I thought I would make a little list for my plug-in staples. I use them in almost all of my mixes and masters. So without further adeu, here are the five plug-ins I can't live without:
I love these plug-ins. I put these on almost everything and it sounds amazing. Waves did an amazing job recreating these plug-ins. What I love to use these on are vocals, but I also find myself using these often on drums. It's just a regular channel strip: It has a EQ, Compressor, and a gate. However, the way all these elements work together, the way you can change the sound so you can have the EQ or compressor first in the chain, and the sound that comes out of this is awesome. Just having it just there adds a warmth to the tracks, which I love.
I have to admit, ever since I bought my Phoenix Audio Nicerizer I haven't been using this plug-in a lot, but before it was on every one of my channels as well as my mix bus and sub-mixes. What it does is basically emulate recording consoles, but the best thing is you can have different consoles for different instruments. So I have can my drums going though a Neve console while I have the guitars and bass going through a SSL console. For that reason and for the subtle differences it makes to the sound are why I can't live without it.
I love this compressor, whether it be my Warm Audio WA-76, my Hairball Audio Rev A compressor, or this compressor which has both the Rev. A & D of this compressor. Ultimately, you can have the warm Rev A version or the darker Rev D version. I throw these on my vocal chain and my snare channels without hesitation.
Not only is this a stand-alone application but it is also available as a plug in. Something new that iZotope has done for version 7 is being able to use any module as a single plug in. So for example, if Iwanted to just use the tape emulator, I can now. I loved using version 7 of Ozone, but all the improvements they have done (as well as lowering the price) has made this a no-brainier for me when I'm beginning the mastering process. But I believe the stand out feature is the ability to, in real time, listen to how your music will sound as being an MP3 or AAC. I believe this will greatly improve my masters as I can hear how the MP3 will sound before I export the song.
Ask anybody and more than likely the Fairchild 670 compressor is in at least the top five pieces of hardware they want to own. I know because I am one of them. I barely use this on any instruments. The only place I use this on is my master bus. It really helps glue my mix together. I can just insert this onto my mix bus and even with out compression, it automatically makes my mix sound better. Then when I start to compress my song together that's when the magic happens and just glues everything together in my mix.
So there you have it. These are the top five Plug-ins I can't live without. These plug-ins are staples of my mixes and masters. Let me know of the plug-ins you can't live without In the comments below.