Best EQ Plugin For Vocals + Tips & Videos

Best EQ Plugins For Vocals + Tips & Videos

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So you’re looking for the best EQ plugin, the one that does everything better than all the others? 
The simple answer is: There is no such thing as one EQ plugin that does everything best. The perfect EQ consists of a few different types of EQ plugins that complement each other. Here you will learn everything there is to learn about EQ plugins, which to choose, in which situation, how to work with them the right way.

I know you came here to learn about software so I will not talk about hardware EQs at all.

This article is going to give you an overview of the world of EQ plugins. We base this knowledge on our 20 years of mixing and mastering experience. Which plugins are amazingly useful, which have the coolest colors and tones and what plugin to choose in each situation.

The Basics – How Does It Work 

In simple words, two of the biggest factors in the world of sound are Frequency & Amplitude. You can control both of them with an EQ. A boost in a certain frequency will enlarge the amplitude creating a level increase. A cut in a certain frequency will make the amplitude smaller, meaning, the level will decrease. Before you make a cut or a boost, you need to choose the frequency and the Q that you want to work on.

EQ Basic Parameters

  • Boost – Increasing the level of a selected frequency.
  • Cut – Decreasing the level of a selected frequency.
  • Frequency – Choosing which frequency to work on.
  • Q (Bell Width) – How wide or narrow will the selected frequency range be.

Types of EQ

In general, there are three types of EQs. Every type serves a different purpose or a different style of EQing. You would want to have each of every type in your arsenal. That way you’d have maximum flexibility while working on a mix.

Graphic EQ

This type of EQ is divided into different fixed frequencies in fixed ranges with fixed Q’s. Not all graphic EQ’s are born the same. Some have more slides, which means more control, and some have less. Either way, you have only those fixed parameters to work with. 

Parametric EQ

These types of EQs let you choose the frequency that you want to work on and manipulate it in a more specific manner. In most cases, the parametric EQs will come with three bands to work with. On the parametric EQ, each band has a frequency knob and a Boost/Cut knob. Some of them will also have a Q control to control the bell width. This way you can be very specific and “surgical” with your process.

Paragraphic EQ

This idea was brought to us with the digital era. This means that the EQ controls are made with sliders while also having a graphic representation of each band. Practically they are combined and working simultaneously. Plus there are more parameters that can be set.

Filters

Most of the EQ plugins will have Filters. This means that you can cut the higher or the lower part of the frequency spectrum. If you don’t want the bottom range (Basses) of your channel you use the Low-cut, and if you don’t want the higher range you use the high-cut filter. Low-cut is also called “High-Pass” and high-cut is also called “Low-Pass”. 

Two Groups Of EQ Plugins

Digital EQs – Transparent, functional, surgical and accurate. In this group, you will find all the plugins that are usually not based on any hardware replications. These are Paragraphic EQs in most cases. You would use them in situations where you don’t need the extra character to your sound and only want to fix or shape a source. 

Analog EQs – Colorful, minimalistic, gives character and mostly modeled after old known hardware. Every modeled EQ in this group has a different style and a different character. Most engineers use them as artistic tools. Each has their own “thing”. A good plugin company not only models the output stage but every component inside the box to create an indistinguishable replication from the real thing.

Before using any EQ, you must make sure that you’ve recorded the source the right way. In many cases, the best way to EQ a source is just to record it better. Each recording method sounds a little different. The recording process has a few main critical factors. Learn more about recordings here: 

How to make your voice sound better when recording.

Main Factors That Will Affect Your Frequency Response Before The EQ

  • The type of microphone.
  • The microphone placement.
  • The type of preamp.
  • The space in which the recording takes place.
  • Proximity, how close are we to the microphone.

Best Condenser Mic For Vocals (On a Budget)

Gain Staging

This is an important factor in audio production and in the plugins world in particularYou should be aware of the input levels that you’re getting into the plugin. If the levels are too “hot”, meaning too high in level, this will distort the algorithm and prevent the plugin from performing at it’s best. 

Every plugin has a slightly different sweet spot in which it sounds the best, but all the plugins have a distortion point. I shouldn’t tell you how horrible digital distortion sounds.

Best Digital EQs – Group one

These are the sharpest tools in our toolbox. We use them in every production and almost on every channel. These plugins algorithms are mostly based on precision and functionality. Their goal is not to sound like any other EQ, but to be as accurate as it can be.

Best Emulations Of Old EQs – Group Two

It’s warm, It’s tasty, It’s smooth and it’s analog! So these are the best emulations that we believe are really great for coloring your channels with the sweet colors of classic analog gear. These are emulations of old analog EQs. They are built to give you the exact experience of using a real outboard classic EQ. Each emulation’s algorithm is based on a different circuit design and is unique by itself. That’s what gives the plugin its character and “coloration”. Some of those EQs are so authentic that just opening them on the channel without changing any parameter gives a nice subtle effect.

Here’s a list of my favorite vocal plugins. Remember, these are not full reviews, I will not get into all the technical details here. This is only a brief description and my personal experience with these beautiful pieces of software.

7 Best Analog EQ For Vocals

1. Waves Kramer HLS



I found out about this EQ long after I had it installed on my system. I remember opening it for the first time on an acoustic guitar channel. I played with it for a good hour, trying it on several sources like acoustic guitars, electric guitars, bass and vocals. I fell in love with it. First, I have to say that the waves version of it is much more special sounding than the UA version which I also like but never owned it. It gives the vocal channel a rich and sheen quality without distorting or making it harsh. It does add a little noise but I believe it’s a part of its magic. I wouldn’t use it on drums but it is way too good to not include it on my list. So for coloration and adding an analog sweetness and 3Dness to a vocal track, it’s truly amazing.

2. T-Racks EQ 73

This is the T-Racks take on the legendary Neve 1073 console EQ. This is such a beautiful plugin! I almost want to shout it to my screen. It has a place in every production I do. It is brilliant on everything I use it on. Drums, guitars, bass and any other musical instrument and vocals. The T-racks EQ73 is a very musical sounding plugin that adds magic to everything that goes thru it. It is not a surgical tool, it won’t give you that super narrow Q for fixing stuff in your source. I use it mostly for coloration, small boosts, and wide subtle curving out of frequencies. This EQ can give your vocal channel that thumping quality in the lower range, and that edgy high end that will cut thru any mix without even trying, while still sounding extraordinarily musical and expensive.

3. Softube Trident A

Now, this is a weird one. At first, I didn’t know how to look at it, and it always felt a little off to me. The Trident A is considered by many engineers to be a “guitar eq” but allow me to respectfully disagree. This EQ is just amazing on vocals, it is subtle, aggressive and accurate all at the same time. the Softube Trident A is based on the unique Trident A Range console that was first introduced in the early 1970s. Many great albums ware recorded and mixed with that console, quite a few of them are in the rock genre. That’s why this EQ earned its respect among rock producers and engineers around the world. On vocals, it gives a very unique tone, much different from all the others that are more popular. It reminds me a little bit of the API style of coloration and vibe. I get this punchy midrange and “tasty” low end. You can really crank up the low-end slider and it still sounds right and not boomy as expected from extreme settings. The saturation knob gives a smooth and subtle effect, I find myself cranking it all the way up to really enjoy it.

 

4. Waves API 500 Series

This is a whole series of 3 EQs and one compressor. I want to start from the most obvious thing and it’s THE SOUND. These EQs sound like an API! I’m saying “Like an API” because I have experience with the real thing and I know it quite well. If you ask me, the Waves API 500 series is as close as you can get to the real thing. It’s punchy, smooth sounding and it brings things to life. I especially love it on vocal channels. Somehow it brings out all the beautiful tones and qualities in the human voice without making them harsh or two dimensional. It is a parametric EQ so the frequencies are fixed but the 500 give you so many options that you don’t feel the need to ask for more. The algorithm has nonlinear qualities that make you feel like you’re working with the real thing. I also think that Waves had done a wonderful job with the design, which is also very important in my opinion. Although the 550A and the 550B are the more widely used API EQs, I personally find myself using the 560 a lot more. I love how it shines on vocals and lets me color any vocal with those sweet API colors.

5. Waves VEQ4

This is also a part of the V-Series consist of three different plugins, two EQs and a bus compressor. The VEQ4 is based on the Neve 1073. For a long time, I was ignoring this plugin although I had it on my waves bungle. I was using the UAD Neve 1073 and didn’t really pay attention to the Waves version. One day I gave it a chance and everything changed in my little Neve emulations world. I started using the Waves version and never looked back. The VEQ4 is one of the best vocal plugins out there without a shadow of a doubt. I use it on every production on many channels and especially on vocals. It sounds like a Neve yes, but the thing I like the most about it is that it is very smooth. It does not sound like a plugin at all. I love how it handles the high-frequency boosts. Sweet and musical.

6. Plugin Alliance Maag EQ4

This is without a doubt one of the best EQ plugins for vocals on this list. A lot of engineers swear by this EQ. It earned its good name first with the hardware version which came out on the 500 series. This is a very aggressive sounding EQ. I use it every time I want to give something grit and teeth. Especially when it comes to the “Air Gain” knob which is pretty harsh but in a good way. I love to use this plugin for boosting the midrange in vocals. It has very little phase shift, so it’s considered to be a lot more accurate than most EQs out there. Its low and high ends are also aggressive and it is not suitable for all vocal types but when it fits the application, it’s right on the money. In my opinion, the Maag EQ4 is one of the closest replications to its original hardware version. The thing that I love about Maag company is it’s a small family business who manifested its vision and made a very big name for itself. I love how it sounds on vocals that were recorded with dynamic microphones.

