9 Best Filter VST Plugins: Shaping Sound Essence (2024)

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Discover the best Filter VST Plugins of the current market, the essential tools for music production and sound design that stand at the heart of sonic sculpting. Filtering, a crucial technique in audio work, has the power to dramatically transform a mix.

Whether you’re performing simple high-pass or low-pass sweeps, or delving into more complex morphing and resonance adjustments, filters serve as a pivotal element in shaping your sound. While the warmth of hardware synthesizers and mixers is often celebrated for their filtering capabilities, the digital realm offers a vast array of VST plugins that excel in molding, shaping, and enhancing any sound source.

This guide presents a carefully curated selection of the crème de la crème of filter VST plugins available today, chosen for their distinctive features, quality, and positive user feedback. Whether your goal is to inject dynamic movement into a pad, generate a wobble bassline, or eliminate unwanted frequencies, these plugins represent the top choices for any sound designer or producer.

Let’s explore our top picks for the best filter VST plugins, guiding you to the perfect tool for your creative needs.”

Our Top Picks
  • Soundtoys - FilterFreak
  • FabFilter - Volcano 3
  • Arturia - 3 Filters You'll Actually Use
  • Cableguys - FilterShaper 3
  • SugarBytes - WOW2
  • Waves - MetaFilter
  • Audiothing - The Orb
  • PSP Audioware - PSP stompFilter
  • Vengeance-Sound Philta XL

Versatile & Comprehensive Filter Plugins:

Best Filter VST Plugins: Soundtoys - FilterFreak
(Image Credit: Soundtoys)

Soundtoys FilterFreak

Dual Resonant Filters: Crafting Deep Grooves and Evolving Textures


  • Software Type: Dual Resonant Filter Processor
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, AU, AAX


  • Dual filtering capabilities, offering parallel or series configurations.
  • Expansive rhythmic modulation possibilities with its integrated pattern editor.
  • Emulates a range of classic analog filters for that vintage character.
  • Provides a range of saturation controls to add warmth and drive.
  • A versatile tool, from subtle shaping to extreme sweeps and resonance.


Soundtoys’ FilterFreak 2 takes the renowned capabilities of its predecessor and doubles the fun. It offers dual resonant filters that can be configured in parallel or series, granting producers unparalleled versatility in sculpting sound.

One of FilterFreak 2’s standout attributes is its rich modulation options. Whether you’re looking to apply gentle sweeps or rapid rhythmic patterns, the built-in pattern editor provides an intuitive means of creating dynamic movements. This dynamic modulation makes the plugin especially potent for transforming stagnant loops into evolving rhythmic patterns.

In addition, the plugin is infused with Soundtoys’ knack for emulating vintage gear. Users can tap into the character of a plethora of classic analog filters, adding that coveted warmth and richness to their tracks. The saturation controls further this analog vibe, enabling sounds to be driven into harmonically-rich overdrive.

Final Thoughts:

Soundtoys FilterFreak 2 is more than just a filter plugin; it’s a comprehensive sound-shaping powerhouse. With its dual filters, rhythmic modulation capabilities, and vintage analog emulations, it offers both subtlety and extremity in equal measure. Whether you’re a producer, remixer, or sound designer, FilterFreak 2 ensures your sounds remain fresh and captivating.

Best Filter VST Plugins: FabFilter - Volcano 3
(Image Credit: Fabfilter)

FabFilter Volcano 3

Cutting-Edge Filtering: Harness the Power of Advanced Modulation and Resonance


  • Software Type: Advanced Filter and Modulation Unit
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX


  • Features a wide array of filter types with detailed controls for resonance and frequency.
  • Offers up to six modulating units, including LFOs, envelope generators, and sequencers.
  • Drag-and-drop modulation assignment makes it intuitive to use.
  • Innovative interface with visualization for immediate feedback and adjustments.
  • Extensive preset library for quick inspiration and project integration.


FabFilter’s legacy of creating visually intuitive and sonically powerful plugins continues with Volcano 3. At its core, it’s a dynamic filtering tool, but with its sophisticated modulation capabilities, it becomes a playground for sound sculpting.

