Best new mixing plugins, effects and VST instruments out this week
Software instruments, effects and mixing plugins – here’s everything fresh in the plugin marketplace.
Credit: Getty / Михаил Руденко
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In music production, plugins are software add-ons that expand the capabilities of your DAW; these could be virtual instruments and creative effects, EQ and compressors, or tools that make editing a lot more manageable.
Below is a rolling list of the new plugin releases that catch our eye, so you can keep on top of any software goodies you may have missed that could be essential to your production process. We update this rolling list on a weekly basis, so be sure to check back regularly for the latest virtual instruments, effects, mixing plugins and more.
Latest virtual instruments, effects and mixing plugins
(Last update: 27 November 2023)
Lofi Oddity by AberrantDSP
Aberrant DSP’s completely free Lofi Oddity plugin echoes the brand’s previous Digitalis plugin with its Corruption module for digital modulation and stutter effects. You can enter uncharted sonic spaces with Tape effects reminiscent of SketchCassette’s warm, degraded tones. You can feel the punch from the Comp section inspired by ShapeShifter. Master Mix control offers a spectrum from tasteful to abominable settings.
You can also explore Lofi Oddity’s broken soundscapes through its custom preset system with 18 illuminating factory presets.
Find out more about the free Lofi Oddity plugin via Aberrant DSP.
SSL 4K E by Solid State Logic
SSL’s 4K E plugin faithfully recreates the revered 4000E console’s essence. From transformer-balanced preamps to iconic EQ variants like the ‘gritty’ 02 Brown, rare 132 Orange, and weighty 242 Black knobs. You can delve into pinnacle dynamics, subtle saturation, and seamless integration within SSL’s 360 Plug-in Mixer ecosystem for DAW perfection.
Find out more at SSL.
Silk Vocal by Waves
Waves’ Silk Vocal is a game-changer in vocal mixing. You can tackle the complexities os mixing vocal head-on with this smart EQ & dynamics processor.
Remove resonances, harshness, and sibilance effortlessly, refining vocals from raw to balanced in record time. Its intuitive interface streamlines the process, offering seamless dynamics control and precise tuning for focused processing. Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to accelerated vocal mixing.
Silk Vocal is only $25 for a limited time! Find out more at Waves.
M-Blender by Techivation
M-Blender resolves mix clutter by dynamically managing frequencies between tracks, using true spectral processing to prevent masking and achieve clear mixes effortlessly.
Priced at $90 with an introductory offer until 30 November 2023, the plugin is compatible with macOS, Windows, VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats. M-Blender enhances efficiency, freeing more time for creative pursuits while eliminating mix clutter and frequency masking issues.
M-Blender costs $45 until 30 November. After then, it will go back up to its original price of $90.
Find out more at Techivation.
DeBoom by Eventide
DeBoom, utilising Eventide’s Structural Split technology, is a plugin offering nuanced low-frequency EQ control. It dissects transient and tonal elements, making for precise sculpting without losing impact. By addressing muddiness without compromising the ‘thump’, it assists in repairing, reshaping, and enhancing low-end frequencies. Key features include, of course, its Structural Split technology and a user-friendly interface for straightforward de-booming while retaining thud.
Find it for $30 at Plugin Boutique.
ValhallaRoom 2.0 by Valhalla DSP
Pretty much every producer and their dog is getting their wild effects from Valhalla plugins these days. They’re affordable and can either transform your sound or chuck it into a new context in seconds. If you’re a Valhalla DSP fan, you’ll be glad to know that the brand has dropped a free update for one of its reverb plugins, the ValhallaRoom, now ValhallaRoom 2.0.
The update introduces a Space knob for diverse echoes and a low-cut control for less bass-heavy reverbs. Existing customers receive this substantial update for free, which is a well-received move on Valhalla DSP’s part.
Check it out via ValhallaDSP.
Jura Chorus by AIR
Jura faithfully captures the analogue warmth of the original, boasting meticulous sound craftsmanship by the team. It retains the single DCO, a robust sub-oscillator, and the distinctive VCF, along with the iconic chorus effect. The plugin offers two workflows, the original front panel design, and a modern UI for expanded sound tweaking. Additional features include VCF saturation, drive, dual DCO noise types, and an extra envelope. The modern version introduces dual envelopes and an expanded LFO section.
Priced at £74.99 during launch, Jura combines classic ’80s synth sounds with modern workflow features, catering to nostalgia and contemporary production needs. Available as a plugin for AU, VST, and AAX DAWs, and MPC/FORCE Standalone versions for tactile hardware control. Jura, the synth of ’82, reimagined for diverse production styles.
Find out more at AIR.
Zen: Meditations by Fracture Sounds
Zen:Meditations is a meditative instrument plugin offering a diverse range of sounds from around the world. Featuring the Layer Blends engine, it includes 24 Atmosphere Layers and sustained sounds, allowing users to blend up to three layers using the mod wheel or the shuffle button for instant inspiration.
The Dynamic Response feature ensures gradual changes in dynamics for bowed metallic instruments, providing a realistic playback experience. Additional settings, such as the Tonal Centre menu and muting feature, enhance the instrument-specific functionalities.
Zen:Meditations is available at an introductory price of $89 until December 7, with an RRP of $139.
Find out more at Fracture Sounds.
Subloom by Mixland
Mixland’s Subloom is a distinctive audio processor crafted by Grammy Award-winning mix engineer Jesse Ray Ernster. It consolidates processing techniques to enhance kick drums, with versatility extending to other drum sounds and full mixes.
The plugin features two main sections, Kick and Sub, operating in parallel. The Kick section offers filter stages, a three-band ‘British’ EQ, and three flavours of saturation. The Sub section functions as an analog-style kick drum synth, triggered by transients, with versatile pitch, attack, and decay controls. Subloom excels in reshaping and reconstituting kick drum sounds, offering a distinctive and versatile tool for producers.
Subloom costs $70. Find out more at Mixland.
These immersive plugins are valuable tools for immersive mixing and sound design, with MicroPitch Immersive and Blackhole Immersive priced at $499 each, and stereo version owners receive a 20% discount. Find out more at Eventide Audio.
How to install VST and AU plugins on Windows, Mac and iOS
If your plugin came as a .zip file, and not an installer, you may have to manually install it. Here’s how…
- Unzip the plugin folder
- Copy the .VST file to your default plugin folder (Windows default: C:\Program Files\Common Files\VST3, Mac default: /Library/Audio/Plugins/VST)
- Start your DAW
- Rescan your plugin directory
- Download and install plugin from the App Store
- Insert plugin in your DAW
- Select the AUv3 plugin from the Audio Unit Extensions tab
Where to download freeware plugins and VSTs
Our freeware section is an excellent place to start; each month, we also compile round-ups of the best free plugins and samples to download.
The production community is full of passionate developers who’ve given away instruments, effects and other plugins as freeware. Some of our favourites include Valhalla’s Supermassive reverb, Apogee’s Soft Limit and Matt Tytel’s Helm polysynth. Remember, most developers also offer free trials for their plugins.
Are DAW stock plugins good enough?
Most major DAWs these days will come with a more-than-serviceable collection of ‘stock’ plugins for music-making: Logic Pro’s software instrument library is rich and varied; Ableton Live’s synth engines cover additive, subtractive and granular methods, and the Pro Tools suite of mixing plugins is still widely used by pro engineers.
A good producer isn’t their plugin folder, but their ability to make good decisions. Increase your knowledge: instead of buying a synth samples, learn about the fundamentals of synthesis; kick drum sounding too skinny? learn to compress properly.
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