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Digital plugins have become a ubiquitous tool in modern music production.
It is becoming extremely rare to find a recording studio that relies solely on analog outboard gear.
Many of the best studios, including Evermore Sound, combine the worlds of analog and digital music production techniques, which affords many benefits for both the artist and music producer to achieve excellent results.
Plugins are digital emulations of analog outboard gear as well as effects that can create and shape sound in their own way..
There are many benefits to using digital plug-ins in your recording projects.
Software plugins are extremely cost effective compared to outboard analog gear or extensive synthesizers.
Digital sampling technology has likewise advanced at such an exponential rate in the last two decades that we have reached the point where it is nearly impossible to tell the difference in a blind test between software plug-ins and their analog inspirations
Additionally, digital plugins can be used simultaneously on multiple different audio channels in your recording project, unlike their hardware counterparts.
This can open many new doors in the creative mixing process that were previously unavailable.
The realm of software plugins has expanded dramatically in the last decade.
There is no shortage of affordable and useful plugins available for all manner of creative uses in the recordings studios.
Today's recording engineers have access to amazing digital compressors, tuning and pitch correction tools, modulation effects like flanger, chorus, and phaser that run the gamut from basic to otherworldly, insanely enormous reverbs, endless delays, and interesting emulations of tape machines and other vintage replications, along with a inspiring array of audio repair tools, the best mastering plugins, and music software.
The use and understanding of compressors is nearly a prerequisite in today's recording world.
Compressors are often used on many different instruments like drum sets, guitars, vocals, etc. You can hear the compressor everywhere, even if you may not be aware of it.
Essentially, the compressor reduces the dynamic range of an audio signal.
A compressor evens out the volume of an audio signal, making the loud parts quieter and the quiet parts louder.
As a result, you gain headroom in the signal and can bring the entire signal up in volume.
You can also use the creative elements of attack, threshold, and release to alter and manipulate the tones of instruments and voices in interesting ways.
There are many great software compressors available on the market today.
The CLA Classic Compressors bundle is a product from Waves Audio, one of the preeminent developers of software plugins.
The CLA Classic Compressors are designed to emulate the LA-2A and LA-3A, two of the most iconic analog compressors ever made. Waves designed these plugins in collaboration with professional audio engineer Chris Lord-Alge.
Waves plugins are also extremely affordable in comparison to others, making them a great option for those audio engineers looking to dip their toes into the digital world.
All modern DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) come with a free, built-in suite of mixing plug-ins.
There are usually at least two different compressors inside of every DAW, each with a handful of presets.
Using the built-in compressors and accompanying tutorials will give you a great feel for the creative possibilities of compression, with the added bonus that you don't have to pay anything extra!
The Fabfilter bundle of mixing plugins is another great option with many wonderful features.
The Pro-C 2 compressor includes eight different compression styles including a mastering plugin feature, as well as a host of other professional quality offerings.
Equalization, or EQ for short, is a process that allows recording engineers to fine tune specific frequency elements of an audio signal.
By boosting or cutting specific audio frequencies, we can transform audio signals in many ways.
We can make dark signals sound brighter, we can make muddy signals sound punchy and present, or we can bury signals and in turn create more space in an overall mix.
Learning to use EQ properly will undoubtedly change your mixing game and there is no shortage of quality EQs available on the market.
The Waves EQ Plugins include a wide range of options and features.
There are a few main types of EQ such as graphic EQ, parametric EQ, and dynamic EQ.
All are useful in many different situations.
Waves offers options in both graphic and parametric EQ as well as some interesting console and mixing channel models designed to emulate analog board sounds.
Another high-quality piece of software from Fabfilter, the Pro-Q 3 offers professional level features at an affordable price.
A large interactive EQ display, dynamic EQ across multiple bands, and the option to edit multiple bands at once are all part of what makes the Pro-Q 3 an automatic choice for professional and amateur recording engineers alike.
Tuning and pitch correction is one of the marvels of modern software plugins and recording technology.
Today's pitch correction tools can work literal wonders and transform both archival recordings and poor quality performances into fresh and professional sounding productions.
Of course, some tuning plugins can leave artifacts behind and their presence can become obvious if too much pitch correction is used.
The Melodyne pitch correction tool is available at a number of different tiers and price points, making it a perfect choice for beginners all the way to professionals.
With an intuitive user interface and a suite of pitch, time, and timbre correcting tools,
Melodyne is truly a marvel of modern technology and it is to your benefit to learn how to use it!
Like Melodyne, the Antares Auto-Tune software comes at a number of different tiers and options.
