The 50 Best VST Plugins (2022)

VST plugins can be powerful tools in a music producer’s arsenal. This list has some of the best plugins available. Whether you’re looking for better music theory understanding, help with audio restoration, or just for exploratory reasons, there’s a plugin on this list for you.

Divided by categories, the following article is a thoughtful attempt at listing the 50 best VST plugins in the world right now. By taking a special look at what makes them unique, and prioritizing sound quality over popularity.

I hope this guide can inspire you to try out some new world-class instruments and effects and stumble upon a few underrated, hidden gems.

Contents

Best Synth VST Plugins

1. Spectrasonics Omnisphere

With hundreds of high-quality presets ranging from realistic Juno emulators to exotic percussion instruments, Spectrasonics Omnisphere looks and feels like a sampler VST. However, it makes for a one-of-a-kind soft synth plugin with many interesting wavetable samples, a complete array of modulation features, and some of the best-sounding patches you can ever play inside a DAW.

Spectrasonics Omnisphere is a beastly virtual synth that will take up at least 60 GB of disk storage space—but that's the only downside. Whether you're composing soundtracks, working on progressive electronic songs, or simply making hip-hop beats, Omnisphere is a game-changing music-making tool every producer should have in their arsenal.

2. u-he Diva

There's no shortage of synth VST plugins that promise "that" analog sound. But more often than not, computer-based synth emulators tend to disappoint. Not u-he Diva, though. This powerful VST is not trying to emulate a particular analog synth, but rather practically every analog synth out there. And while that sounds like a ridiculously far-fetched plan, the guys at u-he managed to carry it through.

Diva is great for many reasons: it offers different filter features, includes multiple playback modes, hosts .tun files (ideal for microtonal composition), and comes with two high-quality LFO modulators. But what makes it truly stand out against the competition is the way it sounds. Diva is as close to a real analog synth as present-day VSTs go.

3. Xfer Records Serum

If you're into electronic dance music (EDM) production, you've probably heard about Xfer Records Serum before. This synth VST plugin is so commonly used in club-ready hits that it's almost commonplace to include it in a best-VST list. Yet, it would be shamefully wrong not to mention Serum as one of the top soft synths in the world right now.

What makes Serum great is that it continues to sound bigger, louder, and more powerful than pretty much any VST instrument out there. In addition, it's easy to use; it's perfect for beginners and professionals alike, and its interface (centered around its versatile modulation features) is as intuitive as it is inspiring.

4. D16 Group LuSH-101

Released in 1982, the Roland SH-101 makes for a classic synthesizer with some of the best-sounding basses and pads in the analog world. Many developers tried to emulate the Roland SH-101 in the past, but few did so convincingly. Up until the creation of the D16 Group LuSH-101, having a soft synth that sounded pretty much like the real Roland SH-101 was still a music producer's dream.

LuSH-101 comes with all the classic controls and features of the original Roland SH-101 and throws in a few extras (including some high-quality effects) just for the fun of it. More than a mere copy of a beloved synth, it's a powerhouse of a music-making tool that delivers on its promise.

5. Reveal Sound Spire

With up to four oscillators, a never-ending array of modulation combinations, various filter modes, and a highly-customizable arpeggiator, Reveal Sound Spire makes for a criminally underrated synth VST plugin. While it sounds good all around, its leads and basses are particularly impressive.

Spire is the perfect VST for finding that special sound that needs to cut through a cluttered mix. It's modern, easy to use, and just fun to mess around with. If you're making synth-driven pop music (electropop, hyperpop, etc.) then Spire is a must-have synth. If you're making anything else, it still wouldn't hurt to have this unique synth in your VST folder.

6. Rob Papen Blue II

Rob Papen produces some of the most inventive synth VST plugins around, and Blue II is one of the best. It's a six-oscillator FM synth that also works as a subtractive and waveshaping synthesizer and is loaded with a lot of modulation features. Needless to say, Blue II is capable of reproducing pretty much any sound.

Taming this VST synth may take some time—as usual when it comes to Rob Papen instruments—but it's more than worth it in the long run. The outstanding MIDI features (especially the Chord Mode) also deserve to be mentioned.

