This article will discuss the best weird yet unusually good VST Plugins and libraries of 2023.
Music production, sound design, and audio engineering are all about getting inspired and finding a unique palette that is unique to you. For that to happen, every professional in the industry has their own set of toolkits that build a signature for their sounds. These tools can be something as simple as a stock compressor plugin or something as complex as a Spectrasonics Omnisphere.
It’s all about trying, experimenting, and discovering the tools that work best for you. The list of plugins and libraries we have compiled is for the purpose of inspiration, exploration, and experimentation. Hopefully, one of these plugins will become your secret tool as a producer. We have included everything from interesting distortion plugins to unique sample libraries that may add a new twist to your workflow.
Some of these plugins are amusing, some are dark, and some are just “weird.” Read on to explore what fascinates you, and try one of these to explore what suits you and your taste. Let’s dive right into the list now.
Top 17 Weird, Unusual & Unique VST Plugins 2023
1. Native Instruments Playbox (Kontakt Library)
The most innovative Kontakt instrument is Playbox. This unusual piece of equipment will inspire you to compose pop, but also other genres like Trap, LoFi and EDM.
Without a sure, The Playbox is the most innovative and fascinating gadget I’ve seen in a very long time. If you compose music in any genre, this tool will immediately spark your interest in writing songs and creating an album as a whole.
A brand-new kind of musical instrument called a PLAYBOX blends distinct sound design, harmony, and layering. The tool is stuffed with samples, chord settings, effects, and presets, and it has everything you need to be creative.
There is also room for 450 user samples, which might be automatically returned to match the tones of a chord. With PLAYBOX, users may manage all sound kinds, from synthetic sounds to acoustic instruments and noise into chords and sound stacks, thanks to a variety of configurable preset sounds.
Using PLAYBOX, composers may create never-before-heard multi-stacked sound combinations by layering various samples of synthesizers, instruments, bass, voices, and noise onto each note in a chord. You may import up to 450 of your samples, which are automatically returned to the notes of the chords. This allows you to resurrect unused sample libraries clogging up your hard disk.
Arp, Strum, and Grain effects, together with more than 50 ambient samples, including nature noises, busy stations, and vinyl scratches, may be used to provide depth and texture while delivering rhythms and ambiance.
For stunning results, pick from up to 14 top-notch effects and alter their placement in your processing chain. Then, dial deeper with various assignable modulation sources, humanized velocity and sync settings, and dance-inducing noises.
- Chord Progressions
Playbox was developed to assist musicians experiencing writer’s block. This library can be exactly what you need if you’re a musician experiencing writer’s block. Playbox helps rekindle your creative spark whether you’re an experienced composer or are just getting started.
The full version of Kontakt 5.8.1 or higher is needed. It runs on macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only) and Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only).
To summarize, Playbox is a unique and versatile tool that may help you add unusual modern elements to your music. It comes pre-loaded with over 900 entertaining sounds and can be customized with your chords and noises.
2. Freakshow Industries BACKMASK
A unique plugin for sure is BACKMASK by Freakshow industries.
This is a ‘Chaotic’ Reverser plugin adds some crazy reverse effects to your tracks. BACKMASK has an interesting and fun interface.
- Interesting Interface
BACKMASK has an intentionally confusing interface. It’s hard to figure out what’s going on but in a way that adds to the fun, pressing random buttons and just seeing what happens is interesting to play around with. This gives you a fun experience using this plugin and can create interesting tracks. The overall style of the interface is a nice change from others on this list, although all the other plugins make sense.
- Built-in Effects
Although it’s hard to tell what’s going on, this plugin does have the ability to create some good-sounding reverse effects. The built-in effects within this plugin are surprisingly good. You can still get creative with this plugin by randomly changing different settings despite not knowing what’s what.
- Smart Timing
This plugin can be synced with your DAW to allow for smart timing options. This means all the effects will be on time and fit well within your track. You can also set your preferred length of the reversed audio segments.
This plugin is available for MacOS 10.11 or later (M1 supported) (64-Bit Only) and Windows 10 or later (64-Bit Only). It is AAX, AU, VST2, and VST3 compatible.
This is a unique plugin. This is a fun plugin to mess around with whenever you need inspiration or want a change of pace from the ordinary plugins. I recommend you check this plugin out; the product page itself is a confusing yet fun read.
3. Mixing Night Audio LOLCOMP
The LOLCOMP plugin by Mixing Night Audio is a compressor and tone-shaping tool designed to simplify compression.
Mixing Night Audio offers creative sound design plugins designed to assist producers, engineers, and beat makers in achieving better and faster results. They focus on creating tools that enhance the creative process and emotion in music production, rather than relying solely on technical parameters.
