One of the most crucial elements in the music production realm is vocals .
However, mixing vocals can feel like a chore, especially if you don't have the right plugins. Of course, if you're on a tight budget, you may not be able to afford the vocal plugins you see all of your favorite mixing engineers using.
Luckily, there are plenty of free vocal VST plugins that you download and use without having to drop a dime.
Instead of having you go through the daunting process of trial and error, we've done the research on the best free vocal plugins, so you don't have to!
Come dive in with us as we take you through some of the best free vocal plugins on the market today!
Best Free Vocal EQ Plugins
1. Ignite Amps PTeq-X
- Three different operation modes
- Additional selectable frequencies
- Tube stage modeling and switchable equalizer
- Fully automatable controls
- Four different tube types
Ignite Amps PTeq-X is an emulation of one of the most iconic vintage passive program equalizers of all time. With this free vocal EQ plugin, you get all of the renowned characteristics found on the original piece of hardware with all of the benefits of working in the box.
Ignite Amps added a few more features to make this EQ more versatile, as well as some improvements in the "circuitry" for a warm, musical sound.
PTeq-X sounds good on just about any vocal track and can be used for recording, mixing, and mastering.
The top-end sounds absolutely phenomenal, allowing you to boost hard and get serious air without your vocal ever sounding harsh. You can also cut in the mid-range with very musical curves, gently scooping out boxy or unnecessary frequencies.
We typically like to use this plugin after compressor plugins, as it allows the vocal to shimmer and sparkle without any dynamic limitations.
2. Analog Obsession Merica
- API 500A emulation
- Input and Output link feature
- Input gain control
- High and Low Shelf + Mid-range control
This new free EQ plugin is an emulation of what it calls the "famous American console EQ."
You get an interface that is incredibly easy to navigate, as it looks very similar to the famous API 500A console EQ. You get high and low shelves, as well as a mid-range proportional Q value.
Analog Obsession recently updated the plugin for a sleeker look, though they also gave it improved "circuitry," an input gain control, and an input and output link feature. Plus, it's far less intense for your CPU, allowing you to put it on multiple vocal tracks without bogging down your session!
Since its initial release, Merica has received many incredible reviews. While it's not the best EQ for surgical work, it's great for those who want a bit of added character and color in their vocal sound.
3. DDMF Colour EQ
- Unique filter shapes
- Four bands and two filters
While DDMF's Colour EQ might look like your average parametric EQ, there are a few things underneath the hood that make this EQ a serious workhorse. Beyond the parameters you would expect to find on a standard EQ plugin, you get an additional Q parameter that provides unique filter shapes.
You can choose between Type A , which scales the bandwidth, or Type B , which creates resonant peaks to give you the formant filter effect. Trying to dial in these types of filters with your everyday parametric EQ plugin would take a bit of work. However, with Colour EQ, it's built-in for you.
The GUI is excellent and super easy to scale to size. Simply click and drag the bottom-right corner to make it bigger or smaller. It's strange to us that this kind of flexibility isn't standard on all plugins, but maybe DDMF Colour EQ will lead the pack into new horizons!
Best Free Vocal Compressor Plugins
1. Klanghelm DC1A
- Four different compression modes
- Input and Output Controls
- Active high-pass filter to eliminate pumping
The Klanghelm DC1A might just be one of our favorite free compressor plugins for vocals and everything else. You can use this on anything to add tone and dynamic control. It's one of the most effortless analog-style compressors we've had the pleasure of using.
The compressor algorithm found on the DC1A is the same algorithm found in the upgraded DC8C compressor from Klanghlem, meaning you get all the punch, power, and tone without having to spend any of the money! And seriously, that "Punch" compression mode is no joke.
It's an extremely intuitive compressor with only two controls (an input and output value), meaning you don't have to worry about much. With that said, even if you're an advanced mixing engineer, you can still enjoy the wildly fast workflow and distinct compressor attributes it provides.