The magic of Volcano 3 lies in its ability to interconnect modulation sources with filter parameters effortlessly. By merely dragging and dropping, users can assign LFOs, envelope followers, or sequencers to tweak filter characteristics, opening up a myriad of creative possibilities.

Beyond the raw power of its modulation, the plugin also shines in its interactive GUI. FabFilter is known for its visual designs that not only look good but also enhance the user experience, and Volcano 3 is no exception. The real-time feedback provided by its spectral display ensures that users can see the changes as they hear them, making sound design a more immersive process.

Final Thoughts:

With its blend of advanced filtering capabilities, versatile modulation sources, and an intuitive user interface, FabFilter Volcano 3 emerges as a top contender in the realm of filter plugins. Whether you’re crafting subtle enhancements or diving deep into sound design, Volcano 3 ensures that your filtering tasks are both fun and fruitful.

Best Filter VSt Plugins: Arturia 3 Filters You'll Actually Use
(Image Credit: Arturia)

Arturia 3 Filters You'll Actually Use

A Trio of Legendary Filters: Vintage Sound Meets Contemporary Functionality


  • Software Type: Vintage Filter Emulation Bundle
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX


  • Incorporates emulations of three classic filters, sourced from iconic synthesizers.
  • Provides a high degree of sonic flexibility through extensive modulation options.
  • Bundled interface is designed for ease-of-use and efficient workflow.
  • Offers a modern twist with added functionalities not found in the original hardware units.
  • Rich preset library that harnesses the strength of each filter, perfect for quick inspiration.


Arturia’s “3 Filters You’ll Actually Use” is more than just a bold statement; it’s a commitment to delivering premium quality filter emulations that resonate with producers and sound designers. This bundle offers meticulously crafted models of three legendary filters from synthesizer history, each with its unique character and sound-shaping capability.

The beauty of this collection isn’t just in its authentic sound but also in its enhancements. Arturia has integrated contemporary features that provide users with greater control and creative possibilities. Modulation, for instance, is a breeze with added LFOs, envelope followers, and a sequencer. This means that, beyond just static filtering, these tools can be used as dynamic sound-shaping instruments.

One significant advantage of this bundle is the unified interface across all three filters. Arturia has ensured that transitioning from one filter to another is seamless, allowing users to focus more on the creative process rather than navigating through complex menus.

Final Thoughts:

Arturia’s “3 Filters You’ll Actually Use” masterfully bridges the gap between vintage charm and modern-day requirements. For those who crave the character of classic synth filters but want the flexibility of modern plugins, this bundle is nothing short of essential.

Best Filter VST Plugins: Cableguys - FilterShaper 3
(Image Credit: Cableguys)

Cableguys FilterShaper 3

Meticulous Filter Sculpting: Transform Sounds with Intricate Precision


  • Software Type: Advanced Filter Modulation Processor
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, AU


  • Powerful dual filter setup, with extensive modulation routing options.
  • Dynamic LFO editing, granting users the ability to craft complex rhythmic patterns.
  • Offers both stereo and mid/side processing modes.
  • Comprehensive visual feedback with its waveform editor, making tweaking more intuitive.
  • Ability to draw custom waveforms for granular control over modulation.


Cableguys’ FilterShaper 3 is a testament to what can be achieved when the boundaries of filtering are pushed. This plugin doesn’t just offer standard filtering capabilities; it elevates the concept into a realm of meticulous sound design.

Central to FilterShaper 3 is its dual filter design, but what makes it truly unique is the unmatched control users have over its modulation. With its dynamic LFO editor, users can draw intricate waveforms, making the rhythmic possibilities virtually limitless. Whether it’s pulsating beats or evolving ambient pads, the tool’s flexibility is unparalleled.

The waveform editor doesn’t just offer creative freedom; it also provides users with invaluable visual feedback. Every tweak and modulation is reflected in real-time, ensuring that users can make precise adjustments with ease.

FilterShaper 3’s versatility is further enhanced with stereo and mid/side processing capabilities, allowing for intricate stereo imaging effects. This means that aside from just shaping frequencies, users can also sculpt the spatial characteristics of their sounds.