7. u-he Bazille

Another u-he synth VST plugin makes the list. If Diva is u-he's undisputed king, then Bazille is its proud queen. It's one of the best virtual modular synthesizers ever built, and it's as powerful in sound as it is sleek in design.

If you're not used to working with modular instruments, it may take some time to get used to Bazille. But don't worry: this u-he masterpiece comes loaded with plenty of high-quality presets. On the topic of beautifully-crafted u-he VST synths, u-he ACE and u-he Hive are also worth checking.

8. reFX Nexus 4

Crediting reFX Nexus 4 as one of the best VST synths of the hour is a bit of a cheat. Technically, Nexus 4 is a rompler: an electronic instrument that plays sample-based, pre-made sounds (just like those old and chunky Yamaha keyboards). Sounds kind of underwhelming, doesn't it?

Sound-design veterans will probably snub Nexus 4 for its lack of versatility, but the ready-to-play library is exactly what makes it great! Nexus 4 is not the ideal VST for creating new sounds, but it's arguably one of the most entertaining music-making tools you'll ever play with. If you put your music playing over your sound design, there's no VST quite like Nexus 4.

9. TAL-U-NO LX Synth

The Juno-106 makes for one of the most beloved polyphonic synths ever released. It features six voices, a legendary built-in chorus effect, and a smooth, detailed analog sound. Needless to say, the Juno-106 was recreated as a VST over and over again. But to this day, nobody did it as well as TAL Software.

The warm-sounding TAL-U-NO LX has already turned into a classic. This fan-favorite VST may not look like much at first, but I dare to say it could pass a blind test against a real '80s Juno! It's one of the best synth VSTs around for instrument-friendly producers, especially piano players looking to transition into electronic music.

Best Drum VST Plugins

10. XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2

Acoustic drums are one of the hardest things to get right inside a DAW. Using realistic samples, established grooves, and even a careful approach to timing and dynamics isn't enough. There's a unique feel to a drum groove played by a real musician that's seemingly impossible to reproduce electronically. That's why XLN Audio Addictive Drums 2 makes for a must-have music-production tool.

A state-of-the-art drum VST, Addictive Drums 2 incorporates recordings of real drums played live by real drummers. It's like having a session drummer inside your computer, all in an intuitive interface with built-in effects (including a very nice saturator) and a dedicated mixer.

11. Steven Slate Drums SSD5

Steven Slate Drums SSD5 makes for one of the world's best drum VSTs for two reasons: its sheer size and impressive efficiency. It features a complete library of high-quality sounds with drum kits used in all genres of music. If you get Steven Slate Drums SSD5, most likely, you'll never purchase another acoustic drum sample pack.

This powerful VST plugin is massive, but it's also incredibly practical. Its main focus is on getting things done as quickly as possible. To achieve so, Steven Slate Drums SSD5 features a useful library of MIDI drum grooves and a customizable MIDI-mapping section.

Best Sampler VST Plugins

12. Native Instruments Kontakt 6 Player

As far as VST samplers go, Native Instruments Kontakt 6 continues to be among the smartest choices. This classic plugin includes all the must-have features of a top-quality sampler and spices things up with a few extras such as modulation effects, creator tools, and advanced KSP scripting.

What makes Kontakt THE standard VST sampler, however, is the massive number of available libraries. The best Kontakt libraries are extremely diverse, performance-ready, and—more often than not—built using thousands of incredibly detailed, expressive samples. The Kontakt 6 Player can be downloaded for free.

13. Garritan ARIA Player

It's hard to compete against an established industry standard such as Native Instruments Kontakt 6. But if there's another VST sampler that's equally worthy of an investment, that's the Garritan ARIA Player.

Just like Kontakt 6, the ARIA Player is a complete, advanced sampler plugin, but stands out mainly due to its customized sound libraries. Whereas Kontakt 6 is the perfect everyday-producer VST sampler, ARIA Player is a must-have for audio pros working on soundtracks, classical music, and jazz.