7. Waves Scheps 73

Yes I know, another Neve 1073 emulation? Well, this one is special. Not to take from the other 1073 EQ plugins on my list, Waves are getting better and better every year in hardware modeling. The first thing I’ve noticed about the Scheps 73 was that it sounds VERY 3D. I remember thinking to myself “This is on a whole different level!” I would even go there and say; it does not sound like a plugin. It’s totally alive. The most unique feature in the Scheps 73 other than its sound, is the ability to work in M\S on the stereo version. Like all the other analog emulations on that list, the 73 EQ is not built for surgical uses. It’s here to give its brilliant Neve colors, musical midrange, silky highs, and perfect low-end section. The VU meter is also a nice little feature. It’s a known fact that not all the hardware 1073 EQs are born the same. So this leaves a lot of room for the others on the list, but this one is the new cool kid on the block. 

7 Best Digital EQ For Vocals

1. Cambridge EQ UAD

The Cambridge EQ is considered to be a classic EQ in the plugin world. I can’t even count the number of productions I’ve used it on. From drums to guitars, acoustics, synths and of course, vocals. It is a very clean and sharp sounding EQ with great precision and the ability to dig deeper into any problem. It is the perfect sculpting tool. The Cambridge EQ is one of the first plugins on the first UAD card that came out back in the early 2000s. The Cambridge EQ is not just a digital EQ, it also has an analog emulation algorithm. So whether you need to sculpt a source or to give it an analog deliciousness, the Cambridge EQ will do it, no problem, even in today’s high standards.

2. Waves HEQ

If you take away all of my EQ plugins and leave me with only one, it better be the Waves H-EQ. It does it all. It gives you two different analog algorithms, (American and British) and it also gives you one of the most impressive digital EQ algorithm out there. The asymmetrical bell filter is a feature we hadn’t seen yet on other EQs and I already found great uses for it. The Waves H-EQ also features M\S which gives you the option to apply different EQs to mid and side content when working on stereo sources. You also get a great real-time frequency spectrum analyzer with multiple display options.

3. FabFilter Pro-Q2

I always felt that there’s something special about FabFilter products and this EQ is one of the greatest reasons for that. It is the successor to the already amazing Pro-Q. My favorite feature on the Pro-Q2 is not even one you can hear, it’s the frequency spectrum analyzer. It just looks so smooth and nice that It almost makes this plugin sound even better! But in all seriousness, this is a very powerful tool with a really great design. It quickly became my first-choice EQ plugin for acoustic guitars, don’t know why, it just sounds the best on my Yamaha guitar but we are talking about EQs for vocals here, and the FabFilter Pro-Q2 is the perfect vocals EQ. It has a great big design that allows you to easily make the smallest adjustment. The natural phase processing mode lets you make big narrow cuts and boosts without that weird phase shifting effect that you sometimes get on other digital EQs. This sweet EQ is packed with many more great features. The Pro-Q2 and I are going to be friends for many productions to come.

4. Eiosis AirEQ

This piece of great software was designed by Fabrice Gabriel who also wrote the algorithms for many of Slate Digital’s greatest plugins. My first try with the AirEQ wasn’t too successful, I couldn’t get it to work on my system without crashing every 10 minutes so I gave up on the first version and promised myself that we are going to meet again in the future. The most unique feature in this EQ is the names of the frequency bands. The names are a bit tricky to understand, “Earth”, “LoClean”, “Clarity” and such. But Eiosis also gave us the option to name the bands ourselves, which is quite cool. Now, to my ears, the AirEQ has a “smooth” and “deep” sound. It feels as if it’s got more resolution, maybe even an internal higher frequency rate. This, of course, is just my own feeling about it. It has a “Character” slide, the upper end is named “Fire” and the lower “Water”. It controls a few features for all the EQ bands all at the same time; Q width, bell size, bell shape, and gain. It changes the whole character of the EQ in one slide movement which is quite cool. Give it a try.

5. DMG Audio EQuality

This was my main EQ for a very long time. Yes it’s OLD and there are new and better EQ’s coming from DMG today and still, I like the EQuality and I used it on everything. It sounds natural, it looks great and it’s very simple to use. It offers analog algorithm along with a digital one. The DMG Audio EQuality is very light on the CPU when using the digital algorithm. When moving to the analog algorithm it makes the CPU work a little harder and you can feel it on some systems. I like the design and the blue interface is easy on the eye. It always looked to me like the successor of the Cambridge EQ. Other than that, let your ears decide. 

6. Waves F6

Ok another weird and beautiful beast, the F6 combines dynamic abilities along with the static regular EQ behavior. It’s pretty much like a super smart Multiband de-esser which is a great idea. You can activate or deactivate the dynamic properties of this EQ based on where you want it on the timeline. This EQ is not only for vocal, of course, any other source will also greatly benefit from it. In addition to that, the Waves F6 EQ sounds absolutely brilliant and it if you’re open to the new age of plugins and not only looking back, this is definitely one of them.

7. Waves Renaissance EQ

If we’re talking about the new age plugins of today, I want to remind you where it all started. The Waves Renaissance EQ is definitely considered to be a new classic. It was and still is, a basic tool in the toolbox of great engineers all around the world. Although being old and classic, the Waves Renaissance EQ performs better than most of all the new digital EQs out there, and you can test it yourself. This baby has stood the test of time and is still being massively used to this day. The Waves Renaissance EQ is solid, CPU efficient and most of all, it sounds amazing.

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Speakers For Music Production

Speakers For Music Production

Speakers For Music Production

Speakers For Music Production

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Hey, everybody, I’m Avi from AudioStreets and I have been a music producer for the last 15 years. This is my take on speakers for music production. First I have to say that when I’m buying speakers I’m not buying them for mixing as a first goal. For me, the main purpose of a good speaker is that it will be fun to produce music on. That is why I think that any studio, small or big should have a few pairs of monitors but this is all pointing out the obvious of course, let’s get to the good stuff!

In today’s world of music production there is no shortage in good monitors
But it’s important to know that most of all, choosing the right monitor is based on personal taste. YEP.
Because we all hear a little different so it’s only natural that we’d have different preferences.

Every time I go to a music store I go directly to the monitors room to hear their speakers.
And almost every time I listen to speakers the best sounding speakers for me are not the most expensive ones. Before you choose the right speaker for yourself, you have to ask yourself a few questions:

1. What are the dimensions of your room, is it big? medium? or a small room?
2. What is your main reason for buying the speakers?
3. How far do you want to sit from the speakers?
4. what genre of music are you planning to produce?

I assume most of you have small rooms and you’re going to need a near field monitor.
But if it’s not the case, I’ll write a post about bigger setups in the near future.

So I’ll quickly go over the answers:

1. As I said I write this post assuming that you are sitting in a relatively small room, 10fit X 13fit more or less.
in this case, we are talking only on near-field monitors or smaller. any monitor bigger then that will not have the proper space to develop the right sound at the sweet spot.

2. The reason should be based on music producing needs but almost any studio monitor is good enough for mixing & mastering.

3. When we are talking about near field monitors and getting the best out of the speaker in the sweet spot, the sitting distance from the speakers should be approximately 4 to 6 fit away. Any other distance and you will not get the optimal performance out of the speaker.

4. This one is based only on personal opinion, I believe that genre is a very important factor when looking for the right monitor. There are a few studio speaker companies that are known to be preferred by different artists in different genres. This should not be a real factor unless it gives you another good reference point, and it does. When you’re using a monitor that a lot of artists in your genre use, it gets you even closer.

I know that not everybody is going to agree with me on this, and that’s why I said, this is a personal opinion.
Do what’s best for you. Now the list for my favorite Speakers For Music Production.

This list is not taking the budget factor into consideration.

Best Speakers For Music Production

Yamaha HS8

I was never a Yamaha fanboy when it comes to speakers, wasn’t on the NS10 train also… but this monitor is really special, it is just so much fun to work with. It would not be my first or even my 4th choice for mixing and mastering because It sounds so big and crazy fun!
But “FUN” is exactly why it would be my first choice for music production. It is built in a traditional way in an MDF box with simple controls on the back. The best thing about this speaker is the amount of level you can get out of it without distorting the signal. It also feels like it wants you to crank up the levels to a proper working level to really get the best out of it. This monitor is a little bigger then the others, it has an 8″ woofer and a dome tweeter. This woofer size can really make you feel the bass thump in your chest and this is why I chose it over its little brothers. It looks kinda like the NS10 which I like, It is a good look for the studio in my opinion. The HS8 range goes down to 35hz which will rattle all your doors and will open all the screws in your house. The HS8 is significantly cheaper than the others on this list but it is like the underground opponent that came in from nowhere and gained a lot of respect just for being that good.
I must say that I loved on most genres although it sounded a bit too aggressive for acoustic stuff. Just my opinion.
In the end, this is a really great monitor to produce music on or just listen to music. It’s going to be so much fun! YEAHHH!

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Dynaudio BM5 MKIII

I have an Israeli friend who is making trance music. Israel is considered to be one of the biggest exporters of trance music.
Every trance guy I ever knew is working with the Dynaudios and swear by it like it’s the holy grail of all studio monitors.
After a few years of knowing that, I had to test it for myself. I went to the store and got a pair of BM5 MKIII for a week of testing before buying. After one week with this speaker, I’ve come to the conclusion that the hype was true! I absolutely loved it. At first, it sounded a little two dimensional and flat but in time I’ve learned to work with it and couldn’t let go.
It has a great filtering system on the back panel, great sounding tweeter, very punchy bass and clear mid range.
I did not have the need to use my sub with this monitor because it feels like it gets low enough.
I could work for hours without getting that familiar ear fatigue that I was getting with a lot of other speakers.
I didn’t end up buying it but I wouldn’t hesitate the next time I have the opportunity. You can also check out the Dynaudio BM6A on Amazon.

