The Preset Bank in Soundtoys' Crystalizer.

Soundtoys 5 Bundle Review (Still Worth It In 2021?)

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Soundtoys 5 Bundle Review (Still Worth It In 2021?)
VERDICT
From the variety of plugins within the bundle to the amount of creative control you have over the sounds, to the unique sonic quality of the plugins, this bundle is worth the investment. You'll be getting unique, interesting sounds with these in no time!
Bundle Value
9.5
Creative Possibilities
9
Sound Quality
10
PROS
Offers a huge collection of high-quality plugins
Can heavily enhance creative possibilities within your DAW
All plugins are modeled after analog hardware
CONS
Pricey, but keep an eye out for discounts
9.5
OUR SCORE

You’ve heard many producers and engineers rave about Soundtoys plugins. They are frequently touted as some of the best on the market.

You might be interested in taking the plunge but aren’t sure if Soundtoys 5 is worth the hype.

I purchased this bundle a few months ago during my last semester of college (shoutout to the Soundtoys student discount!). Since then, I have had plenty of time to experiment with the plugins in my mixes.

So…What’s The Verdict?

If you’re looking for a dissenting opinion on Soundtoys, you won’t find it here. These plugins have quickly become some of my favorites to incorporate into my work.

They are modeled after analog hardware which gives the plugins a vintage “warm” sound, and each one offers a variety of different functions you can use to make creative effects that will grab people’s attention.

Bundle Value – 9.5/10

The Soundtoys 5 bundle gives you a lot of bang for your buck! The bundle includes all 21 Soundtoys plugins, including…

Echoboy/Echoboy Jr. – A delay plugin with tons of different features that allows you to create unique delay effects. I often use it to create a slapback delay effect on vocals to thicken them up a little.

Note that anytime a “Jr.” or “Little” version of a plugin is included in this bundle, it is essentially the same plugin with fewer parameters available to control.

Primal Tap/Little Primal Tap – This is another delay plugin that recreates the characteristics of vintage tape delays. I’ve found it to be really useful in creating rhythmic echoes that match the tempo of my song.

Crystallizer – Modeled after a patch in the Eventide H3000 effects processor, Crystallizer is a pitch-shifting, granular reverse echo plugin that allows you to create some very unique sounds with your instruments.

Decapitator – Emulating analog saturation/distortion, Decapitator is perfect for adding extra punch to your sounds.

Radiator/Little Radiator – Modeled after the Alteca 1567a tube mixer and 1566a Mic pre, Radiator is another great plugin for adding the sound of analog saturation to your tracks.

Devil Loc/Devil Loc Deluxe – This plugin is described as an “audio level destroyer,” and that sums it up pretty well. You can use this plugin to create extreme compression and distortion effects. The deluxe version offers even more parameters you can adjust.

Sie-Q – This an analog EQ emulator that gives you the warm sound of classic analog EQs, and pushing the EQ hard can create a nice saturation effect.

Filter Freak/Filter Freak 2 – Filter Freak allows you to create all kinds of filtering effects, from your typical high and low pass filters to even bandpass filtering. I’ve used it to recreate that classic “filtered EDM buildup” sound.

Phase Mistress – This plugin works much like a typical phaser effect you may have used.

PanMan – PanMan allows you to auto-pan tracks so that they are constantly shifting within the stereo field.

Microshift/Little Microshift – Microshift creates a doubling/chorus effect that allows you to widen and thicken up your sounds. I often use it on lead guitar parts to help them stick out more in a mix.

Little Alterboy – This plugin allows you to do all kinds of pitch and formant shifting on your tracks. Finneas, known for producing Billie Eilish, has even used it to create harmonies out of a lead vocal track.

Tremolator – Tremolator can be used to create that classic tremolo effect we’ve heard on many guitar tracks.

Little Plate – This reverb plugin simulates a classic plate reverb, and is pretty much my go-to reverb in any mix.

And finally, we have Effects Rack, which allows you to combine any Soundtoys plugins you want in unique ways to create custom effects chains.

As you can see, with Soundtoys 5, you get a wide variety of plugins that you can use in all sorts of applications. It really is a steal!

Creative Possibilities – 9/10

After reading through the list of plugins you get with this bundle, you might be thinking “Most of these effects come with my DAW, why would I want to drop $289 on another version of them?”

While it’s certainly true that you can find delay, reverb, saturation, EQ, etc. in your recording software, I believe Soundtoys 5 takes these stock plugins to the next level.

For starters, Soundtoys gives you more in-depth controls to adjust. This allows you to have a lot more creative control over the effect and truly get the sound you want out of it.

A comparison of the controls on Pro Tool’s Mod Delay III vs. Soundtoys’ Echoboy.

Soundtoys plugins also offer surprisingly large banks of presets that are great starting points to getting the sound you want in your mix. Often we are advised against using presets and are instead encouraged to really understand what is going on with our plugin controls and creating our own effects.

While I agree with that sentiment, I have to say that the developers at Soundtoys have put in a lot of work into creating some really great presets, and often I barely have to tweak more than one or two controls to get the preset to sit will within my mix.

The Preset Bank in Soundtoys’ Crystalizer.

When you open certain presets, you may notice certain parts of the plugin window open up that you didn’t see before. That’s because many Soundtoys plugins have hidden menus with extra controls. These controls usually have a less noticeable impact on the sound, but open up more possibilities nonetheless.

Overall, I love how the sheer amount of controls you have to mess with in Soundtoys 5 gives you the ability to be super creative and make one-of-a-kind sounds for your music.

Sound Quality – 10/10

The number of plugins you get with Soundtoys 5 provides a huge range of possibilities, but none of that matters if they sound like garbage!

Fortunately, that is not the case. This should be obvious from the demos at the top of this article, but more importantly, these plugins wouldn’t be nearly as popular if they didn’t sound great.

You’ve probably heard often that your ability to achieve good sound quality depends less on your gear and more on your knowledge and ability in music production.

I do believe that is true, as I’ve worked with all different kinds of gear and plugins and got good results from all of them. However, I do believe there is a special something within Soundtoys plugins that, when I need them, really helps my tracks come alive.

I think a big part of that is the fact that, as I mentioned, the plugins are modeled after analog hardware. While the convenience, cost and increased technical ability make digital recording the best choice for modern producers, many still crave the warm texture that comes from analog recording.

Since the plugins are modeled after classic hardware used on many analog recordings, I find that they are a great way to add some of that warmth back into your recordings. In a way, they help my tracks come to life and feel more human.

On the other hand, Soundtoys plugins also offer some really crazy presets that allow you to really mess your sounds up!

Sometimes making something sound really nasty or out of control is actually what will make an instrument stick out in a track, and I’ve found no better plugins than the ones in Soundtoys 5 for getting the job done!

Whether you’re looking to add a bit of a human feel to your tracks or do something really crazy with them, I can guarantee you will get great-sounding results with Soundtoys!

In Summary

Soundtoys 5 is absolutely worth all the hype it gets. From the variety of plugins within the bundle to the amount of creative control you have over the sounds, to the unique sonic quality of the plugins, this bundle is worth the investment. You’ll be getting unique, interesting sounds from your tracks in no time!