Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022 (For Home Studio)

Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2021 (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Vocal mixing can be a challenging process. In this article, we’ll show you the top 11 vocal mixing plugins for 2022 that will help get the job done quickly and efficiently.

The possibilities for digital music production are incredible these days. We constantly get new tools that make the process much more manageable or surprise us with unique features and sounds. In this article, we’ll show you the best plugins that can help you bring bright, clear, and expressive vocals

So let’s dive in:

Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022

1. Waves Vocal Bender (Pitch Shifter)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

If you want a simple yet powerful pitch shifter and doubler, the Vocal Bender by Waves Audio might be a good find.

The Pitch shifter and the doubler can be powerful tools, especially in modern music production. They can add movement and texture to your vocal lines and make them more attractive. Luckily, the Israeli company Waves has created a fantastic plugin to help you achieve creative solutions.

Vocal Bender is a vocal shift and formant pitching plugin that gives you a wide range of possibilities for voice manipulation. You will be able to apply these effects, both very slightly and at a more extreme level. This software has zero latency, so you can even use it for production and live performances.

Waves Vocal Bender Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Set Desired Pitch
    The large knob on the left will be responsible for the pitch of your voice. With it, you will change this by an entire octave down or up. In addition, there is a fine-tune control, which will let you set it in cents.
  • Formant Control
    The slider on the right will help you adjust how many overtones you want to have. The vocal will sound like a chipmunk in the right position, and in the left, it will sound like a monster voice. By the way, you can use both knobs simultaneously with the link button between them.
  • One-Note Audio
    On the left side, you will also see the Flatten function. You can quickly turn the audio sound into a single note with it. Thanks to this, the vocals will sound somewhat robotic, as the plugin will lock it into a single pitch.
  • The Modulation Tab
    It is the place of the plugin where you can achieve crazy results with vocals. All in all, you will have four modulators that you can drag into the slots below the Pitch and Formant knobs. You will customize the LFO, Sequencer, Amplitude, and Pitch Curve with these.
  • Fully Resizable
    Another pretty good advantage is the first Waves plugin with proper interface scaling. So, you can change its size from 75% to 200%, and the image will always remain sharp.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, AAX and Audiosuite formats.

Summary:

Vocal Bender is a straightforward but versatile plugin by Waves that helps you transform your vocal parts. It can be used as a pitch shifter, doubler, and beyond. The most powerful is the modulation function, which will help you implement creative solutions.

2. SSL Native Vocalstrip 2 (Channel Strip)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Vocalstrip 2 is a plugin dedicated to vocal recordings, helping you add power and clarity effortlessly.

Once you’re done recording vocals, the next step is to mix them so that they sound as balanced and nuanced as your music production. Unfortunately, that often involves a lot of processing, from adding EQs, compressors, de-essers, saturation, etc. These work together to turn your raw vocals into balanced tracks, ready for further processing.

And that’s why Vocalstrip 2 exists. It provides everything you’d need to transform your vocal recordings. Go from flawed dynamics, mic plosives, and muddy character to the pristine, professional-quality sound that reacts perfectly and expectedly to other effects. Let’s check out the key features this plugin has to offer:

SSL Native Vocalstrip 2 - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Compander
    As the name suggests, the Compander section features both a compressor and an expander. You can adjust the threshold of each using the dedicated parameters: Threshold and EXP Threshold. Turn either of them to 0 dB to disable it. Furthermore, the two effects share attack and release controls. Similarly, it features a ratio control and a Drive button that enables harmonic distortion paired to the makeup gain parameter. Also, you can switch to a soft knee mode.
    The display above this module shows the compressor’s behavior. And the graph on the right shows the difference between the input and output signal. Furthermore, a gain reduction meter shows both the compressor (red) and the expander (green) gain reduction.
  • Clean Up
    Vocal recordings often have unwanted noise from the vocalist: sibilance and mic pop. Vocalstrip 2 features a de-esser and a de-plosive module that help you rectify the issues effectively. First, De-esser features a threshold knob and a frequency knob. You can also click on the Listen button to verify the frequency you want to process.
    Similarly, the De-ploser module provides a threshold, frequency knob, and a Listen button. The difference is this module focuses on low frequencies, where plosives occur. You can also automate its threshold to avoid processing where you don’t want it.
  • Equalizer
    The plugin employs a nifty three-band EQ with one high-pass, one notch, and one peak filter. The high-pass is has a slight boost around its cutoff frequency, giving the vocals a thicker sound—next, the notch filter functions between 200 Hz and 10 kHz with up to 12 dB boost. And finally, the high-band peak filter operates between 1 kHz to 20 kHz and lets you make up to 12 dB of boost/cut.

Compatibility:

SSL Native Vocalstrip 2 is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Vocalstrip 2 helps you make the vocal mixing process fast and effective. Furthermore, SSL’s distinct saturation and processing characters help make your vocals stand out. The plugin features four effect modules, each with a graph at the top. Moreover, you can change the order of these modules at the base of the user interface. And a collection of presets helps you get started without spending time learning the plugin, although you will have to customize the presets to fit your vocals.