Comprising five carefully curated and customized chains, LOLCOMP goes beyond traditional compression, offering playful and intuitive processing. The LMAO (Levitate, Mash, Awaken, Oxidate) parameters are a unique feature of the LOLCOMP plugin by Mixing Night Audio. These parameters offer a multi-chain compressor and multi-FX processing.
- Fun and Intuitive Interface
LOLCOMP features a user-friendly interface that makes music production an enjoyable experience. Its design prioritizes creativity with fun animations and avatars to demonstrate various compression functions, allowing you to engage with the plugin playfully and intuitively.
- Easy-to-Understand Parameters and Controls
The plugin offers parameters and controls that are designed to be straightforward and user-friendly. This makes it accessible for beginners and experienced producers, ensuring ease of use without compromising functionality.
- 100 Custom Presets
LOLCOMP comes with a diverse range of 100 custom presets. These presets provide users with various starting points for different musical contexts, helping to streamline the production process and inspire creativity. It also consists of plugin chains like Kangaroo for punchier drums and aggressive rap vocals, GAME OF TONES for various distortion flavors, and SOO PRETTY for more acoustic and natural sounds.
- LMAO controls
Levitate knobs can fatten or thin the sound, Awaken knobs brighten things up, Mash is basically a hard compressor or limiter, and Oxidate simply offers five different reverb flavors. Using these controls, you can easily shape your sound with simple knobs.
The LOLCOMP plugin boasts extensive compatibility, supporting macOS 10.12 or higher and Windows 10 or higher operating systems, accommodating both Intel 64-bit and Apple Silicon CPUs. It mandates a display resolution of 1440×900 pixels or higher for clear visuals.
The plugin seamlessly integrates with popular digital audio workstations, offering plugin formats including AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, AU (Audio Units), and VST3, ensuring a smooth production experience for a diverse range of users.
The plugin offers a lot of advanced programming under the hood, using just some knobs, emojis/animations, and controllers. The LMAO controls are great and also have post/pre-processing buttons. It’s not a plugin to go for if you’re an engineer/producer who likes complete control and customization. However, it’s great to get easy and random effects that may surprise you.
4. Native Instruments KARRIEM RIGGINS DRUMS
The Native Instruments KARRIEM RIGGINS DRUMS is a virtual instrument in the Play Series.
This release showcases the innovative drumming and production style of Karriem Riggins, a well-known figure in hip-hop. The plugin features a user-friendly interface designed by artist Jason Jägel, offering simplicity and a wide range of percussion sounds. It includes kits, MIDI grooves, and more, curated by Riggins.
The instrument is available for both macOS and Windows platforms and offers a variety of sounds and features to enhance music production; all presented through an intuitive design.
- Signature Groove and Flow
This plugin encapsulates the unique laid-back groove and artistic flow of Karriem Riggins, a renowned hip-hop producer, and jazz drummer. It captures his distinct punchy behind-the-beat drumming style that adds a dynamic rhythm to your compositions.
- Meticulously Designed Kits
The instrument features kits meticulously crafted and recorded by Riggins himself during sessions at Studio 3, Sunset Sound, Los Angeles. These kits reflect his expertise and sonic vision, offering a high-quality drumming experience.
- Artistic Interface
Designed by Jason Jägel, the interface of the plugin is a vivid masterpiece that seamlessly integrates a diverse array of percussion elements. It presents a visually appealing platform for your creative drumming exploration. With direct control as filters, reverb, delay, punch, sustain, tune, level, etc., the plugin lets you customize and design your sound easily.
- Feel and Timing Control
The plugin empowers you with tightness and swing controls, allowing you to fine-tune the feel and timing of your drum patterns. This level of control adds depth and authenticity to your compositions.
- Pattern Exploration
You get a Pattern page with a canvas for creative pattern exploration featuring sixteen rhythmic arrangements. This feature encourages experimentation and the development of intricate rhythms.
- Comprehensive Manual
The instrument comes with an accessible manual that provides in-depth insights into effectively using the plugin. It ensures that users can fully harness the features and capabilities of the plugin.
- Authentic Drumming Style
By incorporating the unique drumming style of Karriem Riggins, the plugin enhances music production with an authentic and distinctive sonic character. It becomes a valuable tool in expanding your music production toolkit.
KARRIEM RIGGINS DRUMS is designed to be versatile in terms of compatibility. It can be used on PCs running either Windows 10 or 11 and can be loaded into Native Instruments’ free Kontakt Player. Moreover, it is expected to work seamlessly with popular digital audio workstations (DAWs) like Logic Pro, Ableton Live, and Pro Tools.
The plugin is great for humanized off-the-grid beats. These behind-the-beats and syncopated style of drums are also reminiscent of the hip-hop legend J-Dilla and are also used by modern-day producers like Flume, Decap, etc. These can be extensively used in modern hip-hop, jazz, soul, some EDM sub-genres, and other styles of music. It’s a one-of-a-kind drum kit that doesn’t just have great sounds but also great patterns.
