Best effect plugins for music producers in 2023
In the eternal quest for tonal perfection, savvy music producers are always on the hunt for effect plugins that can refine a mix and take it to the next level. 2023 brings an embarrassment of riches when it comes to killer FX that can add sheen and dimensionality to tracks. Of course, you’ve got your trusty standbys – the surgical EQs, workhorse compressors, and lush reverbs that have long been staples in a producer’s plugin arsenal. Beyond the basics, some exciting newcomers have arrived on the scene, leveraging next-gen algorithms, AI, and modeling technology to provide stunning sound quality and creative options. Other recent releases take classic analog hardware units from legendary studios and faithfully recreate their sonics in plugin form. Even familiar favorites have seen upgrades under the hood that make them more flexible and resolver than ever. In this roundup, we’ll highlight our picks for the top effect plugins that allow producers to sculpt professional soundscapes as we move into 2023. From essential dynamics control to ear-candy delays and modulations, these are the tools that let you take your mixes from flat to phat. Read on as we geek out on the FX that will rule studios in the coming year.
Baby Audio Transit
The new Baby Audio Transit plugin makes it easy for electronic music producers to create smooth, professional transitions and movement within their tracks. With an intuitive interface, Transit allows loading up to 7 effect modules like delay, phaser, and distortion into slots that can be controlled and automated. Over 200 presets provide instant creative inspiration, while sequencer and macro modes offer deep sound design possibilities. By speeding up complicated transition workflows, Transit helps producers quickly add energy and vibe to their music without tedious automation tasks.
FabFilter Pro Q3 EQ
The award-winning Fabfilter Pro-Q 3 EQ combines precision with musicality. Its intuitive interface, stellar sound quality, linear-phase operation, dynamic EQ, and advanced features have made it a go-to for surgical tonal shaping or smooth, natural EQ moves. Pro-Q 3 remains the gold standard in EQ plugins.
Arturia FX collection 4
Arturia’s FX 4 Collection provides analog-modeled emulations of vintage hardware classics. From the Warm Tube-like saturation, to the rich delays and chorusing effects, FX Collection helps give mixes the elusive “vintage vibe”. The intuitive interfaces stay true to the originals while placing features just a click away. FX Collection offers an all-star team of retro effects.
With its modeled tube and transformer saturation, Soundtoys Decapitator is a one-stop shop for giving tracks the warmth and presence of analog hardware. From subtle sheen to full-on distortion mayhem, Decapitator provides the tones of classic studio iron like the Thermionic Culture Vulture. A must-have for adding character.
Soundtoys Little AlterBoy
Little AlterBoy by Soundtoys delivers powerful vocal transformation effects from subtle tuning tweaks to extreme mutations. Using advanced formant, pitch shifting, and vocoding tools, Little AlterBoy allows producers to dramatically alter vocals and instruments. From robotic voices to hard-tuned tones to harmonization, Little AlterBoy makes creating exciting new vocal sounds easy. Add in tube saturation modeling from Decapitator, MIDI control over pitch, and preset-based workflow, and Little AlterBoy becomes an indispensable tool for creative sound design.
Fabfilter Pro L2
The Fabfilter Pro-L 2 limiter offers impeccable sound and a clean, punchy loudness boost. With transparent operation, a wealth of features like true peak limiting, and a clear interactive display, Pro-L 2 helps deliver competitive mixes with loudness to spare. Its processing helps preserve dynamics rather than crush them.
The Waves H-Delay faithfully recreates the rich, warm sound of classic hardware delay units. From crisp digital echoes to lush, saturated analog-modeled tones, H-Delay serves up creative delay flavors. With tempo sync, modulation controls, and global tweaks like filtering, H-Delay produces inspiring echoes and is great on vocals.
ValhallaRoom’s versatile algorithms offer top-notch reverbs for any occasion. The intuitive interface provides quick access to great-sounding spaces from small rooms to massive halls. With its affordable price and diverse, musical reverb options, ValhallaRoom has become a go-to for producers seeking beauty, character, and realism in their mixes’ reverbs.
As a modern mixing and mastering suite, iZotope Ozone offers both processing power plus inspiration. From surgical tonal-shaping tools to one-click assistive AI, Ozone enables polished, professional results. For beginners and experts alike, Ozone has something to offer with its rich toolkit and intelligent features aimed at great sound and efficient workflows.
As productions become more heavily reliant on plugins for sound design and mixing power, these effect plugins represent the best tools for music producers heading into 2023. From the classics to the cutting edge, they enable crafting professional, vibrant, and forward-thinking music.