8 Under The Radar Plugin Companies You Should Know About
Exploring new plugins is a great way to inspire creativity and find new ways to set your sound apart from others. But sometimes they can be tough to find.
When it comes to audio plugins, the big brands take up most of the attention. Brands like FabFilter, iZoptope, Waves, and Xfer Records (Serum) are constantly being mentioned in YouTube tutorials, music production courses, and plugin guides.
And don’t get me wrong, they all make amazing plugins. But if you are looking for some new brands to follow or want some fresh sound inspiration to work with, then this list is for you!
There are tons of other music production plugin creators that make really awesome plugins.
So in this article, I’m walking you through 8 lesser-known plugin companies that you should check out. Here they are!
Sonible is a really cool VST creator. What sets them apart is their use of ‘smart’ plugins that use AI to automatically adjust based on your audio source.
Their smart:reverb plugin, for example, delivers custom-tailored reverb by adjusting its processing to the individual characteristics of the input material.
The idea is that you will get a mixed sound without needing to spend the time messing around with a ton of knobs.
Like with other AI plugins, you can’t always rely on them to give you the exact sound that you want. But luckily you can do a lot of manual adjusting with the plugins as well. Overall these are some great plugins to play around with!
2. Creative Intent
Creative Intent has a small collection of plugins that are well made and have beautiful interfaces. Their most basic plugin is called Temper, and it’s a fairly simple distortion plugin that’s great for adding a bit of fuzzy distortion to whatever you are working on.
The plugin that I like most from Creative Intent is called Remnant. The company describes the plugin as a digital grain delay effect designed for dense, experimental soundscapes and sharp, stuttering glitches.
All I know is that it creates some CRAZY sounds.
To me, this plugin sounds like Flume. If you want to make Flume type music then this is your plugin. It turns whatever audio you have into a really lush, glitchy, and a bit off the wall sound. But it does so in a way that still sounds pleasant in my opinion.
I’m excited to see what plugins Creative Intent comes out in the future. They are worth checking out if you haven’t already!
3. Future Audio Workshop
Future Audio Workshop has gained some eyeballs with its SubLab and Circle plugins. So they may be inching out of “under the radar” status. But if you haven’t heard of them, then they are worth looking into.
Their SubLab plugin is an amazing 808 synthesizer.
I think it’s one of the better 808 plugins out there. Their preset selection is good enough to use exclusively. But outside of its presets, it offers a ton of ways to easily create custom 808’s too. And I like how some of the presets are named after actual songs like Post Malone’s “Rockstar” so that you can easily know what sound to expect.
Their Circle plugin is also really good. It’s a really solid synthesizer that I think can create some similar sounds to something like a Serum. It provides a ton of wavetable options which I really like. And it also gives you some cool modulation options. Overall, it is capable of producing some really clean, modern-sounding sounds!
Polyverse makes a few amazing plugins. If you haven’t heard of their Manipulator plugin, then you need to!
SoundToy’s Little Alter Boy gets most of the attention when it comes to vocal pitch-shifting plugins. But Manipulator is also really good and even has a few more capabilities! You can do the basic things like changing the pitch and formant of a track. But you can do so much more including detuning the sound and adding harmonics. You can even use it as a vocoder. Which sounds amazing! If you are an EDM producer, then Manipulator is a must-try plugin.
5. Robotic Bean
Robotic bean has some great plugins that many have never heard of. Their Hand Clap Studio may be their most popular and unique plugin. It’s a VST for creating realistic claps and snaps. There are a ton of settings you can mess around with to get different sounding claps. You can choose how many clappers, the strength of clap, the type of clap, and much more. Overall it’s a really useful tool as opposed to spending time searching for clap samples.
They have a ton of other cool plugins too! Like their Resonans Physical Synthesizer. Which is a Physical Modelling Synthesizer that is great for bells and other mallet-type sounds.
Their TS-1 Time Slider is also a useful plugin for quickly shifting the timing of an audio track to either fix timing or create some offbeat groove.
Kush Audio is an under-the-radar plugin company that makes some great products. They remind me a bit of SoundToys plugins as far as what they do, as well as how they look.
Their collection provides everything from compressors (their AR-1 Vintage Compressor produces some real crisp sounds), to reverbs, and saturators.
Their Pusher is a really cool plugin that combines compression, distortion, and saturation into one plugin. You can get some real gritty sounds with it!
7. Audio Damage
Audio Damage is an interesting plugin manufacturer that is worth checking out. They make a collection of VST instruments as well as effects. I have yet to explore their whole collection of plugins fully. But the plugins I have checked out have definitely caught my interest.
They have some unique plugins such as a looper. The looper plugin called Enso can record up to 10 minutes of stereo audio (at 48kHz sample rate; 5 minutes on iOS) and play it back in both directions at any speed. This is a fun little plugin to mess around with and create your own unique samples with.
Their plate reverb plugin AD045 ADVERB2 is a great sounding reverb and they have some unique sounding distortion and delay plugins as well.
On the synth side, they have their AD051 CONTINUA which is a virtual analog synth with a twist: a continuously morphable threesome of oscillators. This plugin takes some getting used to and might take a few YouTube tutorials to figure out how it all works. But you can get some really cool sounds with it!
8. Melda Production
Melda production offers just about every effect plugin under the sun. And the best part is that almost all their plugins are free!
Most of their plugins are pretty basic and admittedly nothing special. But they absolutely can get the job done.
Their mStereoExpander plugin is something I use in almost any song I produce. If there is one plugin they have that I would recommend, it’s this one. It makes whatever you put it on sound wider. Considering it’s free, every producer should have it!
And if you are a beginner producer, then their collection of free plugins are a great starting point.
Hopefully this list has given you a few new plugin manufacturers to check out! Finding new plugins is a great way to give yourself some new inspiration. You never know what weird plugin will give you the inspiration for your next track!