Top 17 Utility VST Plugins 2022 For Your Projects

Top 17 Utility VST Plugins For Your Projects | integraudio.com

We made a list of 17 Utility, Reference, & Unique VST Plugins 2022 that wil provide you with a variety of possibilities.

You already include reference songs in your music, or you haven’t tried it yet. You may use a song by another artist as a benchmark for many components in your compositions as a reference track.

For instance, you may attempt to match your master’s loudness to that of a reference track or your song’s arrangement to another song’s. If used properly, reference tracks shouldn’t restrict innovation or produce an unoriginal sound. Instead, reference songs provide you the opportunity to compare your music to the most creatively successful works of others.

Producers that specialize in the same genre correspond with one another. When someone produces a new sound, others attempt to imitate it. Everyone must increase their volume when an entire genre makes that decision. Utilizing reference songs helps you avoid creating entirely new songs with each one you create.

Numerous future bass, dubstep, house, and techno arrangements that we are aware of as being effective are available. Professional mixes have clarity and accuracy that let us know this is the direction we should go with our work. You don’t need a completely original arrangement and a mix-down that is superior to everything else to make a forward-thinking, innovative piece of music.

Top 17 Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins 2022

1. Press Play Wave Observer (Oscilloscope)

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Press Play Wave Observer - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

Berlin-based software developer Press Play Music Technology have been developing their plugins since 2017. Waves Observer Pro provides a powerful tool for visual monitoring of audio signals with a clean and easy-to-use interface.

Time-domain audio analysis plugin Waves Observer Pro offers visual support for mixing, mastering, and sound design, allowing you to monitor the signal and check if you’re getting the desired behavior at any stage of the plugin chain.

With a built-in stabilization algorithm for fixing single waveforms on the screen and a smooth continuous presentation of the signal, Waves Observer Pro will save some time in your monitoring workflow.

Key Features:

  • Zen mode
    This long-awaited feature allows you to expand the oscilloscope view by hiding the controls at the bottom. That way, you can be focused entirely on the observation and analysis of the signal. You can use other features like pausing the signal and scrolling back while in zen mode.
  • Mouse position indicator
    While moving around through the signal, you can check the time and level values in your current mouse position with this handy feature. The mouse position indicator is a practical first step for more detailed waveform analysis, like checking the moment and value of those unwanted peaks in your signal.
  • Scaling
    Two simple knobs allow you to control the scaling of the signal in your current view. The “V.zoom” knob modifies the Y-axis so you can have a more detailed range of the sound level in dB. Similarly, the “duration”   modifies the X-axis, which is the time window in your oscilloscope view.
  • Freeze
    Just as you can monitor the signal in real-time, the “play/pause” button allows you to freeze the waveform for further analysis and monitoring of a specific part of the signal. While using this feature, you also can scroll through history, making it easy to find distortions in previous steps of the plugin chain.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS X 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.

Summary:

Waves Observer Pro will give you a detailed but straightforward display of your waveform so you can take quick action. Their developers are aware of the things that can be improved in the software, such as keyboard commands for knobs that are not accessible in zen mode, and keep updating the plugin constantly so people can have a simple but impressive tool to monitor the signal.

Important: If you don’t want to pay anything and looking for a plugin with fewer features, then, we would recommend you to check their second plugin – Wave Observer.It’s a great free alternative for WIN & macOS as well!

2. Waves Clarity Vx Pro (Best Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning Plugins)

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Reduce any kind of noise in your voice tracks with easy and responsive controls.

Waves indeed have a good collection of sound-crafting tools in their catalog, and almost certainly, all of them can assist you in any way or another. Clarity Vx Pro is one of those tools, being the perfect companion for reducing any kinds of noises and imperfections in your speech or vocals.

Key Features:

    • Neural networks
      A neural network is a learning machine capable of storing information with the help of dedicated algorithms in order to make decisions quickly. In this particular case, Clarity Vx Pro uses neural networks to analyze each aspect of your waveform, providing instant corrections to your vocal track. It can automatically detect noises and other unwanted variations in your waveform and correct them on the go.
    • Main control knob
      The main control knob is the biggest one on your screen, and it will be imperative to set the adequate range in which ambiance will be separated from the voice. For example, if you need to remove said ambiance from your speech, the value you set on this knob will be the threshold that the processing mix will work on.
    • Dedicated faders
      There are some “Band Process” faders assigned to each particular frequency band. They are important controls that determine how much of your signal is being affected by the neural network, according to each frequency band. The intention is to reduce any processing per band, not add more. Be aware that the more it’s being used, the more CPU power will be required.
    • Analysis mode
      If your vocal track requires some special stereo treatment, this option might be useful to you. The “Analysis Mode” is introduced after you decide whether you want your tracks in a single or double-channel distribution. The single mode sums up both left and right channels before analysis, and the double mode separates them very clearly – either by different ambiance or the voice quality itself.
    • Neural network selector
      If introducing a neural network sounds too good to be true, Waves decided to go even further: you can choose between three distinct neural networks that differ in values, parameters such as bias and ratios, and statistics. 