Final Thoughts:

FilterShaper 3 by Cableguys is not your run-of-the-mill filter plugin. It’s an instrument of precision, designed for those who wish to exert granular control over their sound. With its blend of intuitive design and advanced capabilities, it’s an essential tool for producers who want to keep their sound sculpting as detailed and creative as possible.

Best Filter VST Plugins: SugarBytes - WOW2
(Image Credit: SugarBytes)

SugarBytes WOW2

Multi-Mode Madness: A Filter Plugin with Colorful Character and Unconventional Creativity


  • Software Type: Multi-Mode Filter with Distortion and Modulation
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, AU, AAX


  • Offers 21 high-quality filter types, each with its own unique flavor.
  • Intuitive modulation system with a step sequencer, LFO, and envelope follower.
  • Integrated distortion stage with different algorithms for adding grit and character.
  • Vowel mode brings the power of formant filters for vocal-like qualities.
  • User-friendly and visually appealing interface promotes quick understanding and creative flow.


In the sea of filter plugins, WOW2 by SugarBytes stands out, not just because of its vibrant interface, but because of its multifaceted sound-shaping capabilities. Designed with the modern producer in mind, WOW2 combines traditional filtering techniques with some unconventional twists.

At its core, WOW2 offers 21 different filter types, each meticulously crafted to provide a unique sonic texture. From the creamy low-pass filters to the resonant band-pass and beyond, there’s a filter for every occasion. But where WOW2 truly shines is in its modulation capabilities. The plugin boasts an intuitive system, allowing users to employ a step sequencer, LFO, or an envelope follower to bring movement and dynamics to the sound.

Another standout feature is the integrated distortion stage. This section offers various algorithms, from subtle saturation to aggressive overdrive, making it easy to add warmth or grime as needed.

One cannot discuss WOW2 without mentioning its Vowel mode. This feature employs formant filters, enabling the recreation of vocal-like sounds, perfect for achieving those talkbox or robotic effects.

Final Thoughts:

SugarBytes’ WOW2 isn’t just another filter plugin. It’s an audacious sound design tool, packed with features that invite experimentation. Its harmonious balance between conventional filtering and quirky, creative tools makes it an indispensable asset for those looking to elevate their production game.

Best Filter VST Plugins: Waves - MetaFilter
(Image Credit: Waves)

Waves MetaFilter

Dynamic Filtering: The Sound Designer's Essential Tool for Tone Shaping


  • Software Type: Dynamic Filter Effect
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, AU, AAX, SoundGrid


  • Equipped with three separate modulators, allowing for versatile and detailed sound design.
  • Features an intuitive modulation system for real-time sound manipulation.
  • Offers both simple and complex filtering techniques suitable for any genre.
  • Built-in LFOs provide rhythmic and dynamic movement to the sound.
  • Analog-style saturation adds warmth and depth.


The Waves MetaFilter is more than just another filter plugin; it is a comprehensive tool designed for intricate sound sculpting and dynamic tone shaping. Whether you’re aiming to give your sound a subtle shade or a transformative alteration, MetaFilter’s range of features makes it possible.

The heart of MetaFilter lies in its three modulators: a 16-step sequencer, an LFO, and an envelope follower. Each of these can be mapped to various filter parameters, allowing for dynamic changes and evolving soundscapes. For producers keen on adding rhythmic elements to their tracks, the built-in LFOs can generate modulations synced to the song’s tempo, making pulsating basslines or rhythmic pads effortless.

Beyond its filtering capabilities, MetaFilter also offers an analog-style saturation. This is ideal for those who wish to imbue their tracks with a touch of vintage warmth, or simply add some harmonic richness to their sound.

Final Thoughts:

With its balance of simplicity and depth, Waves MetaFilter is an invaluable tool for producers, sound designers, and mixing engineers alike. Whether the goal is to craft a unique sonic identity or to enhance existing material, MetaFilter rises to the challenge every time, providing users with a world of creative possibilities.

