In modern mixing, you have to be fast, efficient and be able to produce a top quality mix whilst being adaptable and versatile. Today, I’m going to share my top 3 favourite mixing plugins that help me get the job done!
Audio mixing has been my passion for some years now and in my time, I’ve observed a number of changes in the music industry. Technology has advanced significantly in the last 10 years or so and there has been a genuine shift towards 100% digital mixing (otherwise known as ‘in the box’ mixing). This simply means using your computer or laptop as the sole tool for your mixes. The return on investment for analog console mixing is becoming harder to justify and can be quite restrictive when working with today’s super-fast turnaround times. Not to mention the need to complete revisions quickly and be able to recall a session within seconds. Today I’m going to share 3 plugins that I find myself using on every mix and that have become tools that improve my workflow and at the same time, help me provide a top quality mix. Here they are in no particular order.
SLATE VIRTUAL MIX RACK
The Slate Virtual Mix Rack is one of the best all-round plugins in my audio toolkit. Not only are they visually appealing, but they are easily customized to suit your session and have very low CPU usage, which means you can have them loaded on pretty much every channel in your session. The pre-sets can be very helpful if you’re a beginner and as you become more experienced, you can easily setup your own custom FX chains and save them in the top menu for quick access. The plugin selection includes everything from compressors, to equalizers, distortion modules to console emulations. In my opinion, they are one of the most musical sounding plugin sets on the market.
FAB FILTER PRO Q3
The Fab Filter Pro Q3 is basically an EQ on steroids! One of the main things I absolutely love about this plugin is the GUI, it’s scalable and gives you a super accurate live picture of the EQ curve of your audio signal. Yes, most DAW’s come in built with some form of visual EQ, but I’m yet to see one as sophisticated and flexible as the Fab Filter version. A really cool simple thing you can do, is hover your mouse over the waveform and you can easily pinpoint resonant frequencies. You then have the option of engaging that frequency and you can then make your cut or boost as needed. I like to use it in dynamic mode, which only attenuates the signal above the threshold you select. There’s a bunch of presets to get you going here also, I’ve personally never used any of them and I’m sure there’s a tonne of other features this plugin has that I probably haven’t even figured out yet. Definitely one to have in your plugin toolkit.
Izotope are one of the most innovative companies out there that are always pushing the envelope of music technology tools and software. Ozone has been around for a while now (currently up to version 9) and whilst it is largely recognized as a mastering tool, the modules that come with the program are available in individual versions and are very useful during mixing. Using the ozone main interface to have a brief look at some of my favourite features, firstly it’s a very user-friendly interface. It has a modular setup so that you can easily add which module you need to your chain and you can change the order of them very easily. This plugin also has various tools ranging from different types of EQ (such as vintage style and dynamic EQ), customizable multi-band compressors and single band vintage style ones, various types of distortion and tape saturation, plus the limiter is one of the cleanest and best sounding limiters currently available on the plugin market. This plugin has far too many amazing features to go through today, I may actually cover this one in detail at a later date.
I hope you enjoyed today’s look into my top 3 mixing plugins. What are some of your favourite plugins that you like to use in your mixes? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
Until next time,