The 8 Best Filter VST Plugins on the Market (2022)

best filter vst plugins 2020: cover image

“What are the best filter VST plugins out there in 2022?”

Filters are an incredibly useful technique to manipulate and automate the timbre of a sound, and this production method is found in a huge, diverse range of genres. From indie, to hardcore EDM, to lofi hip hop, filters are used to shape the sonic output and emotive quality of sounds within a track.

To put it simply, a filter gets rid of some frequencies within a soundwave, alters the harmonic content of a signal, which results in a change of timbre.

When searching for a new filter VST plugin, producers usually ask themselves the same question: “are there any free alternatives?”

The answer is: yes and no.

There are many free filter plugins out there, a few of which have a decent selection of additional features and are, for the most part, enough to get the job done.

However, there comes a point where you have to step up your game and invest in a high quality, professional filter plugin. It’s the only way you’ll truly ever compete in the shark tank that is the music industry.

Luckily for us, filter VST plugins can be relatively cheap nowadays, so in this list I’ve included plugins for a range of budgets.

So without further ado, here is my rundown of the very best filter VST plugins on the market in 2022.


The 8 Best filter VST Plugins on the Market in 2022

best filter vst plugins 2020: soundtoys filterfreak

1. Soundtoys – FilterFreak

Sound Quality

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for a filter plugin with industry-leading, professional sound quality but also have the money to spend.

We’ve talked about Soundtoys countless times in the past, and their VST plugins are among the most critically acclaimed, highly rated audio production tools out there.

FilterFreak is their dedicated filter plugin, and is an incredibly popular filter plugin for both fat, analog sounds to modern, spacious filter curves. This plugin gives rich, warm filter options with stunning compression and distortion, and really does cover all bases when it comes to filtering your sounds and samples.

The FilterFreak download includes two separate plugins — FilterFreak 1 and 2. FilterFreak can be loaded individually to add a singular filter curve, whereas FilterFreak 2 allows you to combine the two filters, giving way to immense sonic flexibility. FilterFreak also includes rhythm and groove functionality, something that is rarely found in filter plugins.

As with most Soundtoys plugins, this plugin falls in the mid to high price range. However, if you’re a producer on a tight budget, I recommend checking the current price, as Soundtoys often have deals / discounts on their product range.

Soundtoys – FilterFreak Features

• Includes 2 filter plugins: can be used in series or parallel

• Highpass, lowpass, bandpass and band-reject options with 2 – 8 poles

• 7 different analog saturation styles

• Rhythm Editor to create rhythmic filter sequences

• Shape Editor – Design your own LFO shapes

+ much more.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


best filter vst plugins 2020: audiothing the orb

2. AudioThing – The Orb

Sound Quality

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for a innovative, unique filter plugin that focuses on simulates the characteristics of the human voice.

“The Orb” by Audiothing is based on a concept that genuinely stands alone in the VST plugin universe. This plugin transforms a sound into a vowel-like formant-filtered sound, with a huge amount of customization to back it up.

The interface has a moderate learning curve, mainly due to the unique set of parameters such as vowel type and rate. But once you’ve grasped the basic concept, the sonic possibilities are incredible. The Orb allows you to modulate the vowel, the emphasis/resonance of the formants, and the drift, all using 3 LFO’s.

I’ve had this plugin for quite a while now, and have created some weird, one-of-a-kind filter shapes that I genuinely don’t see how I would have created with a standard filter tool. This is definitely one of the best filter plugins on the market today.

AudioThing – The Orb Features

• Three Band Pass Filters (ZDF design)

• Vowel Sets: Male, Female, Child and Custom

• 3 LFOs (destinations: Vowel, Emphasis and Drift)

• Preset system with randomizer

+ much more.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 64-bit only.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


Fabfilter volcano 2

3. FabFilter Volcano 2

Sound Quality

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: A fantastic all-round filter plugin with an unmatched level of versatility.

If you’re looking for the gold-standard of all-round filter VST plugins, the two plugins at the top of the pile are Soundboy’s FilterFreak (entry 1) and FabFilter’s Volcano 2. To compare the two, FilterFreak has a slightly more authentic, analog sound but the Volcano 2’s versatility and range of filter possibilities are on another level.

This filter plugin has a wide, interactive visual display and drag-and-drop modulation, giving a highly intuitive user experience.

And where to even start with the plugin features? Volcano 2 has 4 multi-mode filters, with panning, delay and more than 10 individual characteristics and highly flexible filter routing. The modulation options are seemingly endless, with envelope generators, followers, 16-step XLFOs and many more sonic possibilities.

Price-wise, this plugin comes in at the mid-high price range. However, with its impressive list of features and parameters, Volcano 2 is a steal at this price.

FabFilter Volcano 2 Features

• New, updated interface

• 4 multi-mode filters, with panning, delay and more than 10 unique characteristics

• Filter routing, including per-channel and mid/side modes

• Modulation options: 16-step XLFOs, envelope generators, envelope followers and MIDI sources

• 24-slot modulation matrix

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


Philta XL

4. Vengeance Sound – Philta XL

Sound Quality

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for simple, fast filter plugin with an easy to use design and minimal CPU usage.

