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Old 10-26-2010, 10:35 AM   #1
pcmusicpro
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Default Your most trusted and reliable plugin brands.

Hello.

I was talking the other day with a friend about differente types of plugins and with so many brands today it's hard to tell wich of them are really serious about their plugin development and sonic quality. I remember the day when you had just Waves as the best and most versatyle plugin brand.

In the VST world you can have great plugins by big corporate companys but you can also have a great sounding one made by a single developer. This makes hard to choose a plugins suite or a brand, and sometimes you are overwhelmed by the tons of plugins available.

Among the ones I use the most, I like:

1. Waves
2. McDSP (shame it's not VST)
3. IK.Multimedia (The Amplitubes)
4. Antares.
5. Softube.

What are you top five?

Ed.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:40 AM   #2
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In no special order:

GForce
Camel Audio
Modartt
Schwa/Stillwell Audio
AcmeBarGig
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:47 AM   #3
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SPL (I only have freebies and demos, but these are very good)

Voxengo (same deal)

Native Instruments (Big Reaktor fan)

Schwa/Stillwell/Reaper (Spectra, Compressors)

XILS Labs (I like their XILS 3 very much)
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:54 AM   #4
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iZotope
SoundToys
IK Multimedia
Cockos
*EDIT*
Acustica Audio (Nebula Pro)
Native Instruments (for the most part minus some drama with KORE 2 Komplete integration)
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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All of the above and Karma FX Synth
Steve
Oh and Arturia too, very easy to use (yes even their Moog Modular)
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:01 AM   #6
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There are 7 brands that I can't live without (in no particular order)

Nomad Factory
Softube
IK Multimedia
Toontrack
AcmeBarGig
Bootsy/Variety Of Sound
Voxengo

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Old 10-26-2010, 11:01 AM   #7
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Anything made with SynthEdit.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:22 AM   #8
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Cockos ( especially Readelay)
PSP ( Vintagewarmer , PSP42 delay)
GVST ( all the free ones )
Kjaerhus ( classic free collection )
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:32 AM   #9
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The only commercial FX VST's I still own are Voxengo's, the rest are either freeware or what's included with Reaper; although I will buy Schwa CMX in the very near future. So can't really name 5...


Oh, forgot about Db Audioware. Still own one of their comp in DX format, but only ever used that in Vegas for ducking purpose since Vegas doesn't have side-chaining capability.
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:37 AM   #10
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In no particular order:

Jeroen Breebaart
DDMF
Poulin
Variety of Sound
Voxengo
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Old 10-26-2010, 04:21 PM   #11
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Tinbrooke Tales.

His compressors, limiters, and maximizers are the cats pajamas.

HG Fortune.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:43 PM   #12
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Overall UAD

Native:

VST - Voxengo

VSTi - Native Instruments

IK Multimedia
iZoptope
reFX
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:35 PM   #13
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Sonnox
Softube
URS
DDMF
Native Instruments
Cakewalk (Rapture & Dimension Pro, etc)
PSP
SoundToys

Ben
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:23 PM   #14
calico6
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Trusted & reliable desert isle plugs;

UAD
Waves
Sonitus
Nomad Factory
Kjerhus Classics esp 'Chorus'
Cockos plugs esp 'Reapitch'
NI(Kontakt4, Reaktor)
Amplitube (Metal, Fender & Live)
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:26 PM   #15
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Stillwell/Schwa
Acustica Audio
Cytomic
D16 Group
Melda Productions
DDMF
IK Multimedia
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmusicpro View Post
with so many brands today it's hard to tell wich of them are really serious about their plugin development and sonic quality.
I'm sure they all are. I wonder how many actually goes "Now I'm gonna code a plug that is so bad it's going to ruin my reputation. Yeah!"

And if we really going to talk about "serious"; how serious are Waves with their pricing policies?

I myself use:

- Cockos
- Voxengo
- XLN Audio
- MeldaProduction
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:46 PM   #17
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Interesting thread...

