Key differences between Chorus, Flanger & Phaser Explained

If guitars were rifles, pedal effects would be ammunition.

There’s only so much you can achieve with a clean guitar sound, and it’s more than safe to say that effects such as Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser are capable of completely shifting and changing your tone, for better or worse.

Now, skilled guitar players instinctively know the differences between various pedal effects, but most of the time people are more concerned about where and when they can use a certain type of sound rather than wreck their heads trying to explain ‘how and why’.

Today we are going to attempt to thoroughly examine some of the key differences between chorus, flanger, and phaser effects, so buckle up and stay for a while.

Chorus in a nutshell

The ‘chorus effect’ is easily one of the most iconic pedal effects among guitar players.

We could go as far as to call it ‘choir-us’ mainly because it’s supposed to make the guitar sound much bigger than it actually is.

It’s ideal for single-guitar bands, troupes, and performers who want to duplicate (or triplicate) their sound in a live setting and for studio musicians who don’t particularly like laying down numerous tracks where they can achieve the same effects with a pedal as simple as this.

How it works

The Chorus effect modulates the pitch of your tone ever so slightly; it basically reproduces the exact signal of your guitar’s vibrations but at a slightly different pitch and time.

The potential of the chorus effect is vast, which means that it can subtly enhance the depth of your tone or it can simulate another live guitar, depending on how you set its parameters.

In a bit more technical terms, the chorus effect is achieved when the pedal takes the signal before melding it with pitch-modulated copies of the original signal.

Depending on the model and parameters, the post-produced signal copy can be singular or there could be numerous. The more ‘layers’ the pedal makes, the bigger your tone will become. 

How to use it properly

Essentially, it’s a straightforward effect that doesn’t exactly require much skill and experience to be used, although it’s kind of addictive in the sense that it may leave you with the feeling that you always need ‘more’.

It’s a modulation pedal, which basically means that it’s supposed to sit at the back end of the signal chain, right after wah-wahs, compressors, overdrives, or distortions.

Due to the fact that chorus pedals aren’t necessarily the most intricate contraptions and feature only a handful of control knobs, you’ll typically only have depth and rate to worry about.

Set these parameters low to enrich your sound in a subtle, delicate way; when set at halfway you’ll add plenty of character to your tone while going anywhere beyond this point is not recommended if your signal chain is encumbered as it is.

Flanger in a nutshell

The flanger effect is one of the most enigmatic guitar gizmos to this day; it was artificially created (by accident) in old-school studios back in the tape-recording days (4-track and 8-track machines) by touching the flange (the rim of the tape), although nowadays the process of ‘flanging’ has been tamed and digitalized.

The ‘flanger’ effect sports characteristics of numerous other pedal effects – it’s based on delay pedals, but its unpredictability often leads it towards phasers, overdrives, and distortions, obviously depending on its parameters.

Furthermore, this effect was created by playing two tracks at the same time, which further means that it also shares some similarities with choruses to some extent. As we’ve already discussed, chorus pedals modulate and blend the altered signal with the original one, which is partially what happens with the ‘flanging’ effect too.

How it works

Flanger works in the same way as most modulation pedals do; this pedal splits the signal in 2 identical paths where the original is untouched and the second one is just slightly delayed (measured in milliseconds).

The tweaked signal is then modulated both by speeding it and slowing it cyclically. The ‘modulated’ signal is then blended with the original signal.

What’s most important to understand about flangers is that their altered signal is actually tweaked at ‘random’ unpredictable intervals whereas other modulation pedals offer more control and precision.

The randomness of this effect is the reason why some people use it as their go-to pedal and other guitarists avoid it.

How to use it properly

Flanger pedals are by default wild and pretty hard to tame, but there are more ways than one by which you can gap the small obstacles they present.

The most intimidating parameter of typical flangers is the ‘manual control’, which basically allows guitarists to pick and choose which frequencies they want to alter.

When untouched, the pedal will automatically calculate compatible frequencies and reinforce them (incompatible frequencies will always nullify each other), leading to a slightly clearer tone without sacrificing the punchy feel.

Most flangers typically feature ‘resonance’ or ‘intensity’, both of which relate to the same thing. This parameter affects the effect’s intensity by clipping or feeding a portion of the delay straight back to the original input.

By increasing the ‘intensity’ you’ll add more grit to your tone and achieve a more distorted high-gain sound.

Phaser in a nutshell

Phaser pedals sound almost identical to laymen and beginner guitarists, but in actuality, they share more differences than similarities.

This effect can potentially be used to achieve a mild flanging effect only if its parameters are basically untouched and set on ultra-low settings.

A well-known fact among veteran guitar players is that the phaser effect was introduced to the scene around the same time when flangers came to be. This is probably the reason why new-school players typically don’t make a clear distinction between the two.

In a nutshell, Phasers create a swirling-like sound, much akin to a plane taking off with the only difference being that it is constantly circulating in the fashion of stereo speakers.

One of the most notable benefits of Phaser pedals is that it allows guitar players to create a much bigger atmosphere and ambient, even with smallish amps and relatively mediocre gear. 

How it works

Flangers and phasers operate on similar principles; the original signal is divided into two paths, one path is modulated and the other is completely untouched.

The modulated signal path passes through a series of all-pass filters, which shift the signal’s phase revolving around a variety of (pre-calculated) frequencies. In this regard, the Phaser is not as unpredictable as the flanger, but it’s not as controllable as the chorus.

The modulated signal path is later mixed with the untouched signal path, which results in the ‘swooping’ circular tone.

How to use it properly

The Flanger effect is significantly less punishing towards beginner players; its parameters are not as sensitive, and it’s a bit more versatile altogether.

As far as we’re talking about the signal chain, most people don’t use both flanger and phaser pedals, so you should ideally place either of the two near the end of the chain (after distortion, equalizers, compressors, delays, and choruses).

Typical phaser pedals (such as MXR’s Phase 100) feature simplistic tone controls like Intensity and Speed. The ‘intensity’ basically governs the number of phased stages whereas the ‘speed’ affects the rapidity of signal shifts.

In simpler words, the ‘intensity’ knobs allow you to create different ‘geometric’ signal patterns while the ‘speed’ knobs are there for you to finalize and shape them in more concrete ways.

Similarities between Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger

Essentially, Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger pedals belong to the ‘modulation effect’ category.

Aside from this little formality, they’re also meant to be used in similar ways and operate under similar principles.

All three of these effects divide the original guitar signal path in two after which they alter it in different ways. Although the outcomes are vastly different, these split signals all utilize delays to modulate the frequencies.

From a more practical side, all of these effects have been made available in both pedal and plug-in formats.

The initial modes of achieving chorus, flanger, and phaser (particularly the last two) were almost unwieldy and required a dose of technical expertise, whereas today these effects are beginner-friendly and suitable for use by immediate beginner players.

In technical terms, these pedal effects always leave one signal path completely untouched, which means that at least ‘half’ of your tone will remain exactly the same as it originally was, even though this is not entirely a quantifiable matter.

Even though there are numerous minor other similarities, the most crucial and highlighted ones are:

  1. Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger effects all belong to the ‘modulation’ category
  2. The same method of operation and functional principles
  3. The unfiltered signal path is always non-modulated and identical to the original
  4. All three effects utilize delays to affect the filtered signal path
  5. Modern-day pedals have made these effects more accessible to beginner guitar players

Differences between Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger

Now that we’ve touched upon the similarities between Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger it’s time to dig into the main course – the key differences that separate them.

