Last Updated on February 12, 2021.
Vocoders are fun! In short, they are used to synthesize the human voice making them sound robotic and even “inhuman”.
The great thing about vocoder plugins is that they can add a lot of flavor to your music in just a matter of seconds.
Now, in this post I will list the seven best professional/commercial vocoder plugins, as well as the 7 best free ones.
Let’s get started…
VocalSynth 2 by Izotope ($199)
This is one of the most powerful commercial vocoder plugins out there that also comes with loads of other features which are great for creating cool and futuristic vocal effects.
VocalSynth 2 features a Vocoder, Compuvox, Polyvox, Talkbox, and Biovox, which is a brand new effect based on the sonic qualities of the human vocal tract.
It’s more than capable of creating the typical robotic effects, however you can also get any kind of oldschool or “newschool” sounds which should help you find that secret sauce that you need to make your mixes sound awesome.
Since it’s one of those plugins where you can certainly get lost in all the features available, VocalSynth 2 also provides you with loads of presets, which not only is a good starting point when you’re trying to achieve that awesome vocal sound, but it also helps you save loads of time.
The newly added “Biovox” feature is pretty interesting as well;
Using scientific modelling of a human vocal tract, you can adjust human vocal characteristics like nasality, vowel shapes, and formants for a smooth, textural vocal treatment to any audio signal.
VocalSynth2 also features a visual animation that moves with the shape of your audio, which gives you a pretty unique audio metering experience.
All iZotope products feature inter-plugin communication, allowing seamless integration with essential tools for music production and analysis.
- Biovox: Modelling of human vocal tract.
- Stompbox-style effects
- Inter-plugin communication
- Extensive plugin enhancements
- Best Free Vocoder VST/AU Plugins
You can find out more about VocalSynth 2 here.
Related: I’ve also written other posts about VST plugins that might interest you;
Vocodex by Image-Line ($99)
Image-Line is the company responsible for creating the amazing DAW FL Studio.
One important thing to note here is that Vocodex works in Windows in almost any DAW, however if you want to be able to use it with a Mac computer, you’ll only be able to through FL Studio.
I believe that Vocodex is an ideal plugin for beginners because of how straight forward and easy to use the interface is.
It also features voice doubling and reverb capabilities, as well as up to 100 filter bands which are individually controllable, giving you loads of options for creating extremely precise sounds.
It’s a lot more basic than VocalSynth 2, but that is why it’s better for beginners.
Plus, it allows you to get straight to the point without wasting time going through all the features.
- Speech enhancement contouring of noise or modulator pass-through.
- Modulator noise reduction to reduce ambient noise bleeding through carrier.
- Voice doubling and reverb capabilities.
- Built-in Soundgoodizer for limiting and warm output.
- Up to 100 bands individually locatable anywhere in the spectrum.
- …and more!
You can find out more about Vocodex here.
Related: Are you looking for a new DAW? Here’s a list of the best DAWs currently available!
Morphoder by Waves Audio ($29)
This Vocoder plugin by Waves is not only powerful, but also features a built-in synth that works as a carrier.
However, this synth is pretty limited in the sense that it only allows you to choose between 8 internal voice synthesizers.
The good news is that you can sidechain your own sound sources and completely ignore the built-in synth, should you want to.
It also comes with a 5-band EQ and some other features like formant, smoothing and pressure controls.
As you can see, Morphoder is a very simple and straightforward Vocoder plugin.
But what it lacks in flashiness it more than makes up in ease of use and overall effectiveness.
Just like Vocodex, I can definitely recommend Morphoder to any beginner and even pros.
- 8-Voice stereo synthesizer
- Formant control
- Modulator with Linear Phase EQ
- MIDI control
You can find out more about Morphoder here.
XILS V+ by XILS Lab ($159)
The XILS V+ is a plugin based on Roland’s classic VP330 which was comprised of a simple vocal synth, a very simple string synth and a basic vocoder.
The original Roland VP330 only does three things, but it does them in a style and quality, which have not yet been surpassed.
