We’re currently living in the age of digital audio, and in-the-box mixing within a digital audio workstation is commonplace. Plugins are, therefore, invaluable assets for the modern audio engineer. The flanger effect is a modulation effect that is also considered an important tool in the audio engineer’s toolbox. With so many flanger plugins on the market, 9 stand out as being top performers.
What is the flanger effect in audio? Flanger is a modulation audio effect whereby a signal is duplicated, and the phase of one copy is continuously being shifted. This changing phase causes a sweeping comb filter effect where peaks and notches are produced in the frequency spectrum or the signal’s EQ.
For more information on the phaser modulation effect:
• Complete Guide The Flanger Audio Modulation Effect
• Complete Guide To Audio Modulation Effects (With Examples)
In this article, we’ll discuss the top 9 best flanger plugins.
The top 9 best flanger plugins for digital audio workstations are:
- Blue Cat’s Flanger
- Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II
- ToneBoosters ReelBus 4
- Softube Fix Flanger & Doubler
- D16 Group Antresol
- MeldaProduction MFlangerMB
- kiloHearts Flanger Snapin
- Imaginando DLYM
- Kuassa Efektor FL3606
It should go without saying that any “top X” article is subject to bias. I would expect the next person’s top 9 to be different than mine but hope that there would be plenty of overlap.
That being said, I believe these plugins to be the best flanger plugin options today. The criteria I used to judge these plugins include the following:
- Sonic performance: how does the flanger plugin sound subjectively/objectively?
- Graphic user interface (GUI): how does the flanger plugin look when loaded in the DAW?
- Ease-of-use: how user-friendly is the flanger plugin?
- Functionality: how many different functions does it serve and/or how many parameters are available for the flanger effect?
- Accessibility/compatibility: how easy is it to acquire the flanger plugin, and what are the system requirements?
Let’s discuss each of the top 9 best flanger plugins in greater detail to learn why they made this list.
Related article: Top 11 Best Flanger Pedals For Guitar & Bass
Blue Cat’s Flanger
The Blue Cat’s Flanger (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is a simple and versatile flanger plugin inspired by the many flanger sounds of the 1970s and 1980s.
The Blue Cat’s Flanger is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
With the Blue Cat Audio Blue Cat’s Flanger, it’s easy to dial in the perfect flanger effect on whatever track/source we like. From the harsh and metallic comb-filtering to the smooth and soft flagging, this plugin does it all. And it’s free!
The Spread control features a virtual button to engage or disengage stereo processing and a knob to control the stereo width of the effect.
In addition to the standard flanger parameters (delay, depth and rate), this flexible plugin allows users to toggle the LFO shape between sine or triangle and opt for in-phase or out-of-phase feedforward and feedback paths.
The user interface is simple and effective, making it easy to obtain vintage flanger effects in your DAW without forking out any cash.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Blue Cat’s Flanger at Blue Cat Audio.
Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II
The Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is an authentic emulation of the company’s original 1975 studio rackmount unit of the same name.
The Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
Eventide brings the magic of its legendary vintage flanger hardware unit to the world of audio plugins. Stereo sweetening, subtle modulations, double-tracking, and extreme flanging effects are now available in virtually unlimited instances within your DAW. From the analog character to the emulated “bounce back” speed recovery of tape machines, Eventide has covered it all.
In addition to the depth and feedback controls, the Instant Flanger Mk II plugin provides “pseudo-stereo” with dual outputs configurable in Shallow, Deep and Wide modes for an impressive range of stereo width settings.
Tame the flanger effect with a low-cut (high-pass) filter in the effects line. Optimize the flagging effect with sync, re-trigger and manual LFO control and explore the sidechain option for triggering the Envelope Follower from any other source within the DAW.
To learn more about high-pass filters and sidechain processing, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• Audio EQ: What Is A High-Pass Filter & How Do HPFs Work?
• The Complete Guide To Sidechain Compression In Audio
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II user manual.
Eventide is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Audio Plugin (VST/AU/AAX) Brands In The World.
ToneBoosters ReelBus 4
The ToneBoosters ReelBus 4 (link to check the price at ToneBoosters) is a faithful plugin emulation of magnetic tape recording, tape flanger and BBD echo.
The ToneBoosters ReelBus 4 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
ToneBoosters ReelBus 4 offers the classic sound of analog tape in all its glory. From the Drive EQ with Hysteresis adjustment to tape echo and flanging, its sonic performance is distinctly analog. We can even dial in the perfect amount of tape hiss and asperity noise to reach our desired authenticity.
Other adjustments include virtual knobs for bias level, wow & flutter, record level and compression. Choose between W and F simulation and access the tape stop feature for the classic effect.
When it comes to the flanger effect, classic tape flanging is made easy with beat-synced LFO, and the effect can even be applied to specific frequency ranges only. Blend this super-realistic effect between 0 and 100% for the ideal flanger for your track(s).
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the ToneBooster ReelBus 4 user manual.
Softube Fix Flanger & Doubler
The Softube Fix Flanger and Doubler (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) are plugins based on the renowned but rare 1979 hardware designs of Paul Wolff.
The Softube Fix Flanger & Doubler is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
Softube has brought Paul Wolff’s beloved technology to the masses with the Fix Flanger & Double. This superb plugin offers amazing vocal doubling with lush chorus, unique (to the original) stereo widening and, of course, excellent hands-on flanging.
Though the two come in a combo, we’ll focus on the Fix Flanger in this section, as it’s the plugin with the classic flanger effect.
The Fix Flanger sounds amazing and offers superior flexibility and realistic controls thanks to DSP and modelling technology.
Combining hands-on VSO flange control with servo motor bounce emulation makes this plugin perform and feel (virtually, of course) like the real deal.