Best Reverb VST Plugins

14. ValhallaDSP Valhalla Plate

Functionality is important for any VST plugin, but reverb effects are ultimately about sound. The ValhallaDSP Valhalla Plate would be a relatively common reverb if it wasn't for its beautiful tone. It boasts a clean, warm, and natural-sounding decay and features different modes (such as Chrome, Copper, and Radium) for added versatility.

It's always wise not to judge a book by its cover, and the old saying most certainly applies to the ValhallaDSP Valhalla Plate. Light on CPU and big on sound quality, it works best when used as a go-to aux-track reverb.

15. Waves TrueVerb

If you need a reverb VST to simulate acoustic spaces on your DAW, then you can't go wrong with Waves TrueVerb. The plugin bundles of Waves are loaded with world-class audio effects and TrueVerb is arguably the best convolution-style reverb they have ever produced.

When used discreetly, TrueVerb works like a charm to spice up a boring pad synth or flute sound. When used abusively, it can generate dense spatial soundscapes that can turn a snappy snare drum into an immersive drone. TrueVerb is great for all kinds of music, but truly game-changing if you're working in genres such as ambient, IDM, new age, or post-rock.

16. Eventide Blackhole

The Eventide Blackhole reverb pedal is a classic of the hardware world. If you're into EDM, there's a big chance you've heard this effect more times than you can count—even if you didn't notice. The mythic Blackhole pedal made its way to the live setup of countless electronic musicians, so it makes sense that Eventide worked on developing a Blackhole VST plugin.

Like its real-life twin brother, the Blackhole VST is perfect for coloring EDM tracks, especially in subgenres such as minimal techno, IDM, or downtempo. The Blackhole is one of the world's best reverb plugins because of the way it sounds, but its quantized pre-delay is also a big pro.

17. Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Bundle

There are so many high-quality reverb VSTs around that it's overwhelming to choose just one. But if you're looking to invest in a top-grade reverb, why not go all-in and opt for the Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Bundle? It's all the reverb effects you'll ever need, in one single package.

The Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Bundle is technically made out of various reverb VST plugins, but it makes sense to put it on the list as just one effect. The quality of the VSTs contained in the bundle is unmistakable, but this Lexicon top seller is a standout mainly for being the complete, definitive music-production reverb solution.

Best Delay VST Plugins

18. ValhallaDSP Valhalla Delay

There's no denying that the guys at Valhalla DSP know how to make great spatial effects. But the ValhallaDSP Valhalla Delay is more than yet another excellent-sounding Valhalla delay. This seemingly simple delay VST is the tape-delay swiss knife every music producer wants and works beautifully with real instruments (especially electric guitar).

You can use the ValhallaDSP Valhalla Delay to great effect as both a clean, digital delay and a gritty, vintage-sounding tape delay. Just like the Valhalla Plate, the Valhalla Delay also features different modes for added versatility.

19. Waves H-Delay

In the category of top-sounding delay VST plugins, effects such as FabFilter Timeless 3 and Soundtoys EchoBoy deserve an honorable mention. The winner, however, is Waves H-Delay! There's an ineffable quality to H-Delay that makes it a one-of-a-kind VST, with a sweet analog-like tone that cuts through most mixes without being too abrasive.

So things don't get too subjective, it's also important to mention that Waves H-Delay features a tap, a lo-fi and ping-pong switch, BPM, host, and ms quantization, and two modulation knobs.

Best EQ VST Plugins

20. FabFilter Pro-Q 3

Most DAWs feature pretty good EQ stock plugins. Would it even make sense to purchase a third-party EQ VST? Well, it does when you consider the powerhouse EQ, FabFilter Pro-Q 3.

The FabFilter Pro-Q 3 allows you to control both mid-side and dynamic EQs, as well as latency. It's so easy to use it's almost addictive, with an interface so intuitive it can be mastered in half an hour. Finally, it features useful advanced monitoring tools and visual cues, including a piano viewer (showing which note corresponds to each frequency).

21. Waves Scheps 73

VST plugins licensed by acclaimed audio engineers don't always make it. But that's not the case with Waves Scheps 73, a super-charismatic EQ plugin blessed by the iconic American mixing engineer Andrew Scheps himself. While Scheps 73 doesn't come with a spectrum visualizer, it is the go-to EQ VST for sound color.

