Absolute must have plug ins and virtual instruments?

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mikethomasmusic
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Absolute must have plug ins and virtual instruments?

Post by mikethomasmusic » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:49 pm

I'm running Logic, I decided to still hold onto Pro 9 even though I now also have and just started using the 64bit Pro X.

I was wondering what some of the staple absolute must have/Industry standard plug ins are as well as virtual instruments that you all would recommend?
Thanks.

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Post by raweber » Tue Apr 01, 2014 5:25 pm

Mike, I don't know what your background in mixing is, but I can't recommend highly enough that you first learn how to mix thoroughly with the stock plug-ins that come with Logic. Like most DAWs, the stock plug-ins are really high quality. Once you hit your limits with the stock plug-ins (that is, your outgrow them), then look into "industry standard" plug-ins, like Waves, McDSP, Sonnox and UAD.

Good luck!

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Post by Snarl 12/8 » Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:24 pm

I've gathered, from years of reading this board, the mag and just living and listening, that there really aren't too many "industry standards" anywhere in the music biz. People use what they like the sound of and/or the look/name/brand/workflow/etc. of. If this wasn't the case, all recorded music would sound exactly the same.

I bet if you provide a little more detail about your background, the gear you already have and the types of sounds and plugins you already like you'll get some useful opinions from this board. As stated, your original post is basically unanswerable beyond the stock TOMB "it depends."
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lyman
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Post by lyman » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:31 am

If I were trying to answer that for myself, I would find out who produced/mixed some of the records I want to emulate, sonically. Then try and track down any interviews, youtube content, studio websites or other sources of info to see what they're using. Or get in touch with them personally, sometimes people are happy to talk about stuff like that.

Edit: good resource here with lots of big name engineers interviewed about techniques and tools http://www.pensadosplace.tv/
Last edited by lyman on Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Jeff White
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Post by Jeff White » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:31 am

http://www.cambridge-mt.com/MixingSecrets.htm

I highly recommend this book before throwing a ton of money down a rabbit hole in an attempt to chase things that you may or may not know how to attain. It is an excellent resource and has really changed things for me in the past 2 years.

A lot of the DAW bundled plug-ins are EXCELLENT these days. Knowing how to use side-chains for balancing within a mix, knowing how to use pre-delay and panning of reverb to bring out a sense of distance, bus compression (parallel compression), having a properly treated room for a tame mixing environment... all of these things are way more important than industry standard plug-ins.

As far as plug-ins are concerned, I really think that you can get by without spending a $zillion. Stillwell (AU and VST) makes some really great stuff for cheap, and there are a lot of excellent cheap or even free plugins out there that will rival WAVES, etc. As a matter of fact, my current WAVES plugins crash Digital Performer when I attempt to switch them out while mixing (something that I can do with everything else), so I've been moving away from them (again, sigh).

I have heard nothing but GREAT things regarding UAD stuff. If I was starting out with some cash and in need of an interface I'd consider heading in that direction.

Plug-ins...learn how to use parametric EQ. Learn how to use a Pultec. A Fairchild. How to use a multi-band compressor. Maybe pick up a dbx 160X and use it while tracking (I'm talking hardware). Have a single excellent channel of front end (at least) with mic, preamp, compressor, maybe EQ. That'll go a long way. Then use whatever plug-ins you have, or some inexpensive plug-ins from these folks:

http://www.valhalladsp.com (I own vintageVerb and LOVE it)
http://www.stillwellaudio.com/ (Everything. Seriously.)
http://www.soundtoys.com/ (I am using a few of their freebies and love them... Little Primal Tap and Little Radiator especially.)
http://www.nomadfactory.com/ (I bought in for $99 years ago via DontCrack and they have some excellent plug-ins for the money which is why I am including them here.)


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Post by casey campbell » Wed Apr 02, 2014 1:50 pm

well, ill just throw in my 2 cents here for what its worth (not for sure if it's even worth that) Lol!

