The Best Flanger Plugin

The Best Flanger Plugin

Sometimes, it can happen that despite you’ve done everything that you wanted with your mix still, the guitars in it sound a bit unfinished and flat. To deal with this matter, you have to use a flanger.

Flangers have that unique superpower to give something a sense of additional movement or make something sound as it wasn’t a singular instance but multiple instruments. To help you choose the right one, we present you with the best flanger plugins.

Top 9 Best Flanger Plugins

  1. Softube Fix Flanger and Doubler
  2. Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II
  3. D16 Group Antresol
  4. kiloHearts Flanger Snapin
  5. Kuassa EFEKTOR FL3606 Flanger
  6. Arturia Flanger BL-20
  7. MeldaProduction MFlangerMB
  8. Waves MetaFlanger
  9. Waves Kaleidoscopes

Flanger Plugin Buying Guide

Before we find out what is the best flanger plugin, let’s dive into history for a second so that we can be on the same page here. A flanger is a unit that creates an audio effect, which is called flanging. This audio effect could be achieved by taking two identical signals and delaying one for a few milliseconds in relation to the other.

Sometimes the phase of the delayed signal could be reverted, which produces another variation of this effect. Sometimes this effect occurs naturally in tape machines while recording extremely long parts. The weight of the tape on the reel caused delays. It can also occur in long-distance radio broadcasts due to the nature of the lengths of the frequencies.

What you need to know about flanging

Despite that, it is still unknown who actually discovered this effect, the first to use it was a famous guitarist and music innovator, Les Paul. He used vinyl records with variable speeds on his 1952 “Mammy’s Boogie”.

The next step in the evolution of flanging could be attributed to Ken Towsend, who was an audio engineer at Abbey Road Studios. The rumor has it that he was tired of re-recording John Lennon’s vocals, so he had an idea of how to get a double-track effect without additional recordings. It was actually John Lennon himself who came up with the term “flanging.” Since then, you can hear this effect on every Beatles record.

The secret sauce of the real analog flanging is the gradual variation of the speed of the delays. And there is a common misconception that digital flanger plugins can not reproduce those non-linearities convincingly. Well, that might have been the truth some time ago at the dusk of digital audio production. Today digital technology is making giant leaps towards not compromising digital convenience over pleasant analog vibes and vice versa. So, here are our contestants for being the best flanger plugins.

Best Flanger Plugin Reviews

Softube Fix Flanger and Doubler

Softube Fix Flanger and Doubler

Pros
  • Flexible settings
  • Low CPU usage
  • Free demo available
Cons
  • Requires i-LOK account
See price @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Softube Fix Flanger and Doubler is a digital recreation of a very rare 1979 analog hardware made by world-renowned and very respected Swedish audio software developers. This plugin offers you classic tape flanging and doubling with the convenience and precision settings that could only be achieved in the digital realm.

User impressions

Users say that Softube Fix Flanger and Doubler is a good plugin, with an unbelievably smooth sound. What’s more, it doesn’t require a lot from the CPU. Additionally, it would be better if there were more presets.

What we think

Softube Fix Flanger and Doubler offers you so much flexibility that one might wonder do you actually need that much. Between the manual sweep and tap tempo options and the ability to automate each and every parameter, this plugin could give you exactly the sound you want if you are willing to put some time into it. The factory presets are also available, though.

Bottomline

If you prefer your flanger to be a precision tactical weapon instead of a simple tool in your arsenal – this one is definitely for you.

Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II

Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II

Pros
  • Made by Eventide
  • Not “over the top” analog
  • Simple controls
Cons
  • Requires i-LOK account
See price @ Plugin Boutique / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

We strongly believe that the best decision that Eventide as a company ever made is to make digital recreations of some of its famous hardware units. Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II is a digital emulation of its own rackmount hardware unit made in the 70s, which in turn was designed to emulate analog tape flanging. It has a very simple and almost minimalistic controls layout, which is the same as in the rackmount unit mentioned above.

User impressions

Users admit that Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II the best flanger they have ever tried as it beautifully controls the intensity of the effect, especially due to the possibility of choosing between three mods: shallow, deep, and wide.

