We’ll take a look at the top 6 chorus VST, AU, and AAX plugins in 2021 for musicians in today’s post.
Chorus is an old-school effect that has found its place in modern music. The increasingly higher level of control has made the effect morph into a versatile modulation. Even so, some of our top picks can take you straight to the eighties. Let’s dive in!
Top 6 Chorus Plugins 2021 For Musicians
1. W.A. Production Orchid Review
Orchid, by WA Productions, applies four-way processing to create a thick chorus effect.
The plugin doubles what a regular chorus would do by quadrupling the source signal. You get control over Speed, Depth, Feedback, Spread, and Mix to shape the chorus effect. Additionally, this plugin offers other built-in effects to expand the chorus sound.
- Shimmer: This knob adds up to two octaves above the original signal, bringing life to the higher frequencies. This feature generates glistening harmonics through the use of a slow phaser, which sounds fantastic on percussion.
- Delay: The delay effect on Orchid is, in fact, a pre-delay. You can use it to push the beginning of the processed signal back by up to 100ms. That is great if you want to clarify the original signal, although it would be nice if it were capable of creating a more complex delay effect.
- Filters: This double knob lets you select a frequency range for the effect. By sliding both handles, you can limit where you want the Chorus to act. Below the knob icon, you can see the frequency of the selected handle. That helps you quickly identify the frequencies you’re working with.
Character & Sound:
Overall, the plugin sounds very fat and adds a lot of character to the source. The Sheen function sounds like a pitch-shifter on melodic instruments or vocals but can create extraordinary results when paired with the Delay knob. Furthermore, the Space control implements a nice blending reverb that makes the whole effect sound cohesive.
Orchid is available for macOS 10.7 and later and Windows 7 and up as a VST, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin.
WA Productions’ Orchid is an excellent effect plugin due to its four-way approach to chorusing. The results are natural, even though there is a lot of processing happening. You can always shape the effect to taste, which makes it a handy tool for your productions.
2. Arturia Chorus JUN-6 Review
The Arturia JUN-6 is an effective minimalistic chorus that emulates the effect from the Roland Juno-6 analog synthesizer.
The plugin offers two blendable colorations as well as a manually adjustable timbre. You can use the plugin in either mono or stereo modes and control how much of the effect you want to hear with the Mix knob. When in manual mode, you can set the Depth, Phase, and Rate of the effect, with the latter allowing for host synchronization.
- Mode I: This is the standard chorus sound that opens with the plugin. It is a soft chorus, but it already presents stereo separation. The LFO is flipped 180 degrees between channels to create the stereo spread.
- Mode II: This Chorus is richer, with a lot more Depth. The real difference is the LFO rate, which is faster on Mode II. The stereo spread is the same as in the previous mode and the built-in delay times.
- Mode I + II: The first thing you’ll notice when changing to this mode is that the stereo spread is gone. That is because the LFO phase isn’t inverted between the channels. Furthermore, this mode creates a Vibrato effect due to the shortened delay times and faster LFO rate.
- Manual Mode: With this added mode, which wasn’t present in the original hardware, you can create your own chorus effect. The Rate slider lets you set the LFO from 0.050 to 15.0 Hz, or from eight bars to a 1/64th note when the Sync button is engaged. Depth controls the amount of the effect, and Phase lets you open the stereo image.
Character & Sound:
Like the original hardware’s Chorus, this plugin sounds fat and open, with noticeable warmth and bottom-end roundness. JUN-6 emulates the BBD architecture of the original. The signal passes from capacitor to capacitor and gets slightly delayed in the process.
This plugin can be used as a 64-bit AU, AAX, VST2, or VST3 on Windows 8 and later and macOS 10.13 and newer.
The JUN-6 Chorus by Arturia sounds exceptionally fat and rich. It is one of those classic tones that several pieces of equipment and software have tried to emulate over the years. Even though it’s not as versatile as other plugins on this list, it’s still a worthy addition to your collection due to its characteristic sound.
3. D16 Group Syntorus 2 Review
Syntorus 2, by D16 Group, lets you configure three independent LFOs and gives an optional BBD signal path.
