Best Free Vocal Plugins for GarageBand For 2023

vocal plugins garageband lg

Let’s face it, recording and mixing vocals is a lot of work. But if you’re just starting out, you can’t afford high-end equipment. So, what are the best vocal plugins for GarageBand?

These are some of the best free vocal plugins for GarageBand:

  • Antares Auto-Tune
  • Izoptope Nectar
  • Revoice Pro
  • Melodyne
  • Grallion

You can use them with any DAW (digital audio workstation) to work on the sound quality of an entire song and you can add unique effects and instruments.

Overall, you’ll be able to do tons of interesting stuff you couldn’t do before. GarageBand is Apple’s free software for music production.

The plugins we will explore are simple-to-use tools for making terrific vocal recordings, whether you are a pro or a newbie. And you can opt for the pro version or the free version of these plugins.

Without further ado, let’s get started by finding out how to get some vocal plugins in GarageBand.

How Do I Get Vocal Plugins in GarageBand?

Some GarageBand plugins are pre-installed on your Mac. These are often called Audio Units and are provided to Apple products by Core Audio.

But you can purchase more 3rd party plugins from other vendors such as:

  • Smart Electronix
  • MFreeFX
  • Daichi Laboratory
  • iZotope
  • Tokyo Dawn Labs
  • u-he

Just make sure to avoid VST plugins as they are not compatible with GarageBand. Look only for Audio Units plugins.

There are two types of Audio Units plugins you can use in your projects:

Effect plugins: These include common audio effects, such as reverb, blowers, delays, and other distinct effects. You can utilize Audio Units effect plugin on individual tracks and the expert track.

Instrument plugins: These involve pianos, organs, synthesizers, other keyboards, and additional instruments. You can use Audio Units instrument plugins on software instrument tracks only.

You add Audio Units plugins to a track (counting the expert track) in the plugins region. 

You can turn Audio Units modules on or off, transform them, alter their settings and eliminate them similarly to modules included with GarageBand.

See the Add and change impact modules in GarageBand on Mac for more info.

Before using Audio Units in your GarageBand projects, ensure that the Enable Audio Units checkbox is selected in GarageBand > Preferences > Audio/MIDI.

See the Set Audio/MIDI preferences in GarageBand on Mac for more info.

How Do I Get Professional Vocal On GarageBand?

Simply use a good microphone and work in a good-sounding room with as little background noise as possible, preferably soundproof. Ensure you record several takes until you get the best vocal performance you can deliver.

I don’t know what instruments you have.

But since you’re utilizing GarageBand, it’s reasonable to assume you don’t have excellent pro-quality gear (yet). Even so, one USB condenser mic like the Snowball or Yeti is decent for getting started.

When you have an awesome recording, you can apply an EQ to raise or cut any high frequencies that you need to modify, and you can apply it to a vocal track.

When mixing the lead vocal track, position the panning to the center.

You may also need a de-esser plugin if the sibilances in the vocal performances are distracting. And if you’re disturbed by unwanted noise, GarageBand’s noise gate would save the day.

Pro tip: A good reverb makes a world of difference, but too much reverb makes things messy and is the hallmark of a newbie.

Do Waves Plugins Work In GarageBand?

Yes, Waves plugins do work in GarageBand. But to have them work smoothly, you should ensure you follow the steps needed to add the plugin.

Say you are trying to load your Waves plugins in GarageBand but you cannot find them. Follow these instructions to make it available.

Step 1 – Verify the license is activated

Step 2 – Verify Audio Units are enabled

Step 3 – Verify plugin software is correctly installed

Step 4 – Rescan for Plugins

But if you still get errors, simply google the error name, and you’ll find plenty of forums that have answered several users’ questions.

What Is The Best Autotune Plugin For GarageBand?

These are the best autotune plugins for GarageBand. 

  • Antares Auto-Tune
  • Izoptope Nectar
  • Revoice Pro
  • Melodyne
  • Grallion

GarageBand has its pitch correction/autotune plugin, but it’s pretty restricted in its parameters.

Users can only select the key and make modifications based on a numerical scale.

Naturally, you may want to move on to a better plugin with more options, specifications, parameters, and other distinctive features. Let’s check out some of the features of each autotune plugin.

  • Antares Auto-Tune

Antares is the company that developed autotune.

And it has continued to play a vital role in its continual improvement. Take the Pro version, for example. Its new graph mode is simply out-of-this-world.

It also has some pretty extraordinary features that enable you to set variables to retune speeds for different words so that your tuning sounds as lucid as possible.

Auto-tune access is the easiest way to start using autotune as it offers the core autotune features via an intuitive interface.

Antares is indeed a pricey plugin, but it’s very well-designed and has an intuitive interface, making it simple to use when connecting autotune to all kinds of vocals.

  • Izoptope Nectar

Izotope Nectar 3 provides a precise and transparent pitch modification module that can recognize pitch and key to tune vocals rapidly, whether you’re looking for a subtle or an all-out robust tone.

It is a potent tool for blending melodies, with numerous one-of-a-kind capacities you won’t see on other autotune plugins, like a built-in saturation, compression, reverb, and EQ.