      Neural Network
      Voice Focus
      Broad 1
      Isolates primary and secondary voices from the ambiance, preserving the main voices.
      Broad 1 HF
      Similar to the previous option, but with an extended high-frequency focus.
      Broad 2
      Isolates primary voice from secondary voices and ambiance, focusing on the main speaker or singer only.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14.6, 10.15.7,11.6.2, and 12.3 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

Vocal processing is not an easy task, and removing noises or unwanted elements from a recorded track can be very difficult to achieve. Glady, we have plugins like Waves Clarity Vx Pro, which makes heavy use of neural networks and algorithms to get the job done.

You can isolate the noises, enhance the voice’s qualities, and even separate multiple voices with this useful technology, depending solely on the processing power of your CPU.

3. Sonnox ListenHub (Reference Tool 1)

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Sonnox ListenHub - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

ListenHub is an audio toolbox and monitor controller by Sonnox.

ListenHub is a CoreAudio device that functions as a virtual audio interface. It has four stereo input channels that send the incoming signal to several tools for analysis and then onto one of two stereo output channels. Unfortunately, being a CoreAudio device means ListenHub is available only to Mac users.

Key Features:

  • Four stereo inputs
    ListenHub has four stereo inputs to help you gather songs and signals from different sources. The first input is always configured to carry the system sound, which means you can use this channel to route songs from YouTube, Spotify, Apple music, or whatever platform you use straight into ListenHub. After this, you could set one of the other inputs as your DAW’s output channel. This way, you can keep track of your song and the reference clearly and neatly.
  • Plugin format
    If your DAW does not offer the feature of routing your output to a different device, then don’t be alarmed. Instead, you can use ListenHub’s plugin version and insert it into your mix bus. This way, ListenHub, and your DAW will share the same hardware outputs (monitors or headphones).
  • Level-match
    ListenHub automatically listens and analyzes the loudness of the input signals, which it then matches. This provides automatic level-matching to ensure that you compare your song with a professional song at the proper levels for maximum benefits. ListenHub also helps you with the output volume level and the interpretation of volume levels to an actual acoustic dB level. By doing all of this hard work, ListenHub provides you with a consistent normal monitoring level which you can get used to over time and mix better.
  • Tools
    The toolbox is where you can start having fun with ListenHub. This is where the loudness meters are located. You get short-term LUFS and PSR dynamics metering options to help you get your song at the right loudness level. There is also a big spectrum analyzer that offers visual feedback on your song’s frequency response. It has different frequency bands, which you can isolate to focus on. There are sub, low, low-mid, high-mid, and high bands. Furthermore, you can solo different channels of the stereo image, like mid, side, left, and right. This is extremely helpful in achieving rich stereo spaces that are similar to the song you are referencing.

Compatibility:

ListenHub is available on macOS 10.13 or higher only in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

ListenHub is a great tool to use while mixing and mastering your music. It makes comparing your song to reference songs easy and straightforward by taking care of all the tedious and technical work behind the scenes. The features you’ll play with the most are the loudness meters, frequency bands, and stereo image channels, all of which will help you understand what your song lacks compared to a professional record. 

4. Mastering The Mix REFERENCE 2 (Reference Tool 2)

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Mastering The Mix REFERENCE 2 - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.comReference 2 is a reference and comparison plugin by

REFERENCE 2 is a reference and comparison plugin by Mastering The Mix.

This plugin uses intelligent technology that will level-match your song to the reference and help you by offering guidance during your mix’s EQ, compression, and stereo widening process. 

Key Features:

  • Level-matching
    Level-matching is crucial when comparing tracks. As humans, we naturally perceive loud songs as better-sounding songs. REFERENCE 2 helps with its level-match switch. Once you click it, your song and the reference tracks will be brought to the same level, so you can start analyzing and comparing without any bias.
  • Loudness controls
    In the center of the interface, you’ll find volume meters. These will display the loudness of the audio in your choice of peak, short-term, true peak, or integrated LUFS. There is also a helpful button for switching back and forth from your song to the reference.
  • EQ match
    At the bottom of the interface is the trinity display. This is where a few useful tools are located that help you get your song closer to the chosen reference. Firstly, you get an EQ graph which, as you play through the two tracks, will listen, analyze, and show how your song is louder or quieter in certain frequency bands. If you want, you can select the EQ match mode, which will adjust the onboard EQ accordingly to match the reference. If you select the right reference song, this can be a powerful feature. You also can isolate certain frequency bands.
  • Width and compression
    The second tool in the trinity display is the stereo width tool. This tool shows you how wide your song is on selected frequency ranges compared to the reference. It can also help you match the reference by making relevant adjustments. Finally, you get Punch Dots, a tool that helps you identify how dynamic your song is on certain frequency bands. By understanding the information it projects, you can then use a multiband compressor to adjust your dynamics accordingly. 

Compatibility:

REFERENCE 2 is available on Windows 7 – 10 and macOS 10.8.5 or higher in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

REFERENCE 2 is an excellent reference plugin. The interface and workflow are things I haven’t mentioned yet but are easy and clear to use. All you have to do is load REFERENCE 2 as your first plugin on your master chain.

Then you can drag and drop one or more reference tracks in its interface. You can loop a certain section (for example, the chorus), saving up a lot of your time. The trinity display is extremely powerful, especially the EQ match-mode. Overall, this is a great tool for all producers to have.

