Your Favorite Plugins And Why?

Hello guys,

I know this topic is overall overhyped & overused, but I still would like to know from you, what your “favorite plugins are”…please write down below your 3 most used ones for each category as well a short information, why you are using them that often (what are the reasons, what are typical uses for you to use one of these…) :muscle: :slight_smile:

3 of your favorite…

  1. EQs
  2. Compressors
  3. Saturation/Distortion
  4. Delays
  5. Reverbs
  6. Anything else…

PS 1.0: If you only use one or two, it’s not a problem.
PS 2.0: Write down as well for each categories, which one you would like to have in your arsenal, which you still want to get in the future (and why)!

Have a great week and take care,

Alexey (JLX)
@jlx_music

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  1. EQs: Mainly stock EQ’s in Logic (they are good and several options)
  2. Compressors: Mainly stock compressors in Logic and Supercharger (also saturation)
  3. Saturation/Distortion: Phat FX (Logic), Saturation Knob, Punish (multi-FX)
  4. Delays: Replika XT by NI
  5. Reverbs: Spaces 2, Chromaverb (Logic)

I would love to get Soundtoys bundle eventually, mainly for Decapitator, Echoboy and Crystalizer.

I would love to have a classic nice vintage guitar amp. The one in Logic sucks to my ears, and I hate the Guitar Rig cluttered interface.

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Cool @Mikael,

really do like your approach, that you stick with the stock plugins! That’s totally fine, because if you know how to use them, you can do anything you want with them!

Blockquote “Supercharger”

Amazing compressor! Super easy to use and has that extra character!!!

Blockquote “Saturation Knob”

I use it here and there as well, it’s not working everywhere, but still does a good job, if you need to get that “something extra”…

Blockquote “Punish”

One of the best strips on the market! Not for everything, but if you want real character, you can do amazing things with this one! Only minus is still the relative high CPU load…

Blockquote “Replika”

Use quite some CPU load as well, but I never heard a better delay before! It’s insane!

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I write down my list as well!

  1. EQs:
  • FabFilter ProQ-3 (it’s a must have for every studio in my opinion; perfect for shaping sounds and get rid of everything you don’t need!

  • Brainworx SSL and Neve Channel (get it, you will love it! Super fast to give some character EQ and Compressor; super low on CPU!!!

  • Trackspacer by Wavesfactory: Multiband-Sidechain ducking EQ for super clean mixes; still heavy CPU load

  • SSL & NEVE Channels by Brainworx

  • Supercharger (Oh yes! Vocals, Drums & Bass!)

  • Vertigo VSC-2 by Brainworx (try it out, it’s old but gold!!!)

  • Supercharger (Distortion)

  • PUNISH (was mentioned before)

  • Klanghelm (IVGI, free!) / Brainworx Limiter Saturation / Saturation Knob (free as well!!!)

  • Replika (best!)

  • Stock (Studio One)

  • Nebula by Soundspot (does have cool features)

  • Valhalla Plate (wow! that’s what I call “depth”!)

  • TSAR-1R by Softube (great quality for a logarithmic one)

  • Subspace by Zynaptic (4 presets, easy to use, amazing sound, but besides dry/wet no other parameters, works best for positioning sounds and sound design!)

  • Tape by Softube (it’s a must have!)

  • MetricAB by ADPTR (Brainworx) (for mixing with references)

  • Harmonics by Hornet (extreme cheap plugins, you can dial in the harmonics as you like yourself or cancel them out! Sometimes super handy for low bass tracks)

WHAT I STILL WANT TO GET:

  • Sonsig REV-A by Relab Dev. (get the demo and you will be blown away, I wanted to get it first, but did’t, because the CPU was so high compared to everything else in my arsenal, it’s insane)

  • VocAlign by SynchroArts (super useful when working with vocals, guitars etc.

  • The Volume-Bundle from Softube…the best of the best tools you can get!

Waiting for your goodies guys! :slight_smile:

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Trackspacer is really good too, I mainly use it in the final mastering stage on the groups only.

Would love to have a nice tape saturation plugin.

And Valhalla Shimmer or Blackhole or some insane huge reverb lol. :stuck_out_tongue:

Check out Subspace by Zynaptiq, I think it’s free with a subscription…

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Note: I probably use about 10% of the features of my plugins, but to me that’s the mark of a good plugin - the fact that I can use it ‘out the box’ and get a great result. This hopefully means I am using 90% of the ‘power’ of the plugin without having to sit for hours learning the finest details of the interface or processing capabilities.