3. Slate Digital Metatune (AutoTune/Pitch Correction)

More Info & Price (Trial Available, Dongle Required)

This simple Metatune plugin from Slate Digital can be your “go-to” solution for vocal correction.

If you work with vocals, you can’t do without pitch correction software. The thing is, every vocalist is different. The more inexperienced ones have trouble hitting the notes. In such cases, this kind of software will help us do the best we can to bring the performance to a more professional state.

Metatune is an automatic tuner that can work in different ways. For example, thanks to particular settings, its effect can be pretty small but still necessary to bring an excellent vocal even better. On the other hand, you can use this software for the more extreme autotune popular in modern music. Let’s take a closer look at this plugin.

Slate Digital Metatune Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Speed Control
    The Speed regulator will be one of the most critical settings of the plugin. It is because it determines the transitions between notes. The more you move it up, the more pronounced they get. Therefore, the correction will sound insignificant and natural in the initial position. At its highest position, you’ll get a recognizable autotune effect.
  • Adjust The Amount of Tuning
    This control will allow you to adjust the tuning strength. If it is set to 100 percent, the plugin will fully tune to the key you selected. But if you lower the slider, you will get a more gentle and organic effect.
  • Find the Right Sustain
    The separate Sustain control will help you adjust the sustain of your notes. It works together with Speed control. In this case, you will have the possibility to do it faster during long notes or slower. With the right setting, it will allow you to maintain the singer’s vibrato.
  • Set Your Key
    Metatune allows you to select the right key and scale very quickly. Just set it from the list in the lower-left corner. You will also have the opportunity to create your custom scales by clicking on the necessary keys to add or remove notes.
  • In-Build Doubler
    It is another feature that will make this plugin more versatile. Metatune has a built-in Doubler. With it, you can thicken your vocals quickly and easily. It will be handy for backing vocals or other tracks.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.12 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Slate Digital’s Metatune is a super handy plugin that helps you achieve a more professional vocal sound. Thanks to its versatility, you can set up both subtle pitch correction and aggressive auto-tune, ideal for some modern styles. The cherry on the cake is the built-in Doubler function, which helps you refine your backing vocals.

Related Readings:

Top 6 Autotune & Pitch Correction Plugins 2022

4. SoundToys MicroShift (Stereo Width Tool)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

SoundToys’ MicroShift will save you if you need to provide an analog flavor width of vocal parts.

Using widening effects always helps when it comes to backing vocals. It provides as much massiveness and depth to the overall vocal part as possible. Next, we’ll talk about some great software that will help you get the job done.

The MicroShift plugin is relatively straightforward because it only has a few controls. But despite this, it will give you some hardware vibe. That’s because the developers from Soundtoys created it based on two well-known studio unitsthe Eventide H3000 and the AMS DMX 15-80s. It means that there are some deglitching algorithms and even a saturation effect. Let’s look at its features in more detail.

SoundToys MicroShift Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Three Styles Of Widening
    In general, you will switch between the three widening styles. Two of these are based on the Iconic H3000 and one on its British equivalent, the AMS DMX 15-80s. Just listen and choose the one you like best.
  • Detune Amount
    You can change the amount of Detune for each style you select. To do this, use the corresponding knob. With this option, you can get both quite subtle and heavy effects.
  • Control Your Delay Time
    Delay is another important knob that you will see on the right. With it, you will adjust whether your delay is more tight or like a short slap.
  • Adjust The Focus
    The creators of the plugin also put Focus control here. It will allow you to choose which frequencies of the effect will be accentuated. For example, it will be a helpful option to remove it from the low-end because the range of action here is from 20 hertz to 10 kilohertz.
  • Set up Widener in Parallel
    And, of course, the Mix knob will help you adjust how much of the effect will be present in your track. If there’s too much of it, turn it down to Dry, and you’ll get a more complementary result.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

SoundToys’ MicroShift is a small but reasonably handy plugin that helps you provide depth and breadth to your vocal tracks. You can easily apply it to both backing and main lines and experiment. This software will provide you with a nice analog effect that is still in demand in the music industry.

5. Leapwing Audio Ultravox (Vocal Processor/Multi FX)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

A versatile solution that will significantly simplify your work is the UltraVox plugin from Leapwing Audio.

Sometimes we may need a versatile plugin to get the job done quickly. Mainly, it will be helpful if the vocals have already been recorded quite well. Therefore, you only need a few touches to make it sit well in the mix. Fortunately, Leapwing has just such a tool for us.

The UltraVox is a vocal processor with only a few settings, but still the main ones. It also has a relatively simple and intuitive interface. Let’s take a closer look at what this software is.