5. iZotope Imager 2 (Stereo Imager – FREE)

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iZotope Imager 2 - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.comControl the Width/Stereo Image using the free Izotope

Combine an excellent stereo analyzer and an imager, and you will get the iZotope Imager 2.

Even when you think you are all done with your song, you still need to check how it will sound in a large festival or your car.

The iZotope Imager 2 gives you a detailed view of your work while also acting as a great plugin to increase or decrease your sound’s stereo separation and width.

The analyzing screen is divided into 3 sections (Left, Mid, and Side) to make sure you can see if your sides are equal and check if your bass isn’t straying away from the mid-section.

Key Features:

  • Modify the Width
    Widen or narrow the sound using the width control to make them sit in the mix. Stereoize has two modes option, which converts the mono signal into a stereo without the use of modulation effects or reverb. In addition, the imager that comes with the Ozone bundle has a multi-band mode.
  • See the information on the sides.
    Imager has three vectorscopes which help understand the information on the left and right channels. The Vectorscopes will help you understand the stereo-phase coherency of your track better.

Compatibility:

Izotope Imager is available for Windows 7 or higher and OS X 10.11.6 (El Capitan)–macOS 10.15 (Catalina)  on Intel Macs only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats, all in 64 bits only.

Summary:

Controlling the imaging is one of the best benefits of digital audio, and the Izotope imager has a simple but elegant way of doing that with stereoize and width control.

6. Voxengo SPAN (Spectrum Analyzer)

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Voxengo SPAN - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.comVoxengo’s SPAN will help you see what your ears can’t hear.

We all know that in mixing and mastering, it’s important to trust your ears, not your eyes. But what if there may be situations where you need to check what your ears can’t hear? If that’s the case, a visual analyzer can help you. And such a free plugin is SPAN.

It is hard to believe it is freeware because this powerful tool is very powerful. You can use it to compare your master to a reference and check the overall trend of the frequency spectrum. In addition, you will be able to analyze the track in different modes.

Key Features:

  • Smooth The Frequency Spectrum
    By default, SPAN will display the frequency spectrum in some detail. It means that you will see many different peaks. However, you can smooth it to see only the general trend. To do this, go into the settings, change the Block Size, and adjust the Smoothing parameter.
  • Expand The Spectrum
    In addition, the plugin will let you see what your ears can’t hear. In the settings, you will also be able to change the display of the frequency spectrum. For example, see what’s beyond 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz.
  • Check In Different Modes
    You will be able to see what happens to the frequency spectrum not only in stereo mode. The plugin has a few display presets. In particular, a Mid-Side Stereo option will help you analyze the information in different areas. In addition, there are also Lo-Freq Inspection, Avg and Max, and Stereo Smoothed modes.
  • Hold Function
    In the upper left corner, you will see a Hold button. Clicking it will freeze the frequency spectrum to see the overall trend better. This way, you can analyze whether the master is balanced and what more needs to be done.
  • Detailed Metering
    And, of course, the plugin provides detailed metering with all the necessary statistics. You will see this information below. In particular, there is Correlation Meter, True Peak, Peak Clippings info, and Max Crest Factor.

Compatibility:

Voxengo SPAN is available for Windows XP or higher (both 32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.11 or higher. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Voxengo’s SPAN will be useful in cases where hearing is useless. In addition, it is a great tool to analyze the frequency spectrum if you work in an untreated room. It has all possible indicators and different types of display to customize it the way you want.

7. United Plugins Transmutator (A Cross-Fade Effect)

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United Plugins Transmutator - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

Transmutator is a crossfading plugin by JMG Sound.

Crossfading is a technique used to transition from one song to another. It usually involves simple volume fade-in on one track and fade-out on another. However, JMG Sound created Transmutator to spice things up with a series of innovative and intricate crossfading algorithms.

It can be used to blend songs together, move between different sessions with ease, and create unique blending effects between sounds.

Key Features:

  • Simple set up
    Transmutator works in a very simple way. First, you load it into your DAW on the track you want to transition from. Then, select the track you wish to transition to inside the sidechain menu. This creates an A/B pathway between the two audio (or midi) tracks. Then, using the big knob in the center of the plugin, you can transition from the A track to the B track. It couldn’t be any simpler.
  • 16 blend modes
    Where Transmutator truly shines is its blending menu, which consists of 16 different blend modes. It includes creative choices like morph, liquid, diffuser, blur, and spectrum. Each blend mode combines the A and B tracks creatively by using creative filtering, volume, comb filters, spectral processing, reverberation, delay, pitch shifting, and panning. In addition, the plugin’s manufacturers advise using sounds with distinct characteristics to help you achieve unique blends.
  • Utility controls
    Apart from the blending algorithms and the big transition knob, Transmutator offers a few utility controls to add depth and more variation to your blends. The most creative is the invert switch which determines which signal is the dominant one. If you turn it on, signal B will be the one you move away from as you approach the 100% mark. This can seem non-sensical since, in both cases, each signal gets 50%, but in the case of the spectral modes, it can offer extremely varied results. In spectral modes, frequency bands are split into odd and even harmonics, so the audio source you start from determines the timbre of the blend.
  • Excellent for creative layering
    Don’t just look at Transmutator as a simple transitioning tool. It can be used to achieve some advanced and creative layering during music production. For example, if you load a pad on signal A and a vocal melody on signal B, you can morph and blend them to create a new layer that sounds richer and more distinct. Even better, you can subtly automate the big blend knob to create an evolving sound that actively engages the listener’s attention.