5. Polyverse Manipulator
Get the signature vocal processing of iconic Psytrance musical duo Infected Mushroom.
Manipulator is a vocal processor with ten unique effects and a broad set of modulations for altering the timbre and pitch of your vocals and melodic instruments to convert them into a whole new sound. The algorithm behind the plugin uses granular modulation to alter the sound properties and up to four polyphonic voices to create harmonies. The plugin also supports real-time processing for live performance or studio session usage to help the creative juices flow. If you want to achieve vocal effects heard in hits by Infected Mushroom like “I Wish,” Manipulator is perfect for you.
- Pitch shifting
The pitch shifter in Manipulator separates the controls for pitch and formants for your incoming signal. As you would expect, the “Pitch” knob modifies the pitch of the sound, and the “Formants” knob shifts the signal’s formants in semitones without altering the pitch. Additionally, a small slider between these two knobs determines how natural the sound is when it’s shifted down. The highest value gives the most natural result, while the lowest gives a more robotic sound.
- Alter timbre
In the center of the interface, you’ll find the harmonic shifter compounded by three controls. First, the “Harmonics” knob shifts the harmonics by a ratio set by the “Ratio” knob without affecting the pitch. Then, the “FM” knob controls the oscillator driving the harmonic shifter. By changing the harmonics’ properties, you can morph your voices into different characters and add exciting characters to shock your listeners.
- Grain alternator
One of the most intriguing sections in the plugin is the grain alternator, which cuts individual cycles into overlapping grains and alters the pitch of each cycle to create new colorations in your sounds without affecting the overall sense of pitch. Here you’ll find the “Alternator” knob to determine the semitones for the up and downward shifting and the “Octave” knob to change the length in octaves of the grains.
Below the main controls, you’ll see four modulation slots to assign one of the five modulations sources. The simplest ones are the “Meta Knob” modulator which allows modifying various parameters with one knob, the “ADSR” modulator, which offers a standard four-stage envelope, and the “MIDI” modulator which uses MIDI messages to create modulations. Then you’ll have the “Follower” modulator that produces an envelope follower that converts the amplitude of the source into a modulation signal and the “Sequencer” modulator, which is the classical LFO.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AAX, and AU formats.
The addition of vocals in electronic genres can make a song memorable, and what a better way to give them an absorbing character with Manipulator. The plugin offers the necessary tools to take a dry or uninteresting vocal and turn it into an additional synth to complement the other instruments or a different vocalist that sounds far from a human.
Since the plugin offers timbre shifting controls, it would be nice to have a built-in spectrum analyzer to check how the harmonics manifest in the frequency range, but that’s something you can solve with an external plugin.
6. Sugarbytes Turnado
Sugarbytes’ Turnado is a one-knob-per-effect plugin with eight simultaneous slots and 24 effects.
Although it may look simple on the outside, Turnado, in fact, offers precise controls. Beyond its extensive set of effects, this plugin’s versatility lies in the edit menu, accessible per slot.
The effects are arranged by type, so you get delays, modulations, reverbs, transformations, distortions, filters, loopers, and lo-fi effects. To use them, simply drag the effects you want into the slots.
The Edit menu is accessible via the Edit button under each slot. There you’ll find effect-dependent controls, two LFO graphs, and an Envelope Follower. The Edit menu lets you tweak an effect to taste, allowing complete control and contributing to this plugin’s versatility. Each of the effect-dependent parameters is affected by the LFOs and the Envelope Follower. When the three colored lines appear from the bottom of the control area and reach “+” and “-” symbols, that means you can either increase or reduce their impact on the controls. In the upper left corner, you can easily access the Edit menus of all other effects. Just click the tiny knob-like icons.
- Amount controller
Below each parameter, you’ll find an amount controller. When turned towards the “+” position, the Modulator has an additive effect. The opposite happens when you turn it towards the “-” part. Below the knob, there’s an arrow-down icon. From there, you can access an extensive set of waveforms. These can be chosen and used to modulate the effects. There are a total of twenty different waveforms, which only show this plugin’s range and versatility.
- Key Sync
Inside the Edit menu, you’ll find the Key Sync menu up top. It allows you to choose a beat subdivision and lock the effect to its tempo. Alternatively, you can turn it off so that you will only hear the effect when you turn up the main knob. You can do that via automation or with a MIDI controller. This is helpful if there is any specific effect to which you want to add a more human expression.
By Clicking the Dictator button, you’ll get access to a 16-beat sequencer that controls the eight effects. They’re vertically arranged, and the fader on the left lets you move through the sequence. It is super easy to automate how you want the effects to act. You also get access here to a randomizer per track instead of the global function present in the UI. You can apply a few presets to individual tracks at the top, or you can just click the lock button and create automation points by simply moving the main knob.