You can create LFOs up to 20Hz and also change their amplitude for a more substantial effect. The phasing on each side can be raised to 360 degrees, making for a vast stereo image. You can mix each Chorus in level and panorama after being processed, and you can blend the dry and wet signals to create a parallel chorus effect.
- Configuration Panel: You can use this panel to route the LFOs into the delay lines. There are three topologies available: Independent, Summed, and Mixed. The first one creates a direct path from each LFO to its corresponding BBD. The second one mixes all LFOs into one output and spreads the signal back into the three BBDs. Finally, the third one Summarizes the first two LFOs and sends them mixed to BBD 1 and 2. LFO3 goes straight into BBD3, unaltered.
- Effects: Each BBD feeds its LINE, which gives the user control over the signal’s Depth, Offset, Filter, Tremolo, Modulation, and Cutoff. The Offset knob determines the minimum amount of delay time modulation, while Depth governs the maximum amount, ranging from 0 to 20 milliseconds. Tremolo changes the signal’s amplitude, and the filter lets you select from Low, High, or Band Pass options. The frequencies are chosen with the Cutoff knob. To conclude, you can use the Modulation knob to set the Depth of the cutoff frequency modulation applied to the LFO.
Character & Sound:
The option to change the LFO waveform guarantees extensive sonic possibilities. Moreover, The three sync options, Full, Dotted, and Triplet, further this plugin’s rhythmic capacities. All this, times three, is what makes Syntorus 2 such a handy plugin.
This plugin runs on macOS 10.7 to 10.14 and Windows 7 and up in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
The Syntorus 2 by D16 Group is a highly adaptable plugin that gives you complete control over the final sound. It is one of the most versatile on our list due to its triple path architecture. Definitely, this is a plugin worth having, even if you already have your go-to chorus effect.
4. Eventide TriceraChorus Review
Eventide’s Tricerachorus has its inspiration in vintage units and adds three adjustable choruses to your signal.
This plugin’s versatility comes from the three independently adjustable chorus controls and a wide range of parameters. The plugin offers two kinds of effects, Chorus and Chorale, as well as a Vibrato option. You can also control multiple parameters at once using Evetide’s RIBBON technology. Additionally, you can create beautiful flanger effects by pressing the Swirl button.
- Depth Knobs: Three depth knobs control the tri-chorus effect for Left, Center, and Right. Each one is an independent chorus voice. The delay times for each are modulated by a three-phase LFO, making the sound move across the stereo image.
- Chorale: This is an alternative to the regular chorus effect. It is based on classic rackmount tri-chorus units and produces an even thicker sound. It increases the effect’s Depth, making a lush-sounding result.
- Source: You can tell the plugin what kind of instrument you’re processing, so it tailors the effect to that particular sound. That makes the plugin operate differently from how it would with a preset. It doesn’t give you any pre-arranged parameters, simply activating an algorithm that focuses the plugin’s resources on the selected source.
Character & Sound:
This plugin’s micro-pitch detuning capabilities make it a genuinely vintage-sounding effect. Tricerachorus slightly detunes the left and right signals and pans them oppositely. That makes for a thick yet wide sound that is particular to this plugin. Additionally, You can combine the Delay time with the Swirl button to create an amusing old-school flange effect. Most importantly, if you want to add a nice lo-fi vibrato to your signal, turn the Chorus Mix knob up to one hundred.
Tricerachorus is available as a VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU plugin for Windows 8 and up and macOS 10.9 and newer.
This plugin is a fantastic addition to your collection. It is awe-inspiring how wide and deep the chorus effect can be, especially in Chorale mode. On top of that, the artifact-less modulation makes this a go-to plugin for impressive analog chorus emulations.
5. Waves MondoMod Review
MondoMod by Waves offers an LFO and three modulators so you can come up with your effects.
The plugin’s interface is very minimalistic. It gives you LFO controls on the left, the modulators in the middle, and the output section on the right. You can control the Amplitude Modulation, Rotation, and Frequency Modulation, as well as the rate of the LFO in Hertz and BPM. Additionally, the MondoMod lets you change the shape of the Waveform.
- AM Section: You’ll use this section to determine the Depth of the Amplitude Modulation. That will help you create stunning tremolo effects. With the Depth level at zero, you will lower the amplitude to infinity. When at 50%, you’ll hear it being reduced by half its volume.
