Soundtoys Decapitator Plug-in

Saturation/Distortion Plug-in - Mac/PC AAX, AU, VST
5/5 6 Write review Item ID: Decapitator
Soundtoys Decapitator Plug-in image 1
Soundtoys Decapitator Plug-in image 1
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Compatible with:


Software Compatibility

Most software is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers, but check to make sure.

If you're using Pro Tools, AAX plug-ins (or RTAS for older versions) are what you need. Most other Mac DAWs support AU plug-ins. VST is compatible with a number of Mac and Windows programs. Be sure you choose plug-ins that work with your DAW!

To learn more about software compatibility, check out our buying guide.

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Soundtoys Decapitator Plug-in
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Unleash the Magic of Analog Saturation!

NOTE: This product requires that you have an iLok account for authorization, although it does not require a physical iLok key. Please call your Sweetwater Sales Engineer if you have questions.

The Decapitator Native plug-in by SoundToys elevates the phenomenon of analog saturation to an art! Nothing beats the way that bold and cohesive saturation brings a mix together. That's why engineers everywhere are always on the lookout for the perfect saturation emulator. SoundToys created Decapitator by tracking and emulating the real dynamics of vintage gear - no static convolution here. That's why mixers at Sweetwater choose Decapitator Native, to add anything from subtle odd harmonics to glowing even harmonics. Select from five different saturation modes and add spice to your bass, turn up the heat on your guitars and vocals, and beef up your kick drums. And when you want to unleash pure brutality, just punch in the Punishment button.

SoundToys Decapitator Native Saturation Plug-in Features at a Glance:
  • Analog saturation emulator
  • 5 different emulation modes
  • Saturation emulations use continuous dynamic modeling - no static convolution!
  • Mix control lets you blend in unaffected signal for extra clarity
  • Available in AAX, AU, and VST formats
Add saturation mojo to your mixes with Soundtoys' Decapitator!

Tech Specs

Software Type Saturation effects
Platform Mac, PC
Upgrade/Full Full
Download/Boxed Download
Bit Depth 32-bit, 64-bit
iLok Required Account only required
Format AAX Native, VST, AU, AudioSuite
Hardware Requirements - Mac Intel processor
Hardware Requirements - PC Intel compatible processor
OS Requirements - Mac OS X 10.8 or later
OS Requirements - PC Windows 7 or later
Manufacturer Part Number Decapitator5

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
Write your review

Perfect for Rock Vocals

I have been using this since it came out. I used to use a Dolby 361A unit and run the vocals through this. It sort of gave it a drive and made the vocals pop. Once the Decapitator came out I did not need the Dolby box anymore. Does all that and more. Do not mix vocals without this.
Music background: Recording for 20 years


If you listen to modern rap/hiphop/electronic/r&b type music this is pretty much standard for vocals. Great plugin. Must have for the studio. All in one package and the different modes are sweet!
Music background: Producer/Engineer

My favorite mix tool

My favorite saturation plugin. Adds phatness, makes something cut through, adds energy/attitude. You just can't get what this can do with any EQ or compressor.
Music background: Producer/Recording Engineer

Best software saturator out there

Amazing plug to help sounds cut through a mix - synths, drums, vocals, anything! Beefing up the drum buss with parallel distortion is awesome. Demoing = get your credit card out
Music background: Electronic music producer

The Magic Touch (use responsibly)

I'm recording orchestration with guitars, electronica, and 95% in-the-box. With 60+ tracks finding clarity and separation between my instruments can be extremely difficult to accomplish without the dreaded eq/level crawl that ends up pushing my headroom out the window. I'm finding that saturation coupled with some responsible compression (after subtractive eq/low-cut, etc.) can really make the difference in an instrument coming through the mix without blowing up the levels. I'm using the Decapitator on many tracks now to not only get those tracks through the mix but to also give a less digital feel to my tracks. This plugin combined with Soundtoys' Sie-q has brought my mixes to life. You have to be careful with the cumulative effect, though, and not go too heavy with it at first, unless you really want THAT sound. It's awesome on guitars, bass, even cellos. You could even throw a splash (I'd recommend the Ampeg settings) on the mix bus to warm up the mix. I'd recommend a top-down approach with the mix-bus route (start the mix with Decapitator already on the mix bus) to watch your distortion levels as you begin to add them onto the individual tracks. At the moment, I'm using Decapitator, Sie-q, and Waves j37 in various combinations to achieve my saturation needs, but I could definitely say that you could use only this plugin to get all the combinations you would really need. I also have iZotope alloy and Ozone, but I'm finding I don't use the exciters on those in preference to this plugin. I mention the other plugins in my review to let you know my situation as it may resemble yours (in terms of what you may be using or eyeing to purchase). Overall, I'd say some sort of saturation plugin is pretty much necessary to some extent to bring life back into digital mixes, and Decapitator is one of the best I've used.

Sweetwater Advice

Carson McClain

SoundToys Decapitator Native: BRUTAL beyond belief!! That's not to say that you can't get subtle saturation with this as well. I find this to be a "go to" plug-in for any type of saturation I need for vocals, bass, even drums and synth. It's not quite UAD Studer saturation, but it sounds excellent for a lot of applications!

Tyler Berggren

I have been mixing with Soundtoys Decapitator for a long time and it continues to amaze me every time I add it to a track. The saturation and distortion it produces is always usable, whether I'm going for subtly pushed tape or broken tubes. The most underrated function of this plug-in is the filter section. With a simple highpass, lowpass, and "tilt" style tone control, I can usually skip an EQ stage with well-recorded material. In combination with a standard parametric EQ, this thing can totally transform a track.

Josh Estock

If you want your mixes to punch you in the face everytime you press PLAY, SoundToys Decapitator is the plugin for you. You can put it on anything and use the "Mix" knob to adjust to taste. It will do anything from subtle tape saturation to track-smashing goodness!

Charlie Davis

After working with SoundToys Decapitator for the first time this past weekend, I don't think I can ever mix again without it. Excellent directly on a track to warm it up, or as a side-chain with the Punish button pressed. Absolutely great!
See also: Compression Software, Soundtoys, Soundtoys Plug-ins: Dynamics, Soundtoys Plug-ins: Effects