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Adam A7x

This one is a little different. Usually, I don’t go for the flat sounding monitor and I don’t really care for accuracy once I get to know the speaker and my room better. Adam A7x was my main monitor for a few years and I had a weird relationship with it. I didn’t automatically like it, it was a little painful on the high end and weak on the low end. Adam’s tweeters are known to be crazy hard to a degree that a lot of times I used to put a little filter on the tweeter to soften them a bit. Also the bass does not go low enough and it is not that punchy. But boy, did I produce the best sounding mixes ever on them! it is so accurate and clear, I could hear long reverb tails even under a whole pumping mix.
I’m able to hear even the slightest EQ compression changes. The whole midsection from 500hz up to 6K is so on point that I didn’t want to replace it even tho I didn’t really like it. But I have to say that in my electronic music era I really needed a sub along with the A7x cause I wanted to feel that satisfying “thump” in the chest. I just needed more bass to help me feel and enjoy the music while producing it. Bottom line, the Adam A7x is amazing but It would not be my first speaker for music production. It will be my absolute first choice for checking my mixes tho 🙂

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Genelec 8040B

Now, this speaker is amazing, I fell in love with the Genelec company when I first heard them in the store next to all the others. I started with their little model, the 8020A and I swear it sounded “bigger” then the other physically bigger speakers around it. It a was clean, sharp and a beautiful sounding speaker. I was listening to a movie score that I liked. You could hear the orchestra and the huge recording spaces, everything was 3D in the most impressive way possible from a speaker this size. Then I switched to some EDM and although it still sounded amazing for its size, the kicks and basses had almost zero balls. So I switched to it’s bigger brother, The 8030A and WOW! This is without a doubt the most impressive monitor I’ve listened to inside this store that day. So I decided to stretch my budget a little more and got the 8040B. This is a real piece of art in my humble opinion. A proper studio reference monitor. Like it’s little brothers it is made out of aluminium and is designed so well that if you closed your eyes you would never believe it’s that small. It was punchy with a clear midsection and brilliant highs. I can work for days on this beast and never get tired. This is definitely my first choice for music production purposes. Also, it does not fall short in the mix department. If I could pick only one speaker this is the one.

That’s it for now, guys, thanks for reading.

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Best Condenser Mic For Vocals – On a Budget

Best Condenser Mic For Vocals - On a Budget

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MICROPHONES EVERYBODY! You know what, I really think that this subject is a bit overrated. I mean, yeah, microphones are super big deal of course, but today there are so many good ones, that it almost doesn’t matter which microphone to use as long as it is the right type of microphone for the current task.

Hey everybody, Avi here. I’m a music producer and sound engineer for more than 15 years.
In this post, I’ll write everything I know about condenser microphones that is actually important, and I’m also going to give you my list of the Best Condenser Microphones For Vocals.

Disclaimer:

The microphones on this list are considered to be affordable and not on the hyper expensive scale. I believe that above a certain price threshold the money is way above the value. But I’ll have another post about the very expensive elite microphones.

A Little History

The first condenser microphone was built in the early 1920’s. This microphone was huge in size and it’s goal was to pick up and record an entire orchestra. Condenser microphones use a vibrating diaphragm as a capacitor plate that converts acoustic movements to electrical information via preamplifier. This information is then transformed back to an acoustic information that we can hear via speakers.

Types Of Condenser Microphones & 48v Phantom Power

Condenser microphones are usually divided into two groups, small diaphragm and large diaphragm.
The small diaphragm microphones have a single pickup pattern that’s usually used for recording high frequency sources by nature, like acoustic guitars, hi-hats, percussions, etc.
The large diaphragm microphones come with larger variety of pick up patterns,
like cardioid directional, Omni directional, figure eight, and such.
The more popular one out of the two is the large diaphragm type condensers, and these are the ones we are talking about here.
Condenser microphones are electronic by nature, so they require either internal or external power to operate. Of course, most preamps these days come with a 48v phantom power for condenser microphones, so no problem there.

Pros & Cons Of A Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone

Cons
I will start with the cons first. So a condenser microphone is very delicate because of the way it’s built. Usually you need to handle them with care. Most of the time, you won’t find large diaphragm condenser microphone on the stage because of it’s high sensitivity. Not only it is highly sensitive to humidity and temperature changes, it will also pick up the entire acoustic information on the stage and all around it in a great radius. This means a lot of unwanted noises on the channel, less control over the signal, and mostly feedback, as it is picking up it’s own signal coming from the monitors and PA speakers. So a large diaphragm condenser microphone does not belong on the stage in most cases.

Pros
On the other side, the recording studio is the natural home of the large diaphragm condenser microphone. An acoustic treated and isolated studio is the best environment for a condenser microphone, this is where it shines. Because of it’s very high sensitivity, the microphone picks up a beautiful range of frequencies on the human hearing spectrum and beyond. This works amazing with high frequency content sources and full range sources in general. Drums and cymbals, acoustic guitars, vocals, and pretty much any source you want to record in the studio.

Best Condenser Mic For Vocals

Here is my list: These are microphones that I’m personally using and have first-hand experience with them.

Neuman TLM 103
Neuman TLM 103
This is the first affordable, large condenser microphone made by Neuman. It is considered to be a work horse and it surely is. If I needed a “do it all” microphone on a budget, this would be the one, although I wouldn’t recommend using it with the wrong preamps. In my personal experience, it is very sensitive to different preamps and can sound harsh and even cheap when connected to the wrong preamp. Usually it is onboard preamps that you can find on cheap audio interfaces. In this case, the preamp will be the weak link and will determine the quality of the whole signal chain.
However, when paired with a good preamp, the TLM 103 truly shines!
It is amazingly capable of picking every type of instrument, vocal, drums, or percussions, and it does it in the most beautiful and professional manner.
So how is the TLM 103 as a vocal mic? I’m glad you asked. It is simply amazing just as expected from a company like Neuman. The TLM feels right at home in home production studios and in the professional studio environment. Some even use it for recording instruments on stage in live concerts. But what the 103 does best is picking up vocals, and especially female vocals. It adds a special bright magic to all the female vocalists I’ve ever recorded. After you’re done with the recording session and start with the mixing, the TLM 103 handles high and low boosts, compression, and other post recording processes like a real champ. 

Audio Technica AT2035

Audio Technica AT2035
I know, this one is not even in the right price range, it is cheap and too affordable, yes, but listen to me, guys. It is a brilliant condenser microphone that will not disappoint even the top productions in town. I always say that I don’t care about how much things cost, that I care only about their performance, and the Audio Technica AT2035 is a great example for that.
For years, I was using this microphone as a second microphone for all kinds of sessions.
It is truly amazing on male vocals, and again, breathtaking on female vocals. I actually had a female vocalist who preferred it over other much more expensive condenser microphones from different and much bigger companies.
One of the coolest things about this microphone is that it is not as finicky as the more expensive ones. It will sound good with any preamp. I used to record a lot of sources with the AT2035 going to the Apogee Duet 1 preamp and got a few of my best acoustic guitars of all time. I also love it on saxophone, amps, and of course vocals.
It gives me a lot of yummy details, punchy and clear midrange, soft highs, and very nice lows. Of course, it is not a Neuman u87, and you should not expect it to be, but when working with a limited budget, look no further than the Audio Tecnicha AT2035. It will last for years in and will always sound like it just got out of the box.
And if you’re looking for a cheaper version of this mic, please check out it’s little brother, the AT2020 which comes in a USB version also.

Shure SM27-LC


I first heard about the original SM27 from a friend at his studio. I think it was one of the first condenser microphones made by Shure. And, since I already LOVE Shure’s dynamic microphones, I had to give this baby a try. Listen, guys, it is a very special microphone with a very special sound. I can only give you my personal take on it, and you can decide whether it’s right or not for you. So after hearing so many condensers, cheap and not so cheap, and even “very not so cheap” I think the SM27,LC, next generation, sounds amazing for vocals. It has this soft character in it’s overall sound. It’s a bit hard to describe but I’ll try. Have you ever listened to a snare drum with a thin blanket over it? It becomes a little more soft-sounding. This is exactly what I experience with this microphone but without the drop in high frequencies. Harsh vocals suddenly become softer and round. I felt like it has that dynamic Shure signature sound. I hope you know what I’m trying to say here.
I loved the SM27-LC on acoustic guitars very much. It is one of the hardest sources to pick up, and this Shure beast does it great, too easily. With great presence, clear highs, and clear midrange, everything you record with it gets punchy, and cuts through a mix with ease. But I like it the most on male vocals.
Especially vocals that do not have a lot of mid,range and highs. It suddenly gives them the power they were missing, but in a very natural way. No need for EQ, just a low cut filter and you’re good to go. This is a really sweet microphone. You also need to check out the Shure KSM44. It is much more expensive, and I assume it will get it’s own review very soon.

