The 6 best free plugins for your vocal chain (VST / AU)

Whether you’re a seasoned producer or just starting out, you don’t need to go bankrupt to achieve a high-quality vocal sound.

Here are my six best free vocal plugins for your effects chain in 2022. Watch the video above to see them in action, and learn more and download them via the links below. You can also download this template to use my exact channel strip in Logic Pro.

1. Pitch correction: Graillon 2 by Auburn Sounds

It isn’t always easy to find a realtime pitch correction plugin at an affordable price, let alone one that’s free. Graillon 2 is a great option to get targeted yet customizable pitch correction and pitch effects without breaking the bank. It has an “Enable” knob that allows you to dial in how much you want the plugin to correct pitch, and a “Smooth” knob to pinpoint how quickly you want to snap to the corrected pitch. It also contains pitch shift and formant knobs that allow you to create additional pitch effects beyond basic correction.

Download Graillon 2 for free here.

2. EQ: Slick EQ by Tokyo Dawn Labs

Slick EQ is a powerful semi-parametric EQ with an easy-to-use interface and an unbelievable sound for its price tag. It comes complete with three powerful bands, a high-pass filter, and four different EQ modes: “American,” “British,” “German,” and “Soviet.” Slick EQ makes an excellent addition to any vocal chain, letting you carve out any problem frequencies and enhance the best qualities of the voice.

Download Slick EQ for free here.

3. Compressor: Klanghelm DC1A

The Klanghelm DC1A compressor is an incredibly intuitive compressor that packs a punch. The interface is extremely simple to use—with just an input and output knob—but the sonic possibilities are vast with this compressor. Add a small amount of gain on the input for smooth leveling, or drive the input harder for some juicy saturation.

Download the Klanghelm DC1A for free here.

4. Reverb: TAL Reverb 2

There are a few reverbs from TAL that are available for free, but TAL Reverb 2 has a particularly simple-to-use interface and a powerful sound. You can control the room size / reverb time and EQ the effect right within the plugin with high, mid, and low EQ controls. It also has a knob for pre-delay, which is an excellent tool when mixing vocals for creating a strong reverb ambience without overpowering the voice.

Download TAL Reverb 2 for free here.

5. Delay: Valhalla Freq Echo

This delay is one of the many excellent free vocal plugins from Valhalla. It’s incredibly easy-to-use and takes care of all of your delay needs, from subtle chorusing to seemingly never-ending tape delays. Sync the delay to the BPM of your song to create perfectly-timed repetitions. Freq Echo has multiple controls for precision, including delay time, feedback, and high-cut and low-cut filters.

Download Valhalla Freq Echo for free here.

6. Panning and imaging: PanCake

Last but not least, PanCake is a tried-and-true panning plugin that creates movement from left to right in your mix and works great on vocal chops and backing vocals. Sync the panning to the BPM of your song, or draw in your own modulation curves.

Download PanCake for free here.

The 6 best free plugins for your vocal chain: Conclusion

There you have it! What were your favorite free vocal plugins featured in the video? Are there any other free plugins that you love using in your vocal chain that we missed? Let us know in the comments section of the video, and subscribe to the Splice YouTube channel for more tips, tools, and insights.

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January 26, 2024

Chrissy Tignor Chrissy Tignor (a.k.a. Data Child) is an audio engineer, music producer, musician, educator, and creative leader with a passion for audio education. She is the Education Director at Splice.