Though there are many dissimilarities between them, we’ve plucked out the most notable ones and grouped them in the appropriate categories, starting with…

Sonic differences

The Chorus effect is, essentially, much different from Phaser and Flanger, at least sound-wise. It’s ‘mellow’ tonally whereas Phaser and Flanger are closer to overdriven types of sounds.

Even when the parameters of a Chorus pedal are set to their extremes the end result still boasts clarity when isolated. However, choruses are seldom used as standalone effects.

This pedal effect is more of an ‘adhesive’ type in the sense that it extends itself across the spectrum of other effects used in the chain. Phasers and Flangers tend to dominate the chain with their grit.

Differences in application

Distortion effects are commonly associated with rock & heavy metal while chorus, phaser, and flanger effects can be used in pretty much any music genre and can fit into any playing style.

These effects are as versatile as the player’s creativity; in that regard, they can be used in almost any song or performance piece, although exceptions should be obvious.

Since phasers and flangers affect the frequencies of the guitar’s signal in a relatively similar way, they almost cross each other out.

In simpler words, most guitar players use either a phaser pedal or a flanger; rarely both.

Differences in versatility

In this particular scenario, ‘versatility’ refers to the flexibility and freedom as far as tweaking with control knobs and parameters are in question.

Tuning up all the knobs to their extreme would make any sound muddy, but especially so in the case of phasers and flangers.

As mentioned before, these effect types tend to dominate the signal chain, which oftentimes diminishes the presence of other pedals and effects.

In that regard, Phasers and Flangers are slightly less versatile than choruses.

Obviously, Phase and Flange pedals are fairly different between themselves too. Phasers are slightly easier to control, but more importantly, they offer a more calculated and more predictable approach to tone-tweaking.

 On the opposite end of the spectrum, Flangers don’t affect the tone so drastically and can be used for extended periods of time without compromising the tone’s integrity.

The swirling of Phasers makes them ideal for song parts that need to be accentuated (particularly solo sections) whereas Flange pedals can easily substitute for overdrive and distortion when need be.

Conclusion

Every pedal effect type is different. Moreover, every model is different from another; two different pedals that belong to the same category can be so strikingly different that some people would assume they serve different purposes.

Even so, the contrasts between Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser are undeniable and to a certain extent obvious.

From the variance in sound, over dissimilarities in application to differences in application, by now we hope that we’ve helped you make a distinction between these pedal effects.

Amplitube vs Guitar Rig – a detailed comparison

As any guitar player knows, Guitar Rig and Amplitube are undoubtedly two of the most famous and popular guitar emulators available. They’re the best at what they do, but which one is actually better?

We have updated our article in light of the recent Amplitube 5 release, available on IK Multimedia’s website. Comparing to Amplitube 4, this one has been upgraded user experience department, being by far much more user friendly. It now suports Retina-displays and the GUI is fully-scalable. Also, in the new department you now have the option to do parallel effects, with the addition of the dry/wet control and a lot more devices to play with.

For those interested in an upgrade path from Amplitube 4 to 5, here is a sheet from IK Multimedia, explaining the differences and also listing the contents of the Amplitube 5 package.

And if you are interested in a music production laptop as well, we have an updated comparison article right here for you.

Today we’re going to talk at length about the differences and similarities between Amplitube and Guitar Rig, their pros and cons, features, specs, and ultimately decide which platform offers bigger and better benefits, so let’s begin with the most recent price, avaialble by clicking these buttons:

To be fair, we will compare Amplitube 5 to the “PRO” version of Guitar Rig – because the free version is in a league of it’s own. Sadly there is no free entry point to Amplitube, so we have to have an apples-to-apples comparison.

Guitar Rig 6 Amps

For the lack of better words, the selection of amps, cabinets, and effects stacked into the Guitar rig is absolutely incredible. Of course, its eclecticism and versatility mainly depends on which package you’ve opted for, but even the factory Guitar Rig 6 Player is better-rounded than the vast majority if boutique guitar emulators.

You’ll be able to choose between some of the iconic amps, such as Hot Plex, Citrus, Tweed Delight, Jazz Amp, Hot Solo+, and many others, although the bulk of these presets are reserved for Guitar Rig 6 Pro users.

The newest additions (in comparison to the Guitar Rig 5 Pro) are the Chicago, Bass Invader, and the Fire Breather amps, all of which bring brand-new and highly unique features to the table.

Overall, Guitar Rig offers surprisingly authentic, great-sounding amps.

Amplitube 5 Amps

Amplitube’s selection of amps is perfect for literally all kinds of music styles and subgenres. The Standard Amplitube 5 package has 34 devices while the MAX version has a whopping 107 items.

You’ll be able to use five British Stack amps, including Brit 8000 and Brit 9000, the Red Pig, Brit Valve, the Brit Silver, two American Tube amps, as well as a solid-state Bass preamp. The standard edition of Amplitube 5

If you want the full list of devices available, IK Multimedia has created this sheet, which also compares Amplitube 5 with the previous version.

These amps work wonders regardless of whether you’re looking for a poppy sound, a fuzzed jazzy tone, or a heavily distorted metal timbre. However, Guitar Rig’s selection of amps is just slightly broader.

Guitar Rig 6 Cabinets

Guitar Rig 6 offers matched cabinets for their amps, which is generally pretty great. Furthermore, you’ll be able to make great use of the Control room cabinets & mics features if you’ve upgraded to Guitar Rig 6 Pro.

However, the downside here is that you won’t be able to mix and match ‘unmatched’ cabinets like you would with Amplitube.

Amplitube Cabinets

As far as cabinets go, Amplitube 5 offers 27 models, while the MAX version comes equipped with a HUGE ARRAY of 101, including six 4 by 12s (matching the amps), one 1 by 12 Open Vintage cab, a 2 by 12 Closed Vintage cab, and a 1 by 15 Bass Vintage cabinet.

While Guitar Rig had the upper hand in terms of the amp selection, Amplitube does a bit better job in the realm of cabinets, offering more than twice as many models and presets.

In a nutshell, this is more than you’ll need to capture the sonic essence of the recognizable sounds of guitar heroes with ease.

Guitar Rig 6 Effects

There are almost more guitar effects aboard the Guitar Rig 6 platform than can be counted, starting with five delays (Twin, Delay Man, Psyche Delay, Quad Delay and Tape Echo), 12 Distortions (Fuzz, MeZone, Sledgehammer, Gain & Treble boosters, Cat, Demon, Skreamer and more), 10 Dynamic effects, 5 EQs, 7 filters, 8 modulation effects, 3 Pitch effects, 9 reverbs, and three ‘Special’ effects (Resochord, Ring Modulator and Grain Delay).

Barely a dozen of these effects are available as factory presets, though, which means that more than half of aforementioned guitar effect models are only available with the Guitar Rig 6 Pro package.

Amplitube Effects

The Amplitube simulator offers 10 different stompbox models, including choruses, flangers, delays, wahs, diode overdrives, volume pedals, graphic equalizers, compressors, tremolos, and acoustic simulators. With the new Amplitube 5 version you can run them in paralel with the dry/wet setting.

