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The Best Filter Plugin? Here's 3 Solid Options for Beginner Producers to Help You Narrow Down Your Choices Straight Away!

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In the search for best filter plugin you may have realized that you're at no loss for options. You probably also know by now that there's no such thing as "the best" for any type of professional audio plugin.

So, in this post you won't get a recommendation for the ultimate filter plugin.  You will however discover 3 filter plugins that can do the job and do it well.  Consider it a good place to start your hunt for the one that works for you...

A quick note about this series:

The purpose of this series of posts is to provide you with only 3 good DAW audio plugin choices for the different types of available professional music production plugins.

This, as you can imagine, is no easy task given the sheer amount of plugins available in most of the various audio plugin categories.  Some really excellent contenders had to be left on the virtual cutting-room floor.

Why not just list more?

That would've been the easier option for me, but there are countless blog posts listing the 20 or 10 "best [.....] plugins".  While these types of posts have their place and purpose they can still leave you with a bit of overwhelm when it comes to making a choice. Even more so when you start comparing plugin features.

So, the general idea of these posts is...

... to narrow-down to just  3 top contenders in each of the popular DAW plugin categories.  This means you can start with a solid shortlist and demo the plugins which appeal to you most, knowing that these have been selected for good reasons.

So, how are the included plugins selected?

Nothing too scientific.  It's a mix of my what I've picked up in my experience in audio and music for the past 20-ish years, coupled with some light research on sites with ratings and reviews and various lengthy "what's the best plugin for... ?" music production and audio forum posts.  You know the ones. ;-)

So, you can think of it as my opinion plus a bit.  Take it with a grain of salt as you would with any opinion about music production software and gear in general. My hope is you'll find the 3 recommended plugins in each category a good starting point and find the plugin that suits you best,  faster.

Fabulous Filter Fun!

The battle for the best filter plugin has been raging for a while.  The list of contenders has grown significantly in recent times.  We producers are definitely not at a loss for choice.

The use of creative filter-modulation and automation has become an indispensable part of music production, especially in, but in no way limited to,  electronic dance music styles.

Sure you can automate a good EQ for similar effect,  but that's not what this post is all about. It's also not about more transparent filters used for frequency or tonal corrections. We're talking about creative analog style filter plugins that allow you to not only sweep or modulate your filter but also create some oomph for a better,  richer and fatter tone.

In this post below we take a look at three solid and reliable contenders for the top spot when it comes to all-in-one workhorse creative filter plugins.

Which one is the best filter plugin of them all?  That depends of course as you can imagine on what you want to use your filter for.

That said,  it's hard to go wrong with any of the 3 creative analog-style filters you'll discover below.  So, you can rest assured that any of the filter plugins mentioned on this page are at the very least a good starting-point for your consideration.

Just remember to try before you buy and even have a bit of a shoot-out between the options listed and you'll soon know which one will become your go-to or all-rounder plugin of choice.

1. FilterFreak by Soundtoys

FilterFreak Screenshot

FilterFreak is a resonant analog filter which reproduces the sound of classic analog hardware filters of days gone by.  Once you start tweaking this little beast you'll soon realize why it's considered the best filter plugin by top music producers and audio engineers around the world.

Yes, you get a versatile analog filter plugin but that's only where the fun begins...

FilterFreak is actually a 2-in-1 combo because you get a simple single filter with FilterFreak 1 and also FilterFreak 2, which allows you to load up dual filters in series or parallel.

Now, if it stopped there it would be fine and dandy. It doesn't however.  Not even close...

FilterFreak has built in saturation so you can enrich your sounds with even more juicy fatness or grit.  Drive it hard like you would analog gear and see what happens. ;-)

It also allows you to modulate your sounds with LFO-style modulation controls.  So, whether you want to create filter-sweeps or auto-wah and sample-and-hold effects all the way to more complex modulated rhythmic sequences,  this workhorse of a filter plugin has your back!

FilterFreak is available for both Mac OS and Windows platforms and has a free trial so you can try before you buy.

Be warned though: Once you try it you'll quickly realize that this is so much more than a simple highpass, lowpass, bandpass and band reject filter.  It's an inspiring, fun little magic black box of creative musical possibility.  Now you know. ;-)

Check out Filterfreak right now at Plugin Boutique. (affiliate link)

2. Volcano 2 by FabFilter

Volcano 2 Screenshot

The battle for best filter plugin continues with Volcano 2.

There's good reasons for the glowing testimonials this popular filter plugin by FabFilter gets from heavyweight producers like Noisia.

It starts of course with the 4 sweet-sounding multi-mode digital filters.  These come with panning and delay options built in.

The routing and and modulation options make this filter plugin mind-blastingly powerful and flexible as a creative tool in the studio.  16-step XLFOs? Check! Envelope generators? Envelope followers? Check and check! Add to that the fact that the modulation is all drag-and-drop easy to implement and you'll soon discover why many producers will argue that this is the best filter plugin available.

The mid-side processing and the handy side-chain input adds even more functionality to this already great filter plugin.

Now, if you haven't used FabFilter plugins before the interface may take some getting used to.  Once you grok it you may however just fall in love!

The list of features goes on but luckily a free trial is available, so I suggest you give it a whirl.

Volcano 2 is available for both Mac OS and Windows platforms.

Head on over to Plugin Boutique right now to check out Volcano 2. (affiliate link)

3. The Drop by Cytomic

The Drop Screenshot

Another contender for the best filter plugin available is The Drop.

This analog modeled resonant filter plugin has been programmed to recreate classic hardware synth filters with great precision and attention paid to preserving the original models.

It doesn't just sound good though.  You also get simple-to-use modulation options with 2 built-in LFOs and 2 envelopes, FM modulation and Shift, Spread and Glide parameters accessible on a well-designed intuitive layout.

So, whether you just want to warm up your lower mids and low frequencies, add some sizzle to your highs, create spectacular sweeps and drops, use it to pump, duck and create stabs or more creative special effect-type filter modulations, The Drop delivers in spades.

Available for both Mac OS and Windows platforms. Free trial available.

Try out The Drop today right now, here.

The Best Filter Plugin - Conclusion:

I trust this post has made your search for the best filter plugin a bit easier.

Are there other filter plugins available?  Of course.  These 3 have stood the test of time however,  so they're a good solid place to start your hunt.

Not satisfied yet? ;-)

Then check out Plugin Boutique's most popular filter plugins for more good options here.