Well, for drums I like Toontrack (ezd and superior)

The bass is always Spectrasonic Trilogy (I'd like to test Trilian but it's too heavy for my system)

For synths, well, it's a very long ride... Anyway...

- all the stuff @ GFORCE (the best MiniMoog and Mellotron EVER, and Virtual String Machine is awesome) for "classic" sound
- Spectrasonic Atmosphere
- AbSynth
(...and many other)

For rhytm guitars I go with Strum Electric GS-1 through Amplitube or Guitar Rig

For mixing and mastering, Waves is still a valid option, but I recently gone into Fabfilter stuff. Pro-C, Pro-Q and Pro-L are great plugins, easy and effective

HTH
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:25 AM   #18
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Acustica
Stillwell
Cytomic
IK
Voxengo
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valle View Post
I'm sure they all are. I wonder how many actually goes "Now I'm gonna code a plug that is so bad it's going to ruin my reputation. Yeah!"
Well nobody here said nothing about Antress Modern Plugins. They are free and look really nice... I read here somewhere that they were fake copies of real hardware and that they don't sound very much like the real thing. I never had the chance to hear a real LA2A or 1176 compresor nor Fairchild, so if I want to emulate that vintage sound I have no other that to trust and compare different plugins in order to hear and choose the one I find better.

So what about Antress?

Thanks.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:05 AM   #20
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NI
Stillwell
Jareon Breebart
Nomad Factory
brainworx-free stuff
Izotope

I have demoed Antares plugs and found nothing special about them, i wouldn't use them in production simply because you can do the same with automation of multiple tracks and included cockos plugins.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:06 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmusicpro View Post
So what about Antress?
You meant Antares Autotune,Evo,Harmony correct?

Antress on the other hand are ok plugs i don't use them though.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:49 AM   #22
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Stillwell/Schwa

Voxengo (they have a new website look)
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcmusicpro View Post
I read here somewhere that [Antress Modern Plugins] were fake copies of real hardware and that they don't sound very much like the real thing.
Antress plugins are no more fake than any other plugin who's goal is to sound like "the real thing".

The only bad thing with Antress though, is its unreasonable CPU consumption.
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Old 10-27-2010, 11:20 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valle View Post
Antress plugins are no more fake than any other plugin who's goal is to sound like "the real thing".

The only bad thing with Antress though, is its unreasonable CPU consumption.
I don't believe that's correct. It has been stated many times (I can't verify this myself, so take it for what it's worth) that the Antress plugins are stock synthmaker algorithms with fancy GUIs (there are also numerous allegations online that the GUIs were flat out plagiarized from other companies).

What I can say first hand is that they utterly pale in comparison to emulations which indeed try to emulate the behavior of particular hardware units in the one to one comparisons I've made.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:09 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
What I can say first hand is that they utterly pale in comparison to emulations which indeed try to emulate the behavior of particular hardware units in the one to one comparisons I've made.
Well, since you can actually tell the difference being "utterly pale in comparison", which in my world means very big differences, that means YOU would tell the difference between a "fake" Antress and a "sooo real" Waves plugin even if it was a part of a finished production?

Good for you!

Then there actually are people who couldn't care less whether Antress is "fake" or not — many of their plugins sounds good. Although, like I said, the only bad thing is its unreasonable CPU consumption.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:41 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valle View Post
Well, since you can actually tell the difference being "utterly pale in comparison", which in my world means very big differences, that means YOU would tell the difference between a "fake" Antress and a "sooo real" Waves plugin even if it was a part of a finished production?

Good for you!