All of these effects are taken from actual analogue effect pedals and sound as original and authentic as can be. The same list of items contains an inventory of all the stomp effects contained.

The good and the bad of Guitar Rig 6

Basically, Guitar Rig 6 is free to download, which is a massive benefit in itself. However, the factory presets selection is modest, to say the very least, which means that it’s a pretty basic software with relatively poor versatility if you don’t upgrade to the ‘Pro’ version at some point.

Let’s discuss the positives and negatives of Guitar Rig 6 PRO:

Pros:

  • Decently affordable upgrade to Guitar Rig 6 free
  • Exceptional range of guitar amps
  • Quality analogue bass amp
  • Authentic sounding tools, models and presets
  • Unparalleled selection of effects
  • Decently easy to use, even by beginners

Cons:

  • The basic (free) package is not overly versatile
  • Difficult to mix and match cabinets
  • Almost no effect pedals and stompboxes to speak of in the free package

The good and the bad of Amplitube

Amplitube is decently approachable guitar software that packs a hefty selection of stompboxes, amplifiers, cabinets, speakers, microphones, effects, and rack units. With the new update to Amplitube 5, the user interface is extremely well built, scalable and looks great on Apple devices.

Obviously, it’s more expensive than the (free) Guitar Rig 6, but it is well worth the buck considering how beginner-friendly and eclectic it is. Some of the highlighted advantages and disadvantages of Amplitube are:

Pros:

  • Highly intuitive interface
  • Excellent selection of stompbox effects, amplifiers, cabinets and microphones
  • Several rack effects and speakers
  • Onboard tuners
  • Constantly expanding roster of amps and effects
  • Great for beginners and seasoned veterans alike

Cons:

  • Not available for free, although demo can be downloaded free of charge

Conclusion

The specs, features, and UI were some of the most notable parameters we took into consideration when comparing the performance of Amplitube and Guitar Rig.

Even though these guitar simulator programs are completely different, they actually do have a lot in common. Both programs are laden with a myriad of top-quality amps and effects, and both actually sound extraordinarily great.

Be it as it may, Guitar Rig tends to do a bit better only because there is a free version to which Amplitube cannot compete.

Without cutting Amplitube’s worth short, it’s amazing software that has enormous potential to usurp Guitar Rig’s throne in near future.

Bass Amp Simulator

A good bass amp is big, weighs a ton, and usually costs a fortune.

Given that most people can’t afford hauling a 100-pound metal-plated chunk of wood from their rehearsal space every time a gig is on the horizon, finding a good bass amp simulator might save you a bit of troubles.

However, there are numerous plugins and programs on the market, so finding the adequate simulator isn’t exactly a walk in the park.

That’s why we’ve taken the liberty of handpicking the finest bass amp simulators for your convenience, so let’s start with:

Amplitube 4

Amplitube is incredible software that offers much in terms of convenience while boasting remarkable versatility and beginner-friendliness.

It’s pricey, but it’s not overly expensive, and the fact that it’s available in various formats justifies the price tag.

The Amplitube rocks a wide selection of premium-quality modelled amplifiers for both guitars & basses, and it also sports numerous stompboxes, reverbs, modulators, fuzzes, distortions, delays, and a myriad of similar effects.

While its rack effect selection is pretty modest to say the least, Amplitube 4 sports excellent visuals, a highly intuitive interface, a built-in tuner, as well as a comprehensive recording suite.

There are a couple of drawbacks to this bass simulator, though. Aside from the fact that it’s pretty expensive, it does not support 32-bit systems, which is quite a downfall for people who have older (but functional) setups.

Amplitube offers a couple of pricing options, with the most affordable one (base version) still being more than versatile enough to cater to your performing, playing, practicing, and recording needs.

Helix Native

Now, most people would rather buy a boutique bass amp than invest in a boutique bass amp simulator; Line 6’s Helix Native begs to differ.

The Helix Native is a beautifully designed bass amp sim that packs 60 amps in total, 13 of which are dedicated bass simulators, 30 cabinets, and more than 100 effects that you can utilize in your rig.

It also sports a variety of distortions, equalizers, modulators, pitch shifters, synths, and numerous other goodies along the same lines.

Obviously, the biggest disadvantage of Helix Native is its price tag, but that’s not what dissuades most people from trying it out. Namely, the vast majority of amp sims in this software are guitar simulators. 

Even though there are substantially simpler and more cost-effective alternatives, Helix Native remains one of the most exquisite, most powerful and versatile bass amp simulators available on the market.

Amp Room

The Amp Room takes ‘quality over quantity’ to another level, compromising for the modest selection of bass amps and bass effects with a sheer, raw quality and function.

Its simplicity is its forte – the Amp Room features a single bass amp simulator and three bass cabinets only, all of which were recorded in real-time with authentic microphones by professional players.

If you’re more concerned about your actual tone and sound rather than the ability to toy around with different presets and timbres, then the Amp Room might be the perfect solution for you.

As far as tone-shaping capabilities are of concern, this bass amp sim features a dedicated head equalizer, click & drag method of microphone placement, DI equalizer controls, and a variety of tone-blending features.

It is, sadly, not available in a standalone format, and its eclecticism is obviously not something to boast about.

However, it’s decently affordable and a no-brainer pick for serious bass players who want to get the most out of their bass in an analog yet digital way.

GTR 3

Cheap and authentic would be the words that best describe Wave’s GTR 3 amp simulator.

This is one of the cheapest multi-bass sims that is available in both standalone and plug-in format, but just like some of our previous picks it only supports 64-bit operating systems.

It packs seven dedicated bass amps, 26 effects, and a digital pedalboard that can ‘fit’ six stompboxes simultaneously.

Obviously, this is not necessarily the most versatile bass amp simulator on the market, but it is among those that are the easiest to use. Its beginner-friendliness is a huge bonus considering that it’s also remarkably cheap, but that’s about everything this simulator has to provide.

 GK-Amplification 2 Pro

Here’s yet another cheap bass amp simulator that offers authentic bass tones, effects and timbres alongside a variety of unique bass amps. In terms of convenience, the GK-Amplification 2 Pro is available in both standalone and plug-in format.

This bass amp simulator features three Gaillain & Kruker amps, three bass heads (MB150, 800RB and 2001RB), and two speaker cabinets.

Even though this doesn’t really reflect the versatility of GK-Amplification 2 Pro, the fact that all of these analog components are manufactured by the same brand and put into a digital format speaks volumes about their quality.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to tweak and adjust a number of tonal parameters, such as bass head equalizers, boosts, voicing filters, types, angles and positions of microphones, and blending of the cabinets.

The brand also provides the opportunity to download a free demo so you can get acquainted with its features before deciding whether you want to buy it or not.

There are no stompboxes onboard, and there are only three amps for you to choose from, but considering that this is a fairly inexpensive bass amp simulator, it’s quite obvious that it’s well worth the buck.

IgniteAmps SHB-1

Let’s wrap things up with SHB-1, which is a free bass amp for Windows and Mac. It does have a single amp preset, but it’s built after real, authentic amp components and features an exact replica of the original SHB 1 bass head.

The SHB-1 offers a simple, straightforward interface, an exceptionally great sound, and it supports both 32 and 64-bit operating systems.