There are features designed to emulate classic microphones, create instant, natural sounding harmonies, talkbox emulators, sibilance suppression, and an insane feature that allows you to literally manipulate the entire vocal tracts in a virtual interface!
Reverb is a cornerstone of every mixing engineers plugin library.
Reverb helps add ambience and space to an audio mix.
It is often used on vocals, guitar, piano, synths, and parts of a drum set as well as on a whole mix.
There are many different approaches and schools of thought around the use of reverb and where to place it in your signal chain.
Nonetheless, reverb is an essential tool that you want to be able to call upon at any time.
Another stellar plugin from Waves Audio, the Abbey Road Reverb Plates plugin accurately emulates four different reverb plates from the iconic Abbey Road Studios in England.
These plates have been used by such famous bands as The Beatles and Pink Floyd.
This is one of the best reasons to use plugins - you can now have access to insane, rare gear in a digital software form!
A huge reverb bundle from the company that has helped to define the world of reverb sampling, the Eventide PCM Native reverb bundle includes 7 Lexicon reverbs, combined with hundreds of expertly crafted studio presets, a visual EQ for easy adjustment, and full control over various parameters and automation.
The Eventide PCM Native reverb bundle is not inexpensive, however, but it is certainly a professional product!
Delay is a time-based effect that can boost the space and character of an audio signal. There are many types of delays: analog and digital, slapback, echo, etc.
A versatile delay plugin at an affordable price, the PSP stompDelay includes just about everything you could want in a delay plugin.
From conventional slapback and ping-pong effects, to lush tape delay emulation, all the way out the far reaches of the sonic universe, the stompDelay can handle it.
The Soundtoys PrimalTap is a digital emulation of the cult-classic Prime Time delay unit originally released in 1978.
The Prime Time was the preferred delay for many sonic pioneers including Brian Eno, guitarist Pat Metheny, David Byrne, and Peter Gabriel. Like the original Prime Time, the PrimalTap includes a VCO (voltage controlled oscillator), perfect for creating wobbly, 80s delay and flanger-type effects!
Distortion is one of the original audio effects. Originally discovered sometime in the 1930s or 40s by driving guitar amplifiers past their intended volume, distortion has become a staple of every studio's effects repertoire and has come to define the sonic style of much of modern music.
Another intriguing effect from Soundtoys, the Decapitator draws inspiration from the best of analog saturation hardware.
The Decapitator features five analog models to start with and many shaping parameters to dial in your perfect, saturated tone, lending character and strong presence to your mixes.
All DAWs these days include some saturation and distortion effects.
These plugins are free and are generally on the same level as anything else you would buy in the marketplace.
Learn how to use them and understand exactly what distortion effects can do to your sound.
Then, when you feel like you have some experience, go and purchase some additional distortion plugins if you desire.
Mastering is a bit of a hazy process for many musicians. Access to music mastering software might be a little mysterious.
Fortunately, as with all these other plugins, access to the best mastering software is almost universal.
You can download the best mastering software from a number of great companies and enjoy the same tools that the professional engineers use.
iZotope have long been producers of some of the best mastering plugins on the market.
The Ozone 9 Mastering Suite is a professional level mastering software that incorporates AI and machine learning into its platform.
With a sophisticated suite of features including Master Rebalance, Low End Focus, EQ Scaling, and a setting to test loudness for streaming services, Ozone 9 is among the best mastering plugins available today!
An awesome limiter is an essential mastering plugin and the FabFilter Pro-L 2 is a wonderful choice for the professional and home studio alike.
With many of the same interface features as the Pro-Q and Pro-C from earlier, the Pro-L 2 is likewise among the best mastering software programs available, albeit with less features than the Ozone 9.
The Waves Kramer Master Tape is a solid tape simulator from the creators at Waves Audio.
Designed in collaboration with the iconic engineer and producer Eddie Kramer, the Kramer Master Tape is modeled after a vintage 1/4" reel-to-reel tape machine and can be used in a variety of contexts. You can incorporate it into a mix or pair it with your mastering plugins for added character.
The industry standard for analog mastering, the Ampex ATR-102 Mastering Tape recorder is now available in a mastering plugin!
With specialized built-in features like variable signal paths, tape speeds, emphasis EQ, and various tape formulas, all engineers can access one of the most sought after 2 track tape machines in music recording history!
Today's creative recording world offers many insane options for combinations of analog and digital gear.
With the exponential advancements in sampling and processing technology, even the most rare and vintage hardware has become accessible to anyone on the internet who wants to experiment with it.
Evermore Sound combines the best of analog and digital gear to suit your particular recording needs. Drop us a line today to get started on your next recording project!