Filter plugins are essentials in a producer’s toolbox. They are very useful for automating and manipulating the timbre of a sound.
In simpler terms, a filter plugin removes specific frequencies in a soundwave and changes the harmonics of a signal. This is what eventually leads to the timbre change that you hear.
These plugins are typically used in Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) like GarageBand and Flo tools. They are also currently being used for different sound projects across different genres including indie and lo-fi hip hop.
VST plugins are known as.VST files. They can be downloaded online as packages that can be installed on your computer easily with a simple drag-and-drop method.
With that being said, there’s a theory out there that investing in VST plugins will automatically transform your sounds into the best thing the world has ever heard. This has led many amateur producers to spend hundreds of dollars in a bid to find the ‘best magic wand’ in the world of filter plugins.
Unfortunately, without the right information and expertise, you will only spend your hard-earned money on a variety of plugins with zero improvements to your sound.
But, first, let’s start with how these plugins are used.
How Filter VST Plugins are Used
There’s a long list of effects that you can get from filters. But here are a few of the common ones that are used for synth:
1. Comb filter
removes a frequency that is absent in a set of frequency notches. This filter is so-called because it is made up of equally spaced frequencies that look like an actual hair comb when they are displayed on a graph.
2. Notch Filter/Band Reject
removes only frequencies in a frequency band that has been specified by the user band. It is the opposite of the bandpass.
3. Low Pass
removes all the frequencies above a certain frequency so that low frequencies can pass. The filter will stop filtering at a determined cut-off control. So, if for instance, you set the cut-off to 240Hz on a low pass, the filter will remove every frequency above 240Hz. Frequencies below it will be unaffected.
4. High Pass
removes all the frequencies below a certain frequency so that high frequencies can pass.
5. Band Pass
removes every frequency that is not in your specified frequency band.
6. Multimode Filters
allow the producer to select different filter types as opposed to being restricted to a particular filter configuration. Multimode filters often have extra control for the user to switch between the selectable filter types.
Other terms related to filter types are:
This is used in terms of the number of poles, refers to the steepness of the cut-off slope on a filter. As the number of poles increases, the steepness of the slope also increases. Want to learn more about cut-off?
Types of VST plugins
The 3 major types of VST plugins are:
These are known as virtual instruments. They are synthesizers that have now accommodated pianos, drums, and guitars.
They are suitable for MIDI controllers and they allow producers to incorporate aspects like expressions and dynamics into recordings.
2. VSTfx (Effects)
These are the plugins that automate and manipulate existing audio.
Unlike the VSTi which always works on MIDI controllers, VSTfx plugins are suitable for any audio file that is being worked on in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
These plugins are specifically made for MIDI plugins.
VST packages rarely contain VSTMfx, so except you have an absolute need for them, you shouldn’t stress over them. You can almost always find what you need in VSTi and VSTfx plugins.
What is the Best Filter VST Plugin?
The best filter VST plugin will usually have high quality with an analog filter behavior that is well-modeled, or multiple-effect options and extensive modulations. You know you’ve hit jackpot if the plugin you choose has all these features. Filters of this sort will have a wide range of uses without compromising on speed and ease of use.
A great plugin should also be able to deliver all these features without eating up your computer’s memory space or costing you a leg and an arm.
If you are considering a VST plugin for your sound system, then it is likely because you want to give shape and depth to your sounds. This is why it is advisable to make a choice that is based on your style of music.
If you are in the market for something suitable for analog filtering, then count yourself lucky because the market is swarming all sorts of VST filters that can get the job done for you. Want to expand your knowledge a little more? You can also learn more about analog filtering.
And if you want to put your creativity to good use, you can consider innovative filters.
Think you’ll be better off with doing the simple and basic stuff? Then choose a plugin that is easy to use and has different presets.
Filters are useful tools for shaping the tone, frequency focus, and character of your sounds. With these tools, you can transform your sound into anything that your creative mind can imagine.
Filters are also used to add movement to sounds with modulation and automation. Generally, they shape sounds.
This is where VST filter plugins come in. These packages come in different types for different purposes and are pretty easy to install. The best VST plugin for manipulating and automating your sounds is one that delivers high-quality sounds, doesn’t use up a significant amount of memory space on a computer, is reasonably priced, and ultimately meets your expectations.
Thankfully, you can never be short of options as there are so many different variations from different companies available. In fact, you can even get some free ones that can also get the job done. Just take your time and search for one that works for you.