously mentioned ReaEQ.
However, if you’re mastering a vocal bus with multiple vocal tracks, having fixed bands can help simplify the process and give you a little boost without being excessive. In addition, the VST has an added “mastering” mode which removes superfluous features to get you in and out of mastering efficiently. Luftikus has a separate section dedicated to boosting the high-end frequencies and a couple of preset options between 2.5-40K Hz which is particularly useful during the vocal mastering process.
Outside of the presets, the high-end boost has a knob that can be altered for a more specific vocal top-end boost. The plugin has a “keep gain” button designed to make changes appear more subtle than drastic while EQing, ideal for mastering. The colorful interface makes it exciting to use and Luftikus proves to consistently create masters with a bit more of a vintage feel.
The Nova-67p is a hybrid between a compressor and an equalizer making it a fine resource for mastering. The plugin is centered around the main visualizer where you can view the waveforms and respective bands. It’s nice that you’re able to see the waveforms in realtime, especially since vocals are fickle and quick to change from one level to the next. Since it also acts as a compressor, there is a small level meter as well to prevent clipping the vocal tracks.
This unique combination makes the VST a one-stop-shop for vocal mastering. Although sidechaining is traditionally done within the mixing stage, it is certainly worth mentioning that this plugin has sidechain capabilities built-in, along with high and low pass filters. It comes with attack, release, and ratio knobs and a separate toggle for mastering. If you’re looking to EQ or compress exclusively, this plugin may not be the best choice as the two components are designed to be used together in the mastering process.
For those looking to do both processes anyway, this plugin certainly accelerates mastering and will give you a more put together sound as the EQ and compressor interact with one another beautifully.
A less common but underrated gating possibility is centered around the vocals. Condenser and other common microphones, often pick up unneeded frequencies that can cloud your vocal clarity during the mastering process. In order to eliminate this, try out one of these free noise gate plugins and place it on a vocal track.
Related post: Best Paid Noise Reduction Plugins
Prefix acts as a couple of plugins built into one with EQ, sidechain, compression, and phasing built-in. Similarly to Nova-67P, the features are meant to be used with one another without external interference. The noise gate feature is notable as it has specified attack, release, hold, and pre-gate knobs allowing the user to hone in on which frequencies they’d like to be ducked.
Although this plugin is best used during the mixing process, it can be a great reference point during mastering since it includes so many of the tools needed to create a polished track. If someone was stuck on a vocal mix and wanted to be able to visualize a finished or mastered product, preFix could be placed on the corresponding vocal bus and quickly adjusted to give the user a vague idea of the polished product. Since there are so many controls and a lack of a frequency visualizer, this plugin can certainly be intimidating and time consuming for a beginner. However, a reference track on its own is extremely valuable, especially for something as nuanced as vocals, and when mastered, preFix is as effective as comparable costly VSTs.
This plugin is as simple as it can get, but don’t let its minimal approach fool you- GGate is very powerful and is straightforward enough to be added to all kinds of vocals. The plugin consists of 3 knobs: The threshold, attack, and fade; Each pretty self-explanatory in their own right. GGate has a dry/wet meter so that the gated signal can be played alongside the unaltered signal. This opens the door to parallel processing for vocals, which can make a significant difference in the listener’s experience.
Moreover, the “fade” knob is suited to create subtle changes in the overall level of a vocal track. For those looking to give a more processed/clear sound to vocals, i.e those centered around commercial/pop genres, this plugin may prove to be insufficient. However, if you’re in a pinch or just need to eliminate a minute level of noise without being too obvious, you can’t beat the control offered by GGate.
In the same way it is helpful to boost the preexisting high-end of vocals in order to bring the sound more upfront during mastering, exciters generate artificial/organic tones typically in the 3K range and above.
Related post: Best Paid Exciter Plugins
This exciter is based around analog-style retro sounds and combines a traditional exciter/saturator with a 3-band EQ. Each set EQ range has a separate knob and bypass button so that different frequency ranges can be enhanced independently. This is particularly useful in scenarios where one is utilizing a vocal bus and wants to master an overall sound without emphasizing unwanted tones/frequencies.
The plugin has a “Mojo” and Drive section, catered to leveling out the amplitudes of generated frequencies running parallel to the dry vocal. Moreover, the VST can be switched in between blue or black versions depending on how precise an engineer desires the finished master to be. Thrillseeker in this way lends itself to a variety of genres and applications. Although it is somewhat limited in being linked to retro or vintage type sounds, the VST is absolutely worth a try at no cost.