It’s idiosyncratic in a lot of ways, and you’ll need your own cabinet plugin in order to actually utilize it, but it’s easily one of the finest bass amp simulators for hard rock and metal music out there.

Tube Amp Emulators- Vintage Tube Amp Sound Without All The Hardware

Tube amps sound better, bigger and grittier than digital amps, and that’s a well-known fact among seasoned veteran guitarists.

However, they’re also fairly expensive and fairly demanding in terms of maintenance.

Luckily, we live in the age of technology, and one of the numerous wonders that it brought to us is the combination of both worlds – tube amp emulators.

Essentially, emulators are digitalized, substantially more convenient software versions of tube amps, and today we’re going to talk about some of the best ones that the market has to offer. Without any further ado, let’s review the best tube amp emulators in 2020:

Bias FX2

Let’s start off with Bias FX2, which is arguably one of the most comprehensive tube amp emulators out there.

Basically, it’s up to you to decide how much versatility you want to get out of it by choosing between three different subscription packages – Standard, Professional, and Elite.

First things first, even the essential standard pack is pretty eclectic, and all future upgrades contain all of the features that their predecessors are equipped with.

The basic ‘standard’ pack features 30 amplifiers, 43 effect units, 70 factory presets and four different guitar models; furthermore, this package offers a looper track player, a well-rounded DSP engine, a highly intuitive UI, dual digital signal paths, and downloadable presets and modes from the ToneCloud.

The ‘professional’ pack is easily twice as great, offering 60 amplifier settings, 115 effects, 130 presets, eight guitar models, 14 rack units, improved MIDI functionality, and a myriad of artist presets.

If you don’t mind paying a couple of bucks extra, the Bias FX2 Elite package may be everything you need.

It sports 100 amplifier settings, 122 effects, 210 presets, 20 guitar tone models, 18 rack units, new fuzzes and time modellers, harmonizers, and complementary Bias pedal programs.

Overall, this tube amp emulator is extraordinarily versatile and well-suited for both beginners and professional players, studio engineers, and producers, so it might be worth your while to check it out.

Ignite Amps Emissary

The Emissary is next on our list, and it’s been one of the most heavily acclaimed guitar programs for a couple of years now.

In short, it sports IA’s 3rd-gen triode-modelling engine, dynamic EL34, 6L6GC and KT88 pentodes and tetrodes analog modelling modes, two selectable channels, selectable oversampling, customizable controls, and a plethora of selectable modes, effects, timbres, and tones.

The software offers a highly authentic UI, which basically represents an actual tube amp, along with input loops, tone control knobs, split channels, and such.

However, the digitalized convenience features also on board, allowing you to have a drastically higher amount of control over your amp emulator.

In a nutshell, it may not be as eclectic as Bias FX2, but it’s considerably cheaper and more rewarding to beginner guitarists. 

Kuassa Matchlock

The Matchlock may not be the most eclectic tube amp emulator on the market, but it’s certainly one of the most authentic Fender simulators.

It offers classic, iconic sounds sampled from one of the biggest guitar brands, boasting characteristics of Fender’s Twin Reverb, Super Reverb, and the Custom Vibrolux Reverb.

Some of its highlight features include two channels (boost & clean), five cabinets, high and low-pass filters, 7 different types of microphones from Shure, Sennheiser, Neumann and AKG, fully adjustable microphone positions and placements, built-in noise gates, and a remarkably simple user interface.

You can download the demo for free and try it out, or you can download it at a very attractive price from the brand’s official page.

Destructor

Blue Cat Audio’s Destructor is basically a compilation of dozens of amp simulators, including hundreds of factory presets, models, cabinets, compressors, effect pedals, and even tape machines.

This is basically an analog tube amp emulator that offers exquisite distortion modelling tools, excellent cleans, hundreds of fully customizable presets, tone maps, adjustable MIDI controls, and exceptional compatibility with pretty much every popular OS and software.

The only downside of the Destructor is that it’s pretty hard to nail its learning curve, especially if you’re a beginner.

There are so many features and modes for you to use (most of which are meant to be utilized simultaneously), so it’s not the most intuitive software by all means.

However, it’s still among the most eclectic tube amp emulators that the current market has to offer.  

S-Gear

S-gear is, in plain words, an amazingly advanced guitar amp emulator that is completely stacked with top-shelf features, both digital and analog.

It sports a variety of EQs, compressors, delays, reverbs, tone-shaping features, a plethora of guitar timbres, and much, much more.

The S-Gear is a well-rounded amp emulator that possesses top-quality tube amp settings, although the bulk of its settings and controls are primarily digitalized.

Even though it’s pretty pricey, S-gear’s free 10-day trial can be downloaded, allowing you to experience its features and functionalities before you decide whether or not you want to invest in it.

TH-U Full

TH-U Full is comprehensive, well-rounded, and absolutely unequalled in terms of versatility.

This software is packed with 89 different guitar amps, four bass amps, 50 cabinets for guitars, 2 bass cabs, 77 combined pedal & rack effects, a variety of microphones, and over a thousand factory presets.

You’ll be able to emulate tones from amps made by Randall, DV Mark, Brunetti or THD, or combine them all for a wild, exquisite timbre.

For a tube amp emulator, TH-U Full offers 3D, fully immersive modes and methods of finding tones and utilizing different rigs into your own.

It’s laden with dozens of effects and equalizers, which means that you should have no trouble attaining the most unique tone with it.

The only thing that you probably won’t like about TH-U Full software is the fact that it’s fairly expensive.

Even still, it offers superior versatility and a remarkably eclectic selection of guitar models, amps and cabinets, so it’s more than safe to say that it is worth every cent of it.

Best FM Synth VST- All budgets included

Frequency modulators (FM) synths are rapidly gaining popularity among musicians, DJs, and producers alike.

These little software-based gadgets are devices that can be used to bridge various sonic gaps and obstacles, creating analogue-like sounds from scratch.

It’s only natural for aspiring players and performers to search for the best synths to use, and if so, we’ve got you covered.

Today we’re going to discuss some of the best FM synths on the market, starting with:

FM8

Native Instruments are among the biggest names in department of software electronics, so it’s quite obvious why we’ve decided to go with their flagship FM8 as our opener pick.

Although pricey, this FM synth program is by far one of the most versatile all-encompassing plugins that this brand has released so far, casting a long shade over its predecessors.

This is a fully digital VST that offers a total of 960 presets, each boasting crystal clear and remarkably authentic FM sounds. Furthermore, this software also packs a robust matrix platform, a dedicated arpeggiator, and well-rounded envelopes.

Although FM8 has its own patches (and downloadable upgrades), it’s also fully compatible with most external FM hardware devices, allowing you to mix and match different setups into a complete, well-rounded one.

The interface of FM8 is straightforward and plain, characterized by slightly oversized knobs and faders, and a 6-octave configurable keyboard.

While it may appear as a beginner producing program, NI’s FM8 is made by professionals for professionals.

Ableton Operator

The Operator is an integral component of the acclaimed Ableton Suite, and luckily for anyone who’s not using this platform specifically it’s a standalone VST that has only one requirement – Live9 Lite.

It’s substantially cheaper than most VSTs in this category, and it’s also significantly easier to use, mainly because it doesn’t have as many features.

Even though this could be perceived as a con, Operator’s forte is its simplicity.

