The Plugins That Will Save Your Mix
Suffer no more from limp, feeble mixes; help inject the fullness, clarity, and life you have always coveted into your music with these plugins.
DST - Matt Nash
For a long time, I noticed that my mixes seemed to lack the fullness and color that was present in the music that I loved. There was a fundamental quality missing, a certain warmth and power that I could just never seem to emulate; and the more I added, the more I tried to fix this, the more my mix seemed to die.
It was then that I noticed someone in an online audio/producer group mention that distortion was a fix for this; so, to confirm, I turned to Mike Senior’s Mixing Secrets For The Small Studio, and on the subject, he says “ I’m frequently amazed by how effectively you can remodel or enhance a lack-luster track simply by browsing a few different distortion plugins, choosing your favorite, and then just adjusting the drive to taste. It’s so simple that it almost feels like cheating!”( see Chapter 12 of this book, page 193) It was then that I began to use distortion in my mixes; and, after all this time, I had finally discovered the ingredient I was missing.
If you are struggling with a mix that is just lacking something; and is a bit limp, then DST is what you need.
DST is a multi-band distortion tool from acclaimed UK producer and DJ Matt Nash, which allows you exceptional control over the distortion applied; as it allows you to control the extent to which it is applied to each frequency band. The interface is very straightforward to navigate; featuring a series of rotary controls from which to control the individual parameters, three different distortion models from which to choose (each being of different intensity). It also features an edit window ( pictured below) which allows you to control the input gain of each frequency band (and the width) being input into the distortion plugin. It also comes with 10 presets, and allows you to create and save your own.
One of the most exceptional qualities about this plugin is how it fattens and thickens a sound; bringing immense clarity and power to any instrument across the spectrum, without it becoming too abrasive. For example, it has long been known that bass is one of the most challenging elements to preserve across playback systems, and is generally the first section of a mix to disappear when played back through phones, laptops, and other various devices. However, the third distortion setting of this plugin adds a wonderful top-end grit to bass elements, one that would result in your bass being preserved across a wide variety of playback devices.
It doesn’t just end there - DST adds glittering, crisp magic to high-end sounds; adding a character that results in it sounding like it has traveled through some crystalline high-end pre-amps before reaching your ears. This crispness and clarity will also allow you to emulate the delicate quality you hear in great sound design and mixes.
In addition to enhancing the quality and character of a sound; you can also transform them (for example, you can turn a somber pop organ into a Roisin Murphy-esque house/dance infused pad line).
This is a tool that will transform your productions and your mixes - it is what has been missing all this time.
Some other great plugins that will breathe life into your mix:
Chorus JUN-6 - Arturia
This chorus effect from Arturia will drench your music in analog technicolor.
In addition to distortion; a chorus effect is something that will instantly make your mix sound fuller and warmer (I recommend using both together). Arturia’s Chorus Jun-6 is a plugin version of the hardware chorus effect embedded into the Juno 6 synthesizer and is built on the same framework of its counterpart. It also comes with some new functions ( the sliders) that allow the user more control.
Similar to a piece of hardware, it has a button at the top that switches the plugin on and off. It contains three different chorus modes ( all emulations of those available in the original), modulation controls, and comes with a large bank of presets. Not only does this make the instruments it is used on immediately sound richer and wider; it will invoke an emotional response as if the sound you are hearing is traveling to you from a memory.
EAREVOLVE - eaReckon
EAREVOLVE is an incredible plugin from eaReckon, and packs the power of multiple plugins into one. It is a stereo chorus and a rotating speaker; making any instrument you use it on fill the stereo field, drenching it with a warm and pleasant hue.
Do you have you any plugins you would recommend? If so, let us know in the comments!
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