Buzzroom has created a true exciter plugin with BuzVintageMaxi. The VST is very minimal, with two main knobs: gain and ceiling for the threshold level of the audio signal. The plugin is known for adding thick, warm sounds to any track it is applied to. This can be especially useful for mastering female vocals, where sometimes the upper register can lose warmth/low-end frequencies when translated to an audio signal. It has two included processing modes, normal and deep, to cater to the depth of harmonics applied to the signal.
Although this plugin cannot be used to master an entire vocal tracks alone due to its lack of complexity, it certainly produces a warm vocal within a short amount of time. It’s definitely worth a try, even just train your ears on what a warm/fat vocal should sound like.
Antress has a number of strong plugins free for download on their website. Modern Exciter has a user interface resembling a standard rack mount and is not overly muddled by too many controls. Harmonics can be added to low or high frequencies and adjusted with their respective knobs. This lends itself well to mastering vocals as different voices will have different areas in which they need more widening depending on the frequency of the dry audio signal. Modern Exciter includes a VU meter, which especially lends itself to mastering since it helps display the average level of the processed signal.
If you want more of a retro sound, this VST has a built-in analog preset. Moreover, the VST processes in stereo and has separate left and right channels appropriately. The plugin does not have a whole lot of controls which may seem to limit to some, but it notably separates the high and low ends to organically fill in vocal frequency gaps.
In general, the mastering process involves adding the final polish to a preexisting mix. This includes leveling, preparing for distribution, and making sure that the project as a whole is cohesive. Let’s dive into a couple of tips that illustrate what that process is like for vocals.
With any aspect of a song, especially vocals, it’s important that you’re giving the mixing and mastering processes their own space. This is because the philosophy behind mixing involves deep adding/subtracting, sometimes involving an entire rework of a track.
When you master, you are looking to polish and heighten the parts of something that is already complete. By keeping the two operations independent of one another, you allow for your vocals to be better thought out in terms of context (mixing) and the overall level/vibe of the song as a whole (mastering). A good master on a bad mix still produces a poor track. Therefore, make sure you do your homework before jumping into the world of mastering plugins- The real work comes out during mixing.
What type of voice is presented on your track? What kind of frequency is it lacking? Is your vocal the focus of your song or more in the background? It’s vital that you consider these questions deeply before beginning the mastering process so that you have a clear roadmap to lead you down the right mastering path with plugins that fit accordingly.
Vocals are by far the trickiest aspect of understanding audio engineering since they are so unique. It can be extremely helpful to use a reference track during the mastering process to get your vocal exactly where you desire. Moreover, so many of these free plugins include bypass features, sometimes for each separate band, which makes it easy to compare against your model track.
Mastering is the icing on top of the cake, not the cake itself, but that does not diminish its importance- especially with vocal tracks. A good master sets your music apart and is a mark of a seasoned producer. Try out one of these free vocal mastering VSTs on your next track to get you one step closer to the coveted warm, thick vocal our ears crave.
Disclosure: When you buy through our links, we may get a commission at zero cost to you.
I guess you would have to agree with me that the best way to polish your vocal recording or a vocal sample is to sprinkle some effects, just like the way you would sprinkle a reasonable amount of ingredients on your food. If done right, it sounds delicious right, yum yum 😉
Vocal effects are no exception to the ingredient perspective, you need to add a reasonable amount of effects to make them sound lively, and enjoyable to the listeners.
Don’t get me wrong, I ain’t saying you should stack effects upon effects on your vocal samples, too much of everything is bad. That said, let us look at the best free awesome VST effects plugin in the music production scene.
Let’s ride on…
If you haven’t heard of PitchProof, then, you are definitely missing out, this is like the secret tool I use on Vocals but it wasn’t even developed for Vocal, it was actually designed to work on monophonic signals such as guitar solos, but I’ll give you a tip on how I have been using it:
You don’t want to apply it in realtime, what you should do instead is to first select the key of the harmony, then you turn the Blend knob all the way to the right; wet e.g:
Export the vocal result, add whatever effects plugins you gat on your toolbox (vocal, flangers, etc) to spice up the pitched vocal, and then stack it on top of the original vocal. Boom, you have something unique!
Note: You don’t have to always push it all through the wet side as this might cause artifacts, just experiment and stick with what works for you.
You can even export more vocal, and maybe this time, you can try by reducing the detune knob, anyways, experiment until you get your preferred test.
That said, let’s look at some of the features of PitchProof:
The Blend control knob would let you adjust the level of pitch shift, while the Pitch drop-down menu lets you select pitches like +7 or -7, or harmonies which are intelligent pitch-shift effects.
Moreover, there are also some options at the bottom of the PitchProof plugin which give you the option to switch between stereo and mono; mono could save your CPU, while the stereo option could cause a resource hog if used on multiple inserts.