Compatibility:

Transmutator is available on Windows and macOS in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.

Summary:

Transmutator is a fresh idea that explores new ways to transition between songs or blend sounds together. It’s handy because you can creatively layer sounds together from entirely different sources, for example, an audio track loaded with a sample and a midi track that plays a Serum patch you created.  In addition, you can load it into Ableton Live for live performances so you can easily transition between your songs or sets and even inspire some new production techniques. 

8. UJAM Dynamo (Re-Groover/Remixer)

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UJAM Dynamo - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

The next step for achieving awesome effects and inspiring sounds.

If you’re a sound designer looking for exciting new sounds to be created from scratch, Finisher DYNAMO might be your best option. It’s based on audio processors and effects racks but joined together as a single software ready to assist you. You can expect a blend of multiple effects, like chorus and EQ, with exquisite signal chains to deliver the new sounds you’ll hear.

Key Features:

    • Presets
      Although you can easily create sonorities from scratch, there are some presets included to assist you in the process. There are almost 300 refreshing sounds to use, organized into folders such as “Drums,” “Pads,” and “Vocals.”
    • MODE section
      These are pre-made effects configurations with individual settings and custom macro parameters available to be used. You can choose between “Chop Support,” “Perfect Pitches,” “Plastered,” “Octaver,” “Familiar Faces,” “Omnidirectional,” “Reverserizer,” “Pad It Up!,” “Warm Clusters,” and “Sky High.”
    • Finisher knob
      This is the central control in Finisher DYNAMO. In essence, it’s a powerful macro adjustment that affects all algorithms in every MODE selected, responding in a different way according to the one chosen. You can also assign it to a MIDI controller and have full control of its use all the time.
    • Variation knobs
      The nearby “Variation” knobs are responsible for further adjusting some parameters in each MODE. You can adjust the MODE’s playback speed by doubling or halving it, make modulation divisions, plays randomized rhythms, and add a triplet feel to whatever rhythms you’re playing.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST, AAX, and AU2 plugin formats.

Summary:

The current age is arguably music production’s golden era, thanks to plugins like Finisher DYNAMO. The variations and possibilities behind each sample file created or modified in it are enormous, and it’s a perfect recipe for having fresh ideas to create great soundscapes. So if you’re a cinematic score maker or just enjoy designing sonic environments, DYNAMO is surely a nice tool to assist in your next project.

9. ADPTR AUDIO Streamliner (Metering Suite / Referencing)

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ADPTR AUDIO Streamliner - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.comStreamliner is a reference plugin by ADPTR AUDIO.

It’s a plugin used for analyzing how your song will sound on all major streaming platforms.

This tool can help combat the loudness normalization penalties modern producers face every time a streaming platform decides to change its minimum LUFS target.

Apart from this, it helps read your true-peak loudness value, compares your song with references, and automatically level-matching them.

Key Features:

  • Understand normalization
    When you upload your song to your distributor, it’s sent to all the major streaming services. Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, and Tidal have their own rules regarding how loud a song should be before it gets compressed. This is so that all songs are on a relatively similar loudness level for the user’s convenience. However, if you send in a song with completely different loudness levels than the usual modern -14 LUFS, this comes at the cost of loudness, and the worst cases, audio quality. To combat this, Streamliner lets you audition your song through the same algorithms all these streaming services use. This way, you’ll know if your song will be simply turned down by a dB or compressed to reach the right level, sacrificing this way your song’s life and balance.
  • Loudness readings
    Streamliner comes with all the necessary meters and readings for loudness monitoring. You can monitor your song’s short-time LUFS, PSR, and PLR values. The meters are beautifully designed, just like the entire interface, which makes for a smooth experience for producers of all experience levels. Once your song reaches a loudness level over the intended streaming platform receiver, you will be notified with a red value and a clip line showing how many dBs you have exceeded the limit.
  • Handy referencing
    Apart from letting you know the fines streaming services will apply to your song’s loudness, Streamliner functions as a great modern referencing tool. You can load a song in the interface and click the AB button to switch between that and your song. An automatic level matching algorithm will bring your songs to the same level for objective comparisons. 

Compatibility:

Streamliner is available on Windows 7 – 10 and macOSn10.11 – 12 in VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU formats.

Summary:

Streamliner is a simple referencing tool that offers something different to the modern producer: the ability to understand how his song will be experienced on every major streaming platform before he commits to uploading it.

The interface is easy to understand and minimalistic enough for everyone to comprehend. 

10. Initial Audio Reverse (Rewinds Your Mixes)

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Initial Audio Reverse - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

Reverse is simply a reverse plugin by Initial Audio.

