What are your "core" plugins?

What are your "core" plugins?

The Waves MV2 has been on my list for awhile. In fact, I was going to start a thread asking about upwards compression, because I figured I had enough damn plugins to do it already. But now that Andrew says it’s one of his “core” plugins, I’m really curious about it!

@ColdRoomStudio - Andrew (or anyone else who uses it) do you have any advice/insights into this plugin? Isn’t it the “lesser” version of Waves MaxxVolume plugin? TIA

edit: I said “upwards” when Waves has “Low Level” Compression… Are they the same?

I thought the MV2 is the ‘greater’ version of MaxxVolume.

Its great for bringing out and exaggerating the subtle nuance details in stuff. This is one of the most unique Waves plugs in their library. And this specialized DSP algorithmic type of stuff is what Waves is really good at doing.

I think the best way to think of this is Lo Air and R-bass are for tuning low frequencies. Maxx bass amplifies or excites higher order harmonics and messes with the EQ curve in parallel so that bass and kick cut through on smaller speaker systems. MV2 is completely different. It’s an expander (pushing upwards of a threshold) that’s calibrated to work with a compressor (pushing downwards of a threshold). The MV2 also plays a roll in dynamic control if you need it too.

So one group of tools enhances the richness or thickness
One group is for translation
The other is an expander which accentuates minor details in the performance (such as breath noise in vocals and horns, pick/finger nuances in fretted and stringed)


I’ve grown to be less and less attracted to gear (hard or soft), focusing more on getting better at using what I have (but I still have a long way to go).

I mostly use Waves plugins, and I have far more plugins than I can ever need. My number 1 plugin, by far, is Scheps Omni channel. This thing is fantastic, so convenient and it just sounds great. Sometimes I will use a more advanced EQ or compressor or gate etc. if there is something specific to do but each time I can stick to just this one, I’ll do it.

Compressors: Puigchild 660/670, RCompressor, more rarely VComp

EQ: Q10, more rarely PuigTec EQP1A/MEQ5 because they’re not intuitive to use (I always have to think before I can do what I want)

Reverb: Abbey Road Chambers/Plate, H-Reverb, sometimes TSAR-1R by Softube

Delay: H-Delay

Vocals: Waves Tune, Sibilance, MV2

Amp sim: Waves GTR Tool Rack

Drums: I’ll sometimes use Abbey Road TG Mastering on the OH or the drum bus

Mastering: Loudness Meter (Youlean), Dynameter (MeterPlugs), C4 (Waves), Ozone 8 (Izotope)

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I’m one of those “virtual drums kind of guy” guy! But I would happily throw the Omni on separate drum tracks. The gate / compression and EQ are solid on this thing. The great thing about this plugin is it has a tiny CPU load by itself, so I would happily put this in a channel with any other plugin I needed to use without fear of cooking my CPU

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I have this plugin too, and after your raving about it, I’m going to have to try it out again! I have a lame PC/CPU (i3) and initially found the it used a bit too much CPU for my setup. I haven’t tried it for a while, so maybe there’s been an update since…

Since my main cost in the future is going to build the room to record I’m not spending a bitload on plugs, but I wanted a good set of plugs that had a lot of different applications and I found it in the fabfilter plugs. They are in the “a bit more expensive” range, but very high quality. And its design makes it super usefull to learn what you’re doing :slight_smile:

You can practically do anything you need for a mix if you have the gate, comp, eq, mb-comp, saturn and reverb.

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Oh, I’m so in. I already started working on it. Like you, I’ve already spent over an hour on it and don’t have as much to show as I’d have hoped. All I’ve accomplished is setting up my layout, my gainstaging, and some vocal editing. Ugh. Then I see Alan kicking out another mix in a couple of hours and that’s what prompted this thread.

Absolutely. Only for me, sometimes I feel like I’m playing too much. I do want to be faster, but part of it, honestly, is that I’m still learning so, naturally will be slower. But Graham really encouraged doing the speed mixing thing as an important learning strategy as well.

For the mix buss? Would love to hear more about how/when/where/why to use the Renn stuff with the CLA comps.

You also mention the REQ. I do have the Renn Maxx Bundle which has most (all?) of the Renaissance stuff. I haven’t really done anything with them yet , except for the RBass (which is pretty amazing, BTW!). I consistently hear good things about the Renn tools. Many prefer the R comps over the CLA’s. I need to start using them. Thnx for the reminder. :blush:

I have most of the same plugins, except the Puig stuff and Ozone 8.