It features petite, highly customizable sections and is meant as a background plugin that will help you orchestrate different tunes and timbres while working on the tracks simultaneously.

The neat little display takes the centrepiece of the Operator, showing you details regarding the most relevant and important parameters of its performance, such as attack, decay, release, peak, sustain, loop, velocity, waveshape, key, and such.

LFOs and filter sections are modest, to say the very least, but they feature everything you need to come up with unique sonic shapes and tones.

As a matter of fact, these sections can be cut off from the mix in order to preserve some extra CPU and RAM.

Speaking of which, Ableton’s Operator is not as spec-starved as some of its ‘bulkier’ counterparts. It’s not as hard on your computer/laptop’s memory, and you don’t need a fancy, super-strong setup to run it smoothly.

Needless to say, it works best with Ableton’s proprietary gear, but the fact that it’s compatible with external equipment speaks volumes about its versatility.

Bazille

U-He’s Bazille is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the strongest performing modular synthesizer VSTs out there.

Before we delve into its capabilities and specs, it’s important to note that it’s compatible with macOS, Linux, and Windows, which is not something many FM synth tools can boast about.

First things first, the versatility of Bazille is practically unparalleled. It boasts two individual LFOs and four separate oscillators, each boasting their own set of configurable parameters and settings.

The oscillators sport multiple gate and semitone modulation knobs, as well as a dedicated ‘Fractalize’ section that you can use to carve out fresh, new tones and sounds.

You’ll also be able to utilize numerous pink & white noise slots, a simplified (and highly responsive) sequencer, four envelopes, and a huge array of highly customizable filters, including gain, spread, resonance, and many others. On top of everything, it’s actually pretty affordable.

Image-Line Sytrus

If you’re mainly working in Fruity Loops Studio (FL Studio), you may want to take a look at Sytrus. This FM synth was developed by Imagine-Line, the same brand that’s ‘responsible’ for one of the finest beginner-friendly DAWs on the market, and it’s actually available for a free preview via your FL software.

Sytrus is an excellent choice even if you’re using other studio tools and platforms.

It’s based on a wonderfully-designed sound engine and sports six user customizable and fully independent operators, frequency modulators, ring modulators, partial-harmonic editors, a massive array of EQ sliders and knobs, and more importantly, a comprehensive Matrix that provides a clear overview of active and passive features.

Furthermore, this VST offers three fully independent filters; speaking of which, there are thirteen types of filters as well as five cutoff-slope features.

Another remarkably interesting feature of the Sytrus is the built-in waveshaper, although most people will probably be more thrilled to utilize the shapes provided by the enormous sample library.

There are a couple of things we didn’t like as much about it, though; namely, it’s slightly harder to use than an average FM synth VST, and some of its features are available exclusively via FL Studio.

Even so, you’ll have to spend quite a bit of time to find a better-rounded frequency modulator for the buck.

Nemesis

Nemesis is Tone2’s creation, and its performance is far beyond formidable.

One of the main reasons why we’ve decided to pull down the curtains with this plugin is that it offers a completely unique NeoFM feature that takes frequency modulation to a completely different level.

A huge number of tones, sounds, and timbres that Nemesis can create are literally unattainable via different software.

Apart from its uniqueness, we also liked most of its more traditional features, such as thousands of patches, top-shelf sound quality, a very intuitive interface, and the sheer fact that it’s incredibly easy to use.

In essence, this VST is wild, exquisite, and much different in comparison to similar plugins. Even though it’s beginner-friendly, you’ll still need some time to get accustomed to the features it comes supplied with.

Granular Synth VST- What is it, and what are the best ones for 2020?

Dozens of synthesis methods exist – subtractive, additive, frequency modulation, S&S, vector, phase distortion, soft, virtual, and so on.

Now, without getting too much into the scientific realm, today we’ll talk a bit about what Granular synthesis is, why granular synths are important, and what some of the finest granular synth VSTs on the market are.

What is Granular Synthesis

In short words, granular synthesis resembles what most people call ‘sampling’. It picks up the signal and atomizes it into tiny bits and pieces, playing them back at ultra-slow pace.

Now, these bits are commonly referred to as ‘grains’ (hence the name) and in spite of being different from ‘traditional’ samples actually share some similarities with them.

Grains are much easier to manipulate and stack, which are just some of the numerous reasons why more and more people are starting to toy around with granular synthesis.

Ideally, you’ll want to try experiment with multiple methods and approaches (FM & wavetable, for instance) for the most exquisite, unique effects; granular synth VSTs are an excellent starting point, so let’s see some of the most popular ones on the market:

The Fruity Granulizer

Fruity Loops virtual sound tools and instruments are both budget and beginner-friendly, which are the two main reasons why we’ve decided to open up our review of the best Granular synth VSTs with the Fruity Granulizer.

Essentially, this a plain, straightforward granular plugin that can be utilized in practically any rig, although it goes without saying that it works best with the FL Studio setup.

It is minimalistic and remarkably easy to use, but doesn’t take away the fact that it’s still a very well-rounded tool.

The Fruity Granulizer offers you the means to fine-tune the grains, reinforce the effects, modify the transients, and spice things up with a bit of time-altering finishing touches.

It also rocks a relatively basic wave-shape graphic that will help you have a clear overview of implemented effects and the initial signal.

The ‘grains’ section is comprised of the attack, hold, granular spacing, and wave spacing knobs; the ‘effects’ portion of the Fruity Granulizer doesn’t actually feature built-in effects, rather it provides tweaking capabilities in terms of pan, depth, and speed.

The ‘Transients’ and ‘Time’ sections are far simpler, featuring a single knob and several selectable options.

Ribs

The ‘Ribs’ granular synth VST is brought to us by the Hvoya Audio, and what’s most fascinating about it is that you’ll get a free tutorial on how to use it as soon as you download it.

Another interesting thing about Ribs is that it is free to download, although you can contribute to the brand by pitching in a couple of dollars (or more) should you wish to do so.

Now, let’s switch gears a bit and return to the practical elements of Ribs. Basically, this software is pretty difficult to use, but it’s as eclectic as they make them.

In fact, most of its features are pretty much incomprehensible by beginners, mainly because the parameters and functions are not as self-explanatory as with Fruity Granulizer, Polygon, or BioTek 2.

Ribs is split into three logical pieces, with the centrepiece being the wavetable graphic editor, followed by effects, envelopes, and sync sections, and lastly a comprehensive, well-balanced EQ that boasts wave-shaping, tone-shifting, and various tweaking capabilities.

The biggest downfall of Ribs is that it is not compatible with .wav formats, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

Polygon

GlitchMachine garnered quite a bit of attention with their flagship Polygon, and now they’ve improved it and tweaked it to the point where the new rendition is so superior that it can stand on its own two feet and even challenge the performance of its predecessor.

This eclectic VST plugin is exceptionally versatile, but it’s also friendly to beginner producers and DJs to a degree.

It features four samplers and four sequencer panels, a detailed oscillator board, a built-in frequency modulator (and a dedicated modulation oscillator), simplified master controls, global effects, and global filters.

In a nutshell, the Polygon is the Jack of all trades in the world of granular synths, and despite the fact that it’s laden with a ton of features it’s actually fairly easy to tackle its learning curve.

The Mangle

Sound Guru’s Mangle is an eclectic granular VST that is available at a dirt-cheap price. You can download the free trailer video for free that showcases its main features, and we’re pretty sure that you’ll like what you see.