This plugin is one of the simplest plugins on the list. It takes up to four bars of audio or midi and reverses the sounds produced. It is the quickest way to rewind your audio without worrying about making permanent changes to the files. Reverse has a simple and sleek design, with a resizable window to ensure it looks good at any resolution.

Key Features:

  • The Mix Knob
    The most useful feature of this plugin is the Mix Knob. This setting allows you to choose how much of the dry signal is affected by the plugin, and this allows you to create some creative sounds. For example, you could have the Mix Knob at around 30% on your chords, creating a subtle swell before each chord is played. You can get creative with this feature on both melodic elements and drums.
  • Time settings
    This plugin works with the BPM in your DAW to create specific time reverse effects. There are options; 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1 Bar, 2 Bars, and 4 Bars. These options allow you to get even more creative within the plugin. For example, set the option to 4 Bars, and everything will be reversed within 4 bars. Set it to 1/2, and half a bar will be reversed, allowing you to create swells, pads, and other interesting effects.
  • The Fade Knob
    The Fade Knob allows you to create smooth reverse effects within your track. If the reverse effect is too harsh, turn up the Fade Knob to keep it in check, or on the other hand, if you want a harsher sound, turn the Face Knob down to get the desired effect.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for MacOS 10 or higher (M1 and MacOS Monterey Compatible), and Windows 7 or higher. It is AAX, AU, VST2, and VST3 compatible.

Summary:

Overall, this is a simple but effective plugin. It does exactly what it is meant to do, and it does it well. It’s defiantly worth checking out, especially because it’s almost always on sale, making it one of the cheapest paid plugins on this list.

11. Sinevibes Skew (Audio Reverser)

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Sinevibes Skew - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

Skew by Sinevibes is a non-linear audio reverser.

This plugin is a powerful audio reversing tool. It has many built-in effects allowing you to create your desired sound. The plugin has a colorful and simple interface.

Key Features:

  • Preset bank
    This plugin may be simple but having a bank full of useful presets is handy if you need some quick ideas within your tracks. You also can save your own presets, so once you create your desired effect, you can save the presets for use in future tracks.
  • Smart interface
    Within this plugin, there are many features of the interface that make it easy to navigate. The color-coded graphical elements make it easy to understand which controls affect what. Consistent naming of each knob and option means everything is easy to understand.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Mac OS 10.9 or later (64-Bit Only), and Windows 8.1 or later (64-Bit Only). It is AU, AXX,  and VST3 Compatible.

Summary:

In conclusion, there are many effects you can do with this plugin. It’s more than just a reversing tool.

The color-coded aspect can also help you learn the controls quicker, and we all know time-saving is key for producers, so this is a useful feature. Check this plugin out!

12. Venomode Lowtility 2 (Low-End Filter & M/S Plugin)

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Venomode Lowtility 2 - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

A low-end filter and mid/side utility plugin is called Lowtility 2. It enables you to alter the stereo width of the bottom end and cleanly remove low frequencies from the mix.

Utility 2 is a plugin with a low-end filter and side/mid utilities. With Utility 2, you may cleanly adjust the stereo field and eliminate low frequencies from your mix. With a low-cut filter with variable slope, you may lower the low finish’s stereo breadth or turn it entirely mono by employing the center or side channels.

Key Features:

  • Stereo Mode
    By selecting Stereo Mode, you can control how Lowtility handles Stereo across your low-frequency band. The band stays in Stereo while the “Width” button may be used to change the width. Mixes the left and right channels down to mono in “Mid” mode.
    Selecting one side channel might provide a clearer sound since you can discover that certain audio has phase problems when mixing in mono.
  • Frequency Knob and Width
    Low band frequencies fall below this threshold and will be regulated in this area. Everything above will be unaffected. Only when the Mode setting is Stereo does the width button come into play. When there is no change to the stereo field. The center of the stereo field gets smaller as you get closer.
  • View Mode
    The Gonio and Correlation counters’ displays can be customized here. This will listen to the narrow-width portion if enabled. The chopped area and the crossover’s higher range will not be used. By doing this, you may make the low-band signal’s phase reversed. “None” has no impact on the signal. It will invert the phase of both channels and flip the left and right channels in turn.
  • Slope Selection and Filter Graph
    The filter’s slope expresses how rapidly low frequencies pass. For example, a 2-pole filter produces a small slope of 12dB. The selection uses a four-poly filter and is the default selection. The barriers are high to bring you close to a dead end. The filter graph displays the filter’s current state. 
  • Stereo Meters
    A correlation counter with a moving bar that indicates the current phase correlation is displayed in the lower portion. The signal is entirely in phase and virtually mono when it is completely in the blue region to the right. The signal has a greater stereo spread as the counter comes closer to the center of the gray region.
    The signal goes out of phase when the counter moves towards the red zone. The summing to mono will result in a phase-canceled signal since the signal is fully out of phase at the far left. Aim to maintain the meter on the right side of the meter for a clear signal.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS X 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.

Summary:

Numerous issues with the bottom end of the mix’s balance are resolved by it. And one practical option that this plugin provides you with is the connection of bass with phase. It’s worth looking at because it’s also quite simple to use.

13. Leapwing CenterOne (Stereo Width Fine-Tuner)

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Leapwing CenterOne - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

An audio panorama-preserving plug-in that has the ability to adjust the stereo track’s spectral middle.