Then there actually are people who couldn't care less whether Antress is "fake" or not — many of their plugins sounds good. Although, like I said, the only bad thing is its unreasonable CPU consumption.
I don't use Waves but yes, on a piece of hardware that I'm familiar with (have used enough times to know the behavior and sound of the unit), there is an audible difference between good models and not so good ones. By not so good, I'm not saying the plugin isn't usable in and of itself, simply that it doesn't do anything which makes it reminiscent of the hardware in question. I have no doubt that many of these plugins are just as usable as any other synthmaker plugins, if that's what you like, by all means, they're free and available.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:53 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
I have no doubt that many of these plugins are just as usable as any other synthmaker plugins
So, what are you getting at now? That you can hear difference between "synthmaker plugins" and non-"synthmaker plugins"?
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:08 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valle View Post
So, what are you getting at now? That you can hear difference between "synthmaker plugins" and non-"synthmaker plugins"?
I would think anyone who's qualified to mix can hear the difference between one plugin and the next (assuming the plugin is actually affecting the audio in question). If you're trying to put words in my mouth and argue with me for "dissing synthmaker plugins" just get on with it, although that's clearly not at all what I said.
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:56 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
I don't believe that's correct. It has been stated many times (I can't verify this myself, so take it for what it's worth) that the Antress plugins are stock synthmaker algorithms with fancy GUIs (there are also numerous allegations online that the GUIs were flat out plagiarized from other companies).

What I can say first hand is that they utterly pale in comparison to emulations which indeed try to emulate the behavior of particular hardware units in the one to one comparisons I've made.
ngarjuna, I don't know where you read about the GUIs being plagiarized, but I think I know where that may stem from. There are various graphic sources available around the web as you know. So that may be where that stems from. In terms of them being stock algo's, I am not too sure about that. I have had the opportunity to look at their compressor and it did not seem stock to me..
I may be wrong, but it certainly looked different..
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:51 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
I would think anyone who's qualified to mix can hear the difference between one plugin and the next (assuming the plugin is actually affecting the audio in question).
OK, let me see if I get this right:

I take a "made with synthmaker" EQ, I set a filter: peak, -3dB @ 1000Hz. Then I take a "NOT made with synthmaker" EQ (with fairly same parameters) and set a filter: peak, -3dB @ 1000Hz.

Now, you're saying that anyone who's qualified to mix would actually hear a difference?

Whoops... I always thought I was "qualified to mix" — you just med me realize that meaybe I'm not. Because I wouldn't be SO sure I would actually hear the difference.

(BTW, I'm in no way a synthmaker fan-boy. I have never used a synthmaker plugin in any of my productions.)
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Old 10-28-2010, 06:03 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyMcFly View Post
ngarjuna, I don't know where you read about the GUIs being plagiarized, but I think I know where that may stem from. There are various graphic sources available around the web as you know. So that may be where that stems from. In terms of them being stock algo's, I am not too sure about that. I have had the opportunity to look at their compressor and it did not seem stock to me..
I may be wrong, but it certainly looked different..
Well, there are many threads at KVR (too many to start bringing quotes) but many of the compressor gurus make reference to the fact that his GUIs included elements stolen from other companies (trademarked elements, apparently, which had to be removed and replaced after the companies in question called in their marks). Nobody ever refutes the claim (including threads that Antress himself/herself is posting in). Here is a typical KVR discussion. Antress's dismissal of the claims of "stealing" the graphics is that there is simply no notion copyright in his culture...?

As far as the algos go, I've never seen the source code, so maybe that claim is off base. Frankly, it's somewhat irrelevant because, as Valle has tried to imply over and over, if they sound good then that is good enough, right? And in principle, yes, I do agree that if they sound good then it doesn't really matter what code elements are underlying. The problem is: they don't sound particularly good. Reading some Bmanic posts (he's easily my favorite compressor reviewer on KVR) here is a nice summary:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmanic
They are all a bit "smudgy" as somebody said here but it's because at some settings they use waveshaping/soft clipping at the output. To counter this, just make sure you don't drive em too hard in the first place.

Second, his impulses that he uses (which he has probably sampled from the real gear) are of very low quality. I tried to tell him over and over again that the frequency responses of some of them are completely wrong. Or perhaps they are accurate but captured from broken or badly maintained originals? Who knows..