Leapwing Ultravox Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Simple Interface
    You will see the plugin window, in the center of which will be the signal level and how it is processed. There are also four main settings in the cornersCompression, Gate, Harmonics, and Air. In addition, the creators have prepared In and Out control sliders on the sides. As you can see, there is no toggling between tabs, and everything is quite simple and accessible.
  • Compress Your Signal Easily
    It’s pretty easy to use compression here. Pulling the slider to the left will lower the threshold and thus increase the effect. It is important to note that this function works here as program-dependent. It means that attack and release will be adjusted automatically to give you compression with a better sound. At the same time, the output signal will be compensated automatically.
  • In-Build Gate Function
    Gate is proper if you need to clean the audio. For example, you can use it to get rid of unwanted breaths or room sounds that have risen after compression. This function is also program-dependent, so the settings will change depending on adjusting the threshold
  • Fill It With Harmonics
    Another helpful plugin option is the ability to add harmonics. With this slider, you can make vocals richer and fuller. Harmonics will be added in order, like 2nd, 3rd, etc. You’ll end up with a more polished character.
  • Add Some Air
    Air fader is essentially the cherry on the cake of this plugin. Thanks to it, you can add an EQ curve around 12 kilohertz. At the same time, the function is configured to not add to your vocal’s harsh sound. Therefore, thanks to it, you will make it more expressive and cut through in the mix.

Compatibility:

Leapwing Audio Ultravox is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

It’s a beautiful plugin that is useful for its versatility. You won’t need to load your RAM with other processing software because you’ll have everything you need at your fingertips. Of course, to fully work on your vocals, you’ll still need to add effects. Still, Ultravox has all the basic settings you might need at first.

6. FabFilter Saturn 2 (Saturation)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

You can get it all from relatively slight saturation to hard distortion with the Saturn 2 plugin from FabFilter.

Saturation is a crucial part of vocal processing. The fact is that the main disadvantage and, at the same time, the advantage of digital processing is that we get a very clean signal. Therefore, we need to add some distortion to warm up the transients, as if engineers did it with analog gear. In this case, the vocals will sound more expressive and exciting.

Saturn 2 is a universal software from the famous FabFilter company. Here you will find a lot of different saturation flavors for almost all occasions. You will be able to control your vocals’ coloration, harmonics, and warmth. Also, a remarkable fact is that you can use this plugin for both individual tracks and mastering as a whole.

FabFilter Saturn 2 Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Select Your Bands
    An essential part of Saturn 2 is selecting different bands and processing them separately. To do this, click on the desired region of the frequency spectrum, and the plugin will create a separate section. By the way, on the bottom panel of the settings, you will see such options as small tonal shaping EQ, Drive, Dynamics, Feedback Mix, and others. You can process each of these sections by switching from one to another.
  • Left/Right or Mid/Side
    Another cool feature of the plugin is applying processing separately to both the left and right channels. You will see the desired control in the center. You will also be able to switch it to Mid/Side mode. It will be beneficial for mastering.
  • Different Saturation Flavors
    The choice of different types of saturation in this plugin is awe-inspiring. For example, you will have Tube, Tape, Transformer, and Saturation options. Each of them has different stages, from very slight to more pronounced. In addition, you will have the ability to apply individual saturation effects, including Smudge, Breakdown, Foldback, Rectify and Destroy.
  • Amp Saturation
    Despite all the different saturation types, you will also be able to use some amp emulations. Among these options are American Plexi, British Rock Amp, Smooth Amp, Crunchy Amp, Lead Amp, Screaming Amp, and Power Amp. It allows you to process guitar DI tracks or apply them to vocals, creating a unique sound.
  • Saturation Modeling
    You will also have plenty of options for modeling your saturation with the Add Source option at the bottom of the plugin window. Click it and select the desired option. For example, here you have the Envelope Follower, with which you can achieve different exciting effects.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher (both 32 or 64-bit) and macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST/3, AU, AAX, and AudioSuite formats.

Summary:

With the Saturn 2 plugin from FabFilter, you get an all-in-one tool for working with saturation. You will be able to apply the most diverse flavors to different frequency regions, both for individual tracks and for the mix as a whole. This software is perfect for you if you want to have everything at once.

7. Eventide SplitEQ (M/S Dynamic Equalizer)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

A reasonably new plugin from Eventide that will completely overturn your idea of equalization is SplitEQ.

It is hard to imagine that nowadays, someone can provide revolutionary solutions concerning music production tools. But the fact is that apparently, the famous American company Eventide managed to do it. Recently, they presented the SplitEQ plugin, which is something more than a simple equalizer.

Its main advantage is that you can control two different kinds of information of your frequency spectrum. Besides that, the developers introduced here some cool features that make this software versatile to use both on separate instruments and mix as a whole.