Mangle sports a detailed wavetable connected to the various wave-shaping features, and it also sports numerous LFOs, envelopes, and oscillators, as well as a fairly comprehensive mod matrix. There aren’t many drawbacks you should be aware of, although the UI does seem like it could use a bit of work.

The main features selection panel is squeezed tight, but the good thing here is that you will be able to split modulators from the key map area, the positioning chart, and the matrix for a better view.

Ultimately, Mangle is simple, but versatile, cheap, and exceptionally rewarding to both beginners and experienced producers.

P&M Granulizer

Aside from manufacturing this remarkably simple granular synth, Plug & Mix also provided a detailed tutorial that explains every little feature it comes supplied with to the letter.

 This is, by all means, a beginner’s granular VST, although it does come outfitted with a bunch of cool features that could come in handy to seasoned veterans too, such as the eclectic ‘grains’ customization panel, the pitch-shifting section, and the ever-so-needed signal mix feature.

Its simplicity also hides its inability to actually do much in terms of EQ mixing, though.

Granulizer is compatible with both Mac OS and Windows, and it is available in a variety of formats aside from VST (such as RTAS, AU and AAX Native).

It’s remarkably cheap, and instead of purchasing the user-bound software, you’ll be able to install it on up to five different computers with the same key.

Top Soft Synths- For all budgets and tastes [2020]

‘Soft’ synths refer to software-based synthesizers, which is something more and more people are picking up on.

While the authenticity of hardware (actual) synthesizers can’t be replicated, it can be compensated for with extra flexibility and versatility.

These are just some of the many reasons why soft synths are so popular and actually incredibly useful these days.

We’ve taken the liberty of handpicking some of the best-performing soft synths in 2020 for your convenience, so without any further ado, let’s get straight to it.

Iris 2

When iZotope launched the original Iris many people have praised its versatility and well-roundedness, but it didn’t get as much attention as it deserved; it’s often regarded as unorthodox simply because it comes supplied with rather unconventional patches and samplers.

Iris 2 made things a lot simpler and substantially more intuitive, bringing it closer to beginners and moderately skilled producers, designers, and DJs.

First things first, the Iris 2 boasts a highly intuitive UI with plenty of space for each segment of features.

It rocks adjustable individual sample tracks, a comprehensive sidebar of classic track tools, a straightforward compositional keyboard, and a well-balanced EQ.

It packs multiple wave-shaping features, and an array of simplified virtual knobs that can be used to tweak any parameter from the overall volume, over the soundstage, down to tiny details regarding the samples themselves.

Another thing most people really like about the Iris 2 is the fact that it sports a massive library of WAV files; obviously, WAV formats take up drastically less space, so your RAM will not be as encumbered.

On the downside, Iris 2 is one of the most CPU-starved soft synths on the market. Be it as it may, it still does an amazing job for the buck.

Synapse Dune 3

Our next recommendation is the Dune 3 VST synth plugin. This is a mid-range soft synth that offers a tremendous amount of control over your tracks and samples.

Despite its well-roundedness, it’s still pretty easy to use, as its interface is well-designed and all of its components are clearly visible.

Even if you didn’t have the opportunity to use some of the previous iterations of Dune, the third version offers a premium-quality multimode filter, 2 arpeggiator units, top-notch oscillators, and a plethora of high-quality effects.

Most people like it for its simplistic and highly responsive wavetable editor, which allows you to tweak existing and create brand-new waveforms.

The plain and straightforward approach to this feature makes it very easy to use, even by immediate beginners.

Among the numerous features that this remarkable VST comes supplied with are also included 0-delay feedback filters, 4 graphical envelopes, 3 LFOs, a top-shelf modulation matrix alongside all the proprietary FX parameters, and full patch compatibility with the previous version of Dune VST plugin.

Last, but certainly not least, Dune 3 is actually fairly affordable given the broad arsenal of settings it is packed with.

In a nutshell, this is a beginner-friendly professional VST that will certainly help you create exquisite, unique sounds and tones.

Spire

Spire is developed by Reveal Sound, which is a brand that many professionals rely on despite its straightforwardness.

One of the reasons why we’ve included the Spire on our list of the top soft synths is that it’s very flexible and highly upgradeable.

The base package is comprised of four multimode oscillators packed with five effects (classic, noise, AM Sync, Saw PWM and Noise), nine unison voices built into each oscillator, two multimode filters, a comprehensive FX processor, a ton of modulation features (including LFOs, envelopes, macros and matrix slots), arpeggiators, and a top-shelf wavetable.

Now, back to the upgradeability of the Spire; it’s compatible with all Reveal Sound patches (all of which are fairly cheap, just like the VST itself); although these patches are well-rounded and versatile, they’re mainly focused on electronic music, which is a bit of a downfall.

Diva

U-He’s Diva is in the same price range as the Spire, and frankly it’s even easier to use. 

Diva is an analogue soft synthesizer plugin that offers impeccable sonic customization capabilities and versatility.

Starting from the very top, Diva features a dedicated wavetable segment, which packs tune mods, shape mods, and range controls.

The Mixer stands on its right side, featuring volume, feedback, and noise. There’s a simplified VCF Ladder control panel where you can manage sonic cutoff and emphasis.

Now, the bottom bracket of the UI is where the fun work begins.

Diva offers two separate LFOs, a dedicated amplifier section, and two completely different effect sections.

Even though one could argue that Diva is a relatively basic soft synth, it’s actually pretty well-rounded and well worth the buck.

SynthMaster

KV331’s Synthmaster is our final pick, and it encompasses everything a quality soft synth needs to have.

It is a bit more expensive than most VSTs we’ve covered so far, but its performance is also drastically superior.

The first and most notable feature of the Synthmaster is the Filters panel; basically, you’ll have three customization options (parallel, series, and split), which will make the UI a bit easier to handle in terms of aesthetics.

There’s also a variety of effects at your disposal; they’re split into two separate types (layer & global), which means that you’ll be able to affect the entire track or fine-tune tiny little details with extra precision at the same time.

It also has an incredible library of samples and presets which is fully upgradeable.

KV331 also offers an abundance of downloadable and purchasable patches that you can use to further increase the versatility of your library.

As mentioned earlier, the only potential downfall that might dissuade you from trying the Synthmaster out is the fact that it’s slightly pricier than average.

However, it’s one of the best-rounded soft synths available, and to top it all, the brand also offers a considerable discount on the Synthmaster 1 & 2 bundle in case you want to get the most value for your buck.

Famous Synth Emulations- Classic Hardware Without All The Hassle

Iconic analogue synthesizers are either too hard to find, too pricey, or both.

Even though we’d all love to have beautiful beats such as Steinberg’s E or Roland’s SH 101 physically present in our workspace, the age of technology provides far more convenient and compact alternatives.

Today we are going to talk about some of the most famous synth emulation programs; replicas that are true to the originals in terms of aesthetics and performance, and plugins that are incomparably cheaper. 

Cloud Jupiter 8

The Jupiter 8 is, without any shadow of a doubt, one of the most eclectic synthesizers Roland has released, and it’s now available in a software format called the Cloud Jupiter 8.