2. TDR Kotelnikov
- Ultra-fast and ultra-transparent compression
- Flexible sidechain highpass filtering
- Oversampled signal path
- Advanced stereo linking options
- Latency compensation
Though Kotelnikov might be best known for its use in the mastering realm, it's an excellent compressor for vocals. If you're looking to limit your dynamic range in the cleanest and most transparent way possible, then this compressor is a must-have.
While the signal path in Kotelnikov is oversampled, the transparency is unmatched. You can seriously reduce your dynamic range without losing any of the punch or tone of the dry signal, which is hard to say for most compressor plugins. This kind of characteristic is great for pop, rock, or EDM vocals, which often require heavy compression.
What's unique about this compressor compared to most other compressor plugins for vocals you find on "Top X Lists" is that it is a proudly digital compressor. It doesn't behave like a non-linear analog plugin, which is why you get such squeaky a clean vocal sound.
3. Analog Obsession LA-LA
- Filters for EQing before compression
- External sidechain option
- Mix knob for parallel compression
The LA-2A is often hailed as the "holy grail of compressors." It's been used on vocals for decades, providing a vintage, buttery smooth compression style that adds fatness and warmth while retaining a sense of transparency.
This is because the LA-2A uses tube and photocell gain stages with gentle attack and release times, complimenting vocals better than most compressors.
Analog Obsession made a cool take on the LA-2A with the LA-LA plugin. Beyond the standard controls, you'll find a filter sidechain, external sidechain, and a mix knob for parallel compression.
Best Free De-Esser Plugins
1. Tonmann De-Esser
- Independent stereo capabilities
- Fully adjustable bandwidth and center frequency
- Lookahead function for quick sibilant sounds
- Adjustable detection parameter
While EQing a vocal to get some additional brightness can help them sit nicely in the mix while giving them that radio-ready shimmer, doing so will often accentuate sibilant consonants like "s" and "z." This is where plugins like the Tonmann De-Esser come into play.
This de-esser plugin is pretty basic, though works like a charm, perfect for getting rid of sibilance that often pops out after adding high-end EQ boosts or heavy compression.
Tonmann carefully designed this compressor in such a way that it suppresses artifacts that often appear with other de-essing plugins. It's super easy to use too, as there are only a few controls, including Bandwidth, Center Frequency, Threshold, Attenuation, Lookahead and Release.
If you're a beginner just entering the world of vocal mixing, this plugin is an excellent choice!
2. Sleepy-Time DSP Lisp
- Sensitivity and filter knobs
- Smoothing feature
- Automatic sibilance detection
- Stereo and mid/side modes
Sleepy Time DSP offers one of the best de-esser plugins for vocals on the market today. Lisp provides level-independent sibilance processing and automatic sibilance detection to make the process of getting rid of harsh, unwanted sibilance easier than ever before.
If you've ever mixed vocals before, you know that sibilance can be an ultra tricky problem to fix. No matter if you use a de-esser, a dynamic eq, or a side-chained compressor, you often end up having to manually edit sibilant consonants so they don't pop out.
Lisp is unique in that it measures the pitch and amplitude of the input signal in real-time, reducing harsh and annoying "teh," "ch," and "ss" sounds.
All you have to do is specify the amount of the signal you want to reduce before letting Lisp do the rest!
3. Digital Fish Phones SPITFISH
- Intuitive interface
- Listen mode for soloing sibilant frequencies
- Mono and stereo modes
SPITFISH might be one of the easiest de-essers to use, whether you're dealing with stereo or mono vocals. Similar to the process analog de-essers use to tame sibilance, SPITFISH can filter out harsh, unwanted "ss" sounds that would poke out of your mix otherwise.
The beauty is that there are only a few controls on the intuitive interface, including Tune, Depth, and Sensitivity, making it extremely easy to use, especially for beginner mix engineers.
What truly makes this a stand-out de-esser is the "Listen" feature, which you can use to hear frequencies that you are removing. Using this feature makes it much easier to pin-point sibilance so you can know what you are affecting.