Eventide SplitEQ Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Two Splitted Bands
    Of course, you can use SplitEQ like any other EQ with quality sound. But the main thing about this plugin is that it provides two separated bends: one is responsible for transient control, and the second for tonal information. So you can affect the tonal characteristics separately from, for example, the attack. Or on the mix bus, affect the bass separately, without affecting the other elements.
  • Panning Function
    Another cool thing about the plugin is that you can separately adjust the panning of tonal and transient information. For example, just select the high transients and make them wider. It will give you, even more, control and room to experiment with your production.
  • Adjust The Separation To a Taste
    At the bottom of the plugin window, you will see the basic settings, including the Separation option. You will select the amount of separation between the two leading bands and adjust how aggressively the plugin’s algorithm will work in transient detection.
  • Usability & Interface
    Speaking about the settings in general, it is worth noting that you will have a total of 6 bands, through which you can perform separation and influence tone and transient characteristics individually. As with any other EQ, you also get two filtersHigh-Pass and Low-Pass. The interface is quite simple and does not differ much from the standard parametric EQ.
  • The Set of Algorithms
    The developers also included a set of algorithms to make your work easier. For example, there are options such as Kick, Snare, Tom, Cymbal, Full Drum Set, Bass, Piano, Guitar, Vocal, Full Mix, and more. You will have to select the appropriate source from the list, and the plugin will respond accordingly to give you the best results.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Eventide‘s SplitEQ is a unique equalizer that helps you work in greater detail on vocals and other instruments and the mix as a whole. You’ll get more control by influencing the tonal information and transients separately. This software is very versatile because it will help you eliminate problems and enhance your audio.

8. FabFilter Pro-G (Noise Gate)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

FabFilter’s Pro-G plugin helps you quickly eliminate background noise on vocal tracks.

Gating is another technique that will make your life much easier. The point is that when you compress vocals, the noise threshold goes up, too. It is incredibly annoying if the vocals were first recorded with a somewhat low gain. Of course, you can manually cut out the noise parts between phrases. But on the other hand, you can also mute them thanks to the noise gate.

The Pro-G plugin is excellent software from the famous company FabFilter. It has a whole bunch of settings, which makes it pretty versatile. In addition to the usual Threshold, Attack, and Release knobs, you also get a side chain function and many other exciting features. It’s also quite lovely in appearance.

FabFilter Pro-G Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Set Your Threshold
    The Threshold slider will be the biggest and most important in using the plugin. Thanks to it, you will configure what part of the signal you need to block. There is also a pretty handy indicator, which will clearly show what areas are muted in black.
  • Ratio Control
    Also, the developers have included Ratio control, which is quite rare in other similar software. With it, you can slightly open up the muted signal so you can hear what’s going on between the notes. In the case of vocals, maybe it will let out some breaths. 
  • Lookahead Feature
    Lookahead is a helpful feature that helps the gate trigger even faster than the minimum attack. The point is that it will pay attention to transients before they happen. Be careful, though, as it may cause a slight latency.
  • Make It Listen
    Another cool thing about this plugin is that it knows how to listen. You’ll find this Audition feature in Expert Mode. Thanks to the two filters, you will let the gate know which frequency region to pay attention to and which ones to mute.
  • Variety of Modes
    This plugin can be versatile also because of the modes of operation. They will indicate the operating algorithm that will be most suitable for certain tracks. For example, there are Classic, Clean, Vocal, Guitar, Upward, and Ducking options.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher (both 32 or 64-bit) and macOS 10.12 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2/3, AU, AAX, and AudioSuite formats.

Summary:

The Pro-G is a pretty good gate with advanced settings that can help you out when you need to get rid of unwanted noise. It has all the options you need to make it go fast or vice versa. It also has a cool Listening feature that helps the plugin pay attention to the desired frequency range.

9. Pulsar Audio – Pulsar 1178 (FET Compressor)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

The Pulsar 1178 plugin will give you emulation of the legendary FET compressor, but with more possibilities.

Thanks to their fast attack, the 1176 FET-type compressors have long been a cult in music production. They can work great on tight vocals, making them more “in your face,” as well as on other instruments like drums, bass, and more. Many different plugins emulate the work of these hardware units. But Pulsar Audio has gone even further and made its software more versatile.

The 1178 plugin will give you a FET compressor emulation with more features. You will find detailed settings, nice-looking indicators, side-chain EQ function, and built-in saturation here. So this software can be a real boon to control dynamics and give color to vocal tracks.

Pulsar Audio - Pulsar 1178 Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Classic Ratio Control
    You will have the same classic Ratio control as other compressors of this type. It will be in four stages – 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and 20:1. There is also the option of all four buttons pressed at once, which will give you the most amount of compression.
  • Extremely Quick Attack
    Since it is a FET-type compressor, it has a very fast attack, which will help to clamp down on transients. But remember, to achieve the quickest attack, you need to turn the corresponding knob higher, not lower. The fastest option here is 20 microseconds.
  • Different Saturation Modes
    The real cherry on the cake of this plugin is the different types of Saturation. You will have Tape, Triode, Warm, and Clip options. Each of them will give your sound a particular analog coloring. If you want the most transparent sound, leave this section off. 
  • Sidechain EQ
    Another helpful feature of 1178 is Sidechain EQ. With it, you can tell the compressor which frequency areas to pay attention to and which not. For example, you can put a High-Pass filter here, and the plugin will not affect the low-end.
  • Left & Right or Mid & Side
    The Pulsar 1178 can operate in both mono and stereo modes. You will have options to adjust the compression separately for the right and left channels in the latter. You can go even further and tweak the plugin in Mid/Side mode. All of this together makes it truly versatile.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2.4/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

1178 from Pulsar Audio is a stunning emulation of an analog FET compressor with advanced features that you can use for fast vocals and any other instruments. This software has many useful features like Saturation flavors, Sidechain EQ, different operation modes, and all necessary compression settings.