AKG c214


I always liked AKG microphones but never owned them. The c214 is my first AKG.
This microphone reminded me of the older AKG’s like c3000 and such. They always sounded round and bassy to me but their highs weren’t that smooth. With the AKG c214, it’s almost the same, only the highs are more buttery smooth, and the overall sound is more accurate. This microphone handles high and low boosts in a beautiful way, which I can’t say that of a lot of condenser microphones in this price range.
The c214 is an amazing vocal condenser microphone, and it easily can be picked over all of the microphones in my list on certain vocals, especially deep male vocals. It has a very controlled low range to my ear, and it compliments deep voices. I also like it very much on acoustic and classic guitars. The c214 is very much an affordable version of the classic 414, although the 414 is more of a darker microphone. Unlike the 414, the c214 only has one pick up pattern, cardioid polar pattern. Most recording applications need only the cardioid pattern, especially vocals. So, it’s the perfect budget solution for those who like AKG’s sonic world. The c214 will also give you 414’s tone on drums. It is particularly amazing on snares. So I think the AKG c214 is a great compliment to any other microphone. It is a studio work horse and at this price, it’s a no brainer.

Audio Technica AT4040


The AT4040 is not a new microphone and is definitely my favorite Audio Technica condenser microphone. There is one word that describes this microphone the best, and it’s “Natural”. It is a very natural sounding microphone, which means, it’s great for absolutely everything. It doesn’t have hyped up high frequencies like some of the others on this list, it is not too punchy in the mid-range and fairly balanced in the low range. Maybe we can call it “Flat”. Almost boring, but this is where the fun begins. The AT4040 will sound very good on literately every vocalist.
It will pick up acoustic guitars in a very natural way and would also be very happy to accept your ״over the top״ EQ boosts. It is great on guitar amps, and especially clean electric guitar sounds. I also recorded an upright piano with it as well as brass instruments.
It is a sweet microphone, without a doubt. It doesn’t have a lot of features and options, quite the same as the AKG c412, except the little low cut switch, which is very usable in cases of proximity effect.

Best Condenser Mic For Vocals

That’s about it for this post, guys. I may add more microphones in the future.
Thank you for reading.

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BEST MIDI KEYBOARD FOR BEGINNERS Small

Best Midi Keyboard For Beginners

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Best Midi Keyboard For Beginners

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KEYBOARDS! How I love midi keyboards!

Hi everybody, Avi here. On this post, I give you a list of the best midi keyboards for beginners. Every beginner has its own style of music creation so I tried to touch every genre of music and which midi keyboard is best for it. I’m sure you will find a midi keyboard you like on my list.

First, I’ll tell you that the midi keyboard is the king of all instruments for music production. Most music producers are starting with a keyboard and that is a great thing. You can not play drums and strings on your guitar. If you’re a real producer, you need to be very comfortable around the black and white keys next to your computer keyboard and that is a hard fact.

What Is Midi

MIDI – “Musical Instrument Digital Interface” is a language. It is not notes or sounds, it is just data, transmitted by digital instruments and audio systems over to digital instruments and audio systems. The data that is transferred is telling the receiving device what to play and which parameters to change. A midi keyboard sends this data to the computer which sends it to the receiving instrument, whether it’s a virtual synth, any outboard device, plugins or DAW’s. A midi controller or a keyboard usually doesn’t have sounds of its own.

The History Of Midi

Midi was first developed in the 80s, which was a very interesting decade to grow up in for us music producers and electronic musicians. The midi standard was offered to all the major companies and in an act of unification and for the greater good of all of us, they started implementing it in all of their instruments. Midi has changed the music world for ever. With the introduction of Midi technology, a lot of musicians could create new styles of music and complex sequences without the need of actually playing the instrument.

Different Midi Keyboards

Basically, you can use any midi keyboard to make almost any kind of music you want. But there are some keyboards that are more suitable for certain styles of music. For example, if you want to play a piano part, it will be best if you pick a midi keyboard that most resembles the size and feel of a real piano. That’s how you can get the closest result to the original instrument. If you’re an electronic music producer on the road for example, you would want to travel light and maybe go for much smaller instruments. 
On this list you would find the best midi keyboard for your needs.

Best Midi Keyboard For Beginners

Mini Size, Mini Keyboards

Akai MPK Mini mk2

The MPK Mini mk2 is a great little portable controller that you can easily fit into any backpack, along with your laptop and take it with you around the world. It requires only a usb cable to work. It is also a brilliant controller to have on a busy studio desk. Sometimes you just want to record small and simple parts. Or just go over presets and sounds and you just need a little keyboard to trigger them and still have enough space for your coffee cup or other small controllers and instruments. The MPK Mini mk2 also has a beautiful design. I love this mix of red and black colors, hey just look at my logo. A visually good designed instrument helps you feel more creative and have more fun while making music. As for the price, the MKP is a very low-cost solution for music production on the go.

Main features:

 • 25 Mini Keys
 • 8 Backlit Drum Pads
 • 8 Assignable Knobs
 • 4-way Joystick
 • USB Powered Only
 • Software Package Included

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Arturia Minilab MK2

This sweet little keyboard is special, It is made to be the perfect companion for “Analog Lab”, Arturia’s synth software, but it works with any music software.

The Minilab is a full-featured MIDI controller designed to work with any music software that supports Midi or DAW. It has a brand new pitch and modulation touch strip controls. It takes a little time to get used to it but eventually you get it and it allows you to do things you can’t do with a regular pitch and modulation control. This keyboard has the best feeling mini keys I’ve ever tried on a mini keyboard. You can actually play complex music parts on this keyboard and get a very good feel out of it. The design is pretty special and it reminds me a little bit of Access virus snow which I LOVE. The Minilab mk1 had bigger wooden cheeks that give it a more organic look. On the mk2 version, they made the wooden ends a little smaller but they’re still there along with a few added features and upgrades.

Main features:

 • 25 Mini Keys
• 16 Endless Rotary Assignable Knobs
 • 8 Backlit Drum Pads
 • Touch Pitch & Modulation Control
 • Analog Lab Included
 • USB Powered Only

 

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Normal Size Keys, Small Keyboards

Alesis v25

Simple, built to last and super affordable. These are the Alesis v25’s main strong points.

This is a straight forward device, the design is very simple and cool. All black with blue lights. I also like the Alesis big logo on the back. First, the v25 is in the standard size keys category. It has two octaves of velocity sensitive 25 keys. It is a little bigger than the mini keys keyboards so it is a little harder to fit into a backpack but it’s definitely possible. The Alesis v25 needs its software in order to fully assign all of its controllers. The 8 backlit drum pads have very good sensitivity and the keyboard is pretty good also. Overall the Alesis v25 it’s just a keyboard you wouldn’t expect for this money.

If you like this keyboard but want more keys, you can check out the 49 and 61 versions of the Alesis V series.

Main features:

 • Compact USB controller for controlling plug-ins and virtual instruments
 • Full-sized, synth-action keys with a square front
 • 8 velocity and pressure sensitive backlit pads
 • 4 illuminated, assignable knobs and 4 buttons
 • PitchBend and Modulation wheels
 • USB bus powered
 • Includes Ableton Live Lite Alesis Edition

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Akai Professional MPK225

Now, this is a small keyboard for big boys, it is a complete midi workstation for the working producer, a professional product, it’s literally the model’s name. Although its price tag is aiming for professionals, I think this is a perfect 25 key midi controller to start with if your budget allows you. Ok let’s start with the design, the Akai Professional MPK225 is a beautiful midi controller. Again, Akai’s colors are amazing, and this mix of black and red is so cool in the studio. The keyboard is pretty big and sturdy and the built quality is superb. If I remember correctly, this is the first product in the professional series that has an LCD screen. The MPK225 has a backlit RGB drum pads, which means that they change colors according to the application they’re connected to, and work hand in hand with Ableton Live. The keys are semi-weighted which means that their mechanism is built a little stronger and they feel a little heavier. Akai’s professional series products also come with a NICE software bundle. Overall, the MPK225 is a cutting-edge production tool that will last for years to come and will have very few limitations in the studio. If you like it and you’re interested in more keys and controls, check out it’s bigger brothers, the MPK249 and the MPK261.

Main features:

•LCD Screen
•25 Full Size Semi-Weighted Keys
•After Touch
•8 Backlit RGB Drum Pads
•4 Assignable Knobs
•5 Pin MIDI In&Out
•Pitch & Modulation Wheels
•Foot Switch & Expression Input Jacks.

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Normal Size Keys, Small Keyboards

Novation Launchkey 61 MK2

Novation is a classic name in the music production industry. They are responsible for few of the most classic and famous products out there. The Lunchkey 61 MK2 has a great set of features and controls. It comes in a very cool black body and blue base and 16 backlit RGB pads. The pads support color feedback from Ableton live and they are also velocity sensitive. The Lounchkey is a great companion for your DAW. The Lounchkey has what’s called Synth-weighted Keys which is similar to semi-weighted keys and they’re also slightly narrower than the standard size keys so it may take some time to get used to. The keyboard has very high-quality keys, knobs, and faders. This is a great Midi controller and not only for the relatively low price. If you like it, you should know it also comes in 25 keys and 49 keys versions.

Main features:

•16 Touch sensitive multi-color launch pads with RGB-LEDs
•2 Launchpad control buttons
•8 Rotary knobs
•9 Faders
•LED Display
•Transport control
•Transpose-keys
•Pitch and Modulation wheel
•Backlit mode keys
•8 Mute/ solo keys
•Connections: USB
•Sustain pedal
•Dimensions: 990 x 120 x 320 mm
•Weight: 3.5 kg
•Including: Novation V-Station and Bass station software, Loopmasters Sample-Pack and Ableton Live Lite

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M-Audio Code 61

I am an avid M-Audio user for a long time in the studio. I always liked their instruments and the Code 61 is no different. It is a great controller for the studio producer and also for the live keyboard player. It is lighter than other big M-Audio midi controllers from the past but still built just as strong. There is something different, special in the design of the Code 61. First, it is a beautiful keyboard. The first visual thing that pops up is the square overall shape of the keyboard. M-Audio used to make rounder designs but I guess they went for a new look, and you know what? It’s very cool and I like it. The drum pads on the Code are backlit RGB pads and they are big and sturdy. The pitch and modulation wheels are located in the upper left corner of the keyboard which is a little weird for me personally because I come from the old world of synths and midi controllers but I guess M-Audio are trying to promote a new approach. In the bottom line, this is a great midi controller for the price.