Unfortunately, this plugin is only available for Windows, though we hope the developers release a Mac OS version in the future.
Best Free Vocal Saturation Plugins
1. Klanghelm IVGI
- Modeled analog fluctuations
- Harmonic independent symmetry manipulation
- Frequency dependency manipulation
- SDRR algorithm
Klanghelm developed what we believe to be one of the best saturation plugins on the market today, free or not. As with many of Klanghelm's other free plugins, this saturation plugin uses the same algorithm as its older brother, the SDRR.
For a free plugin, this thing is surprisingly versatile, offering aggressive saturation that is great for sound design and analog-style saturation that is great for warming otherwise lifeless and sterile vocals up. No matter what scenario you choose to use IVGI in, it'll sound good.
The plugin is incredibly easy to set up, giving you quality saturation from the instant you turn it on. Once on, you can adjust the characteristics of your saturation by adjusting the drive amount, symmetry, and frequency response.
We should also point out that Klanghelm IVGI emulates internal drift and stereo signal crosstalk behavior that you would find in true analog hardware.
2. SGA 1566
- Mono and stereo processing modes
- Up to 4x oversampling
- Position adjustable two-band active Baxandall EQ
- Authentic analog sound
The 1566 plugin from Shattered Glass Audio is a high-performance tube preamp emulation that delivers the unique saturation characteristics found in vintage tube microphone preamps. You'll find a two-band Baxandall equalizer onboard and two 12AX7 tube amp stages to run your signal through.
You can alter the placement of your EQ so that it sits at the input or output stage, giving you a bit more flexibility than you'd probably expect to find on a free vocal vst plugin.
What's really wild about the SGA 1566 is how authentic it sounds. If you like the sound of tube amplifiers, you'll love how well it captures the distinct tonal and distortion characteristics. If you record vocals at home, this plugin can take your cold, digital recordings and give them the analog warmth they need to stand out in a mix.
One of the downsides to this plugin is that it eats up a fair amount of CPU. Luckily, the SGA 1566 comes with two separate CPU modes, the lower of which reduces the overall sound quality, though gives you stability, which is important in larger or plugin-heavy sessions.
3. Softube Saturation Knob
- Three different saturation modes
- Modeled output distortion
- Works in Softube's Eurorak Platform (Modular) or as a native plugin
You've likely seen producers around the Internet talking about this one-knob saturation plugin. Softube's Saturation Knob is great for those looking to get realistic analog saturation while speeding up their workflow.
You'll find three different operation modes or saturation algorithms, including Keep Low, Neutral, and Keep High, great if you only want to affect your low or high frequencies. Simply choose your desired saturation mode and turn the giant knob to dial-in the perfect amount of saturation on your vocals.
It's truly one of the simplest and most effective saturation plugins on the market today, great for applying a gentle form of saturation across multiple vocal tracks in your mix.
Best Free Vocal Widener Plugins
1. iZotope Ozone Imager
- Smooth stereoizing mode
- Real-time visual feedback control
- Three vectorscope meters
- Easily resizable GUI
iZotope Ozone Imager is one of the most flexible stereo widening plugins for vocals on the market today, allowing you to widen your vocals while shaping them.
Open the interface and you'll find the width and Stereoizing parameters that you can use to spread your vocal out to the edges of the speakers or squeeze multiple vocals down to mono. The technology found in Ozone Imager is the same technology found in the company's renowned mastering plugin suite.
While the controls were trimmed down for simpler operation, it still delivers precise control over your stereo image. As with anything iZotope puts out, you get instant visual feedback that allows you to see how your set parameters are impacting your signal.
2. Cableguys PanCake 2
- Creative modulation capabilities
- Up to 10 customized waveforms
- Unique waveform drawing capabilities
- Total automation parameter control
- LFO tempo sync
PanCake 2 is a unique stereo widening plugin in that it also gives you the ability to introduce flexible panning modulations. You can use hard or soft control points to produce sharp or gentle stereo manipulation.