Philta XL by Vengeance Sound is a lightweight, intuitive filter plugin with a modest amount of controls. It has 2 high quality filters (12db, 24db, 48db or 96db) with variable filter resonance width.

I’d recommend this plugin mainly for beginners who want to begin using filter curves without being overwhelmed with endless features. However, Philta XL is actually capable of creating a surprising amount of filter effects, and comes with 130 presets for quick inspiration.

This filter plugin is also incredibly light on CPU, so is a great, no-nonsense option for adding quick, fantastic sounding filter effects.

Vengeance Sound – Philta XL Features

• 2 high quality filters (12db, 24db, 48db or 96db)

• Variable filter resonance width

• Band pass & notch mode (phaser)

• 2 tempo synced LFOs (for low and highband) with 5 LFO shapes

• 2 envelope follower (for low and highband) with variable source frequency

• Filter saturation / distortion (pre or post filter)

• Ring Modulator

+ much more.

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


best filter vst plugins 2020: Retro Filter

5. Plug and Mix – Retro Filter

Sound Quality

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for a relatively affordable filter plugin perfect for sculpting retro filters.

As the name suggests, Retro Filter creates fat, vintage filter effects reminiscent of analog hardware filters. The plugin is centered around a presence knob which is used to control the overall filter effect, and a kHz knob to determine the emphasized frequency. A low-pass and high-pass knob can then be used to eliminate any unwanted outer frequency signal.

All in all, this is an extremely simple design, and the amount of filter effects that can be created is pretty limited. But if you’re looking for that classic, warm retro filter sound, this plugin should definitely be on your radar.

Plug and Mix – Retro Filter Features

• Presence knob

• High Pass and Low Pass knob
• kHz : Determines the width of the band pass filter.
• Selector buttons : Choose between Low Shelf/Band Pass, Band Pass/Notch/ and High Shelf/Band Pass

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


best filter vst plugins 2020: wow 2

6. Sugar Bytes – WOW 2

Sound Quality

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for an analogue-sounding filter capable of creating rich, humanoid sounds.

According to Sugar Bytes; Skrillex, Boyz Noise, SiriusMo and Modeselektor are just some of the artists that have used “Wow 2”. This plugin creates fat, rich humanoid effects perfect for a range of modern electronic genres such as dubstep and future bass.

Wow 2 has 21 eclectic, vowel-like filters, each producing a gorgeous, high-resolution sound. The plugin comes with over 250 presets, which on their own sound fantastic, but it’s the versatility of the plugin engine that really sets this filter tool apart.

Within Wow 2, there are 4 modulation sources: an envelope follower with frequency detection, the LFO with 13 waveforms, a 16-step step sequencer and the Wobble Knob. This plugin has a huge amount of modulation and LFO options, which can lead to some genuinely unique, bizarre sounds.

Sugar Bytes – WOW 2 Features

• 21 Filter Types

• LFO, Env.-Follower, Step Seq. & Wobble

• Non Aliasing

• Distortion with 3 Overdrives & 4 Digital Functions

• Distortion Pre- or Post Filter Units

• Envelope Follower with Frequency Detection

• 9 human vocal Sounds in Vowel Filter

• Dynamic Oversampling across the board

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 64-bit only.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


Wah Filter

7. EFEKTOR WF3607 – Wah Filter

Sound Quality

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for an emulation-style filter plugin capable of creating classic “wah-wah” effects.

The Cry Baby was an iconic guitar effect pedal from the 60’s, and revolutionized the “wah-wah” guitar effect that emerged around the same time. Wah filter aims to re-create the tone and sonic characteristics of this pedal, along with a few other wah-style pedals and keyboards.

While this is quite a niche product, I thought it was worth mentioning as the sound quality and authenticity of the filter curves is next level. It works best for guitar samples or performances, but also works quite on a range of instruments to create a vintage, funky sound. This plugin is also ridiculously cheap, so if you’re looking for that classic “wah-wah” effect, this filter plugin is definitely worth checking out.

EFEKTOR WF3607 – Wah Filter Features

• Three types of wah and three envelope filters.

• More parameters to tweak than regular wah pedals

• Bypass button

• Stereo linking

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to check best price + more info / reviews.


best filter vst plugins 2020: Filter snapin

8. kiloHearts – Filter Snapin

Sound Quality

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Features

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Value for Money

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Who this plugin is for: Producers looking for a VERY affordable filter plugin with extremely low CPU usage and surprisingly good sound quality.

Filter Snapin is a resonant filter with 7 modes, designed for eliminating pesky frequencies or accentuating others. As you can probably guess from the above imge, Filter Snapin has very few features, but it’s not made for highly detailed filter curves or other complex functions.

This plugin is designed for quickly adding simple filter curves with an almost negligible effect on CPU. The effect on your wallet is almost negligible too, which is always a plus.

kiloHearts – Filter Snapin Features

• 7 filter modes

• Cut-off, Q and gain knobs

This product is available for both Windows / Mac and 32-bit / 64-bit.

Click here to best current price + more info / reviews.


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