Main features:

•61-note velocity-sensitive synth-style keyboard
•16 full-color RGB backlit velocity sensitive drum pads
•Eight knobs
•Nine sliders
•Six dedicated transport controls
•Pitch bend and modulation wheels
•Two Octave/Transpose buttons
•7-segment 3-character LED display
•Two Track/MIDI Channel buttons

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88 Keys Midi Keyboards (Piano Style)

M-Audio Keystation 88 II

This 88 keys M-Audio is a semi-weighted piano size keyboard. It is on my list because it is great for beginners, It is simple and very budget friendly. It’s relatively light and easy to take with you to live shows without breaking your back. I like it’s USB single cable operation, which means it gets the power thru the USB and you don’t have to worry about another power cable to carry on with you. The M-audio Keystation MK2 has enough features for every basic need and a little more. Features like pitch and modulation wheels and transport control for controlling your DAW without the need to reach the mouse and keyboard every time you need to play, stop or record yourself.

Back panel includes ON\OFF switch, volume pedal input, sustain pedal input, 5-pin midi output, USB plug and of course DC power input.

•88 semi-weighted keys
•Pitch, modulation and other control sources
•USB power for convenience
•Use with your computer or iPad

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M-Audio Hammer 88 Weighted Keys

This thing is built like a tank! The Hammer 88 is a full size, fully weighted piano style midi keyboard. With this keyboard, you’ll have a professional product with a friendly price. It is one of the smaller fully weighted midi keyboards out there so it can be great for live shows and in the studio, it won’t take a lot of important space. The interface is pretty simple, only pitch and modulation wheels, 2 buttons for changing the octaves and a volume slider. Some will say you don’t need more than that if you’re a real piano player. Another important thing with piano style keyboards is they need to be quiet and this one definitely is. Very quiet. So if you don’t care about the weight and you need a real piano feel with an affordable price, this is definitely for you. 

Main features:

•88 fully-weighted, hammer-action keys
•USB-MIDI connection for playing virtual instruments, controlling music software, and more
•5-Pin MIDI DIN port for triggering external MIDI hardware
•Pitch bend and modulation wheels, volume fader, and +/- controls for expressive performances
•Multiple keyboard zones for layering, splits, and playing 4-note chords with a single key press
•Sustain, Expression, and Soft pedal jacks
•USB-powered; power adapter available separately for stand-alone use
•Class-compliant, no drivers required, plug-and-play connectivity with Mac/PC
•iOS compatibility via Apple Camera Connection Kit (available separately)
•Included Hammer 88 Controller Editor and premium software suite
•Music rest included

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Best headphones for mixing Small

Best Headphones For Mixing

Best headphones for mixing

The Best Headphones For Mixing

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Hey everybody, this is a list of the best open-back headphones for mixing. I personally own a few of them and have listened to almost all of them. Everything you’ll find here is based on my personal knowledge and experience. I hope you’ll enjoy and learn from it.
Headphones Calibration Plugins: Sonarworks | Waves NX

Sennheiser HD600

I’m an avid Sennheiser user for years and they never let me down. This time is no different. I’m a big fan of value for money and these headphones bring a lot of value for a lot of money, but it’s definitely worth every penny! Sennheiser always delivers a classic design which a lot of people love. Sometimes you don’t want to sit at your computer with a spaceship on your head. When I listen to the HD600 I can’t help but think about the sound of the Yamaha NS10 monitors. It is very mid-range biased, clear and gives a very detailed sound. The low end is also very accurate but not too “out there”. You will need to use one of the plugins I’ve mentioned above on the master channel if you want them tailored exactly for your needs. But I believe that any headphones will need that. The HD600 feel amazing on the head. Clearly, it’s built for long sessions. The materials feel very natural on the skin and this is a very big factor in mixing headphones.

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AKG K701

All you have to do is just mix one song completely on the K701 and then go listen to the mix on a few pairs of studio monitors and other headphones. You are going to be surprised at how little you want to change in your mix. This is a big deal guys. As for the design, I’m not a big fan of that double bow that AKG implements in all of their pro headphones but the grey color is captivating. Feels a little vintage. The price is not that attractive but like with the HD600, it is worth every penny. These didn’t feel like a studio reference headphones due to the fact that they just sound beautiful. I usually don’t trust beautiful things, always prefer the ugly truth. But AKG had an amazing achievement with these headphones, they sound beautiful and they are flat!

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Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X

Ok, It’s like that: If you want a studio reference headphones for the smallest price, these are for you. I’m a heavy Audio-Technica user, especially when it comes to microphones. They are L.E.G.I.T and these headphones definitely meet the high standard of the company. “Value for money,” you ask? Value – lots. Money–well it’s very cheap! 

You can work for long hours without even feeling like you have these headphones on your head. Happened to me. With the ATH-HD700X you’ll get an impressive amount of details across the whole spectrum. You won’t get a boomy low end but then again, I highly recommend one of the headphones calibration plugins mentioned above to avoid the lack of low-end information. It’s there, you just need to push it up a little bit.

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Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro

Many say that this is the king of all mixing headphones. I partially agree with that. The Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro is a classic and considered to be an industry standard. They are built exactly like the DT 770 but with an open back design. The mix of grey and black is great and the headband is made out of metal which makes it more rigid and gives more confidence when handling. The DT990 are a bit on the larger side and is not designed with portability in mind. They have a consistent frequency response but like most open back designs they lack a little bit of sub bass. Nothing you can’t fix with a calibration plugin, though. The DT990 has a tendency to make you forget they are on your head after a while of using them. They will always give you a lot of details and very accurate special perception. They are not exactly flat in my opinion but once you know them well enough you can get very sweet results.

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Shure SRH1840

I’m an admitted Shure fan. I always feel like these headphones don’t get enough credit. Shure products have some sort of magic about them. These headphones are not different. The SRH1840 are very lightweight, that’s why they don’t need a lot of clamping force to hold them on your head. This design is very clean and simple and that is a good thing for all of us “head spaceships” haters. As expected, the SRH1840 deliver a breathtaking amount of details. The sound is very clean and flat across the whole spectrum. They are not bass heavy, just as studio reference headphones should be. The bass is definitely there and you can hear the different bass notes but if you know a thing or two about mixing you know that this is how it’s supposed to be.

The only thing I don’t like about this model is that it has a cable connection on each driver while most of them out these use only one connection going to the left driver. But it’s nothing you can’t live with. Bottom line – the Shure SRH1840 is a clear winner for me. The price is definitely up there but if you ask me, it’s completely worth it.

 

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Best Amp Simulator

Best Amp Simulator

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I get so excited when I find a good guitar amp plugin, it’s so much fun!
Back in the early 2000’s when I started recording guitars, I used real amps, real microphones, real rooms, and made real noise to my real neighbors. It made them real angry… Today’s guitar amp plugins are a dream come true for us producers.
Hi everybody, I’m Avi and these are my personal favorite Guitar Amp plugins:

First off, I highly recommend that you use a good preamp or a good DI box or a quality Instrument input and a quality cable.
I personally assembled my own cable: I ordered a good quality short cable (2 meters max) with quality plugs and made sure that I did a good job welding them together. This made my input sound quality at least 10% better. That’s a lot! Trust me.
Now, this article is not going too deep on the features and functions of the plugins. I’m just giving you my 2 cents as an avid Amp simulators user so here it is!

Waves CLA

This is a full rig simulator developed by Waves, an amazing company located in Israel, which is where I’m from.
This plugin is my automatic go-to amp simulator for everything. When I start working on a song or recording few electric guitar channels I don’t have the time to tweak and look for the perfect preset and sound. This plugin allows me to just plug my guitar, choose one of the presets I’ve built for myself, and just go with it. It’s built very simple. It has 3 main amp modes: Clean | Crunch | Heavy. There’s a switch for Re-Amplify and all the rest are just simple slides to control different parameters. This plugin has the same audio engine as in Waves GTR so you get the same quality only less control. Perfect for starting things without wasting precious creative time on tweaking the presets.

Softube Amp Room

 

Softube Vintage Amp Room
Softube Metal Amp Room
Softube Bass Amp Room

I absolutely love the visual design of this one. It is simple, easy to use, sounds good, and my favorite feature, it looks like the real thing. This plugin is a native one but they also did a UAD version which is cool. The amps on the plugin are not named as the original amps that they are modeled after to avoid being sued by the brands but it’s not hard to tell which is which. What I like the most about this plugin is that in order to change amps, you just drag the amps right or left and you switch between them. The same goes for the microphone setup. You hold the microphone stand with the mouse and just locate it in front of the amp until you get your preferred sound. The main controls of the plugin are also pretty easy and straight forward. They’ve created 3 versions of this plugin, 2 guitar rigs, and one bass rig.
I must say that the bass rig is much more impressive than the guitar ones. This plugin sounds good, but it is not the best one on my list.

Amplitude 4

Now, this one is huge! It has so many options and cool features; it looks good, it sounds good, and IT IS good!
Most of the amp models sounds amazing in my opinion, but naturally only few suit my taste. I usually use Amplitube for cool clean sounds and a little bit of drive. It has tons of options, virtual effect racks, pedals, plenty of amps and cabinets, and of course, the thing that I like the most, the ability to change the microphones placement in front of the cabinet. Those who come from the real world of amp recording will appreciate that.
Check out the new version, they added a lot of cool features.