Creative & Character Filters:

Best Filter VST Plugins: Audiothing - The Orb
(Image Credit: Audiothing)

Audiothing The Orb

Formant Filtering Excellence: Sculpting Sound with Vocal Characteristics


  • Software Type: Formant Filter Processor
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, VST3, AU, AAX


  • Offers detailed formant filtering to impart vocal characteristics on any sound.
  • Comes with three bandpass filters, each adjustable to target specific formant frequencies.
  • Integrated LFOs and envelopes enable dynamic movement and modulation.
  • Intuitive and user-friendly GUI provides a clear visual representation of formants.
  • Ability to create unique timbres and textures, making it a creative tool for sound design.


Audiothing’s “The Orb” is a distinctive formant filter plugin that provides producers and sound designers with the tools to infuse their sounds with vocal-like qualities. This isn’t your average filter; it’s a journey into the intricate world of human speech and its characteristics.

At its core, The Orb employs three bandpass filters to mimic the behavior of our vocal cords. These filters can be fine-tuned to zero in on specific formant frequencies, enabling users to impart a wide range of vocal nuances onto any given sound source.

One of the standout features is the depth of modulation available. The Orb’s LFOs and envelopes ensure that the vocal qualities aren’t static; they can dance, pulsate, and evolve, bringing life and movement to the sound.

The interface is not only user-friendly but also visually appealing, ensuring users can quickly grasp the nuances of formant filtering. The visual feedback on the formant frequencies is particularly helpful, giving an instant sense of how adjustments are impacting the sound.

Final Thoughts:

For those in pursuit of a filter that steps outside of conventional boundaries, “The Orb” by Audiothing is a beacon. Its ability to introduce vocal characteristics into any sound makes it a unique tool in the world of audio processing, suitable for both musical applications and avant-garde sound design.

Best Filter VST Plugins: PSP Audioware - PSP stompFilter
(Image Credit: PSP Audioware)

PSP Audioware PSP stompFilter

Modulation Mastery: Crafting Dynamic Filter Effects with Pedalboard Simplicity


  • Software Type: Modulation and Filter Effects Processor
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, AU, AAX, RTAS


  • Offers a versatile set of filter and modulation effects inspired by classic pedalboards.
  • Simple and intuitive interface reminiscent of guitar effect pedals.
  • Incorporates a blend of LFO, envelope follower, and side-chain input for versatile modulation.
  • Integrated drive stage for adding saturation and warmth to the signal.
  • Suitable for a wide range of applications, from creative sound design to rhythmic modulation.


PSP stompFilter by PSP Audioware is a creative tool designed for producers who appreciate the simplicity and tactile approach of classic guitar pedalboards. While inspired by these stompboxes, stompFilter offers a range of functionalities that extend far beyond the realm of guitar effects.

At the heart of stompFilter is its versatile filtering system. Whether you’re looking for a subtle sweep or a dramatic resonance, this plugin can deliver. The modulation capabilities are where the plugin truly shines. Users can employ the LFO, use the envelope follower based on the input signal, or even utilize an external side-chain input to modulate the filter. This results in a dynamic effect that can breathe life into static loops or synths.

To ensure that the processed sound retains warmth and character, stompFilter comes equipped with a drive stage. This section allows users to introduce saturation, ranging from subtle harmonic enrichment to more pronounced overdrive.

Final Thoughts:

PSP Audioware’s PSP stompFilter is not just for guitarists or bassists. It’s a comprehensive tool designed for any music producer or sound designer looking to introduce dynamic, pedal-inspired effects into their workflow. With its intuitive design and versatile capabilities, stompFilter ensures that crafting complex modulation effects remains both fun and straightforward.

Best Filter VSt Plugins: Vengeance - Sound Philta XL
(Image Credit: Vengeance)

Vengeance-Sound Philta XL

High-Resolution Sonic Sculpting: Unleashing the Power of Advanced Filtering


  • Software Type: High-End Filter and Modulation Plugin
  • Platform - Supported formats: PC/MAC - VST, AU


  • Comes packed with 136 filter types, ensuring an immense range of tonal possibilities.
  • Dual filters can be used in serial or parallel modes for intricate shaping.
  • Intuitive modulation matrix with 4 envelope followers and 4 LFOs.
  • Features distortion and phaser effects for added sonic layering.
  • Built-in step sequencer, making rhythmic and patterned filter changes a breeze.