It’s an exact replica of the original, sporting all of the features that Jupiter 8 comes supplied with, and it’s a perfect choice for people who are looking for a highly versatile and almost perfectly designed synth.

It offers eight polyphony voices, compatibility with VST, AAX & AU, total hardware control via USB connection to the Roland’s proprietary System 8, and a broad spectrum of configurable parameters, knobs, sliders, and faders.

Starting from the very top, the Cloud Jupiter 8 sports a customizable wavetable packed in the LFO section, a comprehensive modulator panel, two individual VCOs, and two identical envelopes.

Furthermore, it comes outfitted with the classic arpeggiator controls and five assignable modes.

The option to blend different patches, being one of the key elements of the original Jupiter 8 synth is also present.

The effects section is isolated, sitting right next to the 5-octave keyboard.

Even though it’s quite modest, it’s true to the original Jupiter 8 and sports effect type configuration, delay time, and revert type knobs.

Obviously enough, Jupiter Cloud 8 is perhaps not as versatile as some up-and-coming VSTs and plugins, but we should not forget that it’s been the industry’s standard for quality of sound for nearly 40 years straight.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for the Jupiter 8 specifically or simply are in need of a strong, well-rounded synth VST, we can safely say you won’t regret trying it out.

Korg ARP Odyssey

ARP’s Odyssey is almost a decade older than Jupiter 8, which can easily be discerned by its design and features.

Even so, it was a groundbreaking synthesizer at the time, and it certainly garnered quite a following in the old-school rock and alternative world.

Korg’s recreation of this remarkable synth is true to form down to the tiniest of details, but there are a couple of obvious differences.

For example, the original Odyssey has a different method of accessing the patch library (analogue) whereas Korg’s version allows you to do that in a much simpler and faster way.

Another striking difference is the fact that the original Odyssey is pretty small and the Korg’s recreation of it can be ‘stretched out’ a bit, which would make the features a bit more visible and thus easier to use as well.

Starting from the top, the first section is dedicated to a split between FM and wavetable-based features.

There are two frequency modulators that come supplied with the same sliders, only in different color.

The sections that follow are meant for fine-tuning of parameters such as key sync, tempo, cutoff, modulation, and such.

There are only a couple of simplified LFO settings on the table, although the Odyssey makes it up for you with a rich VCF section.

One of the biggest features of the KORG Odyssey is the massive EQ section, sporting sliders in different colors for easier organization and navigability.

Lastly, it packs a 3-octave built-in keyboard, which is excellent for electronic music, but not so much for slightly more complex genres.

EFM Sc P5 (Prophet V)

In a nutshell, EFM’s SCP5 is a free VST that aims to recreate the performance of the heavily acclaimed Prophet V designed by Sequential Circuits back in 1970.

It doesn’t resemble it aesthetically, and it only borrowed a couple of its main features, but on the upside it’s completely free to use.

It did not ‘dress to impress’, rather the layout of its features is as such that whoever’s using it can expect to quickly navigate between the oscillators, envelopes, and arpeggiators, which is the reason why it’s suitable for both professionals and beginners.

Nearly all of the sections that SCP5 is outfitted with sport a multitude of control knobs and selectable modes (such as synchronization, filters, external oscillators, unison, and such), with the exception of the dedicated Filter, Mixer, Amplifier, Delay, Chorus, and Master sections, which offer control of the most basic parameters.

Using the SCP5 certainly has its downfalls too; it does not come supplied with a built-in keyboard, nor does it have any kind of wavetable editorial features; again, it’s a free plugin that does offer access to some of the most important Prophet V features, which makes it worth checking out.

Adam Szabo Access Virus Viper

Viper is the recreation of the infamous Access’s Virus, which is one of the younger top-shelf boutique synthesizers that came out back in 1997.

It offers a mixture of authentic and brand-new features, but its performance is definitely based on the actual performance of the original Virus.

Viper offers an all-encompassing wavetable editor, three oscillators, three LFOs, eight effects (all of which can be used simultaneously), twin filter sections, and a smallish Matrix board. It also sports a very versatile mixer board, as well as onboard amplifier controls.

Should you want to boost the well-roundedness of your Viper software, you can also download Phazor free of charge too.

Basically, this is a complementary plugin that offers stage-selection, an additional mix knob, a basic EQ section, and another LFO.

It was specifically designed to be gentle on CPU usage, and it can even be used as a standalone feature, although it’s pretty basic and offers minimal mixing options.

It fills the gaps in AS’s Viper performance, though, and given the fact that it’s a gratis downloadable feature, there’s no reason not to try it out.

What are the best VST plugins for Hip Hop

At first glance, hip-hop music might not seem as complex as, for example, hard rock or heavy metal.

There are no crazy guitar-shredding solo sections, fast-paced drumming in odd time signatures, or slick bass lines, but producing this type of music is just as hard and rewarding.

While rockers and metal-heads have it easier given the fact that they just have to record their instruments and send them over to a mixing engineer, hip hop artists need to come up with unique sounds, beats, and tones from scratch.

That’s why today we are going to answer one of the most popular questions regarding this particular type of music production – what are the best VST plugins for hip hop?

Stick with us for a while longer as we review the most versatile, best-performing virtual studio tools that will change the way you produce for good.

Vengeance PS Avenger

Plainly put, this is one of the best-rounded VSTs on the market that boasts an incredible array of highly versatile features, a ton of presets, and unparalleled sonic customization options.

It’s a professional tool designed for professionals by professionals, so be well-prepared to tackle its learning curve.

First and foremost, the Avenger rocks a total of eight OSC modules, each being equipped with individual Supersaw, LFO, Chorder, sub-OSC, and synthesis generators.

You’ll be able to seamlessly switch between dozens of octaves, voices, pan-spread settings, stackers, and even generate completely unique effects on every module.

Furthermore, it packs eight ARP modules, an eclectic arsenal of OSC-transformation EQ settings, eight SQ modules, eight mod-envelopes, eight pitch envelopes, four AMPs, four filters, shapers, and an all-encompassing drum sequencer.

The list of its built-in features goes on and on, but all you need to know about the Avenger is that it possesses everything you need to record and produce top-quality hip hop tracks.

It’s packed with dozens of individually-assigned effect slots, wavetable shapers, multiple macro controllers, and an exquisitely designed Mod Matrix system.

To top it all, it’s not nearly as expensive as some of the less versatile plugins out there.

Xfer’s Serum

Serum is a highly advanced multi-purpose VST that sports elements of waveshapers, compositional virtual tools, and eclectic mastering equalizers.

It’s significantly easier to use than the Avenger, and it’s also a bit cheaper, which is why we recommend it to hip-hop producers who are relatively new to the industry and who are on a budget.

One of the best things about Serum is that it features creatively designed oscillator panels put right next to the filter section.

You can easily toy around with your custom wave shapes while laying down the foundation stones of your new track on the bar right beside it.

Tinkering with any parameter will immediately and graphically be shown on the envelope and LFO bars below, allowing you to have instant feedback on the changes you’ve made to your tracks.

Although this VST doesn’t have an incredibly rich library of presets and samples, it does have a highly customizable virtual keyboard that will help you muscle through the initial stages of recording.

Spectrasonics Trillian

There’s a very obvious reason why Trillian is the go-to VST of many hip-hop producers; this is an all-encompassing bass module that will give you the edge you need in the fields of lower frequencies.

