In recent years, I’ve been super impressed by everything the guys over at Sinevibes are doing. Sinevibes creates a line of plugins that combine effect sequencing and various splice/bend/stutter techniques. The results are great for dance, electronica, and experimental music. The plugins’ interfaces are minimal and sleek, which I always prefer over the “looks like hardware” style.
If I had to pick just one plugin, it would be Fraction, which combines the best of stutter effects with a deep sequencer.
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The synth plugin I’ve used the most in the past few years has to be ReDominatorby AudioRealism. It’s the one I’m turning to if I want a tasty-sounding synth, pad, or bass and I want it quickly. ReDominator is a doddle to use, and you can go from a simple sound to huge texture thanks to its chord mode (in which you can still play chords polyphonically) and its lush chorus effect.
This synth possesses a very pleasant, warm, and sort of elastic character, just like the original Alpha Juno—the modeling work done by the developers is incredible.
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The Waves L3 Multimaximizer, because I use it for every mastering project. Lots of plugins can slam levels, but the L3 can do extremely nuanced and sophisticated maximizing if you take the time to learn what all the parameters can do.
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FabFilter Pro-Q 2 Equalizer—I know I am not alone in choosing this gem equalizer as a favorite. Like many progressive plugins, FabFilter Pro-Q 2 has cut the ties to hardware emulation and let loose the dogs of digital! It combines the usually disparate characteristics of ease-of-use with a monster feature set, and superb sound.
Even a beginner can immediately load the EQ onto a track and start dragging curves and EQ points around effectively. But if you spend a little time with the advanced functions, this plugin is a real time-saving critter. At $179 (USD) list price, the sound and power of this plugin equalizer is just unbeatable.
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I would have to say FabFilter Pro-Q 2. I just love how simple yet innovative the UI is—it is such a breeze to work with. And of course, it sounds fantastic.
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Being a musician myself first, I am always keen to try out all the good tools out there. Eventide is a name that one cannot miss. I have owned the fabulous Eventide Eclipse for many years, and I missed those superb chorus and pitch algorithms that only Eventide can do so well.
Getting the Eventide H910/H910 Dual Harmonizer gives me all that processing very authentically, straight from the original people who made the hardware. I pretty much use this on synths and vocals on all my tracks. Tracking my hardware synths and then recreating those ’80s lush ensemble sounds is quick and easy with this plugin.
This is certainly a plugin I can’t live without!
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Valhalla VintageVerb is in my band’s gear list on the latest album’s sleeve—it’s because it made it on to most tracks! Love the lush, lively quality of the reverbs while keeping the UX so informative, without unessential parameters. I also liked the company’s business practices, which I found really fair to their customers.
I remember that Arie (my partner at Kuassa) mentioned about how Sean Costello, the founder, has discussed reverb algorithms in the forums since the ’90s. We really admire his dedication and how much time he spends researching his algorithms. No wonder the products are so good!
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Without exception, a plugin I use every day is Synplant by Sonic Charge. I can’t even begin to describe how it works, but it sounds like nothing I’ve heard before.
The interface features branches of a plant, which when ‘pulled’ mutate and effect the sound in all manner of crazy ways.
There are tonnes of presets and a mind-boggling editing system, which works on painstakingly entering numerous parameters. But it’s essential to my music and I couldn’t live without it.
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I’ve been impressed by the quality and power of Celemony’s Melodyne for years. Their pioneering polyphonic pitch correction technology (DNA) continues to be unique and innovative a decade after it was initially released, and the ‘music first’ approach they’ve taken in the design of their products makes their powerful underlying technology much more accessible to the average producer.
I wish I knew how they did it!
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There are so many great plugin developers in the audio business today, but I still remember how my jaws dropped when I first heard Celemony’s Melodyne DNA technology—I think it was back in 2008.
It was a great demonstration of how to achieve something that was previously thought of as impossible. At that time, it was a standalone application, but it was later made available as a plugin through the ARA interface extension.