The plugin version combines a Vintage 10 band Vocoder, Supreme Top Octave Divider based Strings and Human Voices, or any sophisticated layering of these three elements.
It also features a couple new additions that the people at XILS Labs decided to include; A virtual keyboard, an Advanced Stereo Space effect, a simple but nice sounding reverb, an Analog like resonant Phaser, up to 6 free assignable modulation nodes, and more…
If you’re looking for a simple and great sounding vocoder that does these three things extremely well, and that is capable of a huge range of related sounds that you can’t obtain from the original, then check out XILS V+.
- Access to a lot of parameters which its hardware model kept secret under the roof.
- One strings section.
- One human voices section.
- One 10 bands vocoder.
- A virtual keyboard
- …and more!
You can find out more about XILS V+ here.
Related: Here’s a list about the best Guitar VST Plugins.
Vocalizer PRO by Sonivox ($49)
If you’re looking for an affordable vocoder plugin that still performs incredibly well, then Vocalizer Pro might be for you.
It features a total of four Spectral Synthesis modules which can be routed in, around, and through each other in various combinations to increase your sonic potential.
Now, add to this that each of these modules offers pitch shifting, filtering, and modulation using LFOs, and you can see how each module can create awesome sounds.
And since you can combine these modules in any way you like, the possibilities are endless.
Two rows of MIDI-mappable pads provide great performance control.
The top row saves snapshots of parameter settings, while the bottom row stores multi-note chords for expressive real-time interaction.
- Revolutionary MIDI-controlled audio effect
- Unparalleled vocoding, re-synthesis and signal processing from subtle to mind-blowing
- Expanded controls including FFT audio processing suite
- Pitch shift, formant, improved frequency control and spreading
- Two rows of performance pads extend playability and live performance control
You can find out more about Vocalizer Pro here.
Lector by WaldorfMusic ($180)
The interface of Lector might seem a bit intimidating at first because of all the knobs and controls, however it’s pretty easy to use.
The analysis filter bank splits the incoming audio signal into as many as 100 frequency bands, which basically means that you can get extremely detailed with the carrier if you want.
It comes with some unusual features such as; The Waldorf multimode filter (12dB-24dB slopes), a whitening filter and a three-band EQ.
The Lector also features two oscillators with analog waveforms such as sine, triangle, sawtooth, square and more, as well as various effects such as distortion, delay and reverb.
- 3 to 100 band Vocoder
- Adjustable range of Analysis Filter Bank
- Adjustable offsets and LFO modulation of Synthesis Filter Bank
- 3-band Equalizer with variable mid band
- Individual Compressors for Speech and Carrier signal
- Voiced / Unvoiced Detector
- …and more!
You can find out more about Lector here.
Razor by Native Instruments $(99)
Razor is actually a soft synth but it comes with an excellent 34-band vocoder function.
This vocoder function is capable of creating the classic vocoder sounds which we all know, but it also allows for more experimentation where you can come up with some pretty cool sounds.
You might be hesitant of purchasing this plugin because of its price tag, but remember that you are getting an overall excellent synth as well, and not just the vocoder function.
- Detailed, dynamic additive synthesis
- Extreme sonic flexibility and morphability for boundless sound design
- Easy-to-use subtractive controls and unique visual feedback
You can fin out more about Razor here.
This concludes the list of the premium vocoder VST/AU plugins.
Now, let’s move on to the free ones…
Best Free Vocoder VST/AU Plugins
- TAL-Vocoder by Togu Audio Line (Windows, Mac)
- FBVC by Full Bucket Music (Windows, Mac)
- VSMINI Vocoder by WOK (Windows only)
- CANNABIS VOCODER BY BITSONIC (Windows only)
- VINTAGE VOCODER BY SONICISM (Windows only)
- Vocovee by g200kg (Windows only)
- mda Vocoder by mda (Windows only)
TAL-Vocoder is a vintage vocoder with 11 bands that emulates the sound of vocoders from the early 80’s.
It includes analog modeled components in combination with digital algorithms such as the SFFT (Short-Time Fast Fourier Transform).