Inspired by the vintage Neve 1073 consoles, the Scheps 73 has a beautiful tone that works best with vocals and drum sounds. To make the most of its colorful sound, use it as a frequency booster rather than a frequency cutter.

Best Compressor VST Plugins

22. Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor

Some VST plugins are born as analog emulators, but end up getting a life of their own. That's certainly the case with the Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor, also known as Waves SSL Comp.

There are two things that Waves SSL Comp does better than—arguably—any other compressor plugin. The first is compressing fast transients: unlike most compressor VSTs, the SSL Comp maintains its beautiful tone even when working with super short attack-release settings and at a maximum ratio. The second is tying up a mix without causing too much dynamic interference: even the tiniest compression settings work wonderfully when you put SSL Comp in the master channel.

23. FabFilter Pro-MB

FabFilter changed the world of VST audio effects with its intuitive approach to EQ, distortion, and compression. And while FabFilter Pro-C 2 is worth mentioning, the best compression tool in their catalog is the powerful multiband compressor FabFilter Pro-MB. While somewhat overlooked, this versatile effect is great for processing everything from bass and drums to full mixes.

FabFilter Pro-MB is great because it can solve virtually any mixing issue with its adaptable compression bands. You can split the frequency range into as many divisions as you want and make use of FabFilter's great-sounding compression with an unprecedented level of detail.

24. Universal Audio Teletronix LA-2A

Universal Audio plugins are hard to get for a reason: because they sound brilliant! If you need yet another excuse to get your hands on an Apollo Twin Mk II audio interface, then you should give the Teletronix LA-2A compressors a check. These vintage-modeled units are so well-built that they're considered to be a legitimate alternative to world-class, hardware compressors such as the Warm Audio WA-2A.

The best way to make use of the Teletronix LA-2A plugins is to go old-school and use them directly during recording. You can do so thanks to the real-time, latency-free recording provided by the Apollo interfaces.

25. Xfer Records OTT

Technically, the Xfer Records OTT VST plugin is a multiband compressor. But in reality, it's a specific tone. The OTT made its way into the VST folder of pretty much every electronic-music producer because it can brighten up any boring sound instantly. It's perfect for creating solid lead and bass sounds with a strong mid-range and a warm top.

The OTT sound is such a standard that DAWs such as Ableton Live even developed a stock-plugin copy of it (you can find it in the Multiband Compressor presets). To make it even better, the OTT is a free plugin developed by the same people that engineered Serum.

Best Limiter VST Plugins

26. FabFilter Pro-L 2

What is it that makes a limiter VST plugin great? The question is challenging since the best limiters are supposed to go unnoticed. They're used to prevent full mixes from clipping, and most producers don't want their limiters to change the sonic features of a song. If you feel the same way, you should get FabFilter Pro-L 2.

This "invisible" limiter boasts all that nice FabFilter features—including different modes and an intuitive dynamics visualizer—and gets the job done. I find it incredibly useful for making mixes louder, especially if you combine multiple Pro-L 2 effects at around 3dB to 4dB gain.

27. Sonnox Oxford Inflator

Combining character and efficiency, the Sonnox Oxford Inflator is still one of the best limiter VST plugins in the market. You'll never know how much you miss a limiter like Oxford Inflator until you start incorporating it into your productions.

The Oxford Inflator works great for increasing loudness and preventing clipping (as a good limiter should), but stands out for having a characteristic warm tone. For that reason, it can also be used convincingly as a makeshift tube saturator, outside the master channel.

Best Mastering VST Plugins

28. iZotope Ozone 9

The iZotope Ozone 9 is the mastering suite to win them all. Improved edition after edition, the Ozone VST delivers convincing results in a matter of minutes, regardless of the music genre you're working with. Extremely easy to use, this iZotope classic includes lots of helpful presets and a very useful reference option.

Seasoned audio engineers tend to approach mastering using more than one plugin, but beginner producers don't have the same know-how. Ozone is the empowering software that puts world-class mastering at the fingertips of every DAW user.

