Some of the best audio effects and effects plugins for music production in 2024

Audio effects are a cornerstone of music production. They’re the tools we use to polish, process, and transform sounds. Whether it’s tidying up a kick with EQ, saturating a synth for color, or adding depth with reverb and delay, effects plugins make your productions sound better. That is, if you have the right ones for the job.

With countless audio effects available for every conceivable production task, it can be difficult to know which effect plugins are right for you. Take a look at some of the best audio effects for music production available from Native Instruments, covering every stage of the process, from inspiration to the final mixdown. Look at a range of tools, from workhorse equalizers and compressors through to juicy distortion, characterful modulation, lush reverb, and much more.

The best audio effects and effects plugins from Native Instruments

1. VocalSynth2

VocalSynth2 is a powerful all-in-one audio effect, and one of the best effect plugins for vocals. Describing itself as a “vocal synthesizer,” it combines five powerful voice-sculpting tools with seven stompbox-style audio effects to help you find your signature sound. The possibilities are almost endless – polish your performance with three pitch-correction modes, imitate classic vocoder effects, stack up luscious harmonies, or sculpt your vox in wild new ways. The drag-and-drop audio effects chain makes it quick to try things out and perfect your sound.

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2. Komplete 14

Komplete 14 gives you all the effect plugins you need for music production. This all-in-one production suite contains 19 audio effects, covering everything from versatile tools such as equalizer and compression through to stylish saturation, wild modulation, cavernous reverb and delay – plus weird and wonderful extras like Unfiltered Audio’s LO-FI-AF. As if that wasn’t enough, Komplete 14 offers plenty more besides effects, including the powerful Kontakt 7 and Reaktor 6 platforms, flagship synths such as Massive and FM8, and countless samples and presets, all for a discounted price.

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3. Effect Series - Crush Pack

Distortion is an essential tool in music production, whether you’re adding subtle glue to drums, fattening up a bass line, or outright obliterating your sounds. But it’s not always easy to pick the best saturator plugin for the task at hand. Crush Pack gives you all the options in a single smart package. Its three audio effects cover all kinds of crunchy goodness. Dirt brings you flavors of conventional distortion, with smart controls and great organic sound. Use Bite to capture the low sample-rate crunch of 80s and 90s production – or to bitcrush sounds into oblivion. For wilder effects, Freak offers classic AM, ring mod, and frequency shifting: perfect for detuned vocals, alien timbres, and more.

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4. Effect Series - Mod Pack

If your productions are lacking movement and life, consider using a modulation effect to spice them up. Mod Pack is a trio of plug-ins that reinvent classic modulation effects to add depth and style to your sounds. Choral combines the sound of legendary vintage chorus effects with powerful modern controls, making it the only chorus you’ll ever need. Flair revolutionizes the iconic flanger effect with a new Voices mode, great for tuned effects and ringing resonances. And Phasis is an innovative take on the dreamy phaser effect. All three include advanced features that make them perfect for subtle effects and bold sound design alike.

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5. Molekular

Molekular is a powerful tool for sparking inspiration and creating your own unique sounds. This modular effects environment hosts 35 exclusive audio effects that can be patched together in virtually any way imaginable. Its extensive modulation and routing options mean that a single effects chain can quickly become a whole universe of sound. If that all sounds a little fiddly, don’t worry – the innovative Morphing Field allows you to quickly shift between settings to “perform” your effects live, making sound creation fun and spontaneous. Available for Reaktor or the free Reaktor Player.

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6. The Mouth

Use The Mouth to turn your spontaneous ideas into compelling tracks – fast. This unique effect, from instrument designer and Warp Recordings artist Tim Exile, generates melodies and harmonies out of whatever audio material you feed it. Sing, beatbox, or send a drum loop into The Mouth and it’ll give you a bassline or synth part to match. A simple interface and powerful effects section makes it fun and easy to tweak the results.