The bottom line is: They used to be crap at first, he stole graphics from other companies and used trademarks. However, he changed most of that and improved the overall sound quality and behavior of the plugins (especially the compressors). They are definitely worth checking out. For completely obliterating the incoming audio, antress plugins work wonders. Especially the 1176 thing can truly brutalize anything that is sent into it.
You'll notice he doesn't say that they're bad or unusable (in fact, he uses them himself).

My problem with Antress sonically is like this:

If I put audio into one of the hardware compressors I have access to at the studios I work at regularly and get the settings somewhere near where I want them, it almost always sounds better than having it bypassed.
If I put audio into The Glue (Cytomic) and get the settings somewhere near where I want them, it almost always sounds better than having it bypassed.
If I put audio into my 670 plugin (IK Mult) and get the settings somewhere near where I want them, it almost always sounds better than having it bypassed.
If I put audio into the Rocket (Stillwell) and get the settings somewhere near where I want them, it almost always sounds better than having it bypassed.
If I put audio into my 2254 (Nebula/AITB) and get the settings somewhere near where I want them, it almost always sounds better than having it bypassed.

When I did the same thing with a large number of Antress plugins (because I did indeed check all of them out) and get the settings somewhere near where I want them, they mostly sounded better bypassed. I wanted to love Antress after reading the reviews both here and KVR, I just didn't find that they merited the praise that is bestowed on them. That could come down to my preferences but that's what this thread is about: what we prefer in terms of plugins. Having given them a very fair shot and actually tried the majority of them, I don't feel badly saying (in response to an actual question, "What about Antress") that I don't find them to be particularly good.

I have another problem with Antress (and the Antress fanboi-ism that takes place fanatically on so many forums): why does he use GUIs which resemble actual hardware when his designs don't sound anything like the hardware in question? The usual reply is "Who cares, does it sound good??" Assuming that they did indeed sound good (I don't agree, but that's not the point here), it is still a disservice and somewhat disingenuous to take a compressor that has nothing to do sonically with a Fairchild 670, for example, and put a 670ish looking GUI on it. So many people today have lost critical listening skills (I see this all the time in forum listening tests when people say "I can't even hear the difference" even though the difference is like night and day) and get way too much influence from what they're seeing; perhaps one of the worst things about recording tech getting so available is that it doesn't come with actual listening experience and many, MANY people end up mixing with their eyes rather than their ears. Putting GUIs derived specifically from famous (trademarked) designs on otherwise unrelated digital models is playing on exactly that deficiency which I personally consider to be a bit questionable. Sure, it's not going to fool an engineer who is actually using his or her ears, but it's somewhat a disservice to people who are only developing those skills to play upon their weakness (visual input influencing auditory decisions).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Valle View Post
OK, let me see if I get this right:

I take a "made with synthmaker" EQ, I set a filter: peak, -3dB @ 1000Hz. Then I take a "NOT made with synthmaker" EQ (with fairly same parameters) and set a filter: peak, -3dB @ 1000Hz.

Now, you're saying that anyone who's qualified to mix would actually hear a difference?

Whoops... I always thought I was "qualified to mix" — you just med me realize that meaybe I'm not. Because I wouldn't be SO sure I would actually hear the difference.

(BTW, I'm in no way a synthmaker fan-boy. I have never used a synthmaker plugin in any of my productions.)
I don't know why you have such a boner about this issue, but yes, I am saying that with the EQs I use if you were to compare two of them, you would be able to hear the difference between them. The same way that two hardware EQs would sound different from one another (hell, two hardware units of the same make/model often sound different from one another).

I'm sure you could find two digital EQ plugins which were very similar and would be very difficult to tell apart. Personally, I use only Nebula EQs and, like the hardware units they are sampled from, the difference between them (both in terms of curve/character and harmonic content) is huge. I guess I'm not really interested in digital algo EQs.
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Old 10-28-2010, 10:40 AM   #32
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ngarjuna I am with you on the sound difference in antress plugs, like i said in my earlier post they sound good but also sound sloppy, it doesent make them bad, use them if you like but why jump on someone who just wants to state his/her opinion isnt that what the op asked for?? sheesh
way to keep your cool ngarjuna
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Old 10-28-2010, 11:05 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by ngarjuna View Post
I don't know why you have such a boner about this issue, but yes, I am saying that with the EQs I use if you were to compare two of them, you would be able to hear the difference between them.
Boner, come on...