In its most basic use, a boost or cut may be applied to the phantom center signal on a stereo track or channel in the DAW without altering the stereo’s overall breadth or frequency content. Although it may not seem very amazing, it is!

Nearly nothing else on the market, not CPUs based on M-S, can perform a similar function. With the Center Prominence control, you may move lead vocalists, voices, and other mixed elements forward or backward in the soundstage without changing the overall impression.

Key Features:

  • Interface
    There are only two sliders per area and very few other controls. The Width slider does exactly what it says on the tin: it increases the perceived width of a source. Your high pass filter is the other; no widening takes place below it. The controls for Depth and Color may be found under the Depth section.
    The first increases the signal’s reflections and forces components back into the overall mixture. They can contribute to a master’s heightened feeling of depth from front to rear. The second slider raises or lowers the effect’s tilt, an EQ skewed toward reflections. The next option is Mono, which includes a slider for stereotyping mono content and a Center Gravity control to shift the signal to the left or right.
  • Presets
    Eight factories presets are included with CenterOne, and they may be selected from a pull-down menu by clicking on the preset name. Additionally, you may navigate them by using the left and right arrows. Examples of factory settings include:
     

    • Boosting and reducing the center bass strength.
    • Varying the center or side brightness.
    • Varying the prominence of the voice. 
  • Bandpass 
    It maintains the phase connection between audio components as a linear phase filter. It should be noted that if the different streams are not treated separately, mixing the CSF back into a Bitwise identical stereo signal is feasible. Three different filter slopes are available for the lower and higher upper corner frequencies.
  • Width 
    A single parameter determines the width of the region. It only retrieves phantom sources precisely in the center of a stereo stream when the value is set to -100. The sound slightly to the left and right of the central stereo picture is extracted when it rises to +100. Muting your device will allow you to hear how much material is drawn on the Center channel, making it the simplest approach to determine its impact.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS X 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.

Summary:

I suggest prospective customers take advantage of Leapwing’s free trial offer: When recombining split outputs, some plug-ins with unique pan rules impose a minor discrepancy since plug-in configuration varies somewhat between DAWs. Although it’s harmless and simple to remedy, you should be aware of it.

It is quite outstanding when everything is taken into account. Especially when it is a new developer’s initial offering, it does tasks flawlessly and with more realism than its few closest rivals. It’s unquestionably a must-have tool if stereo processing is something you take seriously.

14. AudioThing Noises (Noise Generator)

More Info & Price

AudioThing Noises - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

The latest plug-in from Hainbach and AudioThing investigates the art of noise.

There have been several plugins in the past that introduce noise to a pure signal. These may include the needle sound on the recording, saturation distortion, or tape noise. Noise is unique, though, because it provides far more than simply an auditory effect.

When you initially launch the plugin, it has a lovely appearance. Some of us are obsessed with anything with a retro aesthetic, and this GUI is straightforward yet has tons of personality. The eight buttons that form a row below the pseudo-illuminated center dial function together. The noises are samples that are kept in banks of eight. 

Key Features:

  • Triggers
    Pitch is unaffected by keyboard notes. However, it is affected by the note’s gate. The noises may be activated from the keyboard to produce rhythmic pulses that fit your music, or they can be set to a permanent trigger state, in which case they rumble away. The interface generates much of the pitch and its rhythmic content, but you may also play rhythms simply using the keyboard.
  • Trip
    Its middle keypad trip is the focus of the Trip segment. When the dial is in the Pendulum mode, it swings back and forth while playing triggered noises. Selecting the note value with the Speed button may be synchronized to your DAW. Additionally, a synchronizable random mode causes the dial to hop between different positions.
  • Filters
    It has a simple envelope that allows for more creative control, but its filter component also offers four other types of filters in 2-pole and configurations that let you alter the incoming noise. Additionally, the highly effective downsampling and bit-crunching portion allow you to combine unaffected and altered data.
  • Banks 
    Noise has a huge range of presets and 22 different noise banks. The banks include noise, such as radio transmissions, traffic recordings, and even military communications signals. In order to produce noise or notes inside a specified chord, synthesizers also use noise banks. Additionally, you may create and import your banks of whatever sound you like.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS X 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.

Summary:

All of this results in a really specific plugin that is excellent for producing textures and pulses. If you thought the noise was monotonous, reconsider! Noises add a great new way to mess up your sound. A distinctive plugin that works well for making textures and pulses. If you thought the noise was monotonous, reconsider!

15. Plugin Boutique Radio (Stream & Sample)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Plugin Boutique Radio - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

You may transmit in flux and listen to a variety of online radio stations using the radio, both within and outside of your DAW.

Radio allows you to record the final 30 seconds of any streaming content so that you can drag and drop it into your projects and stream and sample from various Internet radio stations straight inside your DAW.

This is the first time finding fresh samples to inspire your song has been so easy. There are many settings on the station, so it’s easy to find something unique.