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7. The Finger

If you don’t enjoy clicking through endless digital knobs and dials to use your audio effects, The Finger could be for you. Another creation from Tim Exile, this unique tool allows you to “play” over 40 creative effects as you would a musical instrument. Use a MIDI keyboard (or the piano roll in your DAW) to spontaneously trigger The Finger’s arsenal of real-time sound transformers, delays, distortion, and more. It’s perfect for off-the-cuff glitch effects, live remixing, and getting the juices flowing in the studio.

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8. Neoverb

Neoverb is a reverb effect with smart features to help you avoid a muddy sound. You can quickly combine up to three different reverbs using the Blend Pad to get just the right space you need. If you’re not sure where to start, the Reverb Assistant will help you select the right reverb for the moment. And the AI-powered equalizer section will listen to your audio and help you avoid mud and masking. On top of this, Neoverb simply sounds great. If you’re looking for a workhorse reverb effect, Neoverb might be the one.

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9. Stratus

If you want to go a little deeper with reverb, Stratus could be a good choice. This revered reverb effect features top-quality algorithms from Exponential Audio and is packed with features that make it a go-to across the industry. Highly advanced controls help you to get clear, accurate reverberations, even when working in surround sound. And if you don’t want to get bogged down in the details, Stratus comes with over 1700 presets, covering rooms, plates, halls, chambers, and more.

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10. Symphony

When used creatively, reverb is about much more than just adding space to your productions. Symphony is a lush, colorful reverb effect with inspiring features that go beyond the expected. Create ambient textures and pads with the Freeze function, which captures a snapshot of reverb and extends it indefinitely. Experiment with the Warp tools to further shape your sound in surprising directions. And use the Tail Suppression and Recovery features to make sure that your reverb doesn’t overcrowd your mix. On top of this, surround sound support and advanced controls make Symphony perfect for subtler uses too.

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11. Raum

The Raum reverb effect plugin is primed for creating bold creative effects with minimal head-scratching. Its three distinct modes cover a wide sonic range, from realistic rooms to outer-space sound design, and its simple interface allows you to quickly dial in the space you need – or to see how extreme you can go. For extra sound-shaping possibilities, explore the simple but powerful pre-delay and modulation parameters. Raum is a great reverb effect for creative producers, and you can get it for free in the Komplete Start bundle.

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12. Replika XT

The character of your delay tails says a lot about your productions. Are they crisp and modern, or crunchy and analogue? Do they bounce rhythmically, or drift charmingly off the grid? Replika XT should be your go-to delay for getting just the flavor you need. Its five modes cover all bases, from hi-fidelity Modern mode to Tape, Analog, Vintage Digital, and more. A wealth of advanced options give you precise creative control, and additional effects such as Chorus, Phaser, and Micro Shifter allow you to shape your delays for every context. Crucially, a clear interface makes tweaking those repeats quick and easy.

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13. Reverb Classics

If you like your reverb with a vintage flavor, try Reverb Classics. This duo of effect plugins recreates the lush, dynamic sound of two of the most coveted reverb units in history, heard on countless recordings since the 1980s. RC 24 gives you three gorgeous hall algorithms that are perfect for adding luxurious space or shimmering sound design. The two refined reverbs in RC 48, meanwhile, sound great on acoustic instruments and vocals. Tweaking is made easy by a unique visual display, which shows changes to reverb parameters in real time.

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14. Guitar Rig 7 Pro

Even producers who have never touched a guitar should take a close look at Guitar Rig 7 Pro. Much more than just an amp sim, this effects plug-in is a near-limitless playground for sound processing and design. It features a huge collection of lovingly modeled amplifiers, effects, and more, allowing you to recreate legendary guitar rigs or mix-and-match your own. But the fun really starts when you begin breaking the rules. Run multiple amp heads in parallel, stack up improbable effects chains, or use Guitar Rig 7 Pro with synths, vocals, and drums.

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15. Driver

Driver is a unique distortion effect, and perhaps the best saturator plugin for producers interested in gnarly, overheated sounds. At its core is the rare pairing of a high-quality filter with a punishing distortion unit. Use the filter to shape the frequency profile of your sound, then add distortion for warmth – or to induce total sonic meltdown. Driver really comes into its own when you use the modulation sources to create movement in your sound.