Character & Sound:
Turnado is a highly customizable plugin that sounds the way you want. You can arrange and tweak the effects to taste and make them contribute to the music you’re making. Even though it’s a user-friendly plugin, it can be awe at first sight.
In case you still don’t know how to get the best sound out of the plugin, Sugar Bytes made it easy for you to rely on the several high-quality presets available. Make your way through the plugin by choosing presets and tweaking every parameter in the Edit menu to hear how they sound.
After a bit of experience, it will take virtually no time for you to develop new combinations that will affect your own.
Turnado is available for macOS 10.9 or higher and 64-bit only Windows 7 and up as a standalone application or as a VST2, AU, AAX, and NKS (for Komplete Kontrol and Maschine) plugin.
However you need, Turnado responds to your demands. If you’re feeling experimental, you could spend hours looking for the right sounds without getting bored. If you already know what you’re going for, the plugin makes it super easy to reach your target quickly.
This Sugarbytes plugin is an excellent addition to your toolkit if you’re searching for a multi-effect sequencer.
7. Freakshow Industries Pocket Dimension
Freakshow Industries’ “Pocket Dimension” is a unique sound design tool that offers a granular effect designed to create unconventional and otherworldly sonic manipulations.
Priced at $30 USD, this plugin captures, replays, and creatively transforms incoming fragments of sound, enabling you to experiment with time-dependent audio processing. The plugin was inspired by the concept of bending earthly dimensions in unholy ways. It provides an XY-style granular time portal, enabling you to travel through time using Sigil-based controls.
- Granular Time Portal
The plugin features a unique “XY-style granular time portal” that enables intricate sound manipulation by controlling both the X and Y axes of the portal, allowing for creative control over the manipulation of sound grains. Freakshow Industries also features three parameters named “Void,” “Dose,” and “Secret.” These parameters can be controlled in unison through an XY grid interface or modulated using various methods.
- Apocalyptic GUI
Pocket Dimension’s graphical user interface is distinct and immersive, presenting a fast-changing slideshow of strange apocalyptic images. This visual aspect enhances the creative user experience.
- Unconventional Sound Design
Capabilities of this plugin extend to granular timeshifting, stuttering, and stretching of audio. That allows sound designers and musicians to explore experimental sound creation and textures.
- Conceptual Inspiration
Drawing inspiration from the concept of an expedition to find the Lost Relic of Carcosa, the concept influences the plugin’s design and its ability to bend dimensions in unique and unconventional ways.
The plugin is available in VST, VST3, AAX, and AU formats, making it compatible with a wide range of digital audio workstations.
The plugin can only be so much understood until you actually use it. It is one of the most experimental yet interesting sound design plugins with a weird interface and unique features/functions. Even though the plugin description on the website is vague, it creates interesting granular textures and is especially great for underground genres and film sound design.
Finally, it’s suggested that you take the free trial of the plugin before buying it, although its price is also quite affordable.
8. Zynaptiq PITCHMAP
Pitchmap is a unique plugin with an extensive set of abilities. It reaches beyond vocals and gives you control over instrumental music and the ability to separate and attenuate specific instruments in real-time. This is useful when creating bootlegs and remixes as you can generate quality stems to work. All-in-all, Pitchmap can be used as a creative tool, a corrective tool, a synthesizer, and more.
Pitchmap can separate instruments and sounds in a song into separate elements by employing advanced algorithms and technology. The musical aspects of the mix will be identified and isolated, allowing control over each of them. You’re able to manipulate the pitch and more of each component. This could be useful in many ways, but especially if you’re remixing tracks, experimenting with different harmonic combinations, removing elements, and more. You can do this by isolating parts needed for a remix, mapping existing instruments and harmonies to different ones, and eliminating unwanted elements. There is a lot to discover through experimentation and exploration.
- Natural Correction
As was mentioned earlier, the human voice is a complex aural phenomenon, and hence, our ears are inherently good at interpreting it. Unnatural changes can be very noticeable and drastically take away from the feel of a song. Natural mode is a new edition to the interface and provides a separate processor for the voice due to its complexity and the importance of sounding realistic. It does so by accurately identifying vocal aspects and separating them for unique processing. This integration means you can retain the imperative nuances of the human voice when editing, preserve its natural sound, and still enjoy the freedom to explore various melodic shifts along with the rest of the track.
- Creative Manipulation
The next feature we’ll look at is the creative section that houses a ‘purify’ and an ‘electrify’ function. With electrify, you’re able to manipulate your audio through various synthesis processes and recreate it to sound more electronic or unique. On the other hand, the purify function does the opposite and creates a cleaner result. So, depending on your goals, you could either manipulate the original sound and come up with something new.