1. i cannot tell you how much I have used celemony melodyne. this is an absolute must.

2. drumagog has been a lifesaver for me as well. most of the time you'll get drummers who don't know anything about tuning their drums, or will bring a crap set with ancient heads. after the session, and everyone's gone, blend some samples in and you'll thank me later. back in the day we used to call this "georging," but now software does a much better job of it.

3. an eq is an eq unless it is simulating the characteristics of an old analog unit or something.

4. get a pallet of reverbs available - including convolution.

5. get some "character" comps/limiters, and some "transparent" ones as well.

6. get a pack of util type effects that work on all types of material. the old sonitus plugin pack (vst) comes to mind. cheap, timeless. waves makes some packs like this albeit overpriced sometimes.

7. save your money and don't buy trippy plugins that distort sounds beyond recognition. there are plenty of free plugins that do that, and you can get them from KVR.

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Post by blungo2 » Thu Apr 03, 2014 4:36 pm

Don't know how helpful this will be, as there's already been a lot of great advice. As you probably know a lot of stuff is just personal preference/taste/etc.

I personally love a few of the UAD plugins, that's not to say there aren't a bunch of great plugins by other companies (notably Valhalla, Klanghelm, Tokyo Dawn, the list goes on and on).

The UAD stuff i love on individual tracks is the new 1176 and LA2 (esp. the gray), Pultec MEQ5 and the Studer 800. A few uad plugs are always on my two buss as well, pultec, fairchild, Ampex 102 and often the EMT plate verb.

When i'm not using the uad emt, i love the valhalla vintage verb or valhalla room. Other compressors i love are Molot and the Klanghelm DC82, for eq the new tokyo dawn slick eq is very nice.

Just my two cents, but all the non-uad plugs i like are very reasonable in price.

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Post by kuene » Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:28 am

i think everybody who has Valhalla Vintage Verb would agree that it is the best 50 dollars you can spend on a plugin. i use it somewhere on everything it is so good and so versatile. And easy to use.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Apr 07, 2014 6:31 am

Logic has a lot of very useful plug-ins.

I even use Logic off my laptop and wire it to Pro Tools HD as an effects box, so
I can use plug-ins like Space Designer and Delay Designer (wicked awesome plug-ins!)

So, use all the Logic plug-ins first. The EQ has an FFT analyzer, which can be useful as you learn to EQ things. The compressor has 6 different types, which emulate different kinds of compressors, such as FET, OPTO, etc.

Really, you need to learn these first. Save your money, and avoid the temptation of third party plug-ins for now.

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Post by A.David.MacKinnon » Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:45 am

I'd agree with everybody here. You're far better off learning to work with what you've got than hoping a specific plug in will change your world. If years of freelance and location work have taught me anything it's that 90% of the job is adapting to the situation and making the best results with whats at hand.
As long as you have access to an eq, compressor, delay and some kind of reverb you should be able to do the job. Hell, I didn't even have all of those when I started out.

EQ can be as simple as mic selection and tweaking the source.
Compression can be as simple as riding the fader or automation.
Delay can be as simple as duplicating the track and sliding it back a bit.
Reverb can be as simple as moving the mics back or putting a room mic down the hall.
Learn to get the sounds you want on the way in.

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alexdingley
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another vote for staying with the stock plug-ins for now

Post by alexdingley » Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:46 pm

Yeah? when I went cold-turkey-legit a decade ago? it was with Logic. In my younger, and more swashbuckley days, I used a ton of hacked stuff? but when I decided to own-up and buy what I used, I chose Logic because I really loved the plug-ins. From 2004, up till 2010, I only used the stock plug-ins in Logic, and they suited me fine. Seriously, to Nick's point, Space Designer & Delay Designer are OUTSTANDING!!