Key Features:

  • Speaker Effects
    According to Plugin Boutique, these 24 processors will make your feed seem to be coming from a real tube radio speaker or another device. This is a fun, practical, and simple plugin, a moral minefield of copyright and sampling aside.
  • Usage
    Any streaming content on Radio is only captured for the past 30 seconds. Select the audio file you prefer, save it, and then drag it into your DAW. This is the first time finding fresh samples to inspire your song has been so easy! The diversity-focused programming on the Radio will entice you to tune in again and again for new sources of motivation.
  • Fx
    With 24 processors, the onboard FX section provides your Radio the sensation of actual consumer goods, giving your stream the impression that it is coming from a genuine tube radio speaker or another device.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14.6, 10.15.7,11.6.2, and 12.3 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

The Radio plugin is a fantastic tool for finding inspiration or listening to new music. You may stream and sample from a wide variety of Internet radio stations with this plugin inside and outside your DAW.

With its 24 FX emulations, which include old radios, telephones, etc., Radio covers you whether you’re feeling creative or want to relax and listen to the Radio. So don’t be reluctant to test Radio today!

16. Schoeps Mono Upmix (From Mono To Stereo)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Schoeps Mono Upmix - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

A distinct strategy is used by the Schoeps Mono Upmix plug-in, which provides more control and realism.

By adaptively removing diffuse sound from the mono input signal to create an upmix signal, Mono Upmix generates stereo channels and LCR from any mono source.

Because diffuse sound should always be replicated decorrelated across distinct stereo channels, the combined signal sounds more realistic than the original mono track. In addition, producing early reflections makes it feasible to regulate the apparent source distance and panning position.

Key Features:

  • Parameters
    The Upmix plug parameters are simple to comprehend and are shared by both versions. The dry mono signal may be moved from L to R using the panning slider, much like on a typical stereo panel. By highlighting the early reflections from the derived stereo picture, the depth control enables you to position a mono source farther back in the stereo image. Regulates how much gain is applied to the derived diffuse sound. A more moist signal is produced by increasing it
  • Divergence
    You control how the proper discrete center channel and the phantom center are balanced thanks to divergence. The central signal stays in the center, Speaking when Divergence is 0. This indicates no phantom center and only an actual center signal. If one of the center signals shows divergence, proceed. In this situation, you are left with a pure phantom center rather than a true core signal.
  • Usage
    In addition to broadcast commentary and interviews, Schoeps notes that the program is mostly used in cinema sound and music production. In cinema and television applications, the plugin considerably improves the sound of a monophonic dialogue signal; nevertheless, in music recording, it will be feasible to blend support microphone sounds at a higher, more homogenous level. 

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for macOS 10.14.6, 10.15.7,11.6.2, and 12.3 (64-bit only) and Windows 10 or higher (64-bit only). It runs in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin formats.

Summary:

Without delving into physical modelings, such as employing EQ and reverb, a good and quick plugin not only lends each sound a distinct space. One of the best plugins for me to reliably add depth and clarity to mono sounds. Very helpful user interface that shows where the sound source is and how much blur is being used.

17. NUGEN Audio SigMod (Signal Routing)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

NUGEN Audio SigMod - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

With 12 distinct process modules, SigMod is a versatile, modular utility plug-in that may improve the functionality of your plug-ins and DAW.

The SigMod VST3 plug-in from NUGEN Audio is intended to be a toolbox that provides a versatile collection of routing and signal flow features, some of which are lacking in many DAWs.

The original signed, a workbench software plug-in that enabled numerous audio processors to be arranged in any sequence to generate a wide range of audio effects and corrections served as the foundation for this new version.

Key Features:

  • User Interface
    The easy-to-use GUI is neat and practical, and it has nice auto-sizing functionality that changes depending on the modules entered. Phase inversion, producing mono, LR switching, detecting and eliminating a DC offset, and a helpful Protect unit that stops immediately if the signal surpasses a threshold are among the fundamental operations available.
  • Crossover Module
    The modules for the Mid-Side and Crossover make things more intriguing. They enable you to upgrade antique processors or any effect you can think of or split band capabilities.
    A new module that enables SigMod to host a plug-in inside is also available, in addition to the excellent Tap module, which can transmit a signal to a separate receiving plug-in that you can install anywhere in your DAW. The opportunities are endless if you get the hang of it.
  • Protect Module
    To prevent harm to your speakers and to hear from unexpected feedback or other loud bursts of sound, the Protect module immediately stops the output of the signal chain when the signal level exceeds the selected output level.
    Choose whether to manually restore the full signal level manually by clicking on a pop-up window that automatically shows as a reminder that Protect has been engaged.
  • Other Modules
    Switching the left and right channels is particularly useful when checking the mix balance in an irregular room. For example, Speaker restriction effects can make a monitor sound bigger or more bass-heavy than its mix channel.
    Other modules let you mute, solo, cut, and switch between a stereo signal’s left and right channels. For example, the Mono module may be used to hear how your stereo mix sounds in mono. To turn a channel’s phase around, use the Phase module.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS X 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.

Summary:

With the supplied modules, SigMod may generate imaginative audio effects, provide functionality that other DAWs lack, and link in various ways to other FX plug-ins you own.

For example, consider dividing a vocal recording into three or four distinct frequency bands and processing each separately with a compressor. Every DAW should contain the Protect module, but few do. A trial version is offered, so you may check it before buying.

