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5 Secret Weapon Plugins for Your Mix Buss

I recently discussed five pieces of hardware that can enhance your mixes by being properly placed and used on your master buss.

Here are five plugins that can add life, impact, color and other desirable traits to a mix.

Sonnox Oxford Inflator

Most of these plugins are unique in that they add something to your mix simply by placing them on the master buss, and turning a (virtual) dial or two. The Inflator is no exception. Simply experiment with the ‘Effect’ and ‘Curve’ faders, and the Inflator instantly adds intensity and warmth. It doesn’t work 100% of the time, but when it does, it can really “glue” a mix together.

SPL Vitalizer MK2-T

This plugin is actually an emulation of a piece of hardware that is used by prominent mastering engineers. It’s got useful several features that can really brighten and tighten your mixes, but my favorite control is the stereo expander, which I occasionally even automate to make choruses seem extra wide.

Cranesong Phoenix/Phoenix II

This plugin was one of the original ‘perceived loudness via analog tape saturation’ products on the market. Although there are dozens available today, the Phoenix II is still a unique and wonderful sounding plugin. Complete with five separate analog tape characteristics, this is another one of those “instantly sounds better” plugins.


Dada Life Sausage Fattener

Simple controls, a fun interface, and most importantly, a familiar and intense sound. I’m certainly more likely to reach for the sausage fattener when mixing EDM versus an acoustic jazz ensemble, but it’s worth trying on virtually any type of material.

PSP Vintage Warmer 2

This is actually three plugins, and each one of them is incredibly versatile and usable. Essentially a saturator, equalizer, and compressor all-in-one, the Vintage Warmer is great for adding smoothness, brightness or intensity to otherwise sterile and digital sounding mixes. As with all of the aforementioned plugins, the Vintage Warmer does a great job of increasing perceived loudness, which can be an important trait in modern-sounding mixes.

Mastering in the Box Course

If you’re interested in expanding your knowledge and learning effective techniques for getting great sounding masters 100% in the box, check out my debut course: Mastering in the Box

Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo

Ian Vargo is a Producer, Mixer and Audio Professor based in Los Angeles. He has worked on numerous major label and independent records. Get in touch on his website or learn more from him in Mastering in the Box and Mixing Pop.

Free Workshop Video: Low-End Mixing Secrets

Discover how to make your kick and bass hit hard by cutting (NOT boosting) the right frequencies! Plus, more counterintuitive ways to get fuller yet controlled low-end in your mix. Download this 40-minute workshop by Matthew Weiss, now for FREE!

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