What about finally buying a new filter VST plugin?
Whether it’s your first one or not, you will find the best ones here!
In this article, I will get you through the 20 top filter plugins that are currently available on the market!
But before we get into it, what are actually the factors you should take into consideration before getting a new filter VST?
First of all, you are using a filter VST mainly to shape your sound, right?
So, it would be better to get one that will fit your musical style.
If analog filtering is what you are looking for, there are many VSTs out there that mimic it accurately.
On the other hand, there are also innovative filter plugins that expand your creative possibilities.
Another important thing is usability and features.
If you want to do simple things with your plugin, it’s better to get one that’s easy to use and comes with many presets.
However, if you plan to do complex things, you’d better buy one with many features.
Now, let’s check them out!
The 20 Best Filter VST Plugins of 2021 include:
Our first choice on this list is the Volcano 2 filter plugin by Fabfilter.
This plugin comes with four multi-mode filters, along with panning and delay to fulfill all your needs.
It features many modulation options, envelope generators, and followers, and it allows for MIDI sources that expand your creativity.
Mid/side processing and routing are available for maximum control.
If you want a simple operation, there are almost 300 presets to choose from.
What is best is this plugins layout: it allows you to only see what you work with, which is really useful if you have multiple plugins open at the same time.
Additionally, it is really easy to use: drag-and-drop is allowed, and there is also signal visualization for your modulation source.
You can find the Volcano 2 in VST, VST3, Audio Units, AAX Native, and AudioSuite formats, ensuring that it will be compatible with your preferred DAW.
What about a filter plugin that would mimic the good old analog filters?
The FilterFreak by Soundtoys is here! It comes with an interface that resembles an analog filter and it will be particularly easy to use if you are familiar with filters of the analog era.
Another great feature that comes from this is saturation: if you crank it up all the way, it can pleasantly distort your sound, allowing you to explore new creative possibilities.
But how does this happen?
This plugin is actually two plugins in a single package!
You can use one for simple operations, but if you are more demanding, you can also use the second one.
You can also use it for frequency sweeps, wah-wah effects, envelope follower, along with sample-and-hold effects. It even lets you design your own envelope shapes!
Note that it is supported by Pro Tools (11 or later), Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, and Digital Performer.
You might be familiar with Arturia thanks to its famous virtual synthesizers, but that doesn’t mean that it stops there!
On the contrary, Arturia has created a suite that consists of three filter plug-ins for every musician:
and Filter SEM.
Branded as “3 filters you’ll actually use”, these filters are made with synthesizer filters in mind, and their interface mimics the one of an analog synthesizer filter section. Overall, their appearance is really good-looking and makes them easy to use.
They come with more than 100 presets to choose from, which have been made by famous sound designers. These make the functions of these plug-ins accessible to beginners.
The filters come in VST, AU, and AAX formats to be integrated into your DAW.
On the whole, if you are into electronic music, these three Arturia filters are highly recommended.
Imagine this: you own a powerful tool that lets you transform every sound into a vowel of the human voice…
Does it sound like science fiction?
Well, it’s not!
The Orb by Audio thing is made to do exactly that!
It comes with a spherical figure that is divided into ten sections, representing different vowels to choose from. It even includes default vowel sets: male, female, children, and custom.
What about editing them?
In fact, the Orb comes with three bandpass filters for frequency editing, as well as 3 LFOs called “Vowel”, “Emphasis” and “Drift”
Finally, this plugin is not heavy on your CPU, it comes in VST, AU, and AAX (32/64bit) formats and it is compatible both with Windows and macOS.
To conclude, if you are looking for a filter plugin that can simulate accurately the human voice, the Orb is your thing!
The WOW2 by Sugar Bytes is a really flexible filter VST plugin that can perform multiple operations.
To begin with, it comes with 21 filter types that allow you to produce warm sounds, while the presets make it really friendly for starters.
The talkbox section lets you pick two vowels out of nine provided and convert any sound to a human-voice vowel.
Useful, isn’t it?
The modulation section allows for a lot of tweaking, as it features four different tools: an envelope follower with frequency detection, an LFO with 13 waveforms, a 16-step sequencer, and the “Wobble Knob”.
Finally, the distortion section provides you with even more effects.
For instance, you can use the “diabolic” preset to really crank up the distortion on a track.
Summing up, the WOW2 is a great tool for those who want maximum flexibility from their filter plugin.
Do you wish for a plugin that would combine analog filtering with new, modern features?
Then chances are that you are looking for the Drop by Cytomic.
This plugin that is not CPU-intensive provides you with high-quality filtering that has been modeled on analog processing circuits.
In fact, it combines the great sound of the analog world with the digital capabilities that make it easy to turn knobs, store presets, and recall them.
The Drop has been around for more than ten years now and it has received great reviews.
The main reason behind that success is that you can use it creatively, no matter if you are a beginner or a professional.
It provides you with many tools that make it a little intimidating to look at in the beginning, but it is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it.
The FilterShaper 3 by Cableguys is an extremely flexible filter VST plugin that can be used to effectively shape your sound the way you want.