The only plug-ins I'm regularly using these days are:
- Sonnox Comp/Limiter
- SSL Duende Native Channel
- Slate FX-G
- iZotope Ozone 5

and each one was purchased by & for a project I was working on? so, wait until you need to buy plug-ins. If you already have an iLok2 (which you should get if you're close to buying something) you can often buy direct through companies like Sweetwater, and then download + electronically activate? almost on-demand. I had to do that during a session three years ago? the built-in tuning plug-in for Logic wasn't quite sophisticated enough, so I bought / downloaded / installed / used AutoTune that night. All of it happened after 10pm, and it couldn't have been smoother?

but I digress? stick with the built-in Logic suite until you have a real need and can't get the sounds you're desiring with what's there.

?no pardon me while I go daydream about buying a UAD2 octo card.

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Adice taken and a few more thoughts, thanks.

Post by mikethomasmusic » Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:14 am

Thanks for all the advice. I agree Logic does have some really great plugs in that would take anyone a great deal of time to really get a firm knowledge and understandings of how to use them at their full potential.

I realize that its not always price obviously that determines the final outcome of the end sounding results. You can obviously give an amateur guitar player who only knows 3 chords a $129 Fender Squire start and then hand them a $3,000 Custom shop Fender guitar and he/she is still going to pretty much sound the same. However, and maybe my lack of experience may sound a little ignorant, or the whole audio plug in business model is a complete rip off sham?

What I'm getting at is, say if you had a person with limited mixing/mastering skills and you told them to use whatever, stock DAW plug ins they wanted (in this case Logic) to mix and or master a project; and then you also told that same person to do a comparison version using any third party plug ins out there that they wanted.

In theory it would seem that if a person had a $1,000 plus plug in bundle ,(standard mixing/mastering bread and butter effect types), say like Sonnex Oxford; it would seem monetary/quality wise that simply by using a lot of the presets in the third party plug ins that this person with limited abilities would probably get a better end result then if they were to just use the stock DAW plug ins? In theory that seems to make sense to me, if we're primarily talking using a lot of pre sets.

If this sounds stupid forgive me, I am still relatively new when it comes to the whole computer recording thing. I do have studio knowledge, having recorded a lot of years using outboard stuff and I worked in Musical instrument retail for a few years. So I'm not totally ignorant. I just, like I said am sort of new to the computer DAW world and its like a whole new universe to me, so I like picking brains for fresh perspectives on things.

What I meant by scam/sham rip off in regards to third part software is that, if quality/price isn't so much a factor rather than someone's skills and abilities to utilize the tools they already have. With the exception of some intense developing requirements by some, how the hell can most of these third party companies justify the premium prices for their products? Especially when it is software/soft synths and they're not physically manufacturing physical parts? I do realize a lot of r&d time developing, creating and writing the programs occur, but still its not like they have an assembly line putting parts together with machines and tools. The fact alone that again(and not picking on sonnex, I have and love their products), but using them as an example, their plug in suite/bundle is over $1,000! Thats twice as much if not more than what a lot of DAW'S on the market cost. And they come with ten times the amount of effects!

In software's defense though, I also do realize for example say with an orchestral suite plug in. Chances are that company hired and had to spend a ton of time,detail,and money recording a real full orchestra in every which way conceivable, and things of that nature can certainly factor in some of the high software prices. Or when companies painstakingly almost have to like reverse engineer a famous vintage piece of gear to create the virtual version. No doubt that probably isn't cheap to do either. But, for the majority of a lot of software out there that doesn't involve a ton of resources to create, they seem to be ridiculously overpriced,IMO. No wonder there are so many torrent sites with people pirating these things.

This has probably been beat to death, but maybe if some of these software companies could figure out a way to cut costs a bit to pass on to the consumers, then maybe there wouldn't be as many illegal downloads? It always seems like a matter of time regardless of what security measures companies use, be it Ilock or whatever. Like a cat and mouse game, it seems like the software pirates always eventually find a way around things. So maybe a price decrease would benefit everyone?