Guitar Rig

This amp simulator from Native Instruments is very cool for distortion sounds.
Somehow, I find it more realistic than the others and it does not have those painful digital high frequencies in the distortion presets. It is very round and nice sounding, in my opinion. I love the way it’s built. It has a drag and drop system where you can drag modules one on top of the other and build your own cool signal chain. Also, there is a rating system where you can rate your favorite presets with up to 5 stars. My ADHD brain needs it badly. It has a good market where you can purchase more models and effects to add to your rig. I’ve never felt the need to buy them, but it’s nice to have.

ReValver

OK, this one is a beast! I used this plugin in a lot of my productions and demos.
It is FAT, RICH, WARM, and every non-musical term you can possibly find to describe a good sandwich in the middle of the winter in the woods at night (yeah, don’t ask…)
It also has a rack building system of your favorite modules, which is sweet.
I like to practice with this plugin. It sounds amazing by itself, but I personally find it a little harder to mix it inside a song. I, somehow, always choose another plugin for that purpose. But it is probably just because I’m already used to the sound of the next plugin on this list.

Waves GTR3

This one is my go-to Amp Simulator Plugin. I use this on 80% of my productions.
It just sounds amazing inside a mix; it cuts right through when you need it to, and you can also bury it under layers of other elements, and it won’t clash with them. Of course, it is a mix thing, but I find this plugin to be the easiest to mix. It has a great selection of good and usable amps and cabinets. The people who built this plugin knew exactly what producers really need. It is not the newest modeled amp simulator but definitely works in today’s highest standards. I usually like to use my outboard pedals, especially distortions. But the distortions I get only from these amps without using a pedal simulation is just amazing! It also has a great range of clean sounds that I use a lot.
Of all the pedals emulations inside this plugin, I like the small EQ the most. It has an amazing ability to boost the lows in a very aggressive and yet natural way.
I really suggest you give it a try. Listen to the chords part in this video. This is one of the great things about this plugin, you can actually hear every note inside the chords. So this is, in my opinion, the best guitar vst plugin.

There are many more cool and interesting amp simulators out there, but these are the ones I personally use. Thanks for reading.

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Best Programs For Music Production

Best Programs For Music Production

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DAW – Digital Audio Workstation
As a producer, the DAW is your main instrument. This is what you play, this is what you practice on and this is what you get good at. A DAW is a direct extension of your creative mind. Choosing the Best Programs For Music Production for you can be a complicated task and it may take some time and patience in order to be 100% sure in your decision. Let’s find out what are the options, what are the main differences between them and what’s right for you.

Hi everybody, Avi here. I’m a music producer since the late 90’s and I’ve tried almost every program for music production out there and I can help you find the right DAW for you.
These are a few very important questions you have to ask yourself before choosing your best program for music production. Disclaimer, This article is based only on my personal preference and knowledge. Let’s start with the first question.

1. What is my main genre?

2. Do I have to record and edit live instruments?

3. Am I planning to use third party plugins or only use the built-in ones?

4. Am I going to share projects with other musicians?

 

1. What is my main genre?

Every DAW is designed a little different. Some are built for fast creation, and some are built more like a recording tape machine. These days almost all the DAW’s have the same features and same abilities. The only thing that is different is the design orientation for specific genres. If your music is going to be live instruments based it is best for you to choose the ones that are built more like tape machines.

• Protools
• Cubase / Nuendo
• Logic Pro
• Studio One
• Digital Performer

These are the programs I personally used in the past for recording and general creation.
Over the years I’ve learned to like Logic Pro and used it as my main DAW for everything I’ll tell you why later on this article.
There are a lot of famous EDM producers that uses big DAW’s as there main creation tool.
For example
Cubase Users: Zedd, Infected Mushroom and many that I don’t remember right now.
Logic Users: Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, Kygo and many more.

If you’re more into electronic music creation that is synth plugins and sample-based, these are the DAW’s that are more suitable for you.

• Ableton Live
• FL Studio
• Reason

It is important to say that every DAW can be used for any genre. From the big ones I really prefer Logic and Cubase over Protools for example. What’s nice about programs like Ableton Live and FL Studio is that everything that is electronic music related can be performed very fast.
Also, it is full of interesting built-in plugins and features that allow you to create all the nice production “shticks” that you hear in today’s electronic productions.
Ableton Live users: Skrillex, Deadmou5, Diplo and more.
FL Studio: Martin Garrix, Avici (RIP), Aerojack and more.

I must say, I have a warm place in my heart for Propellerhead Reason. when it first arrived in the early 2000’s it looked like how I always wanted music programs to look. Just like an amazing equipment rig that every good producer should own. Back then everything was so expensive and the idea of a rack full of cool synths, samplers, and amazing compressors and EQ’s was just jaw-dropping. Nothing was that sexy back then and even today, it is considered to be one of the most impressive music applications out there.

2. Do I have to record and edit live instruments?

The more traditional producers that are recording live instruments like guitars, drums, and vocals use programs like Protools, Cubase and Logic. These are the three big ones.

Protools (PC | MAC)
Of course, it is pointing out the obvious but most big studios in the world use Avid Protools. It is built for studio and for big recordings, it has the largest and most diverse collection of outboard that is built by Avid specifically for it. Protools has a very easy and convenient wiring system, mixer, automation, and general working area.

Cubase (PC | MAC)

You can say the same things about Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo.
Although it comes with less outboard controllers it has the same features as Protools and still has an impressive collection of outboard gear that you can use with it or any other DAW system. Cubase was my main tool for 12 years and I love it! As far as audio recording and editing, no one does it better than the Germans. Everything is very accurate, Almost not bugs and overall stability. In the MIDI department, it is PERFECT as far as I can say. There is nothing you can’t do and the midi automation system is very convenient.
Just listen to the amazing and complicated stuff that Infected Mushroom are doing with it. It is practically limitless. The only thing I left Cubase for is the audio engine. At a certain point, it just didn’t sound good enough for my standards.

Logic Pro (MAC Only)
So after trying to get to “That Sound” I wanted and was always hitting a barrier with Cubase I finally listened to Logic. I first started with version 8 and it was an amazing eye-opener, or should I say “Ear opener”. I could finally hear the 3D depth in my sound. Reverbs sounded deeper, Kicks sounded fuller, lower and well defined. My sound drastically improved literally overnight. I was in love with every demo I made right from the beginning.
I didn’t like Logic coming from Cubase. Logic 8/9 was full of bugs and a lot of weird shit happened in my system. I called it ghosts in my machine. In time Apple released few major updates that made Logic much more stable and easy to work with.
One of the best Logic’s features is the audio comping option. It totally changed the way I used to edit vocals. You can read more about it here. In time Logic became my main tool and it is still my favorite DAW to this day, it is just full of creative energy in my perspective. I strongly recommend you to give Logic more time, it will pay off I promise. Of course Logic is for Apple systems only.

3. Am I planning to use third party plugins or only use the built-in ones?

This is a big one. Third-party plugins and instruments are a very big part of the music production culture. Some even have so many fans around the world that whole genres are based on them. A good example of such a synth plugin would be Sylenth1. A lot of EDM genres are based purely on this one synth and it literally has limitless presets and sounds.
So if you are going to buy all your third-party plugins it does not really matter which DAW to use. You just have to make sure the plugins company make a version of their plugin for your preferable music program.

And if you are not going to buy more then just the DAW, again I strongly suggest you go for Logic. You can basically create a full production in any genre that will sound amazing and up to date. It’s kinda the same with Cubase and Logic.

4. Am I going to share projects with other musicians?

A big factor is sharing projects between friends and other producers. If you are not working alone and want to send a certain project to a friend or another music producer or even to an arranger or mix engineer just do a little check what the most used DAW around you. Although I would not base my decision only on that. Choosing your DAW is still a very personal preference. I used to work with a partner and we always moved projects from my system to his and vice versa. Trust me you don’t want that export party every time you need to work with another musician on another system.

Free DAW’s
I wanted to mention this because not all of us would want to spend the money on an expensive DAW. So exactly for this, we have this sweet list of tools you need to take a look at.

• Reaper
• MU.Lab
• Studio One 3 Prime
• Ardour
• Zynewave Podium Free

You can read and hear more about these programs and more on that website. This is a short showcase video for Reaper

So to wrap this up I want to leave you with a sticky generic message, what’s important at the end is which DAW feels most like home for you and make it easier for you to create your art. It is your sound, your taste, your tools and your workflow that will make you the musician you will become.

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Best Mastering Plugins

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These are the best mastering plugins, according to AudioStreets.com. After years of research and trying every possible option out there, I have made a personal list of the absolute best for every section of the mastering process. Of course, there are a lot of other amazing plugins out there, but I’m trying to keep it short.

Hey everybody, I’m Avi from AudioStreets. For the last 15 years, I’m head-butting this mysterious subject. I’ve had successes, and I’ve had some failures; both of which taught me how to master a song. With mastering, you can never know how good or bad you are until you’re comparing your results with other professional masters.

But, this is all mainstream knowledge, and I’m here to give you gold, without you having to dig for it. Here, you will find a few of my golden tips for a good master. Also, I will talk about my favorite mastering plugins for getting this magical sound in the box. It is important to note that this is all based on my personal knowledge and experience.

Mastering is one of the most interesting stages of crafting a “sound” for a song. 
Many have said that this could make or break everything, and I totally agree with that. So, to get a very good master, you must have at least a well-done mix. Yes, I know this also is a mainstream opinion, but it is a very hard fact. I’ve had both shitty mixes that became only ‘mehh’ masters, and I’ve had very good mixes, which turned out to be very impressive masters that sounded good in every situation, room, and system.