This plugin is available for Windows 7 or newer and macOS 10.12.x or newer. It comes in VST2.4/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
Thanks to the swift processing and wide-ranging yet straightforward features, you’re able to easily manage audio in a multitude of ways with comprehensive creative control to achieve unique sound possibilities.
9. Aberrant DSP ShapeShifter
ShapeShifter by Aberrant DSP is an innovative dynamics remodeler and character compressor designed to dramatically reshape audio dynamics.
Drawing inspiration from SketchCassette’s NR Comp algorithm, this plugin introduces multi-band compression techniques for upward and downward compression. Its remarkable ability to infuse sounds with color, body, and texture makes it ideal for inventive sound crafting.
- Dynamic Compression Control
ShapeShifter employs upward and downward compression, such that upward compression boosts quieter elements, enhancing subtleties, while downward compression controls peaks, balancing and shaping the overall sound. This versatile interplay transforms audio character and texture.
- Precision Transients Sculpting
The Transients Section in the plugin empowers you with dedicated Ratio, Floor, and Threshold controls, allowing meticulous adjustment of downward compression to shape the transient elements of audio signals.
- Ambiance Management with Floor Control
By engaging the Floor Control, upward compression can be delicately tailored to curate room ambiance while simultaneously managing unwanted noise components. In addition, you can also explore other sonic frontiers by exceeding 80% control thresholds, unveiling a realm of audacious sound design exploration replete with over-compression effects and intriguing distortions.
- Distinct Audio Identity
The plugin has a heavy-handed and distinctive sonic character. In addition, you get various controls like attack/ratio, drive, tone, and ratio for further sound and dynamics sculpting. Lastly, it also has two models: A and B, both offering different dynamic processing, with A being gentle and B being hard.
- Comprehensive Presets
With 64 factory presets, the custom preset system showcases ShapeShifter’s adaptability and creative potential. These presets serve as starting points for exploration, enabling you to experiment with various sound textures and effects. Whether seeking subtle enhancements or bold transformations, ShapeShifter’s presets provide you with a foundation.
Compatible with macOS and Windows, the plugin is available as an Audio Units Plugin, VST3 Plugin, and AAX Plugin.
Overall, ShapeShifter is a unique compression tool that gives you a unique character and texture. Its NR Comp algorithm and interface make it stand out. However, it doesn’t have a graphical visualizer like other advanced compression plugins. But that also serves an advantage of mixing by ear rather than visuals.
10. Wavesfactory Echo Cat
Wavesfactory Echo Cat faithfully emulates the vintage sound of the Copicat Delay, a tape echo unit from the 1960s.
This plugin offers an authentic tape simulation, replicating the original unit’s behavior. The developers analyzed many signals through the Copicat to capture its distinct character. Beyond being a straightforward emulation, Echo Cat builds upon the Copicat’s foundation, offering modern features like tape simulation, ducking, M/S processing, and tempo synchronization.
The plugin’s ability to retain the classic sound while introducing contemporary functionality makes it a versatile tool for producers seeking both nostalgic and innovative tape delay effects.
- Control Variety
Echo Cat offers precise control over parameters like “Heads,” allowing you to select and blend the three playback heads; “Tape,” enabling tape speed adjustment; “Motors” for switching between vintage and modern tape motor types; “Master,” controlling overall output; “Input” for adjusting input gain; “Sustain” for creating ambient tails; and “Mix” for balancing the dry and wet signals.
- Versatile Presets
The plugin comes with a collection of versatile presets that serve as starting points for different creative applications, catering to a wide range of musical genres and soundscapes. These include flutter pads, Apply to Hits, 32nd Jiggle, Faux 16th Bassline, etc.
- HQ Button
The “HQ” button enables high-quality mode, enhancing the audio fidelity and providing greater sonic clarity, making it an essential feature for audio professionals striving for exceptional sound.
- Authentic Sound & Character
With meticulous attention to detail, Echo Cat faithfully emulates the sound and behavior of the original hardware tape delay, including the gritty, lo-fi characteristics that made the original unit iconic.
Available in common native formats (AAX, VST, VST3, AU), Echo Cat seamlessly integrates into most digital audio workstations.
Wavesfactory Echo Cat is tailored for both seasoned professionals and aspiring beginners in music production and audio engineering. Its comprehensive controls, presets, HQ button, and authentic sound reproduction make it an ideal choice for crafting vintage-inspired tape delay effects while offering the modern flexibility required for contemporary music production and audio engineering.
11. Freakshow Industries DUMPSTER FIRE (For Sound Design)
With the distinctive design and cryptic control names aside, this plugin offers arbitrary pitch rotation options.
Also called “The Nightmare Shifter,” this plugin is not a pitch-shifter per se. Instead, it aims at creating horror landscapes for sound design applications.
