For pure filtering mayhem, what are people grooving on these days? Is there anything approaching, or surpassing, devices like the Sherman Filterbank for extreme filter-based processing? There are a lot of choices but few seem really good at signal routing.

[It's OK to suggest apps or plug-ins that have great filtering functions, such as Absynth]

Sigh, I'm even starting to miss the filters in my ancient E-Mu E5000 hardware sampler, even those were more expressive than many software filters today... :-)

  • @NoiseJockey Are you looking for Mac, PC or dual OS based software? Aug 14, 2011 at 22:17

13 Answers 13


Since Filtering actually includes more than just excessive EQ, off the top of my head there's a few really crazy one's that I'm a big fan of. Obviously Soundtoys and GRM Tools are a bit of a given in our field, so here are some that give me that same "giddy child discovering new ways to make weird sounds" feeling when I get to work with them and will likely annoy the living hell out of anyone within 50ft of me working and looping for hours on end.

They're all mostly esoteric plug-in's that have filters and/or morophing functions and not so common filter types like Spectral based processing, LFO routing options, Crazy editing, shaping and more.

  • Soundhack has several bundles well suited for filtering. The new PVOC kit bundle is insane. I've been using it since I was testing out the first beta's and the possibilities are endless.

  • Little Endian Ltd's "SpectrumWorx" (who I just finished a signature preset library for). Really wicked Modular Insert based Spectral FX environment. In SW you can create chains of modules, assign LFO's to the parameters, side-chain additional audio into it for some convolution type effects and loads more. I had a blast making my preset bundle. It's a really fun program.

  • "Paulstretch" has some interesting filters and you don't even have to time stretch your audio to use them. Even though using it for it's timestretch is decidely (by me) a sound designers must have program.

  • Also, interestingly enough... I really have fun editing in Adobe's SoundBooth and link textAudition (Audition is now native on Mac), for experimental and unique file manipulation. They both have an interesting approach to editing. Namely the Spectral Editing Mode which is a Graphical Audio Editor that gives you some tools similar to photoshop to visually and thus audibly mangle your audio. You can chop very precise holes and chunks out of your audio and get some really interesting results. My understanding is that Audition is the more fully featured (Zaftig or Rubenesque, perhaps? lol) editor that allows external plug-ins and has more options, tracks and features. They kind of remind me of using MetaSynth a bit but the Adobe stuff much easier to use imo since they're more traditional editors with a couple weird approaches instead of the other way around. MetaSynth is another option as well.

  • I was big on the D16 Group stuff for a little bit. It was mostly Redoptor and Decimort, but I could never really get the results I wanted without splitting my bands to different busses with an instance on each and summing back to a single track. They need to give those plug-ins a more expansive multiband mode. The Decimort shuold be of interesting note to you with it's capacity for E-Mu filter and AD/DA sample rate emulations.

  • There's a cool vector based envelope filter called FilterShaper by Cableguys that you can do some really insane stuff with.

  • I really love the filtered delay lines in U-He's MFM2. Some of the units in his Uhbik bundle are pretty cool too.

  • Sinevibes makes some wicked sick plug-ins that are pretty cheap. My faveorites are "Filther", Drift, Sequential, Turbo and Turbulence.

  • I find I use Fab Filter's "Volcano 2" a lot as well as AudioDamage's "Kombinat"

  • Twisted Tools also make some Reaktor Ensemble based esoteric/extreme concept/technique based effects that do sick filtering and morphing at times.

Happy Tweaking!


Sound Toys Filter Freak or GRM Tools Bandpass work great for me. The new Air plugins for ProTools are actually pretty good too, like the Kill EQ etc..


Destroy FX has some weird digital glitchy stuff. They're free too!


its not a plugin but I am lusting after a Schippman Ebb und Flutt


They are releasing a eurorack filter soon so that might be me....

  • 1
    @tim, wow - that's an amazing piece of hardware! Thanks for linking. Aug 13, 2011 at 21:47

I'm very fond of the filter's in Camel Audio's Alchemy, they sound very good, and the modulation in Alchemy is great.

Sound Toy's Filterfreak is my favourite sounding filter, but I do wish the routing was more configurable.

Fabfilter volcano is pretty cool, nice modulation, etc..

Kontakt is great for this as well of course, and the new version coming out next month has 30+ new filters I think?


yeah, if only the Air plugs were AudioSuite...


OhmForce has some genuinely crazy sounding plugs, but the UI is highly stylized and not always intuitive.


My buddy uses FAB filter Volcano and stuff pretty regularly for musical sound design and it's pretty modular


Volcano is definitely crazy, I love the sound of FabFilter stuff.

Also very highly recommend taking a look at the Quad Frohmage from Ohmforce. Pretty bonkers.

Last but not least; The Delay Designer in Logic, while not a dedicated filter, has a filter on it and is capable from some unbelievably cool weirdness.


Definitely going to second the Soundhack plugins. As Syndicate Synthetique mentioned, the new PVOC Bundle is absolutely amazing.

Their older Spectral Shaper bundle has a bunch of great filtering tools, http://soundhack.henfast.com/spectral-shapers/.

Super handy for getting some wacky stuff. Particularly fond of "Morph Filter"


when I'm getting nutty I'll use the stuff in guitar rig.

i use RX for some out of the box stuff as well, but that's because I live in RX. :)


Propellerheads Reason has some really nice filters - their resonance filters on their mastering units and samplers are really nice for mashing stuff.


I just recently learned of Cytomic and their product called "The Drop" which has some unique filters:

"Circuits include Sallen Key (eg MS-20), Ladder (eg Moog Prodigy), Cascade (eg Roland SH-02) and more to be announced"

It's the same guys that made "The Glue" compressor for Ableton Live.

That page is from an old press release; the final product has a lot more from what I understand (but doesn't list them all).

I heard of them by way of the Serum soft synth, which hired them for at least some of their filters (so I heard), and also has some insanely good sounding ones. In fact, if The Drop is anything like the filter stage on Serum, I will be picking it up, because I would love to route audio through that filter stage; it is probably the best I have ever heard in software. It has the usual stuff, then some really really exotic stuff, like Flanger and Phaser filters, and other stuff I've never even heard of that sounds really unique and good.

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