Chorus / Flanger
This might be my weak area; I don’t own many of those plugins. I think I will get the TC Electronic TC1210-DT at some point soon; I like what it does to the sound. It would be best if you heard this to understand its beauty.
The ones I use are the old classic (in plugins terms) Enigma (flanger), MetaFlanger and MondoMod (chorus) from Waves. When I was mixing on Cubase, I used to use their Chorus, which is effective but nothing special.
One that I use a lot is Doubler from Waves isn’t a chorus, but I would still put this in this category. Doubler creates pitched versions of the source sound, for which you can set different delay, formant, pan and level. If you don’t know it, you should check it out. I usually use it on vocals and sometimes on solo guitars.
Here’s a list of some of my favourite tools I use while mixing. A must-have is a quality Analyser and a Meter. I own and use different ones.
WLM Plus Meter (Waves) This is good for mastering for streaming platforms. (see this post for more details)
VU Meter (Waves) useful for determining signal levels to avoid overloading, noise and distortion. A VU meter is used to measure power levels of audio frequency signals.
Bx Meter (BrainWorx) in long mixing sessions, it’s easy to lose valuable objectivity. This meter helps me to create loud mixes without sounding squashed.
Oscilloscope (SocaLabs) I used this mainly when I work with my Modular Synth.
Voxengo SPAN or SpectrumAnalyzer (SocaLabs) measure frequency information on a signal. Nice to have for spotting annoying frequencies and feedback or check the frequency content of a sound.
Reaper (DAW) comes with some Spectral analyser, but I often use the Waves PAZ Analyzer that has Position, Frequency and Meter components
Something that can come back useful is Vocal Rider and Bass Rider. Good for keeping vocals or base within a sentence level. When I need more precise work, especially on vocals, I use Melodyne 5 Editor. Melodyne is an incredible plugin that does more than just tuning vocals.
Melodyne is the most advanced tool for pitch correction on monophonic and polyphonic sounds sources. You can tune a guitar that has one string out of tune. It’s just unbelievable. You probably already know it but if you don’t go and check it out.
Sometimes I use RBass to help with some low frequencies, especially on percussive sounds like kick drums.
On some synths I like to use the S1 Imager (Waves) this spread the panorama image of a stereo sound. Suitable for pads and some not leading instruments.
Sibilance (Waves) is a good deEsser, sometimes I use it, but most of the time I go for dynamic EQ F6
Lately came out the updated version for Studio Rack (Waves) with some fantastic new functionalities. With StudioRack, you can create powerful plugin chains. Now enhanced with new features including parallel processing racks, multiband split racks, and quick-access macros to create your own ‘custom plugins.’ It’s free but works only with Waves plugins. Get it if you don’t have it.
Lifesavers are Drum Replacement plugins. Sometimes I receive some poorly recorded drums that are completely unmixable; the only solution is to replace those sounds with samples but preserve the dynamic and performance of the drummer. I own Trigger 2 Platinum – Steven Slate Drums (by Digital Slate) and the SPL DrumXchanger. Trigger has a vast sound collection of acoustic Drum Kits, but when I need electronic sounds, I usually convert the audio into MIDI and then use one of my Drum Machine. Or I import the samples in SPL DrumXchanger. Some DAWs have their or Audio to Midi converter; I use Melodyne 5.
Last but not least is the ADPTR MetricAB is a plugin that enables you to compare your mix to any reference mix with a simple click of the A/B button. MetricAB is designed to provide a clear, intuitive workflow and unique analysis tools.
More articles about my favorite plugin:
1) Channel Strip and EQ
2) Compressors and Limiters
3) FX including Reverbs, Delay and Saturators
4) Space Enhancers Chorus / Flanger, Utility and others.
5) Virtual Amps and Virtual Instruments