- Rotation: This section lets you create a rotation sound based on the LFO. The Center button lets you choose where to place the sound source in the stereo field. Zero corresponds to the center of the image. The Range knob lets you expand the rotation from 0 to 360 degrees. By changing the Waveform on the LFO controls, you can emphasize the panning effect and make it more abrupt. By default, the Sinewave will make the panning sound gradual and smooth.
- FM Section: The last modulation section allows you to create exciting Frequency Modulations. At meager LFO rates, you’ll get a Chorus sound, and at higher values, you’ll get the Vibrato effect. By leaving the Phase inverted with the AM’s Phase, you start getting movement modulations.
Character & Sound:
The MondoMod is an excellent plugin for adding space and depth to your mixes. It can add subtle movement or sickening flange effects. Moreover, the five Waveform options ensure you’ll get enough variety in your sounds. The only problem I see with this plugin is the single LFO generator. If it offered the chance to add independent LFOs for each effect, the applicabilities would significantly increase. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely fun plugin that gives you plenty of modulation possibilities.
This plugin is available for 64-bit Windows 10 and macOS 10.13 and up in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Waves’ Mondo Mod is a fantastic plugin that delivers a lot more than its simple UI can say. The plugin lets you create several kinds of effects, and the great variety of Factory Presets serves as an exciting starting point for them. It’s a plugin worth having, mainly because it creates sounds you would need other plugins to make.
6. Sinevibes Blend v2 Review
Blend V2, by Sinevibes, is a 16-voice chorus plugin with a smooth and musical sound.
The plugin offers complete control over every meaningful Chorus and modulation parameter. The Frequency modulator stretches from 0.05 to 5 Hz and the chorus time range goes from 5 to 25 ms. In the output section, you can control how much of the effect you want to hear by balancing the Output and Mix knobs.
- Voices: You can select up to sixteen chorus layers, each with its feedback line. That means every voice adds its character to the sound. Thanks to the plugin’s intelligent handling of phase modulation offsets, the sound remains fat and smooth even at extreme settings.
- Quality Algorithm: There are three options here, and each has its character. Lo-Fi sounds darker, with subtle aliasing noise and purposeful artifacts. Vintage gives you a warmer sound which is also dark but with no artifacts. Finally, Modern gives you the highest quality with zero artifacts and a vivid sound.
- Easy to Use: Besides being the most versatile plugin on this list, the Blend is also highly user-friendly. The updated knob technology makes the UI intuitive and responsive. It’s a plug-and-play plugin that needs little to no previous explanation. Simply start messing around with the parameters, and you’ll understand it.
Character & Sound:
This plugin sounds incredibly harmonic and full, even when there aren’t many voices engaged. The three quality settings also give it extra tonal diversity, which only enhances the plugin’s experience. You can create seriously unique vibrato, flanger, tape wow, smear, dissonance, reverb, and chorus effects, all at once if you please.
Blend V2 is a Mac-only plugin that runs on macOS 10.9 or newer in VST3 and AU formats.
It’s a pity there is no Windows version of this plugin. The most flexible Chorus on our list is almost a multi-effect plugin in its wide range of possible applications. If you’re on a Mac, definitely add this amazing plugin to your collection.
The Best Free Chorus Plugins 2021
1. Acon Digital Multiply Review
Acon Digital’s Multiply is a six-voice free chorus plugin with an anti-comb filter technology.
The plugin delivers everything you expect from a chorus effect and a little more. You can simulate up to six identical voices to thicken up your sound. Additionally, you can use the Pre-delay knob to create diffuse and modulated echoes.
- Frequency Modulation: You can set up the Voice Count to your liking and tweak these two knobs to find the best-sounding Chorus effect. Depending on the source material, too much Depth can generate thick sounds or wobbly results. Therefore, use it carefully.
- Amplitude Modulation: The Tremolo effect produced in this section helps widen the sound, especially when you set the Pre-Delay at a high value. It would help if it had a sync mode, but it makes the effect sound more analog.
- Equalizer: The prominent EQ has simple-to-use four-band controls. You can create low- and high- cuts to focus the processing within a limited frequency range. Use the other two controls to manipulate the curve within the selected region. You can create shelves, slopes, and bells that let you shape the sound to your liking.