Transient Fix can be switch on or off to spice things up a little!
|3rd||The Typical Major/minor Chord Harmony|
|4th||The same as the +5 semitones setting except a few notes are flat.|
|5th||The Same as The +7 Semitones Setting Except the Last Note of The Major Scale Is Flat Making It “diminished”.|
|6th||A nice-sounding alternative to typical harmony intervals.|
|7th||Dissonant 7th Chord Sounds.|
This is an autotune VST plugins designed and developed by Auburnsounds. This plugin is superb in the way it handles pitch correction.
It not only supports pitch correction but supports the generation of throat sounds, making octave sounds, enriching, and enhancing vocal expressiveness.
Also, there is a pitch shift parameter that transposes vocals up and down in octaves and semitones.
Download Graillion Auto-Tune Plugin
Vocal King helps glue the vocal in a mix, and it comes preloaded cool parameters, that could help in customizing the audio signal of a vocal track.
The Pres Compressor knob helps in bringing out the clarity of a vocal, so, by turning up the gain of the Pres Comp brings out the presence in the vocal along with giving it a smooth compression. On the other hand, the Low cut, Tighten, and the Bass knob compliment the Pres Comp in taking out muddy frequencies without the vocal sounding too thin.
I also love playing with the Crispy knob as it sprinkles some sparkles to the audio signal.
Vola is a Voice Optimized Leveling Amplifier made for broadcast voice dynamics processing, it also works with different kinds of audio material, like drums, percussive instrument, and synth pads.
This fantastic tool is solely for cleaning up sound files but can be used for extreme compression effects as well.
Download Vola Vst (Windows)
Download Vola Jsfx (Windows and Mac)
This is a pitch correction VST plugin tool and has strengthened to support natural pitch correction.
This tool is handy and can perform different and various types of voice effects, for example, a conversion of the male voice to a female voice and vice versa.
KeroVee comes bundled with useful parameters for the effectiveness of the auto-tuning process, Parameter includes:
Have you heard those natural double effects in some tracks! Do you wonder how those are created? I guess yes 😉
Let me introduce to you – Duet, a double-tracking effect designed to enhance your audio sample be it vocal or even instruments, Duet is well capable of sparkling them up. The way Duet work is by pitch-shifting both the left and right inputs individually using a novel synchronous overlap and add technique, allowing pitch to be manipulated in real-time while still maintaining the time duration of the audio.
One thing I love about Duet is the way it can accurately create the illusion of multi-voices and adds varied texture to the mix. Experiment with Duet to see how it works.
Note: This is only available for Window
DSP-2 is designed with an intelligent Dynamic Processor, a 4-band equalizer fixed on vocal key frequencies, a saturator, and a room emulator based on the Schroeder reverberator. DSP is super simple to use and can serve basically all your vocal processing needs, again, experiment and keep experimenting to get the best settings that would soothe your need.
Azurite is a vocal effect by Distorque which is built for multi-voice chorus with a focus on rich sounds and versatile controls.
According To Distorque:
My goal in designing it was to make as flexible a chorus as possible without losing great tones and ease of use. The result is an effect that will be handy for producers, guitarists, and glitch lovers alike.
One of the great features of this plugin is the way you can create multiple simultaneous voices. Each of these voices can be further customized with their own delay line that is modulated by a separate LFO. Adding multiple voices leads to a thicker, smoother, and less wobbly tone. It also makes vivid stereo spreading possible with a mono signal.
The voice control helps you to choose how many voices you want for the chorus, e.g one, two, four, or eight.
Note: This is only available for Window
Download Azurite Win 32 VST / Win 64 VST
EasyVox contains a bunch of tool for vocal processing, such as:
Donate To The Developer, It helps him to build more exciting plugins
Note: This is only available for Window
Last on our list is Timewarp by MGF, which is a vibrato effect with 2 LFOs which can pan the pitch modulation amount for a stereo effect.
That is it, Good luck and have fun with music!
The plugins can be downloaded from here: https://www.tokyodawn.net/tokyo-dawn-labs-discontinued-products/
Old versions of the plugins can be downloaded here: https://www.tokyodawn.net/labs/vladgsound/vladgsound_old_versions.zip
All stuff mentioned on this site can be downloaded here (one archive for all): https://www.tokyodawn.net/labs/vladgsound/vladgsound_stuff.zip
Due to Dropbox changes on 15 or March my public folder became private and now I must mark all files as public explicitly. I updated all links on [Downloads] page but there are hundreds of links on this site. If you have troubles to download something, please write in comments and I’ll refresh the links required.