So, as you can probably imagine, it’s very useful for film sound designers and composers to create unsettling atmospheres and sonic madness.
You can use just about any sound, such as a voice, a scream, a crying sound, a synth, etc., as the input, and the result will be equally disturbing.
- Pitch Rotation
Since the plugin works “arbitrarily,” you can’t really describe what it does. The only way I can try to express it is that pitch rotation creates strange waves of pitch modulations. This feature is what makes Dumpster Fire sound strange and disturbing; there’s no telling what it’ll do next.
- Band selection
The plugin selects bands of frequencies to process in various ways. However, it selects them at random. So, the band selection parameter essentially generates a new random seed that you can select if you like what you’re hearing. Again, it’s arbitrary, and that’s the beauty of it.
The aether parameter lets you create horror soundscapes with time and pitch spread. It adds strange textures that sound very disturbing and random (because it is).
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10.5 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST 2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Dumpster Fire’s central purpose is sound design. So, it is not really in the same category as the other plugins on this list. However, the plugin can be a lot of fun if random sounds are your thing.
As a composer for films and media, I can see plenty of uses for such an effect. Furthermore, you could use it to create dark intros or outros for pop, hip-hop, and experimental music.
12. Native Instruments Feel It
Native Instruments Feel It is part of the Play Series and offers a rich palette of classic house sounds.
It has an array of meticulously sampled chords, keys, and bass sounds from some of the most iconic synths in the history of house music. With its authentic samples and creative possibilities, Feel It lets you channel the energy and nostalgia of the 90s house era while exploring new directions in contemporary music production.
It features rich chords, pulsating keys, and resonating basslines in 120 total sounds (40+ wavetables, 70+ multi-samples) to create tracks that pay homage to the genre’s roots while embracing the future of electronic music.
- Comprehensive Controls
Feel It places plenty of sonic controls at your fingertips. The Cutoff and Resonance knobs allow precision shaping of the sound’s tonal characteristics. The Choral control manipulates the delay times of chorus voices, introducing a sense of spatial depth. The Delay Time and Delay Mix parameters provide versatile delay effects. The Randomize function adds an element of unpredictability, fostering creativity and exploration.
- FX Window
You get an FX window in the plugin that allows you to sculpt your sound further with a variety of effects modules. You can apply six effects together on a sound, with effects ranging from Reverb, Chorus, Rotator, etc. In addition, you get two parallel EQs and many controls to manipulate those effects,
- SEQ Tab
The SEQ tab is a gateway to dynamic and evolving patterns. With sixteen steps of velocity and pitch, controls like Rate, Latch, Swing, retrigger, etc., and six MACRO controls, it provides animation and modulation capabilities, enabling you to infuse movement and variation into your sound.
- Authentic Sound Sources
You get 150 versatile presets. This compilation encompasses various sounds, ranging from timeless pianos, resonant organs, impactful stabs, deep basses to evocative soulful pads. That ensures that your compositions resonate with the classic 90s house vibe, adding a touch of nostalgia and authenticity.
- MACROS Tab
The MACROS tab offers macro control over multiple parameters, allowing for efficient sound sculpting and real-time automation. This capability streamlines your workflow while enabling intricate sound design.
The plugin is compatible with free Kontakt or Kontakt 7 or higher versions. Native Instruments has confirmed full compatibility with macOS 11 (Big Sur) for the latest versions of their products, including FEEL IT. They also conduct compatibility tests with Windows versions, with current products working smoothly on Windows 11.
With comprehensive controls, an FX window, a SEQ tab, and a MACROS tab, it delivers authenticity and creative possibilities. The plugin’s 150 presets and 120+ unique sounds give you a wide pallette for exploring 90s dance music.
13. Freakshow industries MISHBY
Freakshow Industries MISHBY is a unique distortion and tape emulation plugin.
It offers a creative take on tape machine effects and is characterized by its unconventional approach to emulating tape processes. The science behind the plugin process is “forbidden.” However, it features different textures like cassette noise emulation, multi-band phase manipulation, digital 8-bit sonic sculpting, and more. Overall, its tone is dark and experimental and will definitely add a dark twist to your productions.
- Diverse Sound Shaping
With features like “Dumpster Fire” and “Backmask,” MISHBY offers the ability to achieve a wide range of sound outcomes, from distorted tape destruction to intricate resonant pitch modulations. You can create different effects like phase shifts, glitch effects, distortion, noise effects, and more.
- Unconventional Sound Design
MISHBY challenges conventional norms of sound design, making it a tool for those seeking innovative and experimental soundscapes. It has many features under the hood, hidden by interesting and creative nomenclature. That makes the overall workflow fun and intuitive, yet weird. For example, it claims to create doom-like “parasitic” sound design and dark soundscapes.