Related Readings:

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 2022

10. Techivation T-De-Esser Pro (De-Esser)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Reduce annoying sibilants with Techivation’s T-De-Esser Pro plugin.

De-Essing is another vital thing you should pay attention to if you want to do professional vocal mixing. After we raise the upper frequencies to make the voice more expressive and then compress it, all the annoying hissing sounds become very expressive. So, you can’t do without an instrument to make them less ear-crushing.

In essence, de-essers are compressors that affect a specific range of frequencies. The T-De-Esser Pro plugin is just one of these. But it is more advanced and will allow you to influence minor nuances of work, achieving better results. Let’s take a look at what it has in it.

Techivation T-De-Esser Pro Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Adjust Your Processing
    The large knob in the center of the plugin will be your primary tool. It is where you will be able to adjust your de-essing threshold. The further you move it, the more the plugin will remove the hissing sounds.
  • Set Up De-Esser in More Detail
    You can always influence the settings of this de-esser even more, thanks to such parameters as Intensity, Sharpness, Attack, and Release. They will be responsible for exactly how your central Processing knob will work. For example, with Intensity, you will adjust the compression ratio.
  • Wide Frequency Range
    T-De-Esser Pro can eliminate hisses over a reasonably wide frequency range. Under the center knob, you will see presets, thanks to which you can specify exactly where the plugin should work. These options are Low-Hi, Mid-Hi, High, and Low-End. But despite this, you can select the area manually, thanks to a small Frequency Range slider.
  • Built-In Saturator & Lookahead
    A nice bonus is that the T-De-Esser Pro has a built-in saturation feature. It can also serve as a handy tool for de-essing, as it smoothens the sibilants. You can even go further and apply the Lookahead feature, which catches sibilants before they happen.
  • Hi-Cut Function
    You can constantly adjust the Hi-Cut filter if you want to go even deeper into de-essing. It is a beneficial option to affect the level of sibilants’ elimination further if they are still noticeable, but you do not want to compress them completely.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (both 32 or 64-bit) and macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

T-De-Esser Pro is a handy plugin that can be more than a regular de-esser for you. It’s a whole “Swiss knife” when it comes to eliminating annoying hissing sounds from your audio. With it, you can dive deep into the settings and get the results you need for almost any vocal.

Related Readings:

Complete Guide To Noise Gate – What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It?

11. Waves Vocal Rider (Levels Optimizer)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Waves Vocal Rider plugin allows you to keep the dynamics of your tracks without squeezing them with compression.

It’s perfectly normal for any vocal performance to have an inconsistent dynamic where certain words and phrases are on a different level from others. The task of mixers is to make the vocals sit well in the mixes. In analog days, professionals adjusted levels with faders manually to make a track more consistent. Now we can do it thanks to automation in DAW, but it takes a lot of time and specific skills. The good news is that Waves has created a special plugin for us that will handle this task automatically.

Vocal Rider is a reasonably straightforward plugin that will help you optimize your vocal level. In simple words, it will make quiet phrases louder and loud ones softer and wonderfully help you keep the dynamics. And it will be much more organic than simply squeezing vocals with compression. Just put this plugin in the chain between the EQ and the compressor, and it does its magic.

Waves Vocal Rider Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Set Your Target Level
    You will see the Target slider at the top of the plugin window. It will compensate any level above or below a particular target. Thanks to it, you will adjust the appropriate level that Vocal Rider will give you.
  • Range Slider
    Another essential part of the plugin setup is the Range Sliders, which you will see on the left. High and low boundaries will keep the main fader in a particular range.
  • Adjust The Attack
    The plugin has two attack modes – Fast and Slow. Fast mode will give you a more consistent sound, and Slowa more natural one. It will determine how fast the fader will respond to vocal dynamics.
  • Vocal Sensitivity Control
    Use the Sensitivity knob to adjust some threshold for the plugin. It will give it an idea of where the vocal signal is and what background noise level is worth eliminating. The Ride and Idle indicators on the left will help you set this up.
  • Optimization In Relation To The Music
    Another fantastic feature is automatically adjusting the vocal level to other vocals or music in general. To do this, you need to create a bus of other instruments or vocal tracks and put it in the side chain to the plugin. After that, you only need to set the plugin’s basic settings to your liking, and you’re done.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, AAX and Audiosuite formats.

Summary:

Vocal Rider is an excellent plugin from Waves that will make your life much easier and allow you to optimize the dynamics of your vocal tracks. Thanks to it, you won’t spend a lot of time in your DAW and manually tune the automationthe software will do everything for you automatically. The plugin has simple enough settings to choose the most appropriate level of optimization.

