Top 3 non-guitar plugs?

fretworn

Rock Star
TGF Recording Artist
Messages
4,158
So lay it on me fellas… What are your top three favorite plug-ins.

I am all on Logic trying to learn what the standard offerings are, and that’s pretty robust. (I guess it wasn’t always that way?)

I really listen to a couple of folks mixes carefully, and there’s certain things I definitely like that I want to learn how to do.

I don’t know if plug-ins are the secret sauce or not, but I was looking at Nectar 4 based on @Whizzinby week one post, and I really like the idea of all the instrument EQ Options that can be applied via their “AI“.

@Bruce is crazy good at his mixes. I know he has some hardware solutions as well that he loves, but I’d like to stay in the digital domain inside the DAW as much as possible. (I still listen to Bruce’s week one contribution regularly. Such a great tune and production!)

The rest of the magic in nectar4 seems to be straightforward. It seems like the core value is in those instrument EQ curves? I just got an email offering it for $200. Is that a good price?

The next one that seems very appealing is fab filter EQ and maybe their mixing suite.

What are your “go to” plugs for recording and why?
 
Last edited:
So lay it on me fellas… What are your top three favorite plug-ins.

I am all on Logic trying to learn what the standard offerings are, and that’s pretty robust. (I guess it wasn’t always that way?)

I really listen to a couple of folks mixes carefully, and there’s certain things I definitely like that I want to learn how to do.

I don’t know if plug-ins are the secret sauce or not, but I was looking at Nectar 4 based on @Whizzinby week one post, and I really like the idea of all the instrument EQ Options that can be applied via their “AI“.

@Bruce is crazy good at his mixes. I know he has some hardware solutions as well that he loves, but I’d like to stay in the digital domain inside the DAW as much as possible. (I still listen to Bruce’s week one contribution regularly. Such a great tune and production!)

The rest of the magic in nectar4 seems to be straightforward. It seems like the core value is in those instrument EQ curves? I just got an email offering it for $200. Is that a good price?

The next one that seems very appealing is fab filter EQ and maybe their mixing suite.

What are your “go to” plugs for recording and why?

I went with Neutron for mixing simply because on top of the time pressure of writing something in a week it was also my first real attempt to record anything, so learning to mix on top of that was pretty much impossible.

I think at this point it’s pretty much a must have for me, because it’s doing all the heavy lifting on stuff that honestly I don’t have a ton of time, or frankly, desire to learn. Like I said the time though, it does work wonders. Some of my rough mixes were barely suitable for public consumption but after running Neutron on all of the individual buses it really makes everything pop.

The cool thing though is with the full version it shows you exactly which of the sub plugs that make up the suite they are applying and how. So you can sorta “learn” and even deep tweak what it’s doing, and theoretically take what it’s doing and apply that via manual processes once you decide to mix yourself.

I ended up buying their “Elements” bundle which included Neutron, Ozone, and two other suites that’s names are escaping me right now. The Element versions just have the AI assistant, so it does it’s thing, you can modify the instrument types, apply the match feature, and do some basic tweaks, but that version does not give you access to tweak the underlying plugins from the suite. (Or use any of the underlying plugs in stand alone) You sort of have to like what the AI is doing, or buy the full version.

$200 is basically half off for Neutron 4. I think it normally is $399. Great deal. I think the essentials bundles I bought was $200, but I did that to also get Ozone Essentials to master.
 
Thank you @Whizzinby for your thoughts.

Native instruments is offering a sale on some isotope plugs currently… Could be promotional because I just bought the kontroller
 
Ozone. Used it for 8-9 years or so, just takes the guesswork out of everything.

I see some of you have started using some IZotope stuff and I wanted to clue you in on something.

If you wait for a sale and grab just ONE of their Elements plugins, it’ll be like $19 or something.

BUT you can use that as a full path to upgrade to the full Ozone suite at Sweetwater or whatever, and it’ll save you like $200. Keep it in mind.

EZBass- I don’t play bass. AT ALL. I don’t like it, I don’t want to learn it, I don’t have time either.

EZBass has a cool thing that if you drop a DI of your guitar track into it it’ll transpose it to bass, voila instant bass track. Real time saver.

EZDrummer- this thing kicks all ass for all the reasons everybody already knows.

Also just as an FYI Toontrack will never undercut their dealers, so Sweetwater will ALWAYS be cheaper for Toontrack products than buying direct.

Bonus - Mercuriall has a ton of free plugs and they include a Tubescreamer and some other things but their chorus for rhythm guitars is free and god tier, it goes on every guitar track and I even use it for practice.
 
Last edited:
gotta go with ozone, superior drummer, and waves renaissance series (I know it’s not one plugin but they’re OLD and can be bought cheap).

Runners up would have to be some of the reverb plugins we have these days. Lexicon PCM+LXP, Relab 480, UAD 480L, AMS RMX16, Exponential Audio’s verbs, Valhalla Vintage, TC VSS3/4HD etc. The HW counterparts of these would cost a bomb and you’d still be more limited by instance counts, space and maintenance costs.
 
I've spent more on plugins than I care to admit. Are you looking for virtual instruments or effects processors?