- Unique Controls
The plugin has a knob that has five different quality values to which it could be adjusted. Then there’s distortion and noise knobs, and another which is called “xxxx.” It also has a “desync” control with three sliders (lows, mids, and highs) for EQ control.
MISHBY is available for macOS and Windows in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin formats.
Overall, it’s hard to describe the plugin precisely in words. One has to use it to experience what it does, but it does have a unique tone, which is great for grimy and underground music. It’s well-designed, and the aesthetic of the plugin also supports its sound and might inspire your music too. You can use this on your drums, synths, and vocals, and try it on any instrument and play around with it to see what works best for you.
14. Native Instruments Stacks
Native Instruments Stacks offers a collection of sound libraries particularly focused on textured, organic, and unique sonic elements of genres like hip-hop.
Its FX, sequencer tab, and MACROS tab make it highly customizable for advanced/experienced producers, and its huge range of presets and readymade sounds make it easy for beginners. In addition, it has an attractive and user-friendly interface, which anyone Kontakt user would be familiar with.
STACKS libraries display high-quality in their sound samples, loops, and instruments and are particularly suitable for producers working in hip-hop, electronic, pop, and related genres.
- Diverse Sound Palette
With 150 presets, 160 sounds, 43 wavetables, and 500 MB of samples, Stacks presents an array of vintage and classic sound sources, including electric keys, organs, glocks, strings, horns, and live bass. These iconic instruments are resampled and processed using tape decks and specialized techniques.
- Texture and Blends
The library brings forth an eclectic mix of sonic textures. From dusty, lo-fi elements to organic blends and off-kilter keys, the collection captures the essence of underground hip-hop and other expressive musical styles. This diverse palette adds depth and character to music production, allowing producers to infuse their compositions with a distinct vibe.
- Synth Engine
At the core of Stacks is a sophisticated synth engine capable of multi-layered sound generation. That enables you to combine different sound sources and create complex, rich textures that evolve over time. This feature is particularly valuable for crafting evolving soundscapes, lush pads, and intricate musical arrangements.
- Advanced Macro Controls
Stacks offers six macro controls that provide extensive modulation capabilities. These controls allow you to shape and manipulate various parameters within the synth engine, facilitating real-time sound design. By assigning multiple parameters to these macros, you can achieve dynamic and expressive variations in your sounds without diving into complex settings.
- Performance Focus
Designed with a focus on performance, Stacks’ intuitive controls and macro assignments empower musicians to make expressive and spontaneous adjustments during live performances or studio sessions. This performance-oriented design encourages experimentation and creativity, allowing artists to explore new sonic territories.
- Flexible Modulation
The extensive modulation capabilities of Stacks allow you to create evolving soundscapes. Modulation sources like LFOs (Low-Frequency Oscillators) and envelopes can be applied to various parameters, offering flexibility in shaping sounds that evolve over time. This is especially useful for generating dynamic and evolving textures in electronic and ambient music.
STACKS is compatible with free Kontakt or Kontakt 7 or higher versions, which is available in AAX, VST, and AU plugin versions, and is compatible with both Mac and Windows.
You can mix two different sounds (A and B) together, randomize parameters, add movements using its LFOs and envelopes (on amplitude and modulation: Velocity, Modwheel, LFO, etc.), add six different effects ranging from reverb, flanger, compressor, etc., at the same time, and use its 16-step sequencer to manipulate and customize your sounds.
It can also be accompanied by expansion packs, such as the Burnt Hues Expansion, which further extend the sonic possibilities of the platform with additional sound content.
15. Eplex7 DSP Replikorp 2249
Replikorp 2249 is another instrument with an extensive library by Eplex7 DSP, offering analog and modular sounds.
Featuring over 80 multi-octaved instruments and nearly 1 GB of sounds, Replikorp 2249 is a vintage futuristic instrument that compiles analog and early-digital sounds for different genres like Psytrance, Psycore, Darkpsy, and Techno. You can modify every sound within the instrument with its internal parameters like LFO, amplitude envelope, filters, and reverb.
- Sample library
Replikorp 2249 features a broad set of compelling textures and soundscapes with vintage and analog characters, keeping a futuristic atmosphere. Inside the 83 instruments, you can find dreamy pads for building your sound mattress, FX for accompanying musical arrangements, and different plucks and leads for your main melody.
- Play modes
The plugin provides different play modes for changing the character of the selected sound. The first mode is the “Mono” mode for playing just one synth voice at a time. If you prefer to play multiple synth voices, you should work with the “Polyphonic” mode. Lastly, the “Legato” mode unlocks the “Glide” knob, and by setting a higher value, the notes are played smoothly, making them feel more connected.