Related Readings:

6 Unique Tips How To Improve Your Vocal Recordings

The 4 Best Free Plugins For Mixing Vocals 2022

1. iZotope Vocal Doubler (Stereo Widening)

More Info & Download

If you need a free plugin to give your vocals thickness, iZotope’s Vocal Doubler might be a good solution.

This option is suitable for those who do not want or can not invest in third-party plugins but want to give your vocal lines extra width. It is made possible because of the famous company iZotope, which decided to give users their Vocal Doubler utterly free of charge.

The Vocal Doubler plugin is straightforward because it only has a few controls. But despite this, it can perform its function well. You can use it both on vocal tracks directly to give the most pronounced effect and as a bus send to make it more subtle.

iZotope Vocal Doubler Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Adjust The Separation
    One of the essential options here is the Separation setting. It will affect the timing variation between the original and doubled vocals. In essence, it will be like a slight delay that can give more spatiality to the sound.
  • Variation Control
    The second central setting is the Pitch Variation. The higher the scale, the more noticeable the difference in pitch between the original and doubled signal. You can use these two controls in tandem to find a perfect solution.
  • Roll It Down to a Taste
    If you hear that the effect is too much, you can always use the Amount control. It will be responsible for the ratio of dry to wet signal. Turn it down a bit to make the doubling effect less noticeable.
  • Make It Effect Only
    The Vocal Doubler also has a separate switch that gives you the sound of a single effect. It means that there will be no original vocals here at all. The feature will be helpful if you put the plugin on a separate AUX channel and add the original vocals to your liking.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8.5 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

iZotope’s Vocal Doubler is a reasonably straightforward but effective free plugin for making vocal parts richer. You can use it for both main tracks and backing tracks. It has everything you need, whether you want a slight effect or a more pronounced one.

2. Techivation T-De-Esser Plus (De-Esser)

More Info & Download

The T-De-Esser Plus gives you all the features you need, even though it’s a somewhat limited version.

We already mentioned in this article the excellent T-De-Esser Pro plugin from Techivation. Now it’s time to tell you that this software has a free version called T-De-Esser Plus.

This plugin is designed to be as natural sounding as possible. It is a somewhat stripped-down version of the regular one, but you’ll still have the basic options at your fingertips to help temper the spiking sounds of your vocal line. Let’s take a look at what hides under the hood.

Techivation T-De-Esser Plus Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Processing Control
    You will still have the central Processing control, which is responsible for the amount of compression. Thanks to this, you will adjust how much the plugin will reduce sibilant sounds and what is most suitable for the ear.
  • Different Frequency Ranges
    The Plus version also can switch between frequency ranges. With this, you will help the plugin determine which areas to eliminate the hiss. You can find such options as Hi-End, High, Mid-Hi, and Low-Hi here.
  • Adjust The Intensity
    In addition, you can adjust the intensity of the de-essing in more detail, thanks to the same-named knob. If Processing will determine the threshold, this one acts as a ratio.
  • Select Sharpness
    The Sharpness control will determine how broad your removal sounds will be. The larger this scale is, the more the plugin will sharpen only the sounds, leaving individual words untouched.
  • Detailed Monitoring
    Switch the mode to Differences in the Audition section, and you will hear only the sounds that the plugin catches. You will also monitor in detail which areas are affected by de-esser. This way, it will be easier for you to find what you need to eliminate.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (both 32 or 64-bit) and macOS 10.11 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Techivation’s T-De-Esser Plus plugin can become your favorite free de-esser. It doesn’t have as many advanced features as the paid version, but it can still do the job just fine. Its algorithm is very fast and aims to eliminate only hissing sounds without affecting the rest of the content, which makes it very natural sounding.

Related Readings:

How To Remove Background Noise From An Audio Recording?

3. Analog Obsession CHANNEV (Channel Strip)

More Info & Download

CHANNEV from Analog Obsession is an entire channel strip with many features that you can get for free.

It is worth paying tribute to the creator of Analog Obsession, who provides fantastic software for music production completely free of charge. At the moment, he presented many different plugins based on analog equipment, among which are compressors, preamps, enhancers, and many others. You can find his products on Patreon and support the author if you like his work.

As you can guess, CHANNEV is a plugin based on the legendary Neve hardware. You get a whole circuit through which you can pass different instruments, including vocals. For example, there’s Preamp, De-Esser, EQ, Compressor, Limiter, and Tape Saturator. Let’s figure them out one by one.