Diving into the world of filtering with Vengeance-Sound’s Philta XL is nothing short of an exploration of sonic possibilities. This plugin does more than just the basics; it offers producers a comprehensive suite of tools to carve, mold, and shape their sound with surgical precision.

At the core of Philta XL are its two filters, which can be used either in series or parallel, offering users the flexibility to sculpt their sounds with intricate detail. But what truly sets this plugin apart is its vast array of 136 filter types. From standard low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass filters to more exotic types, Philta XL ensures that users are never left wanting.

But the features don’t stop there. Philta XL is also equipped with a modulation matrix that can control various parameters, including filter cutoff, resonance, and more. With 4 envelope followers and 4 LFOs at your disposal, dynamic and rhythmic filter movements become second nature. To top it all, the plugin also boasts distortion and phaser effects, providing an extra layer of character to the processed sound.

Final Thoughts:

For those who are serious about sound design and crave a filter plugin that offers depth, versatility, and precision, Vengeance-Sound Philta XL is a top contender. Whether used for simple tasks or complex sound shaping, this plugin consistently delivers results that both surprise and inspire.

FAQ Buying Guide: Best Filter VST Plugins

Filter VST plugins are essential tools in a producer’s arsenal, allowing for both corrective and creative manipulations in a mix. Understanding the intricacies and features of these plugins can lead to more informed decisions, ensuring the best fit for any production need.

  • What is a filter VST plugin?

    A filter VST plugin is a digital tool designed to cut, boost, or manipulate specific frequency ranges within an audio signal, allowing producers to shape the tonal characteristics of a sound.

  • Why would I need a filter VST in my production setup?

    Filter plugins help in removing unwanted frequencies, emphasizing specific tonal characteristics, creating sweeping effects, or even generating rhythmic modulation, essential for sound design and mixing.

  • What's the difference between low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch filters?

    Low-pass: Allows frequencies below a set point to pass through and attenuates frequencies above it.

    High-pass: Allows frequencies above a set point to pass through and attenuates frequencies below it.

    Band-pass: Allows frequencies within a certain range to pass through and attenuates frequencies outside of it.

    Notch: Removes frequencies within a specific range, allowing those outside the range to pass through.

  • What are filter resonance and Q?

    Resonance, often tied to the Q parameter, emphasizes or boosts frequencies near the filter’s cutoff point. High resonance values create a pronounced peak, giving the filter a more pronounced, ringing character.

  • What is a multi-mode filter?

    A multi-mode filter VST allows users to switch between different filter types (e.g., low-pass, high-pass, band-pass) within the same plugin, offering more flexibility in sound shaping.

  • How do LFOs relate to filter plugins?

    LFO (Low-Frequency Oscillator) in filter plugins modulates the filter’s cutoff frequency, creating dynamic, rhythmic, or sweeping effects, commonly used in genres like techno, dubstep, and trance.

  • Why do some filter plugins have envelope followers?

    Envelope followers track the volume contour or “envelope” of an incoming signal. In a filter plugin, this can dynamically adjust the filter’s behavior based on the input’s volume, allowing for more expressive effects.

  • Are there benefits to using analog-modelled filter VSTs?

    Analog-modelled filter plugins emulate the characteristics of vintage hardware filters, often adding warmth, saturation, or specific resonant behaviors that digital filters might not inherently possess.

  • How do I know if a filter VST is CPU-intensive?

    Highly detailed or analog-modeled filters can be CPU-intensive. Always check the system requirements, and if possible, use a demo version to test the plugin’s performance on your system.

  • Can filter VST plugins be used on any instrument or vocal track?

    Yes, filter VST plugins are versatile and can be applied to any instrument, vocal track, or even full mixes. However, always use them judiciously to ensure they enhance and not degrade the overall sound.

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