Bonuses

1. United Plugins DIFIX (Correction Tool)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

United Plugins DIFIX - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

The recording device’s device input is not the same as a legitimate DI box. Directly plugging in your guitar or bass might make your recording sound incredibly flat and lose its shine.

No matter how you look at it, the sound of a guitar connected straight into an interface is flawed. It’s decent, sometimes even fantastic, but it’s not flawless. The overall sound is much improved by adding a high-quality DI box or preamp, but for musicians on a tight budget, that might not be an option.

Additionally, no amount of hardware will be able to remove an embedded sound if you wish to go back and edit already recorded recordings. By amplifying and enhancing the signal from the Hi-Z inputs on the majority of low-cost audio interfaces without the need for additional hardware, United Plugins’ new DIFIX is intended to address this issue.

Key Features:

  • Interface
    DIFIX looks like a metal DI box with a powder-coated mustard color. An intensity knob is located below the input and output gains, much as on a true DI box. Straightforward controls in stylish packaging.
  • Controls
    There are only three buttons and two switches in total, not counting the bypass, thus there aren’t many functions to mention. The guitar and bass DI models may be switched using the master switch at the top, and the DI glow’s intensity can be adjusted to the perfect level. It is possible to apply saturation by using the input and output, which offer signal cuts and boost.
    A clever feature of the on/off bypass control allows automation to operate the switch without clicking or popping. The DIFIX easily earns five stars for emulation since it has all the characteristics you’d want in a high-quality DI box, including switchable bass or guitar operation, clever bypass, and volume controls.
  • Usage
    I was fascinated by the DIFIX concept and wanted to hear how it would sound as a guitarist who has long used sim and DI amps. When it comes down to it, DIFIX is unquestionably a one-trick pony—but a very excellent one.
    The fact that you can add them to already recorded songs to revive the guitar and bass sections is quite great, as is the ability to immediately add the sparkle and clarity of a decent DI or preamp to your new tunes. 

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS X 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.

Summary:

The overall quality of DIFIX by United Plugins is excellent and meets a specific demand. Even high-end hardware can benefit from DIFIX’s sound improvement. DIFIX was created for budget producers working in home studio situations with restricted signal route possibilities.

This is a need if you’re a mixing engineer working with customers on a tight budget or if you record guitars to the box. I wholeheartedly offer DIFIX five stars and suggest it to all DI fighters.

2. RX950 Classic (AD/DA Converter)

More Info & Price

RX950 Classic - 20 Best Utility, Reference & Unique VST Plugins (Paid & Free) | integraudio.com

One of the most well-known samplers from the 1980s, the Akai S950, is renowned for its iconic sound. Many people believe that 12-bit’s roughness and crunch are still unequaled today.

One of the most well-known samplers from the 1980s, the Akai S950, is renowned for its iconic sound. However, many believe today’s roughness and crunch are still unsurpassed.

The resolution, however, is not everything. For more than a year, Inphonik meticulously examined every component of this studio equipment classic to restore its distinctive flavor to your contemporary DAW with the RX950.

Key Features:

  • Controls
    Effort Gain With the distinctive gain and warm distortion of the S950, make your sound loud and proud. Anything in your mix will stand out thanks to its powerful presence. Audio fidelity controls the analog-to-digital conversion circuitry and desired sample rate with a sophisticated yet subtle aliasing effect.
    Next, controls the famed sharp lowpass filter on the S950. Use it on distinct components, any output bus, or the master section. Finally, utilize the Brilliance knob to modify the audio bandwidth’s high-frequency response.
  • User Interface
    Because the plugin is small and immobile, it is challenging to read on a 4K monitor or if you have eye-mark issues. Nevertheless, despite being difficult to read, it offers all the capabilities you would anticipate from an RX950 Classic AD/DA converter.
    You may choose the distinctive roughness and warm distortion of the S950. Quite strong and distinguishes the item. The intended sample rate and the analog-to-digital conversion circuit are controlled via a knob. The famed lowpass filter of the S950 can therefore be used. Keep in mind that the developer included a mono button.

Compatibility:

This plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS X 10.11 or higherboth 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3 and AU formats.

Summary:

The RX950 Classic AD/DA converter has a lot of features, including the ability to add Akai S950 grain and warm distortion, as well as the ability to add the frequently heard analog-to-digital crosstalk and musically alter the sound. It also comes with a lowpass filter, which is excellent for changing specific sections of your song.

Conclusion

This top will provide the most thorough introduction to the world of reference available. These utility plugins provide several options in this area. I’m delighted that we can provide you with a more professional way in terms of mixing and mastering, and I know that by using this top, you will acquire fresh approaches to mixing your tracks.

For inexperienced engineers, these plugins might be a little intimidating, but it is crucial to remember that some settings are crucial for mixing and mastering. For instance, iZotope Imager 2, which manages audio imaging, provides a larger variety of good breadth when used.

In addition, some plugins, like Waves Clarity Vx Pro, are designed to lower the noise in your master. By doing this, you may, for instance, lower the noise floor of voice records. However, I also added a controlled noise generator in this article, so you may think of inventive ways to produce noise.

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