In order to allow you as much freedom as possible, the FilterShaper features multiple controls: you can use two filters, up to 60 LFOs, and 50 envelope followers in order to change your sound.
Plus, the oscilloscopes offer visual feedback that compliments your audio.
Another nice thing about this plugin is that you can use it for precision editing.
If you like to have control of every little detail, you will adore its capability to shape everything.
Finally, this plugin doesn’t stop at filtering, as it also allows for dual-band sidechain compression effects that expand your toolkit even more.
In short, if you want a plugin that will help you precisely and effectively filter your music or audio tracks, you should definitely check out the FilterShaper 3.
The Filterscape by U-HE is an all-around filter plugin that can literally do everything you wish for.
Ranging from transforming your sounds creatively to removing an unwanted “buzz”, this plugin will please even the most demanding users.
What we really liked in this plugin is the customizability of its user interface: you can both scale it from 70 to 200% and choose different skins, a feature that makes it easier on the eyes after long use.
In terms of features, it comes with 2 LFOs and 4 envelope followers, along with 100 presets that can make your life easier if you are a beginner.
Additionally, you can control it remotely via your MIDI controller.
Do you want to know the best part?
This plugin comes equipped with two extras: the FilterscapeVA synthesizer and the FilterscapeQ6 6-band dynamic EQ, adding even more value to it.
What about electronic music?
Can we get a filter plugin that has been made to actually help the electronic music producer?
The Philta XL by Vengeance Sound offers everything you need! Moreover, it comes at a reasonable price, so that you don’t have to spend a fortune on a single plugin!
But let’s dive deeper into it….
This plugin comes with 2 high-quality filters, 2 tempo-synced LFOs with 5 LFO shapes, and 2 envelope followers with variable source frequency.
Additionally, this plugin comes with a ring modulator, a rate reducer, and even an output limiter that has been taken from the Multiband Compressor.
You can automate all the parameters by using your DAW.
There are also 130 presets to choose from. The Philta XL is highly compatible with almost every DAW.
Summing up, if you are into dance and electronics, you’ll be more than satisfied with this plugin.
In case you are an analog enthusiast, you’ll know that the brand name “Moog” means high-quality analog gear.
However, this time we’ll be talking about an emulation of the iconic synth that comes as a collaboration between MOOG and UAD.
As you can probably imagine, this plugin looks pretty much like the original analog filtering section of the Moog synthesizer.
That makes it very easy to use if you are familiar with the instrument that it models.
It comes with a lot of capabilities such as exploring sounds with its LFO filters, as well as creating tremolo, wah-wah, and phase effects.
A step sequencer is also included, allowing you to create even more music with it.
Famous artists such as The Glitch Mob, The Crystal Method, Benno de Goeij, and Christoffer Berg have created more than 100 presets for you to use.
In short, if you are a great fan of Moog’s synthesizers, you’ll certainly adore this plugin.
Ok, let’s assume this: you just want a plugin that you can use for various wah sounds.
You don’t want to spend more money on other features, you can’t seem to find any plugin that meets your criteria.
If this is true for you, here comes the solution!
The Kuassa EFEKTOR WF3607 Wah Filter has been made to imitate the sound of wah pedals.
Moreover, it doesn’t just mimic a single pedal, but it allows you to choose from 6 different pedals that produce various sounds so that you can shape your wah effect the way you like!
What is best is that it comes with a user interface that looks exactly like a pedal, so that you can use it intuitively, without the learning curve of knobs, graphs, and complex buttons.
On the whole, if you are looking for an easy-to-use wah plugin, the Kuassa EFEKTOR WF3607 is one of the best options.
The Filterstation 2 by Audio Damage is a stylish VST/AU plugin that you can use in pretty much every operating system, as it is supported by Windows, iOs, and Linux.
It comes with an exceptionally good-looking and intuitive user interface that lets you both visualize the changes you make and control it easily.
The Filterstation 2 features twelve different filter algorithms that include MS20 emulation along with 914 bandpass and Filterpod lowpass models.
You can use the VCA mode for tremolo and gate effects.
The LFO comes with both internal and tempo sync modes and the envelope follower gives you control over the dynamics of filter frequency.
Sidechain input is also supported for external signals and more complex operations. True stereo, serial, and parallel operating modes are all supported.
All in all, if you want a flexible filter plugin with a great GUI, Filterstation 2 is your thing.
I believe that if you are into analog filtering, you can already imagine what this plugin offers….
On the other side, if you are not an analog enthusiast, you should know that this plugin is the digital emulator of a famous piece of hardware that used to be very popular in the 90s: the Mutronics Mutator.
But it’s not just a replica!
On the contrary, there are some modern tools added to give you a wider palette of effects to choose from, such as tempo sync, automation, and the ability to mix wet and dry signal.
The Mutronics Mutator can work with every sound source and instrument and allows you to creatively transform the sound using its tools.
It features two independent voltage-controlled filters that you can use for filter sweeps, creating warm analog and synth-like effects.
It looks pretty much like the analog thing, so it is very easy to handle.
Do you often find yourself switching between various equalizers to achieve the best results?
What if you could have them grouped together in a package so that you can control what each one does at the same time?