Levels

A few years ago, I was still fighting for the loudest master I could possibly get. But today, I’m putting healthy dynamics and a good tone on the top of my priority list. A good master begins with a good mix, so here are some basic rules for a good mastering ready mix. I, personally, like to get my mixes with a little bit of headroom. That means that the distance between my average level (RMS) and my peak level should be around 10db tops. That way, I have the dynamic freedom to get whatever I want with this mix. A lot of mix engineers like to have a little bit of bus compression on their master channel. That is completely fine to get some coloration, as long as they are not squishing the master too much.

DAW

As far as audio engines and sound quality go, I consider myself a complete freak. I have recorded, mixed, and mastered on almost every DAW out there. And, as I said in the beginning of this article, everything I say is my own personal opinion, so always try things for yourself in the end. I have tried almost every big DAW in the market. I’ve worked with Cubase for 12 years, from the earliest versions. After getting to know Cubase audio engine and hearing it getting better over the years, I also compared it with Protools and Logic. For a few years, I have used three of them for different tasks. After a while, I noticed that Logic sounded best for my taste. I could hear more defined low end, deeper reverb tails, and, overall, more definition. So, for mastering with my best mastering plugins, I really like to use Logic Pro. As a matter of fact, as Logic has gotten better over the years, I have dropped all the others.

Plugins

OK, This part is the closest to my heart.  I LOVE plugins. I grew up in a world of plugins. I started using them from when they were pure shit, all the way, to now, as they have become simply amazing. I must admit, I didn’t use hardware all that much, at least for everything that is mastering-related. So, in my mind, I divide the whole family of mastering plugins into 3 groups.

1. Clinical & sharp
2. Colors & Tone
3. Loudness & Stereo image

Clinical & Sharp

In this first group, I have all the plugins I use to shape and fix things in the mix; mostly EQ’s, Filters, and Multi Band Compressors. In the early stages of the mastering process, I only shape the mix for a balanced result. I start with cutting the very low end of a mix; everything that is below 20Hz is not necessary for me, so a relatively sharp filter cut will do the work. A good filter that I like to use is McDSP FilterBank. I find it very clean and nice-sounding. Most of the time, I use it to cut the very low and very high ends. I rarely use an EQ for that.

After that, I use an EQ to lower some problematic frequencies. Usually, I like using Waves HEQ Hybrid. This is one of the most impressive EQ plugins, as far as not changing the original color of the mix. I also really like that it shows you the notes under the specific frequencies you’re working on, which is crazy cool to an old-school plugin user, such as myself. I like it when a plugin does exactly what it was designed for, without adding any extras to it, unless this is it’s purpose. At this stage, I want my tools to have minimum color imprint on the song.

The last part of the first group is compressors and multiband compressors. I sometimes use de-essers to fix specific dynamic problems in the mix, but this is kind of rare, because I have the multi band compressor for that. If a mix has some part in it that sounds a little uncontrollable to my ear, I sometimes target it with a de-esser, just because it’s simple and efficient. If it has more parts that need a little more controlled dynamics, I use a multi band compressor. For example, If a vocal has some frequencies that hurt in the ear, I find these exact frequencies and compress them gently. I like to use Waves De-esser. Don’t know why I like it, maybe because it was so nice to me all these years… 🙂

The multiband compressor I like is the one on Izotope Ozone plugin. This one gives me the freedom to do almost whatever I like, as far as working on a 2 channel mix file. It is simple, easy on the eye, and sounds great. I will write another article on multiband compressors in the future.

As for levels, I really like to raise the level with the right compressor for each task. Sometimes 2 or 3 db’s are making a huge difference in the overall sound and level of the track in the final result. In my opinion, most of the loudness comes from a good compression before the limiting stage. So, my favorite mastering compressor is Slate VBC. It has a very unique sound, and it feels a lot more solid then most of the plugin compressors I’ve worked with over the years.

It seems that Slate Digital did a really good job with that one. It sounds really great, even in the most extreme situations, and it gives me three totally different compressors to choose from, or to mix all of them together. I love it. Out of the three, I find myself using FG Grey the most. Maybe it’s just a personal preference.

Colours & Tone

This is a very interesting group, and here, I have all the plugins that give me the right color for the song. In this family of plugins, I have mostly compressors, analog emulations, and EQ’s. Every once in a while, I will use a special and weird plugin that has a cool mojo to it, like Waves Kramer PIE.​

So, these are the plugins I love using for coloration:
IK Multimedia Lurssen Mastering Console. This one is pure magic! Excuse me for using that term, but this is a GAME CHANGER. I’ve waited for a really long time for a beautiful algorithm like that to bring my masters to life. Out of all on my best mastering plugins list, this is definitely my favorite.

Slate Console & Tape
Each one of these plugins are unique and has a totally different sound and color to it. So, it is maybe just my own subjective opinion. I really suggest you give them a listen alongside other plugins and choose your best on your own.

Loudness & Stereo Image

Limiter
In this last group, I put mostly Limiters, Stereo Imagers, and general tone shapers.
The final section of a master session is always the limiting. I have tried dozens of limiters and spent endless hours carefully listening to the effect of each slider, knob, and button. I must say that, although I like using only one limiter for my final push, I find that other plugins might work better on some materials. So, the idea is to try everything you have in your arsenal before you’re settling for your go-to plugin.

My favorite limiter plugin is A.O.M Invisible Limiter.
I find it spectacular on 95% of the materials I master. Not only does it give me a clean and uncolored output, it also gives the highest level and loudness performance.
It performs best on loud stuff like rock, pop, and all electronic genres. It has the ability to crank the levels crazy high without really crashing the dynamics.
Sometimes I use two limiters, one after the other. I don’t know why, but somehow, I manage to get a more natural sound this way. Each limiter works just a little bit less hard.

A.O.M Stereo Imager
As you can see, I really like this company, and their stereo imager is just amazing. It seems that if they could write such a good limiter, they can totally nail it with their other stuff. So, there is something special about this stereo imager. I don’t use stereo imagers all that much. I really prefer it if the widening will come from a good mix. Along with it’s great algorithm, the thing that I like about this plugin is that it lets you control the sides and the center channels separately, which is also great.
But the main reason why I use it is that it almost does nothing to the sound when it’s set to neutral settings. Complete transparency.

So, this is it.
I know that I haven’t written about a lot of other good plugins for mastering in this article, but I never wanted everything. I just wanted mastering plugins with algorithms that I can trust. Go, make good music, and please don’t use illegal software. The good people behind those plugins have families to feed, and they also want to make a living out of what they love best.

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These are the plugins I like the most,  my personal favorites. 
Hey everybody, Avi here. This is one of my favorite subjects to talk about.

I have been a synth collector since childhood. I’ve had synths from Yamaha, Korg, Roland, Nord, Access Virus, and even a custom made 303 style synth which I loved and shouldn’t have sold. 

In the last few years soft synths are getting SO MUCH BETTER. That’s not an easy decision to just sell all the hardware and join the future. I was heartbroken for a while, I’m not going to lie, but just like with love, you are most likely to find a new one eventually. 

In this article I’m not going to get too much into technical details, because you can get them wherever you want on the web. So expect only my own personal take on this subject.

MS20 by Korg

So this is one of my first eye openers and it’s the Korg MS20 Plugin. This guy had me sitting for hours and hours listening to every little knob and patch. It is simple and complicated all together. First, I used it for all kinds of analog parts, and then it was my go to bass synth. I love the rawness of it. I’m also a big fan of design, and the Korg MS20 had always been a great looking beast.

After I realized the power of this synth for bass parts, I could do anything I wanted with this, and I always ended up with a big psychotic smile on my face. I must admit that I never thought it sounded even remotely close to the hardware version, it was pretty small sounding. But I could get it to sound very good and crazy big with EQ, Compression and stereo tricks. One thing this synth did amazingly well is to get me deep in the creating zone. It is very inspirational, and this is one of the most important factors about synths. 

I think not enough people are talking about this. This synth has the ability to get your creative juices flowing, especially if you’re a real synth head like me 🙂 Korg’s analog synth bundle is pretty much amazing. I loved all their stuff back at the time and use them to this day. I think it’s ok to say that these are the real first “vintage soft synths” of our time.

In the meantime, I got my hands dirty with some cool sounding synth plugins like: Vanguard, FabFilter one, Synth1 (NOT Sylenth1), Reason synths, and more,  then I stumbled upon this.

Zebra by u-he

This amazing synth plugin had introduced me to a whole new generation of audio engines. It sounded so good that I could swear it almost sounded better, fuller, and richer then my friend’s virus C at the time. 

At first glance, this modular synth looks very intimidating and complicated. I started only with presets and downloaded a bunch of them. This was enough for couple cool parts in few of my tracks. Then I started learning this synth, and it was amazing. 

The only problem I had with it on my mac was that it wasn’t too stable. It crashed too many times in the middle of projects, and that made me really angry until eventually I dropped it. I must say that this was an original version, not cracked. But anyway, times were changing for me and I needed faster simpler synths that I could just twist two knobs and create magic.

Sylenth1 by LennarDigital

OK,  Everyone knows this guy and I can’t add anything to it. I was in love with this synth. I did almost everything with it. I filled a whole external drive with demos of this synth. So much inspiration, so many sounds, banks, presets… literally endless. 

I once compared it with Virus Snow and the snow killed it 🙂 But it wasn’t enough for me to drop it and get the Snow,  Nope. The Sylenth1 opened me to a new EDM genres. These were the years of Avicii, David Guetta, Zedd, big dance hits, catchy euro drops, and but choruses,  I was hooked. 