Opt for any style of flanging, from vintage stompboxes to manual tape machine flanging. Expect nothing but the best flanger effect regardless of what you’re after with the Softube Fix Flanger.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Softube user’s guide.
Softube is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
• Top 11 Best Audio Plugin (VST/AU/AAX) Brands In The World
• Top 11 Best DAW Control Surface Brands In The World
D16 Group Antresol
The D16 Group Antresol (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is a plugin recreation of the legendary Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress stompbox pedal.
The D16 Group Antresol is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
D16 Group brings the renowned character of one of the most iconic flanger pedals ever to be produced. With modern DSP, the design has been carried far beyond what the original was designed to do. We get an accurate emulation of bucket-brigade device analog flanging with the controls of a highly functional audio software plugin.
The functionality of this plugin runs deep, offering an incredible range of controls and flanger possibilities.
Antresol features two independent LFO, each with its own rate that can be synced to the DAW tempo or adjusted manually. The waveform (triangle, sine, hyper-triangle or random) and depth can also be adjusted on a per LFO basis. Using both LFOs simultaneously (especially with Phase Shift) provides near-boundless possibilities unobtainable with vintage M.
The plugin is capable of regular left/right stereo processing and mid-side processing. Crosstalk between the left and right channels is also completely adjustable for notable control over the stereo output.
This D16 flanger offers 3 distinct characters:
- Mistress: a direct emulation of the Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress pedal
- Linear: a linear flanger image in the frequency response dynamic
- Concave: a dynamic that more closely follows the time delays
The detailed mix section of the plugin offers automatic or manual mixing of wet/dry, left/right wet and mid/side wet. This further enhances the user’s ability to dial in the perfect flanger effect for their specific application.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the user D16 Group Antresol manual.
Electro-Harmonix is one of My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Guitar/Bass Effects Pedal Brands To Know & Use.
The Electro-Harmonix Electric Mistress is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 11 Best Flanger Pedals For Guitar & Bass.
The MeldaProduction MFlangerMB (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is a powerful multiband flanger, allowing users to affect different frequency bands with various styles of flanger effects simultaneously.
The MeldaProduction MFlangerMB is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
This superb multiband flanger plugin offers pristine audio quality and up to 6 fully customizable bands with 3 perfectly transparent crossover algorithms (analog, linear-phase and hybrid). Adjust the flanger settings to affect each and every band with its own unique flanger effect.
The MFlangerMB comes with two separate user interfaces. The basic GUI offers all the basics and several pre-defined modes to get users set up and running quickly. The advanced GUI unlocks many additional features to create a truly unique flanger effect.
The “control voltage” oscillators are completely customizable; from predefined oscillator shapes to custom waveform editing to step-sequencing and algorithmic post-processing, the flanger effect can be produced in virtually unlimited ways.
On top of that, the MFlangerMB features 4 global modulators that can be assigned to any other parameter to get truly creative with the flanger effect. Each modulator can be set as an LFO, envelope follower, midi/audio-triggered ADSR envelope, a pitch detector or a combination thereof.
Other advanced features include up to 8 channels of surround processing, automatic synchronization to host tempo, adjustable up-sampling (1x-16x), MIDI learning and global preset management.
This super powerful flanger plugin deserves a top spot on this list and a whole other article to discuss its full potential (in addition to actually testing it out). To learn more, please check out the MFlangerMB user manual.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the MFlangerMB support page at MeldaProduction.
kiloHearts Flanger Snapin
The kiloHearts Flanger Snapin (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is a super-simple yet surprisingly flexible flanger plugin.
The kiloHearts Flanger Snapin is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats. It is part of kiloHearts’ Snapin line of plugins, meaning it can be used as a regular plugin or combined with other Snapin plugins within a Snapin host (such as the Multipass or Snap Heap).
Kilohearts’ Flanger Snapin offers stationary and time-altering phase-shifting for doubling and flanger, respectively. With global control over the delay time, depth, rate, offset, motion, spread, feedback and mix, this flanger plugin gives users everything they need in an easy-to-use flanger.
From subtle doubling to slow-moving barberpole-style flanging and full-blown jet swooshes, the simple Flanger Snapin has us covered.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the kiloHearts Snapin user manual.
The Imaginando DLYM (link to check the price at Imaginando) is a free ‘Delay Modulator’ plugin capable of producing surprisingly stellar flanger and chorus-style effects.
The Imaginando DLYM is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
Imaginando’s DLYM is well-laid out—what you see is what you get, making it super user-friendly from the get-go. It offers all the standard controls, and 20 presets to makes things even easier.
The flanger plugin has two processing modes: Analog emulation, which adds imperfect “analog” character to the signal, and Dimension style, which modernizes the sonic performance of the plugin.
Choose from 6 different modulation waveforms with the option of manual rate and synced rate adjustments. With alterable stereo width and a crossover/cutoff to control the frequency range of the effect, the DYLM gives us all we need and more from a freebie plugin.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the DLYM at Imaginando.
Kuassa Efektor FL3606
The Kuassa Efektor FL3606 (link to check the price at Plugin Boutique) is a simple and straightforward plugin with a sonic performance and ease-of-use that earns it a final spot on this list.
The Kuassa Efektor FL3606 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.
This stompbox-looking flanger plugin offers 3 distinct flanger styles. Kuassa describes them as follows:
- Royal Flanger: vintage flanging effect
- Jet Flanger: supersonic jet howl or cool spacey stereo image
- Electro Flanger: darker, swirly, chorusey, and trippy sound
Select a style that fits the mix and freely adjust the typical rate (with BPM sync), depth, delay, feedback, mix, stereo or mono mode, and output level controls. A/B between two settings to really hone in on the best option and be on your way to a superb flanger effect.
For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the FL3606 Flanger at Kuassa.