Analog Obsession CHANNEV Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Start with Mic Pre
    The first in the chain is the microphone preamp with a big red knob to add harmonics to your signal. The other controls in this section are the Hi and Lo Pass Filters and the two Hi and Lo Shelves
  • Set The De-Esser
    What makes this plugin very handy is the built-in De-Esser. In this section, you get one Threshold knob and Release and Mix. In addition, you will be able to experiment with the two modes of the de-esserSoft and Bell.
  • Dial Into Frequency Spectrum
    You will also have Hi and Low Pass Filters in the EQ section. In Mic Pre, they work as pre-filters, and here, as a post. Also, here you will be able to manipulate the four bands of EQ, changing the curve and adding decibels. By the way, the red knob in the EQ section will also add harmonics to your signal.
  • C-64 Compressor
    CHANNEV also has a separate compressor with relatively simple settings at your disposal. For example, you will see the Threshold control with a range from -20 to +10 dB. Also, the Ratio is from 1.5:1 to 6:1, Release from 100 to 1000 milliseconds, Gain and Mix controls. And the VU meter is here to help you keep track of gain reduction.
  • Limit Your Signal
    The limiter section comes right after the compressor and does not make you long to understand the settings. Here you can adjust the Threshold, Release, Gain, and Mix. In this case, it will be very convenient because you won’t have to add a separate limiting plugin to the circuit.
  • Tape Saturation
    One of the most critical features of this plugin is that it adds harmonics at almost every stage of processing, the way analog equipment would do in real life. But on top of this, you’ll have additional Drive control that gives a tape-like saturation to the signal as a whole.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.

Summary:

CHANNEV is an excellent all-in-one plugin from Analog Obsession that gives you the essential tools to work on your signal. It adds many harmonics and therefore gives your sound a particular coloring. You can safely use it for individual vocals and groups. Also, feel free to check another plugin from Analog Obsession – preBOX, which is an awesome preamp tool for vocals.

4. Analog Obsession Sweetvox v3 (Vocal Processor)

More Info & Download

The most straightforward plugin to get the job done quickly is Sweetvox from Analog Obsession.

There are times when you need to work on a track without in-depth mixing. In this case, you need software that will quickly and easily give your tracks some completeness. For example, make a more or less listenable raw version or demo to send to your bandmates or a mixing engineer

It is what the free Sweetvox plugin is. There are only a few knobs that will do the job for you because their algorithm includes several processing stages. Nevertheless, you can use this plugin for demos and full-fledged music production. Let’s see what the developers packed into it.

Analog Obsession Sweetvox v3 Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • One-Knob Processing
    The most crucial knob here is Process. It includes three fixed-band EQ, two-band Dynamic EQ, Filters, Compression, and Saturation. So, the more you turn it up, the more you will hear your vocals become more polished, as the plugin will add all these processing stages. However, at the maximum position, the tracks will be somewhat squashed by the compression.
  • Smooth De-Esser
    You also get a built-in De-Esser here. It works pretty well and can effectively eliminate sibilants. The vocals will sound relatively smooth and pleasant to the ear in the middle position. However, the more you turn up this control, the more it will roll off all the high frequencies.
  • Output & Bypass
    The simplicity of this plugin is quite remarkable because, at this point, all the main controls end. Then you only get the Output knob to adjust the signal and the Bypass button to check the plugin’s effect compared to the original track.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.

Summary:

Sweetvox is the simplest plugin that allows you to process vocal tracks quickly and even give them some analog flavor. In essence, you will have only one control, in which all the main stages are included. And the built-in de-esser will help to make it more ready. Sweetvox can prepare demos and raw mixes and ordinary production. It’s also worth noting that you can use it for both main vocals and stems

Bonuses

1. iZotope Nectar 3 Plus (Vocal Channel Strip)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Nectar 3 Plus from iZotope gives you a whole set of vocal processing tools and some AI features.

Sometimes it’s convenient to have software that includes all the possible tools for vocals at your fingertips. The point is that you won’t be rummaging through your list of plugins, wondering which one to apply next. We’ve included a bonus option on our list that has it all “under one roof.”

Nectar 3 Plus from iZotope is an entire suite that includes all stages of vocal mixing. It has everything from EQ, compression, de-essing to saturation and FX. This plugin’s cherry on the cake is the features that automatically help your vocal tracks break through the mix more or even do the whole process for you based on artificial intelligence.

iZotope Nectar 3 Plus Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • A Complete Vocal Chain
    You will be able to apply up to 12 different modules to your vocal track, responsible for separate processing stages – for example, Pitch Correction, Two Compressors, De-Esser with the listening function. Also, the effects like Delay, Dimension Module with Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser. In addition, you will find Dynamic EQ with up to 24 bands, Gate, Harmony, Reverb, and Saturation with different types like Tape, Clip, Analog, Tube, Warm, and more.
  • Vocal Assistant
    The Vocal Assistant feature is based on artificial intelligence. It will analyze your vocal performance and apply all the necessary modules to optimize the vocal and make it more mix-ready. This option can be quite suitable if you need to quickly provide a listenable version of the track without delving into mixing. But maybe even this feature will help some people to achieve the desired result in general production.
  • Unmask Your Vocal
    It is another AI-powered feature. The point is that sometimes the frequencies of other instruments can overlap the vocal frequencies and thus put it in the background. You need enough experience to know how to avoid this manually. But Nectar 3 Plus can simply analyze the vocals and instruments and make the necessary manipulations to separate them in the frequency range.
  • Get Melodyne
    The nice thing is that with the Nectar 3 Plus, you also get a copy of the Melodyne 5 Essential. It is one of the most famous pitch correction software available. Thanks to it, you can immerse yourself in editing on a more detailed and professional level.
  • RX 8 Breath Control
    Another bonus for you will be the RX 8 Breath Control. It is a plugin that is part of the iZotope repair tools bundle, and you get it here for free. With it, you can easily remove breaths from your vocal tracks. It will be helpful if you don’t want to do it by hand.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.6.8 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Nectar 3 Plus from iZotope is a beautiful suite with many modules for vocal processing. With this plugin alone, you can take raw vocals and fully transform them into mix-ready. It also has AI-based algorithms that help you unmask or even thoroughly mix a track in one click. A nice bonus is that you also get some helpful plugins as well.