  • Revoice Pro

Revoice Pro is an all-in-one vocal editor, allowing for graph-style tuning, timing alignment, and performance matching.

It is ideal for when you’re struggling to line up stacked vocals.

If you’re working with lots of vocals taken at once, have large vocal stacks, or have numerous harmonies, Revoice Pro is an immense time-saver. It would make your vocals sound a lot better, and it’s fast and easy to use.

By the way, recording to an audio track is super-easy in GarageBand.

  • Melodyne

Celemony Melodyne launched illustrated editing to autotune, entirely altering the game. This plugin has evolved the studio norm for manual and surgical pitch correction.

With the top-tier editions of the plugin, you can operate numerous tracks at once, creating dialing in robust vocal productions easier than ever.

Many big celebrities like Akon, Alice Cooper, Rebecca Black, and many more have admitted to using autotune. But have you ever wondered if Arctic Monkeys ever use autotune?

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The plugins we considered are expensive. If you are looking for a free one, I have the best option for you.

  • Grallion

Grallion Live Voice Changer is the best free autotune plugin for GarageBand.

It has an extraordinary autotune style sound and is precisely what you’re looking for if you prefer the Cher/T-Pain impact on your vocals.

But it also involves many other sound design tools, like built-in pitch shifting, a bit crusher, a harmony tool, and a high pass filter section.

How Do I Install Third-Party Plugins in GarageBand?

To install Third-Party Plugins in GarageBand, simply follow these easy steps:

  • Download a plugin of your choice
  • Open Your Components Folder Using Finder
  • Drag your AU plugin to the “Components” folder
  • Enable the audio units checkbox in Garageband
  • Close and Reopen GarageBand

Let’s check out the steps in detail.

  1. Download a plugin of your choice

To use a third-party plugin in GarageBand, download the plugin.

You can either buy a premium plugin or download some fantastic free ones. For everything to work smoothly, ensure that the plugin you download is an AU component.

Only AU plugins are compatible with GarageBand, and if you’re using GarageBand 10 and above, you can’t use 32-bit plugins.

  1. Open your Components folder using Finder

To install your plugins in GarageBand, you must find the Components folder on your computer. This is where your Mac will store all the AU plugins.

This makes sense seeing as AU plugins are formally named – AU Components.

  1. Drag your AU plugin to the “Components” folder

Next, locate your downloaded AU plugin and drag it to the “Components” folder. This will move it to the correct folder for GarageBand to find your plugin upon the next start-up.

  1. Enable the audio units checkbox in GarageBand

To use audio units in GarageBand, you must confirm that you’ve enabled their use in your digital audio workstation.

Otherwise, they won’t show up, and GarageBand will not search the database for new plugins upon opening.

To enable audio units:

Click “GarageBand > Preferences > Audio/MIDI” and check “Enable audio units

  1. Close and Reopen GarageBand

Close GarageBand (if it is currently open) and open a new instance. This will cause GarageBand to operate an AU scan for plugins. Once this is finished, you can use your new plugins in GarageBand.

You can see that GarageBand isn’t as complicated as it seems and is a great tool for pros and newbies. Now, let’s consider a question that comes up often about using GarageBand.

Can I Use VST Or Amplitube Plugins In GarageBand?

VST plugins are not compatible with GarageBand. But you can use AmpliTube Plugins in GarageBand. 

When looking for GarageBand plugins, you must look for AU plugins (Audio Units). VST plugins won’t work.

You can use AmpliTube Plugins in GarageBand, but they are sometimes not visible because GarageBand has a separate folder where the Presets are located.

To get the presets to appear in GarageBand, follow the following steps:

  1. Close GarageBand, AmpliTube, and all other applications.
  2. Go to this directory on your Mac and make sure all your presets show up:
  3. Mac HD > Users > (your user name) > Documents > AmpliTube 4
  4. Leave this window open. Click on the “AmpliTube 4” folder to select it, and click on Edit and Copy.
  5. Click on the File menu again, and click on New Finder Window.
  6. With this new window open, Option+Click on the Go menu at the top of your screen and drag it down to the Library. Note: The Library option will disappear if you release the Option key.
  7. Open the following path inside the Library folder:
    Containers/ Drag the Amplitube 4 folder to the trash.
  8. In this folder, click on the Edit menu and Paste. This should paste the “AmpliTube 4” folder that you copied. Check to make sure that all the Presets appear here.
  9. Open GarageBand and load AmpliTube 4. You should now see the Presets available in the upper-left menu.
A Beginner's Guide To Mixing Vocals In GarageBand [GarageBand Tutorial]


GarageBand is an excellent software for music production. The best thing about the app is its simplicity and dizzying array of features (but note that it’s not going to work for stereo separation).

In the article, we considered the most useful paid and free vocal plugins for GarageBand. I hope you found the tutorial helpful.

If you learned or discovered something new, help others by sharing this tutorial.

Also, if you have a curious bug like me and want to know more about music and how you can present yours to a wider audience, you’ll love how vinyl records are made.

I get into every single step from start to finish on how to self-publish your music on vinyl records, including how to get the sleeves done and the total costs involved.

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Photo which requires attribution:

IMG_2603 by Jérôme Choain is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped, edited, and had a text overlay added.

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