Harmonic distortion is one of the most effects since the first analog tools introduced. Unstable circuitries introduce distortion to the signal which is utilized in modern day music as means to add flavor to various different sounds. Overdriving the -in tubes and transistors can cause heavy distortion but it can also add the right harmonics to your incoming signal making it sound pleasant, warm, and bright. The best saturation plugins for music production are listed down below. Also, don’t forget to check out our Plugins & Sample Pack Charts we list the best alternatives in each category.

Best Saturation Plugins for Music Production

  1. SoundToys Decapitator 
  2. Output Thermal
  3. FabFilter Saturn 2
  4. XLN Audio RC-20
  5. Izotope Trash 2


1.SoundToys Decapitator 

Designed for every sound engineer to add all of the imperfections of analog gear to your sounds. Give your sounds more body, add warmth, give them an edge, create your own signature sound, or pull some elements out of the mix with this unique analog saturation modeler.

2.Output Thermal

Dial-in new and unique distortion sounds with this multi-band distortion unit. Go beyond every other distortion plugin as thermal several engines, each with analog and digital distortion algorithms. Use the waveform display to your advantage and create sounds nobody ever heard before.

3.FabFilter Saturn 2

FabFilter’s catalog is specially built to break the boundaries whereas the Saturn 2 is the flagship of their distortion tools. Saturn 2 contains a clear visualizer that can be divided into 3 bands for different treatments. Scroll through several presets categorized on , allround, FX, mastering, saturation, sequence, various, and many more to find the perfect for your sound.

4.XLN Audio RC-20

The RC-20 is already well established in the mixing category of music production. Add imperfections to any sounds with just 6 knobs and tweak the sound even more by changing the different types of each knob. Use it to add more character, warmth, air, and space to your sounds.

5.iZotope Trash 2

Ozone is well known for its mixing & mastering tools such as EQ’s, Limiters, and Effects. The Izotope Trash 2 puts you in full control over a well-organized plugin containing different distortion types. Treat the low-, mid-, and high band differently while choosing between subtle distortion or extreme distortion.

next: Best Mastering Plugins for Music Production

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