PanCake 2 can link to the tempo of your DAW, allowing you to sync up your modulation with the BPM of your project. This control is incredibly flexible, allowing you to dial-in everything from 1/128 notes to 32 bars.
Cableguys added a bit of visual feedback with the precise GUI display, allowing you to see each move you make in real-time. If you're looking for an interesting way to elevate your vocal processing, then this is a solid plugin!
3. Polyverse Wider
- Increases stereo width by up to 200%
- Available for iPad and iPhone
- Total mono compatibility
If you're looking for something a bit simpler than the two stereo widening plugins above, then we recommend checking out Wider from Polyverse .
This stereo imaging plugin is stupidly simple, allowing you to create the illusion of stereo with your mono vocal track, all while deterring any potential phase issues that often pop up as a consequence of widening. Even when you collapse your track back down to mono, you'll still be able to hear it clear as day.
You can expand the pseudo-width of your mono track by up to 200% while retaining a natural sound.
Best Free Vocal Delay Plugins
1. Valhalla Freq Echo
- Analog-style echo and frequency shifter
- Subtle double-tracking and chorusing effects
- Built-in filtering and mix knob
Valhalla makes some of the best time-based effects on the market and the Valhalla Freq Echo is no exception. While it's not your traditional delay by any means, it offers a unique way to add spread and space to your vocals.
This delay plugin combines analog-style echos with frequency shifting to create a sound that is very much reminiscent of 60s psychedelic music.
There are so many different variations that you can dial in with this plugin, making the tones nearly endless. By messing around with the feedback, you can get everything from chorusing to flanging to doubling and beyond. However, if you're looking for something more standard, you can also use Freq Echo as a traditional delay.
With the free delay sync, you can even set it so that it matches the tempo of your track! If you don't add any pitch shifting, you can get it to sound like your everyday delay!
When using Freq Echo, we recommend automating the pitch shifting controls for crazy echo effects.
2. TAL Dub III
- Four-second delay times
- Non-linear 6dB LP filter
- Non-aliasing saturation
- Real-time metering feedback for saturation
TAL Software is another company that continuously cranks out high-quality free vocal vst plugins, and the TAL Dub III is an excellent addition to any vocal delay arsenal. It's one of the easiest delay plugins we've ever messed around with, as it only comes with a few controls. You can dial-in the built-in filtering and saturation options to find the tone you want or control the Wet/Dry mix depending on whether you use it as an insert or send.
With TAL Dub III, you can get up to four seconds of synced delays. The LED meters give you visual feedback as to the amount of saturation your delays are getting too.
3. Kilohearts Delay
- LED delay time display
- Sync mode
- Ping-pong knob
- Built-in ducking capabilities
Kilohearts Delay is a wonderful free delay plugin that you can use as a snap-in module on the Kilohearts Snap Heap, a rack extension in Reason, or a stand-alone plugin in any DAW. What we love about Kilohearts Delay is how simple it is. Note values appear at the top to show you your delay time as well.
Don't underestimate its simplicity, however.
Kilohearts Delay comes with a unique duck control that ducks the delay out of the way when a dry signal appears, allowing you to crank the delay on your vocals without interfering with the dry sound. It's a great way to set up heavy delays without having to go in and use automation after.
You'll also find a few basic presets, though we truly love the Randomizer button that gives you fresh and fun presets at random if you're not sure which direction to go.
Best Free Vocal Reverb Plugins
1. Denis Tihanov Oril River
- 12 early reflection variations and 5 reverb tail variations
- Three-band equalizer
- 64-bit floating-point internal signal processing
- Two graphical user interface options
Oril River might be one of the best-looking free vocal VST plugins on this list. Pair that with the incredible sound, and this freeware reverb can compete with some of the top paid options on the market.
The width and pre-delay controls are great for dialing in your reverb's character. You can choose an algorithm for the reverb tail and early reflections independently before tweaking the decay time. Beyond that, you can adjust parameters like Damping, Diffusion, Room Size, EQ, and Modulation, making it surprisingly comprehensive for a completely free plugin.
