Soundtoys have become somewhat of a powerhouse in today’s VST market. They have produced a compelling collection of plugins that span from brutal distortions to dazzling modulation.
You are almost guaranteed to find Soundtoys within your favorite producer’s effects chain.
Kenny Beats and Ludwig Goransson have said that the Soundtoys suite is “irreplaceable” within their workflow.
This article will cover some of our top picks from the Soundtoys collection, providing insight into which may be the best to add to your production arsenal.
What are the Best Soundtoys Plugins?
Decapitator is a very popular VST, and it’s easy to see why. This plugin is very versatile and works on everything to enhance the dynamics of a track. FilterFreak is another brilliant option if you’re looking to modulate and enhance the character of a track.
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Below we have collated our list of the top 7 Soundtoys plugins we can’t live without.
Another one of Soundtoy’s flagship plugins is Decapitator. Simplistic in design, but complex behind the scenes. Soundtoys aimed to create a comfortable distortion for bothsubtle and destructive instances.
They achieved this by modeling the analog gear that was best able to attain the sound they wanted. Adding additional tone control and mix knob provides a convincingly analog sound with further control than previously available.
5 different analog saturation modes based on studio hardware
Thump and steep frequency switches
Saturation control with tone dial
Decapitator is an excellent emulation of analog saturation. This VST is versatile; you can add this almost anywhere in your mix.
Decapitator is excellent on vocals and keys when you want to add a bit of flavor to tracks that otherwise sound too clean.
But where this plugin shines is when you push it to its limits. With the addition of the Punish button, you can begin to dial in some punch and destruction to things like your bass and drums.
Furthermore, this VST is incredibly easy to use and will be a great addition to both beginners and experts in production.
Are you searching for smooth, silky, analog filter sweeps? Or are grimy, resonant squelches more your style? Nothing adds character to a track faster than a great filter, and FilterFreak can do it all.
FilterFreak is an essential tool for both sound design and music production. You can use FilterFeak in 2 separate forms. FilterFreak1 can be used as a simple filter or FilterFreak2 provides 2 separate analog filters for more intricate modulation.
In addition, you can use the plugin series mode for further detailed sound design options.
FilterFreak provides low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and band-reject filters. In addition, the Tweak button allows access to the virtual filtering circuit, which opens up an abundance of further parameters to design your sound.
Double band filter
Rhythm and groove filtering tools
Series or parallel filtering
Something that is often lacking in digital synths is filtering, and FilterFreak is an excellent solution to this to bring some more life into a track. Furthermore, it has a very intricate design capability with the shape editor.
You can fully edit LFOs to your choice to have some incredibly creative sweeps and oscillations.
For sound designers and EDM producers, you will find the tweak and rhythm sections very appealing, opening up a whole new door for modulation on your tracks. FilterFreak is also excellent on drums if your drums are feeling very flat and lack punch.
It can also be a great tool to marry your drum beats together, making them feel more organic rather than disconnected.
Crystallizer is sold as a Granular Echo Synthesiser however it is far more than that. This plugin has an abundance of parameters ready for you to dip your toes into.
Pitch shifting, splicing, delay, and reversing are some key elements at your disposal in this synth. This VST has all you need as a sound designer regarding granulation.
In conjunction with its vast preset library, designing sounds and scapes has never been so easy. But if you want further control, The Tweak button opens up another control panel so you can dive deeper into your sound design.
Splice, recycle, and delay features
Tweak button for further design
I love Crystallizer! As a sound designer, this feels like an instant cheat code in designing luscious soundscapes. It is an incredibly powerful creative tool with an abundance of design possibilities.
This plugin works excellently with melodic tracks, especially for designing cascading evolving sounds.
However, it is also very interesting when added to tracks like drums to add some more variation. This works very well with EDM and DnB drums when cranking up the pitch and splice parameters, which can lead to some excellent results.
This plugin is a no-brainer for sound designers, and would be at home in EDM and electronic music production spaces.
Little AltarBoy is Soundtoy’s answer to voice pitching and manipulation. This is a very clever plugin designed to make drastic modulation to vocals which often is unachievable with stock pitch shifters.
Not only can you change the pitch, but with the format dial, you can also change the gender of the vocals.
Furthermore, you can produce a vocoder-like effect with the robot mode. This works very effectively with a MIDI controller, as MIDI can drive this VST. Alter boy also uses a tube saturation module from Decapitator.
This helps to brighten up and sharpen your vocals.
Formant (for gender modulation)
Several different tuning modes
Decapitators drive module
AlterBoy is a very reliable pitch-shifting plugin and is one of the best Soundtoys plugins for vocals. It helps to remove artifacts that I’ve found problematic with some stock pitch shifters. Not only this, but AlterBoy is a fantastic creative tool.
It’s a brilliant way to change and adapt vocals to best fit the music you are working on.
Accompanying this plugin with a MIDI controller makes designing vocal sections incredibly satisfying. The drive parameter is also an excellent addition, making this a one-stop shop for vocal shifting and processing.
At its core, PrimalTap is a delay plugin. However, its many features have made it more of a sound design tool.
One of the most exciting decisions made by the production team was the emulation of the 80’s style Multiply switch. This means every time you double delay, the sound quality is reduced.
This may seem like an odd choice for a VST made in the current generation. However, it leads to some interesting sound design moments when automating between the modes.
Another feature of this plugin is the freeze button. This stops and loops the track and, when accompanied by automating the plugin’s parameters, leads to the design of some incredible soundscape design options.
Tweak for additional control
LFO rate and depth parameters
PrimalTap works well as a standard delay plugin. However, this is not why I recommend this product — I recommend it for anyone looking to get weird and experimental with their sound design. Think pitched warps, modulating sequences and otherworldly, ethereal effects.
When automating the parameters on this plugin, you can create some very interesting bouncing delay effects.
Modulating the multiply feature adds a Lofi-like quality to the sound when cranking it up to the max. With this plugin, you can create some very similar sounds to Crystallizer in terms of soundscapes.
Devil-Loc is an audio processing tool that you can use to tighten up and/or add some crunch to your tracks. Adding both compression and distortion to the desired track, the main purpose of this VST is for massive drum production.
However, that’s not to say you can’t use this plugin on other tracks as it’s more than suitable for adding some darkness and grit to melodic loops.
Especially when accompanied by the darkness high-cut, this can be an excellent use of the plugin if you want a warmer tone.
Darkness (which is a high-cut filter)
Crunch distortion effect
One of the more basic VST plugins on my list, but this is a very useful music production tool that can be utilized across multiple genres. I will say that this plugin is certainly most at home when added to drums.
Devil-Loc helps to add that “oomph” EDM producers are looking for in their productions. Its simple controls make it a no-brainer for both professionals and beginners alike.
What’s The Difference Between VST2 And VST3?
The main difference is CPU usage. VST3 is more optimized in the sense that the plugin is only active with the presence of an audio signal. Whereas VST2 is using CPU all of the time.
Are Soundtoys Plugins VST2 or VST3?
Currently, Soundtoys are VST2 plugins. However, they are currently working on developing a VST3 release.