2. Waves Renaissance Vox (Vocal Compressor / Opto, Electro)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

The remarkable simplicity and quality of the work make the Renaissance Vox plugin one of the most suitable solutions for vocals.

The convenience of the software plays a critical role in our workflow. Of course, it is always good if you understand all the compressor settings and know how it will behave. But on the other hand, straightforward options can save you a lot of time and thus provide excellent results right away. That is what the following plugin on our list is.

Waves Renaissance Vox is a well-known plugin widely used by beginners and professionals alike. Speaking of its type, it’s more like an Opto compressor and can provide smooth vocals. But the main thing is that it’s super easy to use because there are only a few controls.

Waves Renaissance Vox Review - Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals (With 4 Best Free Tools) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Set The Threshold
    It will be the central regulator of the plugin. In essence, it is a combination of Threshold and Ratio, which works in conjunction. The more you raise the Threshold, the more compression you will hear, and the vocals will become more detailed and pronounced.
  • In-Build Gate
    The remarkable fact is that this little plugin has a built-in noise gate. You will see this slider and the threshold scale on the left. Just set the proper ratio, and it will silence all unnecessary noise.
  • Gain Control
    The slider on the right will help you adjust the correct output signal. If you add more compression, the vocals will become louder. So, you will need to set it back to the previous level, which is where this control helps.
  • Producers Presets
    The creators have put in this plugin and quite an extensive number of presets from the world’s top producers and engineers. For example, you can find options from such big names as Dave Pensado, Eddie Kramer, Greg Wells, Lu Diaz, and others.

Compatibility:

The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, AAX and Audiosuite formats.

Summary:

Waves Renaissance Vox is a simple but powerful enough plugin to help you compress vocals in the best possible way. It will make it smooth but at the same time expressive and precise. You won’t spend a lot of time figuring out the settings because there are only a few of them. This software can quickly become your to-go solution.

FAQ

What is vocal mixing?

Vocal mixing means processing the recorded vocal tracks to fit in with the other instruments in the musical composition. It can be one part of mixing and music production as a whole. The main tools of vocal mixing are EQ, compression, saturation, effects, and more.

In analog days, engineers and producers used analog equipment such as consoles and studio units to mix vocals. As technology has evolved, more and more of these pieces of gear have been brought into the digital realm as software that emulates hardware operation.

What plugins do you need for mixing vocals?

You’ll need a whole set of plugins for vocal mixing to get the tracks ready – for example, pitch correction software, equalizers, compressors, de-essers, and saturators. Also, the most basic are effects such as reverb, delay, pitch shifters, and stereo wideners.

It is important to note that specific instruments will also depend on the particular musical genre. Therefore, it isn’t easy to provide a clear list here. In addition, the number of tools is also affected by the quality of the vocal recordings. The skills of the vocalist are also critical. Because the worse it is, the more you will need to fix the situation to make it listenable.

Conclusion

We live in a great time when we can apply the most different vocal mixing options, whether amateurs or professional engineers and producers. Let us summarize everything said in the article by giving you some tips on which plugins you should consider.

If you have the resources to invest in music production softwarethe number 2SplitEQ plugin from Eventide is a great choice. We suggest looking at #11 1178 from Pulsar Audio and #10 Renaissance Vox from Waves if you need a good compressor. A great de-esser for you might be #5 on our list is the T-De-Esser Pro. And the 8 MicroShift and 6 Vocal Bender plugins can help add spatiality to your tracks. It’s also worth remembering here about pitch correction. Metatune #3 from Slate Digital will do an excellent job with this task.

But what if you are starting and do not have the money to buy the necessary tools? In that case, we have some excellent free plugins that won’t upset you. #3 of our free list would be a universal solutionit is CHANNEV by Analog Obsession. You can also get a somewhat limited but still valuable version number 2 T-De-Esser Plus. And free software #1Vocal Doubler from iZotope will help you make your vocals wider.

Just choose what you feel you need and explore the possibilities of these tools. And, of course, don’t forget to rely on your ears, not your eyes. Have fun mixing!

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