  1. EQs
    FabFilter Q3 (Q2 before that). Just such a nice interface and clean EQ. Does what you want, without histrionics allowing you to really frequencies of the sound you want.
  2. Compressors
    Fabfilter L2. Like all FabFilter products, L2 does a fairly singular thing and does it very well. Limiting/Compressing. That’s it. I tend to add one instance of L2 at the end of the Master channel.
  3. Saturation/Distortion
    AudioDamage Fuzzplus 3. Use it gently and sparingly. Best of all, it’s free!!! Pretty singular in what it does, but I don’t use much external Sat/Dist.
  4. Delays
    (Deep breath) Fabfilter Timeless 2, EchoBoy, Ableton’s stock ‘Simple Delay’ and ‘Ping Pong Delay’. Each one does a slightly different thing depending on what you are trying to achieve. Just some very simple delay? Use the Ableton ones - why not? Timeless 2 and Echoboy do heavily processed delay effects which are bordering on sound design all on their own. Timeless 2 in particular can take your sound MILES away from the way it sounded before you added the plugin.
  5. Reverbs
    Fabfilter Pro-R. Notice a theme here? Fabfilter make great products. Simple. See my comments on Q3 to see why Pro-R is the right choice every time.
  6. Anything else…
    Already briefly mentioned, but Ozone 8 contains some nice (if a little heavy-handed) image and space settings which allow you to brighten your sound and mess about with pulling the stereo separation in and out when (in my case trying to) doing your final mixes.
    Bark of Dog (Box Digital). If you’re making dance music and NOT using this free plugin, then you need to go and download it NOW. One of the most common things I see on FB groups and forums, is young guys and girls asking how they get more ‘thud’ from their kick drums. This plugin is how you do it for free. :wink: With some very rare exceptions, every kick you hear on any of my tracks is Sonic Academy’s Kick 2. Then about 75% of them have BoD dropped on the kick channel for fine-tuning.

Paul

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Lots of love for Fabfilter here I see. I have been tempted by them, especially for their dynamic EQ, but also multi-band compressor.

I assume you are very happy with the Fabfilter products compared to others?

Yes, I do like FabFilter and to be fair they are heavily featured by me as I bought a bundle offer from them last summer so may as well use them since I’ve paid for them! Ha ha.

Like I said above, they are pretty transparent in terms of signal damage when processing…unless you want them to mess with things which is when they do it in a very warm and clean way. Nice!

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I think bundles are the way to go with effect plugins, since it is so much more value for the price. Not sure which I will grab next. Soundtoys, Softube, Fabfilter…so many haha. :slight_smile:

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Good thing about FabFilter is that you can get trial versions of everything, so no harm in testing them out! :+1:

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What I really do like about the FabFilter-Team is they listen to their customers…when they released ProQ-3 I was one of a few guys, who actually wrote them an email about the “not finished” product in my opinion and the price-update for the already existing users is way too high. They listened to it and made things happen. What I do like, that they are not “cheap” and don’t throw away their products, what a lot of others do.

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There’s a long list of things I like. Plugins are to a degree more useful when they do things in a way you like, sometimes constraining what you can do with them so as to keep things simple.

I’m going to start with what I used to use. I used McDSP’s Filterbank and Compressor bank for years and years, and then one year I didn’t pay to upgrade and just stopped using them. Very useful and easy, but at least back then they were maybe products of their time sonically. Had many of the failings of the plugs of that time (1997-2005). Might be better now, because everything is.

I have the Slate bundle but don’t use it so much anymore. The IR reverb is good, and the Eiosis EQ is one of my favorites still - but I feel like their meat and potatoes, the MixRack stuff, has a sound that’s not always right for things and can get a little fatiguing. Which is a pity - I do like elements of it a lot. The Neve and custom Slate eq’s are fun and Revival is often useful, and the “distressor” is pretty cool, and some of the circuit emulation is cool - but ultimately I wind up using it less and less. The tape simulator is fun too, but often does a little too much. The buss comps are decent but I just don’t reach for them so often. The Eiosis De-esser is very good.

What I use more and more of is the Kush/Sly-Fi bundle. The Novatron compressor is great - and I sometimes just use it for saturation (like SuperCharger:D).The Hammer DSP eq is just lovely. It’s general - it has three bands and no Q adjustment - but it’s hard to make it sound bad. The Deflector compressor is like a distressor in many positive respects. And the Electra EQ - I have a hardware one as well - it’s also hard to make a bad sound with it. The AR-1 is quite nice as a compressor.

From Plug-in Alliance, I love the bx_digital eq. Great all around and M/S too. DynEQ is also cool. I like the bx-limiter but only for the saturation. MPressor isn’t killing me. The Shadow Hills compressor they sell is terrific but I don’t own it yet.

Arturia’s series of compressors and eq’s is pretty good. I’m beginning to mess with Kilohearts’ stuff - it’s fun.