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16. Neutron

Mixing is an essential stage in music production. It’s the moment when your ideas get the polish they deserve, and your tracks really start to sing. This one stop shop features everything you need to get pro-quality mixes. The workhorse audio effects, equalizer, compressor, exciter, and the like, are top-quality and easy to use. And a series of innovative features help make mixing seamless. The Unmask module improves mix clarity by solving masking issues between elements. The AI-powered Mix Assistant can suggest custom effect settings for different instruments, or dynamically match the tone of your track to a sample or stem.

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17. Supercharger GT

Supercharger GT is a great choice for adding in some flavor. This tube compressor is designed to shape dynamics – use it to tame a drum bus or dial in juicy parallel compression. But its main appeal lies in the glorious harmonic distortion it adds to the signal. Additional Saturation and Character controls let you fine-tune this aspect, dialing in just the right amount of crunch.

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18. Nectar

Trying to get pro-sounding vocals? Look no further than Nectar 4. This plug-in features everything you need to craft pristine vox in a single easy interface. Over a dozen modules cover all the bases, from EQ, compression, and pitch correction to some wild and unique effects. Layer sweet harmonies behind your vocal with the Voice module, or use Auto Level to get consistent dynamics without the artefacts caused by compression. You can even add in custom backing singers with the Backer module.

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19. bx_delay 2500

bx_delay 2500 is the best effect plugin for producers who want to go deeper with delay. It can do everything from simple repeats to wild sound design effects, and it’s designed to handle automatic delay time changes without glitching – perfect for complex evolving sounds. As with all Brainworx plugins, bx_delay 2500 is designed with professional mixing in mind, and it’s packed with handy mix features, including ducking, mid/side processing, and a powerful transient shaper. Where your other delay plug-ins don’t quite cut it, bx_delay 2500 will step up.

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20. A/DA Flanger

Launched in the 70s, the A/DA Flanger was one of the first commercially produced flanger effects, and a benchmark for all other flangers to come. Now, thanks to the team at Brainworx, you can have this legendary flanger effect in your laptop studio. Lovingly modeled with the approval of A/DA founder Dave Tarnowski, this bucket brigade flanger can do everything from mild mirage effects to roaring jet plane whooses. Use to add style to guitars, synths, vocals – anything that could benefit from a little vintage flair.

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21. bx_rooMS

bx_rooMS is a pro-quality reverb effect with some unique and powerful features. First among them is TrueSpace technology. Instead of a limited selection of reverb algorithms (room, hall, etc.), TrueSpace offers a virtually infinite number of possible room sizes and shapes to choose from, meaning you’ll always be able to get the perfect reverberation for your track. Additionally, mid/side processing helps you to slot your reverb perfectly into the mix. If the interface seems a little intimidating at first, the 200-odd presets, many of them designed by expert mix engineers, will help you get started. bx_rooMS is for producers who want to take their reverb to the next level.

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22. Unfiltered Audio Triad

Do you love trying to create the sounds you can hear in your head? Triad might be your new favorite plugin. Like Molekular, it’s an all-in-one modular effects system that can be used to conjure almost any sound imaginable. Triad unique twist is that it works across three frequency bands, allowing you to sculpt effects that work differently across the frequency spectrum. From multi-band compression to frequency dependent reverb, complex distortions, intricate delays and more, Triad makes it easy to dial in unique, boundary-pushing sounds. It’s the ultimate inspiration station for imaginative producers.

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Start elevating your tracks with audio effects and effects plugins

Now that you’re familiar with reliable mixing tools, versatile delays and reverbs, juicy saturators, and much more, it’s time to start using effects plugins to elevate your productions.

Komplete 14 is the best place to start with audio effects. This all-in-one production suite contains 19 world-class audio effects, alongside flagship synths, countless samples and presets, and much more. Whether you’re a seasoned production veteran or you’re just starting to build your audio effects collection, Komplete 14 has everything you need.

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