What’s so amazing about Trillian is that the entire module is based on instruments that were recorded in real-time.

It boasts a massive selection of various bass instruments along with controllable ‘techniques’, such as staccato, sustain, vibrato, slides, harmonics, and such.

Obviously, having a real bass instead of a clunky digital one on your tracks will help your tracks grow in a more organic way.

You’ll be able to pick and choose from the vast bass tone library, all of which are played on different instruments using different playing styles (electric, acoustic, fretless, picked, tapped, fingered, and so on).

Of course, there’s a ton of electronic tones and modules that you’ll be able to utilize into your analog-reinvigorated arsenal, or you can simply stick with a bit more traditional tones and timbres.

reFX Nexus 3

Those in need of creative samples and presets might want to check out what Nexus 3 has to offer.

This VST is basically one massive library of different sounds and tones that is complemented with a customizable digital keyboard and simplistic mixing features.

The Nexus is a VST program that complements the performance of other, a bit more ‘focused’ ones; even though its highlight feature is the library of over 8,000 factory presets (which is upgradeable, by the way), it does come supplied with basic filter, delay, reverb, and filter control knobs.

It’s remarkably easy to use, and it’s among the cheaper modules on our list of the best VST plugins for hip hop.

Addictive Drums 2

The AD2 is a dedicated beat-maker VST that offers fine-tune programming and presets, electronic and acoustic drum kit colors, and a variety of straightforward percussion FX tables.

One of the most notable features of AD2 VST is the ‘Kit selection’ panel; here you will be able to choose between dozens of actual drum sounds that were recorded in real-time.

Another very cool feature of this virtual studio tool is the ‘beat clicker’; basically, you’ll be able to click on any drum component of your chosen kit and simply ‘add’ these elements to your programmed beats if you think that something’s missing.

When combined with Trillian, you’ll be set with authentic instruments and ready to lay down some electronic vibes to the table.

Conclusion

In essence, you’ll need a wave-shaper, a mixer, a beat-maker, and a bass VST to start producing hip hop music.

You’ll quickly expand your library of plugins as you become more successful and professional, so finding your footing with versatile VSTs at the very start is crucial.

We hope you’ve liked our selection of the best VST plugins for hip hop and wish you luck in creating the most exquisite tunes.

Best VST Sampler Reviews- Sampling at Your Fingertips

Virtual studios are not exactly ‘studios’ without a massive library of samples; the most entertaining and enjoyable process of crafting unique tunes is introducing an array of pre-recorded, modified pieces of audio that are commonly called ‘samples’.

Now, you may have plenty of samplers and virtual instrument colors lying around; you may even have a beginner’s sampler and are looking for an upgrade; regardless of which scenario you’re found in, we’ve compiled a list of the top VST Samplers that the market has to offer, so let’s dive in:

NI Kontakt 6

You’ve probably heard about Native Instruments if you’ve been in the music industry for at least a month; this company has released a ton of cool software and programs, and it’s pretty safe to say that Kontakt 6 is, by far, one of their greatest accomplishments.

Essentially, this is a highly intuitive and exceptionally versatile program that is already packed with an array of presets, samples, customizable keys, banks, and much more.

It’s actually very rewarding to beginners who have just begun building up their VST instruments and sample libraries as Kontakt 6 already comes supplied with a plethora of both types.

Musicians use it, producers use it, and even movie composers rely on it for crafting film scores.

One of the best things about Kontak 6 is the fact that it features a well-designed interface that is both intuitive and versatile.

The instrument banks are neatly organized and clearly visible while you can also ‘pop out’ several different plugin screens, allowing you to both compose and mix your tunes simultaneously. 

It’s a perfect choice for professionals, seasoned veterans, and newbies alike, but its most notable downside is that it isn’t exactly available cheap.

Nevertheless, its well-roundedness and exceptional sampling capabilities more than make up for the somewhat hefty price tag.

MOTU Mach Five 3

Essentially, the Mach Five 3 is an eclectic plugin that combines the aspects of mixing consoles, composing programs, and samplers.

It’s not as intuitive as the Kontakt 6 from NI, but it’s relatively easy to use, even by beginners.

The first thing you’ll notice about this sampler (plugin) is that you will be able to fill the screen with numerous panels, including equalizers, VST instruments, tracking bars, pitch benders, volume mixers, and so forth.

Its generous versatility and well-roundedness are the main reasons why this has been one of the first choices for many music producers, but these are also the reasons that have probably dissuaded many beginners from even trying it out.

Although the relatively cramped-up design of the Mach Five 3 program may appear as intimidating, its learning curve is actually pretty straightforward.

You’ll be able to learn the ropes of how it operates within weeks, and you can always pull back a couple of notches by simply focusing on its individual aspects and segments if you’re an immediate beginner in the world of VST sampling.

Ableton Simpler

Ableton is a synonym for both one of the most massive brands in the VST world and ‘quality’.

Most DJs and music producers think of the ‘Ableton Live’ when the name pops up simply because this was the brand’s biggest release, but they also offer a huge and eclectic catalog of standalone plugins and programs, Simpler being one of them.

In essence, Simpler is an integrated plugin that is built into every version of the Ableton Live (with slight differences depending on the version in question).

It’s incredibly easy to use, hence the name, and it’s absolutely perfect for greenhorn producers, musicians, and DJs.

It was designed in such a way that its interface can be placed atop the main interface of any mixing, mastering, or music production program; it’s exceptionally convenient if you’re into multitasking and experimenting, but it’s a definitive go-to choice for people who are looking for an easy-to-use VST sampling software.

TAL Sampler

The TAL Sampler looks pretty old-school and vintage, but what’s so great about it is that it actually packs bleeding-edge technologies with a neatly organized interface that is remarkably easy to work on.

It features multi-layer VST tracks, several onboard equalizers, a ton of integrated controls, and a decently spacious integrated sample library, as well as an onboard piano that you can use to check out each and every color, tone, and timbre at your disposal.

On the downside, it’s not as versatile as some of our previous choices; ‘what you see is what you get’ basically, and the sad thing about TAL Sampler is that its display can’t quite be tweaked with or rearranged.

On a bit brighter note, it’s fairly cheap and one of the easiest VST sampling programs that the market has to offer.

Steinberg HALion

Although Steinberg is mainly famous for its Cubase software, they are just as renowned for HALion; this program has been around on the market for quite some time now, and even today it’s still recognized as one of the finest DAW samplers available.

In a nutshell, this is a robust sound-designing software that can sculpt, mold, and shape audio files with authenticity and realism.

That’s just one of the reasons why many people don’t consider it as a ‘sampler’ primarily; this is an exceptionally well-rounded and balanced tool that features a huge library comprised of VST instruments and samples, so it’s pretty much all you need to start recording and producing straight off the bat.

DiscoDSP Bliss – honorable mention

Essentially, this is a very basic and straightforward sampler that is best used by immediate beginners and neophytes in the music business.

Its library is modest, to say the very least, but it’s fully compatible with most plugins and third-party programs.

Due to its versatility and easy accessibility, it’s one of the better samplers for people on a budget.

Conclusion

There are dozens and dozens of VST samplers on the market, and all you have to do is to decide which models are capable of catering to your personal needs.

Some are free and straightforward; some are cheap and easy to use while others are a bit less affordable but offer superior features.