Yes, the Omni is cool. Here’s my public commitment to learning to use it more. Thnx for the reminder.

You know, that TSAR-1R reverb is pretty cool. One slider, sounds great. I got it as a part of Softube’s Time and Tone Bundle, with one of Focusrite’s Plugin Collective giveaways. If you have any Focusrite hardware I “think” it might still be avaiable.

A few other I use all the time but forgot to mention:

One is the YouLean Meter that Lopo mentioned. Very handy. Unbelievable that it’s free.

I absolutely love that Kotelnikov thing I mentioned earlier, by Tokyo Dawn Records. Beautiful, intuitive interface, very fast and transparent. No coloration that I can hear. I use it as the first thing on my mix buss to shave off a teeny-weeny bit of my peaks.

I also use Reference by Mastering the Mix at the end of my mix buss. That thing is just nice for referncing. Use it all the time. It’s quite nice, but the only problem I have with it is that it’s an absolute memory pig. Terrible. It’s the only, only plugin that will crash REAPER. I do use it, cuz it’s that nice, but just sayin’

Oh, I also have CLA Vocals and Unplugged. I “like” them but don’t use them that much, unless just for a quick-quick mix, mainly cuz I’ve come to resist the do-everything plugins cuz I really wanna learn to do it myself. Is that bad? Do you guys use stuff like that? I almost feel like I’m cheating. Nice sounds, though.

Another handy-dandy tool, esp for Pro Tools users (I’m REAPER) is Sonalksis FreeG: Helpful as a post-effects fader on master buss (in Pro Tools the master channel has post-fader inserts, which means changing the fader setting changes the amount of signal going into the effects, which isn’t good; helpful as a fader at the end of your chain, post-fx). REAPER’s master fader is after the FX, but I still use this before my compressor to push the signal into the compressor, or pull it back, to control my LUFS).

Things that are always (or mostly always) in my mixes: Scheps Omni, Scheps 73, J37 Tape, Butch Vig Vocals, Abbey Road TG mastering, Reel ADT, TDR Nova, TDR Limiter 6, SSL Native Bus Compressor, D16 Repeater, Little Plate, Klanghelm MJUC, CamelCrusher, and Steinberg Frequency EQ. Additionally, H-Reverb, H-Delay and D16 Sigmund see use fairly often.

I’m going to change some things out on my next record. I really want to try the Valhalla stuff, and I’ve picked up some SoundToys stuff that I want to incorporate. But I’m not recording others, just myself, and it’s more about experimenting with my sound in a controlled fashion than it is looking for “the best” stuff.

I like Kuassa, I have tried several of theirs. One issue I had was with Amplification One, I had to reload the license file every time I opened the plugin. They gave me a workaround, but I think I still had problems. Not that big of a deal, but annoying. That one’s a VST2, the others are VST3 only and don’t have that problem.

A weird thing with Waves PRS is you have to read the fine print where it says “must use a buffered guitar pedal inline before your interface” or something like that. It’s not that big of a deal, but an extra step before recording. Kind of annoying though. The amps sound pretty good though once that step is put in place. The pedal doesn’t need a battery and doesn’t need to be on, but it has to be the old style buffered pedal and not a “true bypass” pedal. Weird.

That said, I’d be interested in anyone’s setup with amp sims using other plugins with them. (kind of a sub-topic) The PRS buffered pedal trick was a new one on me, anybody tried that or heard of it? How about EQ, compression, and other hardware/software effects pedals with amp sims? I figure I could get more out of them using some tips and tricks.

Dude. Its not a race. Speed mixing matters a lot more for people that are trying to monetize their time because they’re doing it professionally. Some of the best mixers in the world take 2-3 days per song. Other top tier pros can hack through stuff in a couple hours. It depends on the engineer and the song. Don’t buy into the myth that if you go through stuff slow and carefully that you’re not not doing it right.

I’m glad you’re gaining knowledge and experience through Graham’s materials, but take stuff he says as a grain of salt (and same with anything I tell you). Neither of us are big name Grammy winners, and neither of us are billing major entertainment companies $2500 per song. Graham makes his living talking about mixing. Not doing it.

I’m not dissing his company…I’m just saying that you if want to learn how home studio economics work, Graham is potentially your guy. On a working level, and an artistic level, look to guys who have dug a little deeper into the professional music world.


Yeah, I need to settle on one EQ…

Any advantages to the REQ over the Q10?

The assymetric Q is cool on the REQ, but really not a big deal.

I read a post where someone said the Q10 is a CPU hog? Have you found it to be so?

