Pro Audio Files

David Glenn’s Top 10 Favorite Plugins

I really liked Matt’s post about his top 10 favorite plugins, so I decided to share my own!

Like Matt’s post, these are plugins I use daily in practically every mix. I have a template I use to start every mix, and these plugs are all over it!

Let’s kick things off with some ambience.

 

1. LiquidSonics Reverberator

Reverberator is a new one for me and I absolutely love it! It is a dual true convolution reverb that competes with the big boys at a mere fraction of the cost.

Accompanied by the free Bricasti M7 samples, this baby has become my go to for all things reverb. (It’s free, but I encourage you to donate to support the developer.)

The presets that come with Reverberator are great, but If you aren’t familiar with the Bricasti M7, check out the Sunset Chamber, Studio A, B, and Large Wooden Room presets. They are ridiculously sweet! And did I mention that the impulses are free?!?!

 

2. UAD Ocean Way

Wow… That one word could be enough, but let me elaborate.

I picked the Ocean Way up when I recently upgraded and added a UAD Satellite Quad Core to my Apollo Quad. I already possessed the UAD bug, but this bad boy sent me over the edge. The re-miking is brilliant!

Allow me to outline some of my uses of this beautiful piece of software. It’s worth noting that I will instantiate this plug, mute the mid and far mics, tweak the close mic distance, and then un-mute and blend the mid and/or far mics:

  • Drums: To create perfect drum room sounds by sending a little bit of each instrument (kick/snare/hat/OH’s) into this.
  • Piano: Simple enough. Use it on piano to give some warm depth that can help you turn a VI piano into something truly special.
  • Background Vocals: This was the first thing that I tried it on and I fell in love with it’s ability to push the background vocals just behind the lead vocal without any effort.
  • Lead Vocal: Yep! Lead vocals! Like I mentioned above, there is something special that happens when you play with the microphone distance. For leads I’ll pull the distance super close and tweak to taste.

 

3. Plug and Mix Tremolo Pan

I’m always looking to automate things left or right and when I get a creative spark and want to create that movement the first thing I’m reaching for now is the Plug and Mix Tremolo Pan.

A cool trick that I do is to put an instance on first that does an up and down tremolo vibe and then follow that with another instance for the side to side movement. All to taste and it can be a huge help in adding motion to delays or parts in your mix that come in and out throughout.

It’s worth mentioning that Plug and Mix plugins are extremely affordable as well. I think I picked up their entire bundle for under $300. Can’t beat that!

 

4. Slate Virtual Buss Compressors (VBC)

Like so many, I mix 100% in the box. And In my opinion, having tools that re-create the sound of analog are vital to a great sounding mix. I have no shame in saying that my mixes would fall apart without the Slate VBC. Seriously.

I use the FG-Grey for my ALL MUSIC buss, the FG-Red for my ALL DRUMS buss, and a combination of the FG Grey and FG-MU on my stereo buss. Want to learn more about my routing and mixing strategies? Check this out!

Oh, and I don’t always use them for compression… When you instantiate these onto a track or set of tracks, they immediately change the sound. 99.9% of the time it’s for the better.

 

5. UAD LA-2A (Grey)

Similar to the Slate’s VBC, the UAD LA-2A Grey emulation does something sweet when you pull it open. The LA-2A bundle comes with 2 other versions, but this is by far my favorite.

I also use this on my stereo buss, but it can be found on just about anything in one of my sessions.

 

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6. FabFilter Pro-Q

I know! Matt already mentioned it in his top 10, but I don’t care. This is absolutely my go to EQ. In Pro Tools we are able to select a favorite EQ for quick recall and this is it for me.

I also love that I can automate it via midi with my little Akai LPD8. Priceless.

 

7. ​ Everything by iZotope

Maybe this is cheating, but I don’t care. The awesome folks over at iZotope deserve it. They make incredible products and I wouldn’t dare pick just one.

Alloy’s multi-band transient designer is amazing… I use it on just about every drum and percussion element in a mix. Right click on the multi-band display and click “Learn” whilst playing back and watch it zone in on which frequencies would be beneficial to control separately. Or… Just set the bands manually. ; )

Nectar 2 blows my mind daily at how quick and easy it is to dial in sounds. Not to mention that I prefer the pitch module over auto-tune. It even finds the key for you automatically!

Ozone 5 needs little introduction, but I use it as a whole and the individual modules on every single mix.

A funny story… I was recently speaking to an insanely talented mixer who has a ton of Grammys and such. He told me he uses Ozone 5 on his 2-buss as “pre-mastering” and that when the mastering engineer for a (big) record he mixed submitted his final masters, the label (major label) sent it back for revisions and said to make it more like my mixing buddy’s “masters.” How cool is that?!?!

 

8. Sansamp (stock with Pro Tools)

Not a new plug by any means, but this one was well done and I use it for many applications:

  • To create a completely different sound in a sea of unlimited tracks to help separate tones. (Think multiple synths, strings, etc.)
  • On a duplicate copy of the bass guitar to help it cut through a mix.
  • Vocal effects
  • On the backside of delays or reverbs.
  • And of course… Electric guitar. It’s funny that it’s an amp plugin and I use it for this the least.

 

9. SoundRadix Auto-Align

My buddy Neil has been bugging me about buying this plugin for months. Needless to say, I finally downloaded the demo and it took all of one use to roll back over to the checkout page.

My first task for any mix with live drums is to now create a blank session and pull in all of the drums. Next, apply Auto-Align by sending everything to the LEFT OVERHEAD. It’s magic. Go try it!

 

10. Steven Slate’s Trigger 2

When I first purchased Trigger I went nuts buying all of the sample libraries I could find and even spent time creating my own. Nowadays, I have learned to make badly recorded drums sound pretty sweet, but a big part of this process for me is to enhance the drums I’m given by using appropriate samples. Think sub kicks, punch, or even room sounds.

Lastly, as a cherry on top kind of closing bonus, go check out THAT SOUND and Weiss Drums. I’m using samples from these two packs daily to both produce and mix. My only thought is that I wish I could record sounds the way these guys have. Much respect!

 

Conclusion 

Thanks for checking out my top 10. Have you picked up a new plugin that helped you in a big way lately? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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David Glenn

David Glenn

David Glenn is a producer/engineer/musician based out of Orlando, FL. Credits include: Pablo Villatoro, Blanca Callahan (Group 1 Crew), Aimee Allen, and more. Learn more and get in touch at davidglennrecording.com.

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