29. Brainworx bx_masterdesk

Mastering is a complicated process mainly for one reason: it's very hard to make a mix sound louder and more cohesive while keeping its fundamental dynamic range. Luckily, mastering VST plugins such as the Brainworx bx_masterdesk feature a simple, intuitive interface that should help all producers to make a mix louder without sacrificing its balance or energy.

What I love about bx_masterdesk is that, unlike most mastering plugins, it sticks to the fundamentals. The tone knob sounds particularly well, and the responsive meter is great for keeping a song's dynamics in check.

Best Preamp VST Plugins

30. Universal Audio Neve 1073

Like all high-quality VST plugins produced by Universal Audio, the Neve 1073 preamp can only be used with proper UAD hardware such as the Apollo Twin Mk II. However, it would be a crime not to list it as—arguably—the best virtual preamp ever produced. Taking inspiration from the classic sound of the legendary Neve 1073 console, it sits particularly well with vocals.

It's still not at the same level as a real, hardware Neve preamp, but it's as close as it'll ever get inside a DAW.

31. Soundtoys Radiator

Soundtoys produces some of the most beloved VST plugins of the hour, and much of what makes their products great is their unique tone. Soundtoys' beautiful tube-like, warm saturation is more clearly noticed in VSTs such as Decapitator. However, it's also subtly present in their high-quality virtual preamp, Radiator.

The Soundtoys Radiator is a simple preamp VST with bass and treble control and noisy/clean options. The HEAT meter gives it a cool, sleek look, and its 1567A-inspired sound should provide your vocal and guitar recordings with all the boost they need.

Best Distortion VST Plugins

32. iZotope Trash 2

The iZotope Trash 2 is not a consensually-loved distortion VST. And to be fair, Trash 2 shouldn't be the only distortion plugin in your VST folder. So, why is it one of the best virtual audio effects in the world? For one, because it's unique. But most importantly, because it's outrageously wild and fun to play with!

Trash 2 is a great VST effect and it can be incredibly powerful when used sensibly. To make the most of the wide range of available presets, make sure you apply Trash 2 to short sounds with a very clean decay. It works like a charm for making thumping hits, cut-through basses, and harsh leads.

33. FabFilter Saturn 2

FabFilter has this great habit of coming up with VST plugins so good they pretty much solve all of your necessities. The FabFilter multiband saturator Saturn 2 is so complete, versatile, and warm-sounding that it's quite legitimately the only saturator plugin you'll ever need.

Featuring FabFilter's sleek design and high-response dynamics visualizer, Saturn 2 allows you to process different bands of the frequency spectrum with different distortion modes. There's also a significant amount of dynamic control, as well as a speed LFO feature.

34. Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter

The Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter takes the principles of old-school tube saturation and puts them right inside your computer. Modeled after a rare hardware unit, the Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter is a great-sounding distortion VST plugin that's perfect for adding character to individual sounds and that, if used carefully, can spice up an entire mix.

Just like old-school tube exciters, this Waves masterpiece requires a good ear and a sensitive hand. But once you get used to the way it works, it can have a very positive effect on your productions.

35. Camel Audio CamelCrusher

It would be snobby to overlook the powerful Camel Audio CamelCrusher simply because it's free. This distortion VST plugin is a classic that everybody can get for the price of nothing and that deserves to be amongst the best VSTs in the world.

CamelCrusher is aggressive and unapologetic, but isn't that what a distortion plugin should sometimes do? The gritty tones of this free VST are so colorful that they can also be used effectively to amplify real instruments, pretty much like an amp simulator plugin.

Best Amp VST Plugins

36. Positive Grid BIAS Amp 2 Elite

Amp plugins are getting better and better, but there's still no match to the complete working station that's the Positive Grid BIAS Amp 2 Elite VST. While it doesn't have built-in effects (you can find them separately in another Positive Grid plugin, the BIAS FX 2 Elite), BIAS Amp 2 beats IK Multimedia's AmpliTube 4 or Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 for one simple reason: its realistic, warm amp simulators.

When I first tried BIAS Amp 2, I was struck by how deliciously crunchy and life-like it sounded. The possibility to switch preamp, transformer, power amp, and cabinet presets is also a big plus.

