Category Archives for "Gear"

My 10 Go-To Plugins

10 Go0To PluginsI often get asked what plugins I regularly use, and even though I like to think that I’m pretty open minded about it, there are some that I keep coming back to. Here are my 10 go-to plugins, with a number of honorable mentions, in no particular order (even though they’re numbered).

1. Universal Audio 1176 – In my opinion, there’s never been a more versatile compressor created, either hardware or software. I’ll use it on drums, room, keys, guitars, bass, vocals – almost anything actually.

2. Universal Audio dbx 160 – Another favorite emulation, it gets used mostly on kick and snare, where it shines for the controlled punch it provides. Be sure to use a low compression ratio of 2:1 or even less.

3. Waves Schepes 1073 – What a fantastically versatile EQ! It’s also one of the few where I even use the presets and they work well (great job, Andrew!). I especially love it on kick and snare, but it will work everywhere else as well.

4. Universal Audio Maag EQ4 – I just love the Air band, which brings out the presence of almost any mic. Stick this sucker on a vocal and you’ll make that cheapie mic sound closer to a C12 than you might have imagined.

5. Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb – I loved the sound of the old Lexicon reverbs, and the PhoenixVerb has all that and more (company owner Michael Carnes spent 25 years working for Lexicon).

6. PSP Vintage Warmer – I use this on the mix buss of every mix. It just makes everything sound better, even without using too much of it.

7. PSP 2445 Reverb – One of my new favorites, it’s kind of a one-trick-pony reverb in that there’s not a lot of different algorithms to choose from, but that one trick always sounds great. The shortest decay settings are excellent.

8. Universal Audio SSL Buss Compressor – Once again, this is one that’s on the mix buss of virtually every mix I do. I’ve tried other plugins, but always come back to the SSL.

9. Universal Audio LA3 – For some reason, this is just the ideal electric guitar compressor. It even makes highly distorted guitars sound better.

10. Pro Tools Native 7 Band EQ – I use this more than just about anything, sometimes just to finish off the sound after another EQ was already applied. The good thing is that since it’s native, you can use a ton of them without eating up much computer processing power.

Honorable Mention:

JST Finality – This is quickly finding it’s way into my top 10. Sound wonderful on kick, but I’m still finding other uses for it.

Universal Audio LA2A – I use this a lot of hat and vocal (usually in conjunction with an 1176).

PSP L’Rotary – This is the best Leslie speaker emulator ever, in my opinion. You won’t need this on every mix, but when you do, it always works.

Soundtoys Microshift – Whenever I need a Harmonizer sound, this is what I turn to. It’s one sound that just can’t gotten any other way.

I know the list leans heavily towards Universal Audio, but I’m can’t deny that I’m a big fan. The list of honorable mentions could have also gone on quite a bit longer, but then I would’ve been getting into plugs that I don’t use as regularly. Anyway, now you know what I use as go-to plugins, but keep in mind that if you check back in 6 months, the list may be completely revised.

June 6, 2016

New Music Gear Monday: Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation

Spatial WorkstationAs I’ve stated in other previous posts, virtual reality is coming on like a nearly invisible distant freight train. It’s not apparent to the public yet because all the movement is behind the scenes, but believe me, it’s coming hard. Just like in the early days of surround sound, it’s still like the Wild West, with tools and techniques being developed every day with virtually no standards yet. Facebook, which owns Oculus Media (which hopes to be a giant player in the headset market) has jumped on board the VR audio train by acquiring the boutique immersive audio company Two Big Ears. The Edinburgh-based company has been around since 2013 and specializes in spatial 3D audio for both movies and gaming.

The best part of the acquisition is that a set of VR tools that company used came with it, and now Facebook is giving away that package for free. Called the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation, the package consists of 5 components:

  • The FB360 Spatialiser plugin, which is inserted on every channel of your DAW and acts like a very advanced 360 degree panner.
  • The FB360 Control plugin, which is inserted on a single aux channel and acts communicates with the VR player.
  • The VR Video Player, which allows you to synchronize VR video with the audio you’re mixing.
  • The FB360 Encoder, which converts your mixed audio into an acceptable VR file format.
  • The FB360 Audio Engine, which incorporates head tracking information from the VR headset and integrates it with the app.

The VR Video Player is a big deal, since synchronizing VR audio and video is now one of the more difficult things in VR post. Hopefully this will make things go a bit easier.

The Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation only works with Pro Tools 12, Reaper, and Nuendo, but it looks like it’s a dynamite set of much needed tools. And you can’t argue with the price.

Download the free software package here. For more about Facebook 360, go here.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Strat

5 Things About Your StratHere’s a brilliant video about some of the little things that every Fender Strat owner should know be probably doesn’t (I know I didn’t). In fact, I’ll bet there’s at least one of these things that you’ll probably want to incorporate right now after you watch the video. Here Phillip McKnight does a great job explaining these mostly overlooked but valuable hints about everyone’s favorite axe that will make your playing time just a little bit easier.

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