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Top 5 Distortion Plugins 2021

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Distortion is a very important element of drum & bass production, whether it be for boosting your drums or creating grotty basslines that shatter club sound systems (failing that your car subwoofer or TV sound bar). With so many VST options available I thought I would share my top 5 distortion plugins.

I’m not going to rank them in any particular order as they are all great VSTs and all get used on a regular basis in my music production. Pretty much all of these distortion plugins do a similar job, but I find each have certain go to features that I prefer for particular situations. Let’s get into my favourite distortion plugins…

Top 5 Distortion Plugins

  1. Cableguys Shaper Box 2
  2. Minimal Audio Rift
  3. Sound Toys Decapitator
  4. Output Audio Thermal
  5. Wave Arts Tube Saturator Vintage


1. Cableguys Shaper Box 2

Shaper Box 2 is a creative powerhouse and comes with 7 great effects built-in. It has 2 types of distortion tools, Crush Shaper, and Drive Shaper. Both tools have multi-band distortion capabilities and all of the Shaper Box tools have easy drawable LFOs and flexible envelope followers which can create awesome grooves and interesting textures. With so many other cool functions this one is worth every penny in my opinion! Grab it from Plugin Boutique


2. Minimal Audio Rift

This is one of my latest purchases. I have literally only used it for a couple of hours but I love it already! Rift is a Hybrid Distortion VST, it sounds great and seems so flexible. With its huge preset library and awesome built-in filters I have a feeling this one will be the go to distortion tool for a lot of EDM producers in the future!

Rift is Currently $75 dollars, as it’s brand new. Minimal Audio are offering this powerhouse tool at an introductory price. Eventually this will go up to $129 so go grab yourself a bargain while you can!

Rift

3. Sound Toys Decapitator

This distortion plugin is amazing! Decapitator can be used on anything, it really does have an analog sound to it. Decapitator can be used to push very subtle harmonics, or you can crank it up to create pure destruction!

I would say this is one of the top saturation VST’s on the market. It’s a bit pricey but Soundtoys have great sales, so keep your eyes peeled. Check it out on Plugin Boutique


4. Output Audio Thermal

Another great VST which can be used very creatively. Thermal pretty much covers all types of distortion. You can choose from 19 analog and digitally modelled distortion algorithms. I really like the circular XY control and have created some very interesting movements using it.

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This one is not cheap, but I bought Thermal using the rent to buy scheme on Splice which is a great way to own it if you have a low budget. It’s also available on Plugin Boutique


5. Wave Arts Tube Saturator Vintage

I really like this tool and also own version 2 but this one is free to download!

It’s simple and very effective and I particularly love the BASS, MID, TREBLE sections. The beautiful thing about this VST is it will make anything you put on it sound better and it also comes with a price tag of £0… What have you got to lose?! You can download it for free from wavearts.com

TubeSaturator

Hear These Distortion Plugins In Action…

Want to hear how you can use these distortion plugins in your D&B productions? Then check out all 5 tracks on the ‘Reset EP’ by AKAS on Audio Addict Records.

Be sure to also follow AKAS on Spotify as he has a load of music forthcoming.

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