If that sounds like you, then I know how you feel…
Luckily, you can use FilterBank HD to solve this issue!
As its name implies, this is actually a bank of three plugins in a single package.
These include the E606 which is a parametric, high and low shelving EQ with high and low pass filters.
The F202 offers steep high and low pass filtering with resonant Q control, and the F606 is a parametric EQ with variable Q mode.
You can use them as they are or combine them together.
The FilterBank HD by McDSP is a highly recommended plugin for those who are demanding regarding equalization and filtering.
It is widely accepted that almost no list of plugins can be completed without a product by Waves.
This well-known brand keeps creating and updating its popular plugins that are among the favorites of professionals.
The Waves Metafilter is no exception to the rule.
It features enough tools even for the most demanding users.
These include three separate modulators: a 16-step sequencer, an LFO, and an envelope follower with a sidechaining option.
These modulators allow you to shape cutoff, resonance, and delay time separately, in order to shape your sounds the way you like.
The sound quality that the Metafilter offers simulates everything we like about analog sound: it is both rich and warm.
Moreover, the MIDI learn option allows for easy remote control.
To conclude, the Waves Metafilter is a very useful tool for everyone who wants to use a filter creatively to add more to his/her audio tracks.
What if you need a filter plugin to expand your creativity, but you find complex user interfaces discouraging?
In this case, you will really appreciate the Sonalksis Creative Filter!
This filter comes with a very simple and intuitive control panel that lets you easily understand exactly what you are doing every time you hit a button or turn a knob.
But that doesn’t mean that its creative possibilities are limited!
In fact, this filter features "Adaptive Resonance". This characteristic that comes in four modes, automatically adjusts both resonance and saturation, so that your audio tracks are psycho-acoustically correct.
Its phase flyers are analog-modeled and it comes with 64bit floating point precision internal processing and of course zero latency for real-time monitoring.
A MIDI version is available, while the plugin itself comes in two formats: VST2 and AU.
The MWobbler by MeldaProduction offers a multi-band filter that allows you to treat each frequency section differently.
Although it was originally created for dubstep music, it can be used for literally any audio source, as it comes with everything you need for every kind of music.
MWobbler comes with two sets of filters and each of them provides 98 different filter types that include both classic (low-pass, high-pass, equalizer) as well as modern filters (harmonics, scream, formant, comb, diffusion, polymorph).
Additionally, it features modulation options via LFO, Level-Follower, ADSR-Envelope, Randomizer, and other tools.
One of its greatest features is the customizable user interface that allows you to tweak it so that it will be easier to use for you.
Moreover, the company offers free updates, which increases the value of this plugin even more.
For those of you that wish for a plugin that comes with limitless capabilities, I would highly recommend the PSP N2O.
This sophisticated filter VST comes with up to four sound processing operators at a time which includes morphing resonant and formant filters, EQ, delay, reverb, pitch-shifter, compressor/expander, bitcrusher, and distortion among others.
Moreover, you can simultaneously use up to four modulators that feature LFO, envelope detector, and ADSR step sequencer. Plus, 192 presets are available, so that you can begin from there...
I know what you’re thinking…
“Well, that’s nice… But how am I going to control all of them?”
Luckily, the plugin offers eight assignable knobs with quick MIDI learn to access the parameters you need the most.
Plus, it offers three displays, a simplified modulation setup, along with keyboard and mouse wheel support!
The architecture is also expandable, so you can expect new features in the future...
The Quad Frohmage by Ohm Force is certainly among the favorites of music producers, and the reason behind that is not just its funny name!
The Quad Frohmage offers four bands, while each one features delay, pan, eight types of filter and distortion, along with controls for cut-off frequency, resonance, fatness, color, and damping.
You can connect these four bands anyway you wish, which makes it actually a modular digital plugin that you can tweak to your liking.
Its filter types cover low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, peak, and notch, but it also features a comb, ring modulator, and filters that imitate the iconic Moog.
To top it off, every parameter has an LFO, an envelope follower, and an xADSR module, that you can all trigger by MIDI velocity and pitch.
Summing up, the Quad Frohmage is a great tool for those who want to push a filtering plugin to its limits.
Last but not least, the Filter Snapin by Kilohearts is a plugin that is made for a simple but important job: its goal is to cut out all the unwanted frequencies.
Essentially a parametric equalizer comes with many modes to choose from, such as low pass, bandpass, high pass, notch, low shelf, peak, and high shelf filters.
It is very simple to learn and control, while also being very effective at what it does.
You can also use it as part of a modular system, as it is highly compatible with the other snapin plugins of the same company.
It comes in 64-bit VST, AU, and AAX versions for both Windows and Mac.
All in all, if you want a simple plugin that is easy to control and can help you get rid of certain frequencies, the Filter Snapin is definitely worth a try.
At this point, we have covered 20 of the top filter plugins out there.
I am sure that there are two or three of them that have really got you thinking about getting them…
Now, it’s your turn!
Take a look at their full features and see whether they fit all of your needs. You can also download demos of these plugins, or check out videos of people using them.
But don’t spend too much time thinking!
Get your new filter plugin and start experimenting with it!
I am sure your tracks will sound much better after that!