Altiverb is great. I only use a few things in it but they all make the world a better place. Otherwise for reverbs it’s the Abbey Road Plates, Kush Goldplate, the Slate reverb, EW Spaces, LiquidSonics and a newer IR reverb Avid are distributing - Convology - and a few algorithmic ones like Virtual Soundstage (which makes the VSL, SampleModeling and AudioModeling stuff much more unified-sounding) and Revibe II. Heard the Valhalla stuff, liked it, but I have too many more things to buy at the moment.

I’ve picked up lots of Waves things as they’ve gone on sale. All of the Abbey Road and TG things are fun. And I like a lot of the NI things for their utility - their 224 clone is very usable, SuperCharger is great, Transient Master is good - most of their stuff is at least serviceable. Guitar Rig works when many other things don’t.

The funny thing is, I tend to use broad strokes when working with orchestra. I like to make things work as they are and then make them a little better. I’ve read about folks who use transient designers on SampleModeling things to make them “better”, but I’m just not going there. I think of every layer of DSP as another potentially lossy version of the original. Eq, sure, gently. Compression, as needed. Saturation, whenever possible. But too many layers add too much latency and a lack of responsiveness - and as a real-time mixer that doesn’t work for me. I have some UAD things because I used to have a Quad card - but those are mixing tools, and you can’t use them for what you are listening to in real-time - can’t slap a Massive Passive plug-in on a stereo bus that you also play through. I do have a hardware one, that has only conversion latency from the interface - but no recall, so I use it less than I should.

When it’s drums bass guitar synths, anything goes. I usually mix virtual drums inside Superior 3 - I have the Slate drums too but their mixer is, shall we say, underpowered as far as processing - but the drums are already “produced”-sounding, so sometimes they are fine. I have a few Ampeg-type bass amp sims for Abyss, but Trilian usually just takes a little compression and maybe a hair of eq.
A few Orange Tree guitar libraries and the new Indiginus Steel get a little amping from Scuffham or Duitar Rig or Amplitube or Overloud THU. The SoundToys stuff is great - DevilLoc Deluxe is a treasure. Sonible SmartEQ2 is good for quick results with vocals. And OhmForce’s venerable Ohmicide is killer.

+1 for Trackspacer.

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Thanks :pray: @rfwd to take time to write down that much!

Half of the stuff I never heard of before, so need to check it out. What always bothered :confused: me is the iLok story, so McDSP and Slate would be nice :+1: but at the moment I only miss the Softube bundle.

Regarding the iLok - I honestly have had very little trouble in the twenty-three or so years I’ve used them. I think it’s been that long. I will say that when everything of mine got wrecked in a flood some years back, I had all the plugs back almost immediately.

I have iLok on my computer, no dongle. I think most developers support this machine iLok now?
Don’t have too many iLok software though. Space 2, Ravenscroft Piano, Nectar 3, Punish…I think those are it. So far had no problems with iLok at all. We’ll see what happens when I get a new Mac and need to move these.

Well, the iLok Manager is ok and works fine, you shouldn’t have any troubles @Mikael.

The stick itself is a great invention (I mean, moving licenses from A to B), but what I always was scared of, that when this cheap plastic dongle is broken (I know a lot of people, who had the trouble with it), or get lost or or or…there is absolutely no service from their side…This is the main reason why I stopped using it…maybe they do have support now? I have no idea. At the end of the day, who wants to send a stick around the globe because of some licenses or whatever…first you don’t have time for it, second you have better things to do in life and there is absolutely no warranty that it will be fine after they have sent it back. In Europe there is a big music store called “Thomann” and when you read through all the reviews, you find really mind-boggling stories. And at the end of the day, let’s be honest, this iLok is way to overpriced! 50$ this is insane…They have eared millions, but don’t give you a proper support??? Huh??

Last thing, I guess some of the bigger companies would never move away or at least give you the option to not use this dongle, if they would believe that it’s worth it. Even piracy is not a reason anymore. As mentioned before: FabFilter does it great, you get a super long code, and voila! Done. 3 Minutes you are ready to go. How much time I have invested years ago into this iLok…maaaaan… give me my time back :smiley:

I remember back in school I wrote an article about the iLok and the tutor knew I hated this thing. So he gave me a low grade. For me it’s important when someone releases a product, that you know, even if you have troubles, someone will be there to help. iLok - mmm…you don’t need support.

23 years… @rfwd I am surprised :slight_smile: I guess you are one of a kind :slight_smile:

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:grin: Either that or the old rule “the Internet is where people go to complain” is in effect, and although we have heard many complaints it gives the illusion that a vast majority have problems with it. :thinking:

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I mostly use SoundToys for many of the above effects. It’s a powerful collection of plugins, and they all have a large library of presets to experiment with, which helps make learning what each can really do go much faster. As an example, I used their library of effects to alter Spitfire’s Eric Whitacre LABS library for this track: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WePQcHFKIA&ab_channel=JimLane, which is composed only of the EW choir + effects.

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