As promised, more sooner than planned, we are back with the exploration of the best free virtual equipment for your home or professional producer studio. After handling your beat/instrumental creativity in the previous article “Best Free VST Plugins For Hip Hop Music Production“ today, we are taking a pick on the one of the hardest instruments to mix in: the vocals.
What Can You Expect Upfront?
This research result will help you ease your troubles in the vocal mixdown sessions and will take a load of off your chest so you don`t have to spend hours and hours searching for the best free VST plugins to layer your vocal tracks and sit them in the right frequency chair.
Some of the plugins are already mentioned in the previous article, and many of them are still out there available for free takeout, but this article is focusing on the smaller list of top free vocal VSTs at the moment. Some will only be for Windows operating systems, others MAC only, it`s not that easy to pick them all right for both sides, but at least the final top of the tops list will exist. And here it is.
Best Free Vocal VST Plugins (Hip Hop)
Proximity by Tokyo Dawn Labs and Vladg Sound
Made for “KVR Audio Developer Challenge” (an audio plugins, applications and Soundware competition), this awesome VST plugin should mostly be at the top of the channel`s strip not only on vocals, but on basically anything. From guitars, kicks and bass lines, down to percussion treatment, not to mention a killer vocal glittering all the way to mix buses.
Made by Tokyo Dawn Labs and Vladg Sound, “Proximity” shines best in the light of, well, you guessed it, proximity. What does that exactly mean? This versatile plugin will help you clean any live mix by fixing errors of wrongly placed mics in a way that it lets you choose the proximity level and distance in between two mics, or two instruments. Here are the main features:
- Distance signal delay by speed of sound
- Distance gain loss
- Absorption of high-frequencies in air
- Stereo width manipulation
- Proximity effect of virtual microphone
- Distance based early reflections
And in the video below, watch it in action in the lovely created, short, fast and very effective explainer clip and learn some quick and easy tricks:
Acon Digital Multiply Chorus
This free chorus effect VST plugin works both ways, but best on guitars and vocals of course. You can create fake vocal dubs by expanding the stereo image and create some space. Or you can use it to build you some special effects if into sound designing. Modulate pitch and loudness, shape it with build-in EQ and spice it up with integrated pre-delay. Cool enough for you? And the best for the last, it`s available for both Win and Mac users in 32 and 64-bit versions, so get your mouses on and click it down.
Here is the short tutorial video:
And the download link.
Voxengo Old Skool Verb
From Voxengo, comes this amazing reverberation plugin free at charge that is excellent patch for your vocal treatment. This essential tool for mixing vocal tracks will help you choose your own space with its classic character ranging from plate, room to hall reverb.
Only use it on mellow or slow-attack instruments like, vocals, synth pads and keys aka piano tracks. Main Old Skool features are:
- Plate, room and hall reverbs
- 5 reverb modes
- Reverb mode editor
- Stereo processing
- Preset manager
- A/B comparisons
- Contextual hint messages
- All sample rates support
- Zero processing latency
Here`s the video introduction/tutorial:
And its download link.
Mentioned in the previous article this is one of the most used multiple-tasked VSTs. Klanghelm`s DC1A compressor is your smooth way into the easy polished mix. This two-nob character processor will surprise you with its worth ranging from soft blending to heavy pumping.
But as we are focusing on vocals, and especially in Hip Hop domain, I wasn`t able to find adequate video presentation regarding our culture, but guys from Klanghelm did post a great intro clip testing DC1A on rock vocals.
Check it out here:
Alex Hilton A1 Trigger Gate
Also another cool versatile VST that you can use on almost everything. Packed in with many dope effects try this on vocals, bass lines, the whole mix, I mean, everything. Alex Hilton`s A1 Trigger Gate will spread your creativity so much more, beyond free level gating.
Watch the cool video tutorial below:
La Petite Exite
This tiny yet very powerful exiter as his name says gives exitement to your vocals by adding different harmonics. Fine Cut Bodies did a great job with this one so take it away and add a subtle distortion to your recorded vocal chords.
Try the video tutorial below to help you mix in those Hip Hop vocals:
Martin Eastwood`s “Duet”
Another great harmonizer and tracker, Martin`s Duet effect processor VST plugin is perfect for adding thinckness to your vocal tracks, but also useful on guitars. Duet works by manipulating the pitch from left and right channel in real time, simultaneously keeping the track`s tempo normal.
No useful video can be found, but based on the amount of producers dealing with it and giving great feedback, try it out on your Hip Hop mixes yourself and see if it helps.
Here`s another crafty harmonizer/pitch shifter that will come in handy. Pitchproof is actually simulating guitar effect processor, but is also, of course as usual, best used on vocal tracks too. Easy to use with four main controls, blend, detune, pitch and key, Pitchproof enables you to play with your input sound in however way you want. For more detailed explanation check its official site here at the end of which you also have a download link (available for Windows and Mac 🙂 ).
9-minute video tutorial is available here:
Empty Room Systems EmpTy 250 (Reverb)
From Empty Room Systems comes EMpTy 250 Reverb plugin. This awesome effect gives that same result as its made-by motivator, an digital reverb machine EMT 250. Here`s your free download link.
And although the video is Russian, you can get the idea pretty much well of how it shows in the user mode:
Antares Autotune Evo
Last, but not least, the most famous one, the Antares Autotune Evo, older, but never dusted VST that still plays quite a big role in free mixing tools. Detailed explained in a great “Sound On Sound” article here and in this super-sharp video tutorial here, let your vocals glitter like the biggest stars do nowdays.
Ready To Mix?
I must admit, the list is not that long as I initially expected when starting the research on this. It`s true, there are bunch of free VSTs to choose from that you can apply to your vocal tracks, but they will not give you that high-quality standard like them professional ones.
And another admitting feature must be added. Even though knowledge precedes the fancy stuff, you will eventually as your wisdom base widens, have to purchase a few really worth every penny plugins to ease up your workflow even more. And for some of them, you don`t even have to splurge at all. Here is one useful online store where you can pick from various VST plugins and adopt them based on your wallet. Shop freely here.
Hope you enjoyed this as well and that “Hip Hop Savvy” assists you extensively in picking the right virtual gadget for your indispensable music urge. Until the next one.