37. Waves GTR3 Amps

The Waves GTR3 Amps VST is the best amp simulator plugin for instrumentalists looking for a simple, top-sounding solution to play electric bass and guitar. If you want to make the most of the GTR3 Amps sound with access to additional features, you can get the Waves GTR3 ToolRack VST.

While GTR3 Amps is a versatile plugin designed to fit the needs of real players, it also works wonders inside the box. It's a great amp simulator for adding subtle distortion to a drum bus, processing synth patches, and adding some crunchiness to pads with a long reverb tail.

Best Pitch Correction VST Plugins

38. Melodyne 5 Studio

Melodyne 5 Studio is an outstanding plugin. It’s the industry standard choice for music pros looking for a natural-sounding pitch correction tool, Melodyne 5 Studio is capable not only of pitching everything up to the cent but also of processing polyphonic samples (yes, it can pitch-correct a full choir!), extending vowels, removing breaths and hiss sounds, and shaping formants.

When using Melodyne 5 Studio, I find it useful to open it as a standalone plugin and only then load the processed vocal tracks into a DAW of choice. This way, you can put your full focus on the plugin's complex features.

39. Antares Auto-Tune

Antares Auto-Tune makes for an obvious choice, but leaving it out of the list would be like naming NBA superstars and snubbing Michael Jordan. The most famous VST plugin in the world, Antares Auto-Tune managed to do the impossible: go from being a very specific music-production tool to becoming as mainstream as Harry Potter.

If you have even the tiniest interest in making pop music, you're pretty much obliged to have this one in your VST folder. You can use Antares Auto-Tune as a subtle pitch-correction effect, but playing with that classic T-Pain sound is what it's all about. Remember: just crank that Retune Speed knob up!

40. Melda Production MAutoPitch

The guys at Melda Production have been quietly developing one of the best collections of VST plugins on the Internet, with solutions for all kinds of music production needs. And the best part is that they offer a ton of high-quality effects for free via their website. One of the hidden gems of the free Melda Production bundle is without a doubt the MAutoPitch.

Think of the MAutoPitch as a less-obvious version of Antares Auto-Tune with an added focus on performance. What truly makes it stand apart is the Formant Shift knob, which can transform MAutoPitch's tone in real-time for a wacky, never-heard-before vocal modulation effect.

Best Phase Modulation VST Plugins

41. Soundtoys Tremolator

It's rare to find a VST effect that's equally beloved by vintage enthusiasts and digital-audio fans. But that's Soundtoys Tremolator in a nutshell. This phase modulation VST plugin incorporates tremolo and auto-gate and has a clear focus on rhythm.

You can explore interesting syncopation with the help of the Groove, Feel, and Accent knobs or go full four-on-the-floor with a fixed rate. The presets are surprisingly creative, and the different Shapes are worth exploring, as is the advanced Shape/Rhythm Editor.

42. D16 Group Syntorus 2

The D16 Group Syntorus 2 is a double-path analog chorus with one of the sweetest phase modulation sounds on the market. While it's modeled after classic vintage machines, the Syntorus 2 has a beautiful, metallic feel to it that sits just right with modern-day electronic productions, especially for working with IDM and minimal techno.

Apart from its charming sound, the Syntorus 2 stands out for coming with pretty much every control that can be put inside a chorus VST and—of course—for its distinctive double-path feature.

Best Transient Shaper VST Plugins

43. Oversampled Pancz

Oversampled Pancz is one of the most underrated VSTs out there, especially for working with drums. Pancz goes one step further and offers multiband transient shaping in a simple-to-use package. The dynamics visualizer is beautiful, and so is the NYC knob—which can get you perfect parallel compression in under five seconds.

What makes Oversampled Pancz truly great, however, is its cleanliness. Unlike some less-impressive transient shapers, Pancz's Transients and Length functions are as smooth and precise as if you were manually cutting the audio. A must-have for beatmakers and drummers.

44. SPL Transient Designer Plus

The SPL Transient Designer Plus keeps it simple and has been one of the world's top-recommended transient shaper VST plugins for a while now. Music producers love it because of its vintage-inspired sound, intuitive interface, sleek design, and smooth Sustain knob.