I'm just impressed you can actually tell the differens at such minor settings as +/-3dB. I mean, what if the BW was set to 0.1...
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Old 10-28-2010, 12:03 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Valle View Post
Boner, come on...

I'm just impressed you can actually tell the differens at such minor settings as +/-3dB. I mean, what if the BW was set to 0.1...
Well like I said, I'm quite sure you could construct tests between EQs which would make it very difficult to hear any real difference. For my EQs (Nebula, which contain the harmonic character of the hardware unit they are replicating), you'd still likely be able to hear the difference. In fact, with Nebula EQs (and, by extension, the hardware units that they are sampled from) you could likely hear a difference with all settings flat, no boosts or cuts; between 2 very clean algorithmic EQs, maybe not (depending on the 2 EQs, the settings that you're comparing, etc). Of course, as we're testing new tools and deciding between A and B, we're probably not comparing tiny boosts and cuts, we're probably evaluating how the plugins react when pushed a little farther because it reveals more about the character of the unit in a less subtle manner than we might use them in "real life": an EQ that sounds euphonic at +12dB is probably going to sound euphonic at +1dB; the inverse is not necessarily true.

The differences that we're talking about here are subtle, no question. Using one EQ versus another is probably never going to ruin an otherwise good mix or anything like that. It's a matter of getting from your starting point to the finish line and, for most of us, we have favorite tools specifically because they enable us to do that more easily or more quickly.
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Old 10-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #35
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So, to resume we can agree that Antress plugins are not 100% reliable in terms of exactly emulate what they claim to do. Nevertheless they can be used with good results.

My intention with this thread was to discuss about really trusthfull brands and those that are not so.

I've been trying ReaEQ after having used for many years ProTools Digirack 7 Band EQIII, wich I think is very clean sounding. I haven't had the time to A/B test them. The same with the compressors, etc. I like Reaper more each day but in terms of quality what can say more experienced users/mixers about Cockos Plugins?

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Old 10-28-2010, 01:38 PM   #36
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Cockos' plug-ins are built to do what maths say, in theory. They're very simple but powerful effects with basic features you may or not find in most VSTs. There's nothing fancy here which makes them suitable for all situations where you're looking for transparent and detailed audio manipulation. ReaComp is one of the most versatile compressors I know but I don't use it too much because I'm always after a 'not so transparent' sound when using compression. I use The Glue, IK's OptoComp, Bombardier, The Rocket, etc., in those situations (ReaComp is my go-to tool when I work with delicate material). ReaEQ, ReaDelay, ReaGate, etc., they're all fine tools if you know how to make the best out of them.

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Old 10-28-2010, 01:58 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtsproductions View Post
way to keep your cool ngarjuna
that's "keeping your cool" ?

strangely enough, valle actually seems to have kept his cool far better.

Last edited by theopposite; 10-28-2010 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:07 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theopposite View Post
that's "keeping your cool"

strangely enough, valle actually seems to have kept his cool far better.
did you come to this thread to be a troll too? you got a bone to pick with me? or did i not understand what you wrote.
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:11 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theopposite View Post
that's "keeping your cool" ?

strangely enough, valle actually seems to have kept his cool far better.
Who cares lol. Let's move on!

Why don't you post your favorite trustworthy plugs instead of only participating to instigate?
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Old 10-28-2010, 03:12 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theopposite View Post
that's "keeping your cool" ?

strangely enough, valle actually seems to have kept his cool far better.
i just figured it out........

theopposite of face is _ _ _

so you'r just talking out of your _ _ _
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