I know I've gotten away from my initial questions and comments about the quality and opinions of third party plug ins. But, where do you guys stand with the pricing of software?
I myself don't pirate things simply because I worked in the music sales industry. Plus I am friendly with a few of the reps for some of these companies, and they have families and are just trying to make a living. That's something that your average pirate download/uploader doesn't probably think of. There is also the classic argument that if people keep downloading things for free these companies won't have the resources to continue to create such great cutting edge products.

To sum things up, I think there is an obvious need for third party plug ins verses being limited to just whatever comes with your DAW. Every project has unique needs so having options is great. Maybe I should internet search this because there is probably someone already doing it? But, to solve the pirate software thing, maybe someone should have a website that rents plugins? Sometimes you might need a plug in for only a few things on a particular project, and you might not ever need it again? They would have to write some type of security scrip so that the person can't steal the rental once they have it but it seems like a cool idea unless its being done? Which I' sure it probably is, I'm going to check it out.

Lastly, with regards to my initial inquiries. What I got from most of your advice for example is, if a person is say a new guitar player, and they go out and buy one of the nicest most expensive guitars, it obviously won't make them a better player. But the catch 22 is, some of these premium plug ins have presets. Do you think even a novice could use some of these presets in the more expensive plug ins and perhaps sound somewhat better than if they were to just use the stock effects in their DAW?

Thanks,
Mike

(Sorry for the novel length post. I write for a friends zine and can sometimes get carried away as I type when I'm trying to explain things/express myself. The extra caffeine probably doesn't help either).

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Post by kingtoad » Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:18 am

Presets are completely pointless for EQ and compression. They nearly always make the source sounds worse and when they don't it's pure chance.

Presets can be cool for effects like reverb or delay, either unedited or as a starting point,
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Re: Adice taken and a few more thoughts, thanks.

Post by numberthirty » Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:35 pm

mikethomasmusic wrote:What I meant by scam/sham rip off in regards to third part software is that, if quality/price isn't so much a factor rather than someone's skills and abilities to utilize the tools they already have. With the exception of some intense developing requirements by some, how the hell can most of these third party companies justify the premium prices for their products? Especially when it is software/soft synths and they're not physically manufacturing physical parts? I do realize a lot of r&d time developing, creating and writing the programs occur, but still its not like they have an assembly line putting parts together with machines and tools. The fact alone that again(and not picking on sonnex, I have and love their products), but using them as an example, their plug in suite/bundle is over $1,000! Thats twice as much if not more than what a lot of DAW'S on the market cost. And they come with ten times the amount of effects!
That's probably not quite as black and white as you're trying to make it.

While they don't have a manufacturing facility, the company behind the M-Tron software has obviously put a decent amount of cash and work into that software synth and the expansion packs.

I have zero problem with their price point.

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Post by tjcasey1 » Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:22 am

Keep in mind that software developers, no matter what they're producing and no matter if it's downloaded or physically delivered on discs, need to eat and pay bills. Sometimes that gets forgotten by the end user.

MOTU's DP has lots of plug-in effects, but they sell a lot more copies of their DAW than the developer of a boutique limiter plug-in. Maybe if the boutique guy lowered his price, he'd get more sales, but that's up to him and his business plan.

As far as my favorite affordable plug-ins go:

Izotope's Ozone (mastering) and Nectar (vocal processing) rock for me and I can't live without them. Lots of presets that can be tweaked like crazy, so they serve as good starting points.

Toontrack's EZMix is not as versatile because you can't tweak the presets, except for two parameters. I bought it but ended up not using it.

And for instruments, it depends on what style of music you're dealing with. For me, anything by Spectrasonics - Omnisphere (synths), Stylus (rhythmic loops) and Trillian (basses) - are my daily multivitamins. I can't live without them. I did two whole albums using just these plugins: Ambient Hours (4 hours) and Ambient Hours Addendum 1 (1.25 hours). Search for them on iTunes or amazon and you'll get a good idea of what's doable with these three instruments.

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