For those who aren’t satisfied with the original sample in the library, the plugin offers some sound design tools for modifying its character. Next to the trippy face at the center, you’ll find the “Filter Cutoff” knob that you can use as a low-pass or high-pass filter. On top of this, you have an LFO with controls for the LFO’s depth and rate. Lastly, you have the “Reverb” knob on the left side for setting the reverb amount.
This plugin is available for Windows and macOS, 32-bit and 64-bit for Windows, and 64-bit only for macOS. It comes in VST 2 and AU formats.
Just as the other Eplex7 DSP plugin on this list, Replikorp 2249 has limited capabilities for sound design purposes. Nevertheless, any producer can benefit from the high-quality sounds within Replikorp 2249. You can either add one of its samples straight to the project, pick one of them for a layer of your main sound, or have some inspiration for crafting your sounds with different tools.
16. Mixing Night Audio GreenHAAS
The GreenHAAS by Mixing Night Audio is a unique and organic-style stereo imaging and effects plugin.
It offers a gamified stereo engine that spreads and saturates audio, adding signature blooms and creative effects like an audio gardener. The plugin is known for adding excitement and character to audio by applying unconventional processes. It has a garden/farm-style visual aesthetic with parameters like Heat, Sundial, Lo-cutter, Hi-cutter, infrared, Ultraviolet, Gamma, Daisy, Rose, Fertilizer, etc.
- Stereo Enhancement
GreenHAAS provides stereo-spreading effects, allowing you to widen the stereo field of your audio. It uses a “Watering” knob, along with left and right timer knobs and DRY/WET adjustments to stereoise your sounds. The “Fertilizer” knob reduces the low-end mud, and there’s also a hi-cut filter to warm up your sounds.
The plugin features distortion capabilities to add warmth, character, and harmonics to your audio. The “Photosynthesize” control, Infrared and Ultraviolet knobs add organic and warm saturation, while the Gamma Rays add a more aggressive distortion style.
GreenHAAS includes modulation controls for introducing movement and texture to your sound. It offers six “flower buckets” for different styles of effects like warping, flanging, etc.
- On/off buttons
The plugin has three windows: Stereo Imaging, Distortion/Saturation, and Flower Buckets/Effects. Each window has a separate on/off button that allows you to bypass a particular set of effects to audition or A/B them or simply remove them.
The plugin necessitates macOS 10.12 or higher and Windows 10 or higher, running on an Intel 64-bit or Apple Silicon CPU, with a minimum display resolution of 1280x800px. It supports plugin formats, including AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, AU, and VST3.
In summary, the GreenHAAS plugin by Mixing Night Audio offers a unique stereo imaging and effects experience with its gamified stereo engine that spreads and saturates audio, resulting in signature blooms and creative audio effects. Key features encompass stereo enhancement, distortion, and modulation, enhancing warmth, character, and movement in audio. The plugin is compatible with macOS and Windows systems, providing a versatile tool for adding excitement and character to audio projects.
17. Audiority Blue Face
If you want an emulation of one of the greatest fuzz pedals, you should check out Audiority’s Blue Face.
Few people haven’t heard of this famous round pedal from the late ’60s called the Dunlop Fuzz Face. It was used by many musical heroes of the time, including Jimi Hendrix. The pedal was designed to blow up amplifier tubes completely. But, of course, this is in the figurative sense. So now we’ll talk about the digital emulation of this unit.
It is Audiority’s Blue Face plugin, which emulates the sound characteristics of the original pedal quite nicely. You get the same layout, which consists only of a few controls. In addition, there are some cool extra features. So let’s talk about them.
- Only Two Main Controls
As with the original pedal, you only get two controls – Volume and Fuzz. The first will be responsible for the amount of output, and the second will adjust the amount of distortion. By the way, the developers slightly modified the circuit so that you get more effect with minimal settings.
- In-Built Noise Gate
It is a beautiful modern feature in many Audiority virtual pedals – a built-in Noise Gate. This control is located in the lower right corner of the window. Thus, you can clear the sound of unnecessary noise at the stage before your virtual amplifier.
- HQ & Randomizer
You will also have a special HQ button, which lets you make the signal more qualitative, for example, at the mixing stage. In addition, another Randomizer function will provide random pedal settings every time you press it. So have fun experimenting with them.
- Blend It to a Taste
And, of course, the plugin has a Mix control, thanks to which you can mix the effect to the original signal. It can come in handy if you are using several distortion pedals at once and want to get just a little flavor of fuzz.
Audiority Blue Face is available for Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.7.5 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Blue Face is a great plugin that helps you get a vintage fuzz tone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have any mods like other Audiority virtual pedals. But you don’t need them here, because the software does its job perfectly.
You can just put it in front of your virtual amp and immediately get a round and warm sound. Besides, you can experiment by applying this plugin to bass and other instruments. As for its price, it’s affordable at $20.
Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.