What we think

We found that the side-chain input option gives this plugin the whole another level of usability. This basically means that you can “flange” your signal using the input of another track in your mix to control the envelope. Although it is a recreation of a hardware unit that recreates analog tape machine effect, it doesn’t seem that it is trying to be “analog” too hard, which is a good thing we believe.

Bottomline

If you are looking for a digital flanger with a very subtle analog flavor, you should definitely check out Eventide Instant Flanger Mk II.

D16 Group Antresol

D16 Group Antresol

Pros
  • Beautiful design
  • Great sound
  • Highly-adjustable controls
  • Relatively low price
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Another one analog hardware emulation but this time from the D16 Group, which as a plugin manufacturer earned its rightful place in the hearts of audio producers a very long time ago. What is phenomenal about Antresol is that guys from D16 somehow managed to emulate every aspect of analog circuitry and gave you control over almost every possible parameter.

User impressions

Users agree that D16 Group Antresol has a user-friendly interface and a great preset collection. Also, it doesn’t require much from the CPU, and it is stable and reliable.

What we think

What some audio software developers sometimes don’t take into consideration is that we, as audio engineers, are spending countless amount of hours staring at our screens. So, once in a while, it would be very nice to glance at something beautiful. And at that, D16 Group Antresol wins our hearts. It has such a beautiful design that looking at it bypassed is enough, let alone firing it up.

Bottomline

D16 Group Antresol would be a good acquisition for audio engineers that are looking for a highly adjustable analog flanger with a stunning design.

kiloHearts Flanger Snapin

kiloHearts Flanger Snapin

Pros
  • Unique sound
  • Minimalistic design
  • Useful controls
  • Low price
Cons
  • We didn’t find any
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

KiloHearts Flanger Snapin, as with most plugins from this developer, delivers a very unique and highly versatile audio effect in a very simple and intuitively controlled package. At first glance, it may seem that it is quite lacking in terms of controls, but actually, it offers you a shocking amount of versatility in shaping your sound. Some plugins gravitate towards a so-called analog sound, others are fully digital, but it seems like kiloHearts Flanger Snapin is neither of those things. It sounds like something of its own league.

User impressions

Users say that kiloHearts Flanger Snapin has a lot of tricks hidden, and it leaves users generally impressed. The most likable is that it is possible to add effect elements into the signal path, and with the magic of modulation setup, in the end, you have a true masterpiece.

What we think

It is always good when something exceeds expectations, which kiloHearts Flanger Snapin definitely does. Also, despite that it can be used as a standalone plugin, it is actually offered as a part of a big modular system, which we believe is worth checking out.

Bottomline

Considering its very low price and rather unique sound, kiloHearts Flanger Snapin could be a very useful and powerful addition to your personal audio tools arsenal.

Kuassa EFEKTOR FL3606 Flanger

Kuassa EFEKTOR FL3606 Flanger

Pros
  • Guitar pedal emulation
  • Low price
  • Easy controls
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Being a very handy digital guitar tools manufacturer, Kuassa made its own take on the flanger effect. In its own style, of course.

Kuassa EFEKTOR FL3606 Flanger will look and feel like something very familiar to every guitar player. Since guitar players usually perceive effects like guitar pedals rather than mount rack units or tape machines, this particular flanger almost certainly will feel closer to home. And there is more to it – Kuassa claims that they have studied more than 20 most prominently used guitar pedals of all time to make this one. And it certainly feels that way.

User impressions

Users admit that Kuassa EFEKTOR FL3606 Flanger is the best from those which emulate the tape recorders’ howling and swirling and has three effects: royal, jet, and electro.

What we think

Kuassa EFEKTOR FL3606 Flanger is the closest as you can get to a real guitar pedal without breaking a bank. Curiously, we found that it has some very distinguishable 80’s vibes to it. Plug your guitar in, and without even knowing it, you will start sounding like a glam metal rock star.

Bottomline

Kuassa EFEKTOR FL3606 Flanger will find its place in the audio toolbox of someone more familiar with how guitar pedals are usually operated and sound. A very low price is also a very good bargaining chip.

Arturia Flanger BL-20

Arturia Flanger BL-20

Pros
  • Free demo
  • Sweet analog sound
  • Physical modeling
Cons
  • 1 GB of space
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Being the heroes of physical modeling, Arturia always tends to give the best of both worlds – analog warmth and sonic characteristics with the convenience and versatility of digital control. Arturia Flanger BL-20 is no exception to that paradigm. It is a flanger plugin that sounds like an analog device and could be controlled with a meticulous amount of precision.