I love the Q10 interface: compared with REQ it has 10 bands instead of 6, and a MUCH bigger screen size!

I’ve seen screenshots of the R10 where it’s nice and big. On my computer it’s too small – hard to read and doesn’t seem to be resizable. Am I missing something?

I’ve used ReaEQ a lot. Very basic, but quite decent and eay to work with.

I have MeldaEQ which, of course, is nice but kind of a clunky, dorky interface IMHO.

I like TDR Nova and should prolly use it more. I’d like to learn how to use the dynamic EQ thing.

Anyone tried the Solid State Logic duende stuff. Amazing plugs.The comps especially are unreal

I would play with them both and see which one ‘feels’ more natural and intuitive.


Same here: I use ReaEQ for most of my basic eq moves. I don’t use Melda because I don’t like the interface and workflow, but I use TDR nova a lot. If it’s an irritating frequency of some sort which rings on and off with a certain note then using dynamic eq is the answer. But it’s a good eq all round, so once I use it as dynamic EQ I tend to use the same instance of the plug if I need to use it as a normal eq. Of course fab filter pro 3 can do all of this better and more, but the price tag is still too high for me.

On top of that I use a couple of character EQ’s - but I just can’t decide on which I like best. I got Focusrite red EQ free with my interface and quite like it for some subtle character enhancing. I also like TDR Vos Slick EQ which is based on three different console emulations (with a choice of subtle distortion which I only discovered recently). I can’t really hear all that much difference between the consoles, but it’s a nice character plugin. Code Red by Shattered glass is a free classic Abbey road REDD console emulation which is less subtle (similar to the emulation by Waves), but can be very effective if you want some classic Beatles eq on your vocal for instance. There’s Boot Eq by Variety of sound that can add tube colour as much as you like and does the push-pull trick on the low end. And there are more. I tried some of the more expensive character EQ’s (like Tube tech and Waves API). Certainly good, but worth the extra price? I wasn’t blown away in comparison to all the free stuff.

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Nice, Evert.

You know, I have al of those EQs and also use them both. Good reminders to continue using them.

I have a Focusrite 6i6 so also have the red plugs, and I agree, they are nice, easy to use and easy on cpu.

I love slick eq. Love it so much I bought slick eq master. I don’t recall if I mentioned that. Very similar is SonEQ, which @vtr also rx’d for kick drums IIRC. Both very nice. I have a hard time understanding the pultec thing (bass boost and cut simultaneously).

I do have the Code Red but haven’t used it much; it’s only 2 bands, I’m thinking. Is that right?

I need to learn my EQs better. I’m just not good enough to differentiate the different characters of the different EQs.

@Jonathan suggested just picking one EQ and learning it well. I think I’m gonna spend some time with the Q10 as I like the interface. I do have Ren-EQ but, at least on macos, the interface is too stinkin’ small and hard to read. Not resizable, AFAICT. If anyone has found a way to resize Ren-EQ on macos, please post.

Oh, and two others I have but have not used, from Waves Gold, are V-EQ3 and VEQ-4. Both are s’posed to be highy touted as having warm, analog sound, and to be good on vocals or master buss or individual tracks/busses. Warm, tonal shaping. Both, but esp the 4, are said to have a great high shelf sound which is excellent on vocals); The 4 is, I guess, good for a little more surgical, detailing EQ, more precision. Nice on drum OHs.

I think I’m gonna try toying with them too; I think it’ll stretch me, cuz I know I rely too much on visual. I don’t have the ear yet to really recognize, say, different Q’s, only aurally.

Anyone use the V-EQs?

Ok. So the 1073 and 1081 neve EQ’s are the most highly sought after EQ’s on planet earth. One of these suckers can run you $14k - $20k in real life.

The VEQ is Waves version of these things. The VEQ3 is the 1073 and the VEQ4 is setup to mimic the 1081.

Keep in mind: These are not great tools so familiarize yourself with EQ’s in general. They’re meant to mimic an eq ‘sound’ that some people really like, but they’re not inherently accurate or versatile.

And by the way, if you ever win the lottery, please buy me a pair. I would very much like to own them for bragging rights.

Please explain. I ask cuz I’ve heard people rave about them and thought it might be worth my while to take them for a ride. Are you referring to what you said about their accuracy and versatility?

So, Jonathan, you know my skill level prolly better than anyone on this forum; should I just hang with the Q10 for now until I have a better feel for EQ in general? Doesn’t sound like you’re a huge fan of these?