Nice added features include the Parallel Mix knob and the Side Chain Filter option. The built-in limiter is very useful for dealing with the nasty clipping that tends to occur when you want to make a transient pop.

Best Audio Repair VST Plugins

45. iZotope RX 9

The iZotope RX 9 VST is the standard audio-reparation tool, and its 9th version is better than ever. Featuring a new dialogue isolation algorithm and improved de-hum feature, the RX 9 is the plugin audio engineers can count on to perform tasks such as spectral repair and editing, noise removal, de-reverberation, and tonal control.

The iZotope RX 9 is essential for all professionals working in audio for movies, TV, radio, and podcasts. However, it's also good to have around for making music. Its excellent noise removal and vocal isolation features can come in handy for remixing, processing old samples, and creating original a cappella tracks.

46. Acon Digital Restoration Suite 2

Unlike iZotope RX 9's convenient one-window interface, the Acon Digital Restoration Suite 2 is divided by different plugins. This can work as an advantage, though, helping audio engineers to save some CPU usage if needed. Inside this underrated audio-reparation suite, you can find a DeHum, a DeNoise, a DeClick, or a DeClip.

The features of the Acon Digital Restoration Suite 2 don't go as in-depth as the ones found in RX 9, but are more music-oriented, not to mention easier to use. For this reason, I recommend it as the best audio reparation VST for audio professionals working solely as music producers.

Best Music Theory VST Plugins

47. Scaler 2

Whether you're a seasoned musician or a beginner trying to grasp the main concepts of music theory, Scaler 2 is one of the most helpful plugins you can have in your VST folder. With everything from automatically-suggested chords to a secondary dominants view, this groundbreaking music theory workstation is as complete as it is unrivaled.

From song structure and modes to the circle of 5ths, no music theory concept is left behind. With flawless MIDI integration, Scaler is a much-recommended VST for composers, music educators, and music students. Having this plugin in your DAW will free you from ever having to look at your music-theory notebook!

48. HoRNet SongKey MK4

Admittedly, the HoRNet SongKey MK4 is the most understated VST plugin to make the list. It's used for finding the key, chords (in real-time), and BPM of a music project. The HoRNet SongKey MK4 is so effective at what it does that you'll never want to give it up once you start using it.

There's no shame in looking for help to better understand the key of a song. Even if your music theory is spot on, the HoRNet SongKey MK4 is fast and accurate and it will allow you to save hours of work in the long run. I use it daily to detect the key and chords of unlabeled samples and analyze songs as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Best Music Analysis VST Plugins

49. Melda Production MMultiAnalyzer

The free plugins by Melda Production are top-shelf, so their paid VSTs have got to be off the chart, right? That's certainly the case for the Melda Production MMultiAnalyzer, which is the music analysis plugin to win them all. The clear standout is the sleek multi-tack spectrum, which allows you to visualize how different parts of the same song interact dynamically and within the frequency spectrum—an extremely useful tool for mixing and mastering engineers.

With a loudness analyzer and a stereogram included, the Melda Production MMultiAnalyzer is also highly customizable and features an impressive collection of handy presets.

50. Voxengo SPAN

No music producer should go through life without having access to a complete music analysis tool. Thanks to Voxengo SPAN, no one has to. There are probably a few paid spectrum analyzer VSTs that match SPAN's quality, but why should you ever pay for them if you can get a plugin this good for free?

Extremely reliable, customizable, and used by countless music pros all over the world, Voxengo's SPAN features all the fundamental analysis tools you'll ever need, including a highly-responsive true peak metering, a correlation meter, and real-time RMS information.

Summary

In this ever-changing world, there will never be a consensual top-50 list of anything. VST plugins are surely not the exception. However, the 50 virtual instruments and audio effects listed above can all make a huge difference in your music if you give them a chance.

Naturally, numerous other high-quality VSTs could’ve made it to the top, but weren’t included due to personal preference, comparative quality, or sheer lack of knowledge. Like all best-of lists, this one’s subjective and should function merely as a helpful guide, never as a definitive, unchangeable statement of truth.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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