Character & Sound:
You can use this plugin to create thick, rich chorus textures. The sound is lush and natural, and you can even generate reverb effects with it. There are eighteen built-in presets that show you the plugin’s robes and give you a direction in which to go on. The automatic comb-filtering avoider comes in handy to make each chorus voice sound clean and full, and the EQ gives the user extended versatility.
Multiply is available for Windows 7 and up and macOS 10.8 and higher as a VST, AAX, and AU plugin.
Incredibly, a free tool can do so much and sound so exquisitely. Multiply is a must-have in your collection. You can make the effect as subtle or apparent as you wish, but it will sound breathtaking anyway.
2. BABY Audio Magic Switch Review
BABY Audio’s Magic Switch is a free one-button chorus effect.
It is a standalone version from the chorus section of the developer’s Super VHS plugin. Like another plugin on our list, this one is also inspired by Roland’s Juno-6 synthesizer’s famous chorus effect. However, Magic Switch brings its flavor to the mix.
- One-Knob Magic: The plugin’s deep, dark, and rich sound is just a click away. It delivers a classic detuned chorus that is also warm and radical. Also, it gives the wet signal a mellow sound due to the built-in series of analog-modeled low-pass filters. So, even though you get few controls, the sound is as complex and impressive as any other chorus.
Character & Sound:
If an eighties throwback-style chorus is what you’re after, this baby will do the job instantly. Simply click the only available button and drag the Mix slider until you’re happy with the result. It sounds incredible on synths, as expected, and on guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.
This free plugin is available for Windows 7 and up and macOS 10.7 and higher in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Baby Audio’s Magic Switch is a worthy download for your chorus collection. Even though it doesn’t let you alter its sound, there may be a time when its unique characteristics are necessary.
3. TAL-Chorus-LX Review
The TAL-Chorus-LX is a user-friendly free stereo chorus effect.
From the visual nod to the simple controls, you instantly understand that this is a Juno-6 type of Chorus. It is a standalone from a synth plugin by the same developers. It offers two modes, Blend and volume knobs, and a Stereo Width control.
- Modes: The first mode significantly improves the stereo image. It adds a subtle chorus effect that is not so apparent but still very warm and rich. However, the second mode creates a thicker sound with a richer tone and some warble. The last method is achieved by enabling both modes, and it is the most complex chorus sound you’ll get out of this plugin.
Character & Sound:
The plugin only works with stereo channels; it doesn’t accept mono inputs or converts them into stereo. At any of the modes, using the blend knob allows you to achieve just the right amount of Chorus, in case you need to soften it up a bit.
The TAL-Chorus-LX is available for macOS 10.9 or higher, Windows 7 and up, and Ubuntu 18 or similar as a 64-bit VST, AU, and AAX plugin.
Overall, this is a faithful emulation of the Juno-6 chorus effect. Not being able to tweak the sound is, to some extent, a part of the original’s aesthetic. In conclusion, this plugin offers excellent sound at no cost, so there’s no reason for it not to be in your collection.
Chorus effects come in all shapes and sizes, and while some let you create amusing sounds, some will give you a spot on effect. On our list, we covered some highly adaptable plugins and some that will provide you with an unmistakable sound. Before you go, here’s a quick overview:
If you’re looking for versatility and control, the best chorus plugins in 2021 are the Sinevibes Blend V2 and Syntorus 2 by D16 Group. You’ll get that beautiful sound with exceptional tweaking capabilities. On the free side, Acon Digital’s Multiply will deliver unique chorus sounds with a similar level of control.
In case you’re after a set-and-forget chorus, the best alternatives are the Arturia JUN-6 and the Orchid by WA Productions. That is not to say these aren’t capable plugins because they will also bend to your will to some extent. On the same tier, the best free alternative is BABY Audio’s Magic Switch, which will give you a classic chorus sound.
Pedro Nascente is an artist, record producer, and mix engineer, currently operating his own studio and working with his band, Yellow Boulevard. Believing that music should convey experiences and feelings, Pedro is known for applying design thinking to his workflow to achieve different sounds and deliver the right messages.