As 2019 comes to a close, I thought I would wrap up the year with sharing a few of my favourite audio production software plugins. In no particular order, I give you the following top 3 faves:
FAB FILTER PRO Q3
I’m a huge fan of Fab Filter plugins and ProQ3 is fast becoming my go-to EQ for all my production/mixing/mastering sessions. Firstly, it is a very clean and transparent EQ that offers an excellent visual representation of the frequency domain. The workflow is quite different to that of a more traditional analog style EQ, in that it doesn’t have familiar pre-set EQ curves (e.g. as in a Neve or SSL style EQ). One of my favourite features is being able to hover the mouse over the audio and immediately identify resonant or problematic EQ points. You can also quickly switch to dynamic mode, which is a big plus. This is a huge timesaver in the studio. The scalable GUI is also handy, although I rarely use this, as I often have multiple different plugins open and visible at any given time. The software design appears to be the direction that most plugin developers and moving towards, with a more visual display allowing for greater control and general visibility of what’s going on with your audio. The program is also very light on usage of system CPU resources, which is another big plus.
SLATE VIRTUAL MIX RACK
Slate Digital products have been a regular feature in my studio for a while now and are fast becoming the industry standard. The Slate Virtual Mix Rack (or VMR) has become my go-to plugin for getting a mix session moving quickly. The workflow is very intuitive and has that tactile, analog vibe with a lot of cool looking knobs and buttons. You easily drag and drop individual modules and move them around in any order you like. The overall design is based upon a 500 series FX rack. Many of the presets are great starting points and are easily modifiable to suit your own preferences. They sound great, they are super versatile and also not too resource hungry on your CPU.
IZOTOPE OZONE 9
Izotope have been one of the cutting edge software companies in the music production scene for some time now. I have personally been using their products for years and Ozone has been one of those essential tools. Ozone 9 still has that same familiar workflow of previous versions, where you can easily drag and drop modules as required and move them around in the chain easily. Whilst Ozone is more of a mastering tool, I’m finding it stays on my mix buss for the majority of sessions these days. The master assistant feature (which has been around for a couple of versions now) is handy if you’re a beginner and want to get a reasonable starting point for mastering your audio. I’m really enjoying the new ‘low end focus’ module, this is a fast way to get extra punch into your track, without having to fish around with an EQ. Ozone is one of those tools that genuinely improves my workflow and allows me to offer my clients the latest in cutting edge, industry standard music production tools. The program can be a little resource hungry (although this has been noticeably improved in version 9), so it’s just something to be aware of if your session is already loaded with a stack of plugins.
Well, I just wanted wrap up the year by saying thank you for taking the time to read my blogs and watch my videos. I look forward to bringing you some fresh content in 2020, which I’m sure will be another huge year for the music industry.
Until next time,