User impressions

Users agree that Arturia Flanger BL-20 is a good one, as it has three control modes: manual, env, and auto with corresponding controls, all of which could be combined. The most preferable are to ramp up and down options and Function Generator.

What we think

Apart from its sweet analog and convincing sound, where Arturia Flanger BL-20 stands out the most is its feature called Function Generator. This feature lets you manually change the modulation envelope, which in turn could result in very creative and unusual flanging.

Bottomline

Since Arturia offers you a free demo without any limitation apart from its stops working after 30 minutes, you should definitely at least give it a go. The only drawback that we found is that it, strangely enough, takes 1 GB of your precious hard drive space, which is quite a lot for a flanger.

MeldaProduction MFlangerMB

MeldaProduction MFlangerMB

Pros
  • Dual user interface
  • MIDI learn
  • A vast library of presets
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Plugin Boutique
Best features and specs

Where other audio software manufacturers are looking for inspiration in the past, MeldaProduction is certainly inspired by what the future might offer. MeldaProduction MFlangerMB is a very modern and futuristic take on a classic flanging effect. It actually is a multi-band flanger, which means that you can apply different settings to the six separate frequency bands of your signal. This, in turn, gives you almost limitless possibilities of how this plugin could be utilized.

User impressions

Users say that MeldaProduction MFlangerMB is a top-shelf flanger as it has superb audio quality and features. The most prominent features are 16x sampling, sinc-interpolation, analog-style saturation. Also, the star of the features is a modulator that can work as LFO, audio level follower, enveloper, randomizer, and pitch detector.

What we think

We think that the best part of MeldaProduction MFlangerMB is that it has a dual interface. One is very simplified with limited controls for a faster workflow, the second one is for very precise and surgical adjustments. Depending on what project needs and the mood you are in, both can be extremely useful.

Bottomline

Considering its relatively low price and the addition of an online preset library, this one is a real no-brainer if you are looking for a modern flanger. If not convinced, MeldaProduction has a free version of this plugin available.

Waves MetaFlanger

Waves MetaFlanger

Pros
Cons
  • Somewhat outdated GUI design
See price @ Waves Audio
Best features and specs

Waves MetaFlanger is a powerful and extremely reliable workhorse of a plugin made by Waves Audio, which is an advantage on its own. It has a very simple and minimalistic controls layout, which nevertheless gives you a lot of control over the classic tape flanger effect. Since this plugin was made quite some time ago, it has already found its place in every professional audio producer’s go-to toolbox.

User impressions

Users admit that Waves MetaFlanger is very versatile and easy to use in a lot of cases. The sound quality is very nice, and the plugin gives the possibility to use all sorts of flanger effects due to your needs.

What we think

We think that despite its somewhat outdated GUI design, Waves MetaFlanger has a lot of flexibility in terms of control, which makes this plugin still very formidable on the market.

Bottomline

It seems like it was designed for audio producers who know exactly what they are trying to achieve and how to do it. By the way, it also sounds amazing.

Waves Kaleidoscopes

Waves Kaleidoscopes

Pros
  • Not just a flanger
  • Additional phaser, chorus, and tremolo
Cons
  • None
See price @ Waves Audio
Best features and specs

Waves Kaleidoscopes is a highly customizable and powerful FX processor that, in addition to a very beautiful analog flanger, gives you access to the extra phaser, chorus, and tremolo. Also, it is made by the Waves Audio mentioned above who has a spotless track record of manufacturing great audio effects.

User impressions

Users agree that Waves Kaleidoscopes is truly inspiring as you can get the desired results very quickly, and if you have some time for getting to know it better, you can be surprised with what you will have in the end. The best features are the palette of analog modulation: phaser, flanger, chorus, and tremolo sounds.

What we think

We found that the most impressive part about Waves Kaleidoscopes is how remarkably well it sits in the mix. It is also quite convenient that all 4 FX could be recalled within the same instance of the plugin.

Bottomline

Despite popular belief, it is almost impossible to be “the best” at something. One could only hope to be “one of the best.” And Waves Kaleidoscopes is certainly one of the best flanger plugins ever made.

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