This vocoder does not make a direct convolution of the carrier and modulation signal as other digital vocoders may do.
It includes an envelope follower for every of the eleven bands.
It is mostly been optimized for voice processing and includes some algorithms for consonants to make the voice more intelligible.
- 11 band vocoder engine.
- Internal carrier synth (pulse, saw, sub osc, noise, mono, poly, portamento, sync mode, tune).
- Possibility to route an external carrier signal.
- Harmonic control (adds more harmonics to any carrier signal)
- …and more!
You can download TAL-Vocoder for free here.
FBVC by Full Bucket Music (Free)
The Full Bucket Vocoder FBVC is a plugin that simulates the classic KORG VC-10 Vocoder from 1978.
It emulates both the sound character and the signal chain of said vocoder while still introducing some new features.
The front panel is pretty easy to use and it features the basic controls such as; the global tuning control, the volume controls for carrier and modulator, the vibrato controls and the built-in patch browser.
One cool feature about this vocoder plugin is that it can load a .WAV file, which will then be used by the modulator.
This means that you can avoid routing the audio around in your DAW by simply loading the .WAV file onto the vocoder.
- 20 band full stereo vocoder
- 64 voice polyphonic built-in Tone Generator section
- Accent Bending and Vibrato effects
- Optional WAV file playback
- Fully tweakable Analysis/Synthesis section
- …and more!
You can download FBVC for free here.
VSMINI Vocoder by WOK (Free)
VSMINI is a 20-band vocoder effect plugin based on the Sennheiser Vocoder, however this one is a much more simplified version.
It features an internal carrier signal source with saw or noise and optional MIDI control.
Also, an external signal can be used as the carrier on one channel of the stereo input, the other channel receives the modulation signal.
An integrated noise generator for sibilance parts of the speech signal improves articulation quality.
You can download VSMINI for free here.
CANNABIS VOCODER BY BITSONIC (Free)
Clearly, this isn’t your traditional vocoder plugin, as you might have been able to make out from the name.
However, it really does have an interesting sound to it even though it’s quite a limited plugin.
It comes with a couple of built-in presets which sound a bit funny… actually, the whole plugin sounds funny, but it’s pretty interesting as well.
The mono version is an effect plugin, meaning it’s not a VST instrument.
The poly version is a VST instruments application, where you can load the vocal track into the software and using the midi channel you can create a polyphonic vocoder.
You can download the Cannabis Vocoder for free here.
Vintage Vocoder by Sonicism (Free)
Vintage Vocoder was originally a commercial product published by Sonicism Digital Audio Solutions in 2002.
It was used for the robot voices and sound effects in the computer game Freelancer.
The interface is simple and easy to use, which is always nice, but it’s still a pretty powerful plugin, especially considering that it’s free and pretty dated.
- Screaming analogue style filtering:
- Versatile and powerful Filterbank for analyzing the modulator signal:
- Onboard tone generator for use as the carrier signal:
- Modulate anything with anything.
You can download the Vintage Vocoder for free here.
Vocovee by g200kg (Free)
Vocovee is a VST Effect version of g200kg’s Vocov Vocoder and its features are pretty limited.
It does not have sidechain routing but it does have a lower latency, making it ideal for performances.
It also has an improved built-in synth which is nice.
- Digital vocoder engine.
- Built-in 8 Voice polyphonic 3-OSC 2-LFO synth.
- 6-band Graphic EQ.
- Delay, Chorus and Reverb effects.
You can download Vocovee for free here.
Vocoder by mda (Free)
This is a really simple switchable 8 or 16 band vocoder plugin.
Its interface is extremely simple and it doesn’t really feature anything out of the ordinary.
It’s basically an earlier and less sophisticated version of the Cubase Vocoder.
Note: The website is a bit outdated and the download link isn’t that easy to find. It’s the second-to-last one on the “Plug-ins” section.
You can download the mda Vocoder for free here.
Vocoder plugins are super fun to use, especially the good ones.
I would recommend all the beginners to download a couple of the free ones first before moving on to the higher-end ones.
I hope this information was useful.
Have a nice day!