The sound of Oril River is top-of-the-line and super light on the CPU, allowing you to use multiple instances without bogging your session down.
2. u-He Protoverb
- Algorithmic reverb
- Utilizes as many room resonances as possible
- Two randomized buttons for experimentation
u-He has fantastic products that rely on the community for cool settings, which is one the reasons we respect this company so much. Music is all about collaboration and u-He offers new and innovative ways to allow music makers to collaborate from afar.
ProtoVerb is an experimental room emulator reverb plugin that uses as many resonances as it can to build a body of air you can insert your dry signals into. The reverberations are surprisingly natural-sounding, giving it a distinct character compared to most reverb plugins.
You can insert multiple vocals into this plugin while retaining separation, while other plugins would give you a big smear of sound. However, with that said, you can also use Protoverb to create resonance build-ups and ghost-like echoes.
3. Valhalla Supermassive
- 14 out-of-this-world reverb and delay modes
- Mix and width knobs
- Feedback, filter, and modulation sections
While many think of Supermassive as a delay unit, it can do everything from massive reverb to short delays and in-between. If you know anything about Supermassive, you know that it is intended for huge, never-ending swell effects and echoes that seem to curl back onto themselves.
If you're looking for a reverb plugin to send your vocals into outer space for a truly psychedelic and intergalactic experience, Valhalla Supermassive is a great option.
Best Free Vocal Tuning Plugins
1. Resonant Cavity Voloco
- Comes in app form
- Key, scale, and correction amount controls
There are many times when having a quick and easy tuning option for vocals is helpful. You might want to sing straight into your pitch correction plugin to get close to the desired effect that you'll use in your mixing stage or you just need an easy way to tune ad-libs or background vocals without worrying about serious precision.
You might even want that Daft Punk-style pitch correction.
With Voloco , getting there is super easy. The interface is incredibly basic, giving you options for key, scale, and correction amount. Within a matter of seconds, you'll have vocals that sound like they belong on a Travis Scott record.
2. Aegean Music Pitch Proof
- Seven different harmony options
- Blend knob for wet and dry balancing
- Selectable key and scale
- Detune option for natural tuning
If you're looking for a simple plugin that can shift the pitch of your input signal, then Aegean Music Pitch Proof might be the plugin for the job. This unique free vocal plugin combines old-school pitch shifter effects with the fidelity that you'd expect from new digital plugins.
Essentially, you get an emulation of a pitch pedal. Guitarists who are familiar with harmonizing pedals will know the exact sound.
The controls are very simple, allowing you to blend your dry and wet signal, select the pitch, detune for a more natural effect, or choose the key you'd like the plugin to work within.
While it might look like a guitar pedal plugin, it happens to be one of the most unique pitch correction plugins for vocals on the market, great for dialing in robotic vocal sounds, harmonies, or octave sounds.
3. Auburn Sounds - Grallion 2
- Pitch correction and pitch shifting capabilities
- 23ms of latency (less than most pitch plugins)
- Ultra-transparent sound quality
Grallion 2 brings just about every pitch correction possibility you could think of straight into your DAW. The features on this pitch correction plugin were carefully designed to give you everything from clean and transparent pitch correction to T-pain-style vocal tuning.
With pitch-tracking modulation, you can generate unique throat sounds, enrich your vocal with different formats, or use it as a vocal doubler. The pitch shifter mode transparently transposes vocals up and down.
Finally, the Pitch Correction module brings you an immediate robotic sound. Mix that in with the Bitcrusher module and you can craft a soft, semi-distorted vocal to bury underneath your lead for more gusto!
Free Your Vocal Production!
While every vocal requires a different approach to mixing, you can find all of the tools you need to mix professional vocals with these free vocal VST plugins. From free reverb plugins to free EQ plugins and beyond, you can build out your perfect vocal chain to enhance your vocal tracks.
The beauty here is that you can test out each of these plugins without any risk whatsoever!