5 Budget Plugins For Glistening Vocals

Below are some incredibly powerful plugins for vocal processing that will help you achieve the full, glistening results of high-end vocals!

Featuring Audified, Leapwing Audio, W. A Production, Valhalla DSP and Auburn Sounds.

By Eimear O SullivanMusicngear Editor
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How many times have you found yourself listening back to your vocal mix, and falling into a state of utter despair? Does it always seem like something falls short of what you hear in other mixes? 

If so, fear not, as vocals are by far the trickiest element of a mix to get right; and getting vocals to sound as good as they do in commercial recordings is generally a rather arduous and tedious process (and one that can appear to be deceptively easy). 

However, here are some incredibly powerful plugins for vocal processing; plugins that can help make this process a whole lot less time-consuming. The below plugins will help you achieve the full, glistening results of high-end vocals, without the hours of laboring and crying. Every single one of these plugins has been tried and tested across a variety of vocals and mix scenarios, in order to find the very best and most powerful plugins for your vocal mix. Read on - you deserve it.


Vocal Cleaner - W.A Production

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One of the least fun parts of vocal editing has to be trailing through the vocal takes in order to remove or control various noises (plosives, background noise, pops, clicks). Vocal Cleaner from W.A Production takes all of the tediousness out of this process; by allowing you to get through the messier and more difficult side of vocal editing with ease; so that you can enjoy the rest of the mixing process (do not underestimate how much this will improve your mixing flow). 

For example, in a recent vocal mix I was working on, there were a lot of plosives, and some low-mid thumping every so often, because a piece of gear kept colliding with the microphone. Normally, I would have to manually EQ this out, and then automate this EQ throughout the entire song (and at times, that might not even be enough). However, with Vocal Cleaner, I played around with the settings for a while in order to remove these noises, to fantastic results, in a fraction of the amount of time it would have taken me to manually do this. This plugin will be the beginning of a whole new, and happier mixing process for you. 

GET IT HERE


Audified - ToneSpot Voice Pro / $99

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This plugin does the work of several plugins; and will vastly reduce your overall suffering when it comes to mixing vocals, in addition to being very light on your  CPU.  Not only does it have a compressor with valve distortion and valve saturation, but it also comes with a de-esser, an eq, a delay, and reverb. The level of surgical control this plugin allows you over your vocals is truly beyond anything else I have ever seen in one plugin, and can allow you to achieve the exact vocal sound you envisioned. 

The Character section adds some beautiful subtle coloring to your vocals (some of the options being Vintage, Natural, Bright, and Lofi). The de-esser section also deals with one of the bigger fallouts that can arise from using such tools (de-essers can at times be overly harsh and result in a dulling of the vocals), however, there is an ‘Air’ control here that allows you to directly counteract this, and still have a glimmering vocal that could have been recorded in a high-end studio.

I added this plugin to one of my vocal takes and found that it resulted in a controlled-sounding vocal (without squashing it), and I was able to toggle on and off the sections I didn’t need to use. The EQ parameters also allowed me to craft the exact vocal that I wanted (the Presence and Sparkle control sections are brilliant). 

 The world needs to hear your voice, and this process can be a whole lot easier with this plugin.

GET IT HERE


Leapwing Audio - UltraVox / €69

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The GUI for this plugin is like something you would come across in a deep-sea exploration vessel, and the power held within this plugin is nothing short of a joy. 

This is another plugin that does the work of several plugins, and will massively streamline your vocal mixing process. Ultravox has a compressor and a gate; in addition to harmonics and air settings. Simply drop this onto your vocals (which will immediately sound fuller, healthier, and more controlled) and adjust to your needs. The Air section is absolutely fantastic,  adding a beautiful gleam to your vocals, without being harsh.  The compressor is brilliant also, resulting in a beautiful controlled vocal, that retains it’s dynamics.

GET IT HERE


Valhalla DSP - Valhalla Room / $50

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Nothing adds depth and emotion to a vocal performance quite like a good reverb, and no one makes reverbs better than Valhalla. With Room, you can make your vocals sound like they were recorded in a gothic cathedral, a concert hall,  an opera house, and many other truly divine locations (including deep space). The reverb mode Nostromo sounds incredible on vocals; I was working on a minimal electronic mix, one where the vocals were at the forefront; so they carried a lot of weight in the mix, and were crucial for the song to work.  Just using the default setting of Nostromo made these vocals incredibly lush and haunting; and massively freed up my time to work on other elements of the mix, as I didn’t have to load on effects in order to keep the mix interesting for the listener. You can also use this plugin on any other instrument in your mix, Room as a whole just sounds great on everything.

GET IT HERE


Auburn Sounds - Graillon / $39 (free version available also) 

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Nothing is less fun than pitch correction, however, this is made a lot more bearable when you are working with a plugin as effective as Auburn’s Graillon. Graillon can be used for pitch correcting a vocal take (by turning up the Smooth controller, you can achieve a more natural effect, if that is what you are going for). It can also be used for some seriously good vocal effects, the pitch shift option allowing you to pitch shift vocals, without deteriorating their quality, and the ‘Preserve Formants’ section allowing you to increase the robotic-like effect of this. The free version comes with pitch shift and pitch correction capabilities, and the full version comes with a bitcruchser which adds a nice gleam/sparkle, in addition to a pitch tracking modulator.  

GET IT HERE

What plugins would you recommend for vocals? Let us know in the comments!

About Eimear O Sullivan

Eimear Ann O Sullivan is a multi-genre music producer, audio engineer and vocalist. After receiving a Masters in Music Technology from the CIT Cork School of Music, she went on to operate as a producer under the name Blakkheart. Her releases have received critical acclaim from Ireland's biggest music publications, such as District Magazine and Nialler9, alongside receiving heavy commercial radio airplay. She currently works in Cork recording studio Flashpoint CC. Previous clients of hers include the likes of Comedy Central’s Dragony Aunt star Candy Warhol, rapper Darce and Outsider YP. (Photo credit @Fabian Boros)

Contact Eimear O Sullivan at eimear.o.sullivan@musicngear.com

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