There are so many plugins that hit the market every week and most of them are really good at what they do. There are a few that have stood out to me over the last year that I use all the time though. I’ve covered these in past New Music Gear Monday posts, but now that I’ve had a chance to use them more I’ve really fallen in love with what they do. Ready? Here we go.
FabFilter Pro-Q3 Equalizer – There are so many great EQ plugins on the market, but I don’t think I’ve found one that I use as much. It’s a very smooth and versatile EQ, and the ability to see the signal displayed makes finding trouble frequencies fast and easy. Another not so small item is that it also makes am outstanding dynamic EQ. I often use it as a multiband de-esser.
UAD Capitol Chambers – Once again, there are so many great reverb plugs on the market, but Capitol Chambers is really special. First of all, the real chambers themselves at Capitol Studios in Hollywood are legendary and considered some of the best ever created, and Universal Audio has done a magnificent job modeling them. It doesn’t matter which one you choose, they all sound great in almost any mixing situation.
Waves Abbey Road Studio 3 – Headphone mixing has gotten a bit better through the years, but Studio 3 is a giant leap forward thanks to the modeling of this famous control room. Now you can be sure that what you’re hearing is the real deal. If you need to use headphones a lot, I can’t recommend this plugin enough.
Kazrog True Iron – If you’ve followed me for a while you know I’m not much for saturation or distortion plugins. True Iron is the exception though, as it provides a roundness to the bottom that’s always pleasing. If you can’t have a real piece of transformer-based hardware to mix through, this is the next best thing (and probably even better since it has so many different transformer emulations available).
Sonnox Oxford Drum Gate – This has to be the best drum gate plug ever made. It’s sounds fantastic, is easy to use, and does the job better than anything else I’ve found. You can go as deep into tweaking as you want, or just about plug it in and go as it can be that fast. The Oxford Drum Gate is a giant step forward in gate dynamics.
Process.Audio Sugar – How to describe Sugar. . .it’s a spectral EQ that can make any track sound better without any of the typical EQ muss and fuss. You can use it on anything and most likely will be pleased with the results. Sugar is another of those processors that just works, but is so powerful that the learning curve is figuring out how much NOT to use. It’s been said before but I’ll say it again – a little Sugar goes a long way.
FabFilter Pro-L2 Peak Limiter – This is the limiter that I’ve always wanted. It sounds smooth and transparent (unless you don’t want it to), does its job very well, and has an integrated and easy to read LUFS meter. It normally sits as the last processor in all of my mixes.
Like I said, there are so many other great plugins, and more arrive all the time, but these are the ones I find myself using all the time.