VIs I like Superior, but have EZD, Slate Drums, AD drums. They all work. Find the one where the workflow works for you best. The hardest part about programming drums is learning how to think like a drummer. If you don't drum, that comes from watching drummers a lot. None of the VIs can do that work for us, unfortunately. As far as an "all in" suite of other VIs, you can take a look at either Arturia or Native Instruments. Both are an ecosystem of sorts, with NI offering upgrades over time to get you more sounds you'll probably want but never use. I've recently acquired the IK Multimedia studio Max bundle for 199 bucks. Hard to argue value there. I've yet to launch much. Modo Drums and Modo bass are pretty cool though. I was an early adopter of those.

As far as FX processors, Quality over quantity. UA has recently released native plugins but not sure folks will see the value. I'll vouch for the 1176 comp and the LA 2a and 3a comps. I use both (clone) hardware and software versions and they all do 99% of my compression that isn't bus compression. The plugins do hold up. I do love their capitol chambers reverb, hitsville is pretty good, too. But Waves Abbey Road plates, also good but particular sounding. I'm also spoiled with an Eventide hardware unit here so I use that too sometimes. I'll dip into the Anthology plugins or the H9 ones from time to time, too.

I'd be remiss to not mention Plugin Alliance stuff. The BX stuff is generally awesome and they're really doing some cutting edge stuff over there. Crazy sales, too. I went all in on a rent to own everything bundle. its something outrageous like 150+ plugins for 800 bucks over 10 months. They really do tend to sound great. Been using their channel strips and they're just as good as my UA stuff. I do like UA because the DSP functionality allows me to keep a 32 buffer going pretty much throughout my whole production. Only time I raise it is when I think about it.

The most important thing really is when you get plugins, really learn them. Learn what an 1176 does and sounds like, then shop and decide. demo, demo and demo some more. Don't spend just to spend. Learn what every knob and button does and just as important, learn how they sound. Don't make the mistakes I did and just hoard a few thousand plugins. All that'll do is bog down your computer, open up potential for problems and cloud your workflow. Truth is I use maybe 20 plugins, total.

Edit: I've yet to find plugins that do what my SSL bus comp does on my mixbus. It's like the room grows x3 and my speakers on my monitors swell in size. In mid/side, the thing does amazing things to music. That being said, the UA SSL bus comp can somewhat replicate at least the compression style, to an extent. I've had some success there.

Edit Edit: call me.
 
Just 3???

I can't go that low :) These are my most used though.

Valhalla DSP
Arturia V and FX collection
IZotope stuff. All of it
Logic ChromaVerb, Compressors and EQ
Oeksound Smooth 2
 
Effects
  • Cableguys ShaperBox 3
  • oeksound Soothe 2+Spiff
  • Sonic Charge Echobode or Valhalla Supermassive (tie)
Synths
  • Native Instruments Massive X Knif Audio Knifonium (from Plugin Alliance)
  • Sonic Charge microtonic w/ Patternarium
  • Spectrasonics Omnisphere Apple Logic Alchemy
 
Last edited:
FX:
- Logic's Space Designer
- U-He MFM2
- Valhalla Supermassive

Instruments:
- Logic's Sampler
- NI Battery
- U-He Zebra 2

All these represent a balanced mixture of "often used, wouldn't want to live without" and "good to squeeze some impressive stuff out".

Others are more often in use, though. From my startup project: lkjb Luftikus EQ, Logic Stereo Delay, Thomas Mundt' Loudmax (aka loudness for dummies), Logic's electric piano, Logic's Drum Kit Designer.
 
Effects:
- Fabfilter Pro-Q3
- IK Multimedia Black76 (the best damn 76 plugin around as far as I'm concerned!)
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaDelay
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom (up yours, I'm having a 4th!)

Instruments:
- Native Instruments Noire
- Native Instruments Una Corda
- Propellerheads Reason's Malstrom
 
Synths:

1. EZdrummer - I don't even use the prebuilt patterns, just love the sound of the samples. Have tried so, so many libraries and always come back to this.
2. Modo Bass - I need to get a real bass, been way too long since I've had one. But man does this plug sound great and makes it very easy for me to do full arrangements.
3. SpitFire Labs - many free niche and incredibly useful instruments.

FX/Mixing...there's so many it's tough to narrow. Neutron, just got it so really in a honeymoon phase, but damn it saves so, so much time. Reverbs - LX480 Essentials (Lexicon 480Lemulation), Valhalla SuperMassive (great as a delay as well), Eventide Blackhole/UltraVerb. SPAN Spectrum Analyzer.
 
Utility:
Waves L1 - Use it on all projects on the "2" until ready to process a polished mixdown
FabFilterQ3 - The best utility EQ around
UAD 1176LN - All-purpose FET compressor

Flavor:
Eventide Harmonizer or Soundtoys MicroPitch - on guitars but does magic to snares, too (AC/DC's Back In Black album for ex.) and other inst.
UAD Pultec EQP-1, MEQ-5, HLF-3C EQs - *The* guitar EQ, works great on other inst.
UAD Studer A800 Tape - I put this tape satch on everything
(honorable mention) UAD Oxide Tape - Small-memory-footprint tape satch like the above

Delay:
Soundtoys EchoBoy - Excellent small-memory-footprint delay
UAD EP-34 - When you need an almost-real Echoplex, including the preamp
UAD Precision Delay Mod L - I use this for stereo delays

Reverb:
UAD EMT-140 - Legendary plate reverb heard on thousands of albums
(honorable mention) UAD Pure Plate - Small-memory-footprint plate reverb like the above
IK Multimedia Sunset Sound Reverb - Legendary studio modeled, including rooms, chambers, outboard
UAD Lexicon 224 - Legendary old school digital reverb
 
Back
Top