Remember I talked about synths that spark creativity? The Sylenth1 was the soft synth that got the most amount ideas for songs out of my head at the time. I still have demos that I’m in love with today. Don’t ask me why it’s not out. Most of the songs I produced were for other people. 

The only song I ever produced for myself with mostly Sylenth1 was this. I was very influenced by Zedd back then 😉 This wasn’t promoted or signed anywhere. I just released it for my own fun.

With the Sylenth1, I started also playing with Massive, which was very special sounding but very weird for me to work with. I couldn’t fall in love with the interface, and you already know how much it’s important for my creative juices. But one thing I have to say about Massive, it is the most natural sounding beast. 

It always sounded like a quality hardware synth to me. I also played a lot with the big Romplers like Nexus & Omnisphere. In between, I had small romances with Rob Papen’s synths which I really like.

Spire by Reveal Sound

Spire is my 3rd synth plugin love. Now, this is a synth that can get my creative juices flowing so easily. 

BEST leads, CRAZY PADS, Amazing BASSES, and all this yummy stuff under a super friendly and beautiful interface?? 
GIVE ME MORE! I spent too many nights with headphones going thru the amazing preset banks I had. My girlfriend, who was sleeping in the other room sometimes asked me to turn my headphones level down!

After some time in this new age EDM of tomorrow land 2016, I felt like it’s getting too boring, too much like everybody else. I stopped trying to create the next mega hit and turned to little productions that I like to do. 

I wasn’t trying to impress anybody. I didn’t have to have the best, sharpest mix in the market, I just wanted to go back to the simple analog minimal, but emotional productions. So I started looking for new emulations of old synths. So I found this:

Diva by u-he

This gave me a few synthesis colors under one beautiful interface. This synth is, without a doubt, the most heavy on the CPU synth. It has few resolution modes so you don’t have to work with the highest one, but while offline exporting a song it is very recommended to put it on the highest quality mode. This is a very impressive sounding synth, and I remember the first time playing with this and comparing it to other synths on my system, it sounded otherworldly.

TAL V2 U-NO-LX

Now, this is a weird one. At first, I didn’t realize how good it sounded until I watched a video that compared it to the real synth that it is modeled after, the Roland Juno 60. It is very minimalistic like the original. It has a small polyphony, so it requires you to be very selective with the part you’re playing. 

I like that, especially in my minimalistic age. If I remember correctly, there’s a controller that works perfect with this synth. Sounds amazing.  It has round analog bases, lush old synth strings, and a lot of very cool and usable sounds to work with.

ImpOscar 2 by Gforce

This beautiful synth is also based on an analog hardware synth that had found itself in almost every production I’ve ever done,  even if it wasn’t electronic by nature. This synth made itself right at home next to electric guitars, bass, and live drums. It was a bit unstable on my specific system, but it was worth every little crash I’ve had with it. This also has very warm and deep pads, beautiful stereo basses, really amazing cutoff filter, and very good effects section. I just wish they did the interface a little bit bigger.

Mini V by Arturia

Ok, I feel like when I speak about this company, I have to bow down like a kung fu student. Since the first Mini Moog emulation, I was fascinated by the sound engine and the designs they were able to create. The hardware, Moog, was a legend I always wanted to own, and I could never really get to buying this expensive synth. This is where Arturia worked their magic on me. Every time I’ve played with this synth and closed my eyes, I could smell its wood and old plastic knobs under my fingers. It’s just beautiful.

Modular V by Arturia


This one has always got me a little scared. No, let me rephrase it, I was SHIT SCARED to even look at it. To me an A modular synth is the most terrifying creature out there, and Arturia made it even scarier. So, I must admit I almost never changed the existing presets. Maybe only a little bit with the filter and that’s it. But this synth has the most beautiful synth bass sound I’ve ever heard! And conveniently, it is the default preset that opens with the first loading of the plugin. It is pure magic. Go try it.

Prophet V by Arturia

I don’t have a lot to say about this synth other than AMAZING. I really love it. A pure classic; beautiful, simple, and inspiring. It sounds magical. I would go there and say that it sounds very close to the original hardware version.

Kick by Sonic Academy & Nicky Romero

This one is a kick synth. After getting to know this weird, hybrid, sample based synth, I stopped wasting my life searching for the right kick sound in my never, ending sample libraries. This is a life saver. I stopped looking for kick sounds. In 95% of my EDM productions and demos, I just use this plugin, change the presets a bit, and BOOM. A great sounding kick that JUST WORKS.

Lounge Lizard EP-4 by A.A.S

Yeah I know this one is not a traditional synth really, but it’s a tool I use in so many of my productions. I love the unique fusion of synth sounds and electric piano. So, this one has really cool sounds and colors that can give you the fullness and emotions of a big and warm chord wall that is not too heavy on the mid and high range section of your production. It is warm, authentic, and natural. So, if I want to create a “Chords Hug” as I call it, I just play the chords on the Lounge Lizard EP-4 and I’m all set.

That’s it for now guys. In the future I will give you more articles with more synth love stories 🙂 Thanks for reading.

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Best Drum Plugin

Best Drum Plugins

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Hey everybody, Avi here. FOR YEARS, I was looking for the best drum plugin, not an easy task, let me tell you that. I’m one of those producers who really prefer doing everything by themselves. I play the guitars, bass, keyboards, and yes, DRUMS! This is my favorite part of the whole production process. In this article, I’m going to show you the best drum plugins, in my opinion. These must sound amazing, authentic, and be easy to use. This is, of course, based on my own personal taste and preference. So, keep an open mind and look for what you think is the best sounding plugin out there.

First, I have to tell you that this is not a replacement for a human drummer, maybe only for acoustic drums. For me, personally, it’s way more than enough, and I even prefer it to a real drum recording in a studio. There’s nothing like the feeling of finishing a good drum track, built on a click and a guide track. It feels like going on a new adventure. So, whether you’re a keyboard drummer, as I used to be for years, or a V-Drums fighter, this is for you.

In a chronological order.

Addictive drums – Check out the latest version

This was the first plugin that made me go “mm, maybe I don’t really have to record drums in a studio”. In 2008, I started working on an Israeli, punk rock album by an artist called “Amir Lazarov”. This was a head-first jump to the sampled based drums and drum plugins. This was an 8-song album, in which I played all the drum parts on a Yamaha DD65, electronic drums pad, which is practically a toy. It started with saving money and turned into falling in love with this workflow.

Addictive drums 1.0 was my first option because it was easy to use, it had a great collection of great recorded sets, which I could mix and match between, and I was able to mix everything inside the plugin, which I loved back then.

You know what they say about almost any tool, It is only good until it’s not enough. After this album, I went on a crazy ride looking for drum samples and plugins. It was the start of an everlasting search for the best recorded sets and the best snare and bass drum samples. Back in 2008, my mix abilities weren’t the best, but I absolutely love the production to this day.

Studio Drummer (Kontakt) –  Check out the latest version

I was jumping for joy in my home studio when I first found out about Studio Drummer back in 2011. This was the start of a whole, new era; Non-stop rock productions, demos, and amazing sounds. This one is a Kontakt library, and it offered 3 main kits, recorded at Teldex Studio in Berlin. Out of the three kits, my favorite, and most used, was the Session Kit. I also used the studio kit in one of the Israeli songs I produced.

The Studio Drummer Library also came with a lot of Midi parts, played by a real drummer on an electronic drum set. I’ve never used the recorded midi drum parts included in most of the plugins. I knew how to think like a drummer, and always preferred my drum parts tailor-made for my productions. There were other drum libraries I tried back then, but they were not good enough for what I was looking for. Among them were libraries like Abbey Road, 70’s Drummer, Modern Drummer, and such. This was played on a keyboard with the Stadium Kit. Again, an Israeli song, written in Hebrew. Listen to the dynamics when the drum part is starting to play. It’s beautifully recorded.

EZ Drummer 2.0 – Check out the latest version

Although I’ve heard a lot about EZ Drummer 1.x, and even demoed it a few times, it never felt like a good enough tool for me. But then version 2 came along and changed the whole drums-in-the-box game for me. For months, I was trying every possible setup I used against EZD2, and nothing could beat it. It was the new, undisputed champion of my box. It offered a crazy good collection of toms, cymbals, hi-hats, and bass drums. But most of all, it gave me the best snare samples I’ve ever heard. At this point, I’ve already worked with V-Drums, an old TD9 that felt like everything I need to suit my purposes.

EZD2 also gave me the option to mix inside the plugin’s interface and gave me an amazing output. I actually feel like this plugin’s audio engine is on another level. Much more than Kontakt’s, Addictive Drums, or any other plugin sampler I’ve tried, and trust me, I have tried all of them. The big ones that I don’t mention in this article are the ones I’ve tried and never liked. EZD2 is definitely the Best Drum Plugin I’ve ever used.

And for those who are die-hard believers of recording drums in a big studio with a recording drummer, it is amazing, yes. I’m not taking anything away from it, but I love the choices given to me by the digital option. I can change everything whenever I need, and I never get stuck with one sound and one recording per song. This alone is a good enough reason to love these plugins and the endless possibilities they introduce. Of course, at the end, it is everybody’s own opinion about how it sounds, and whether or not it’s good enough for them. Also, not having to deal with bit detection and aligning those audio recorded channels to the grid is a big deal for me. I promise you that you have heard amazing drum productions on the radio before, that were produced completely in the box with plugins and samples, NO DOUBT.

So, since then, Toontrack brought us EZ Drummer 3, which is a dream for producers like me. I highly recommend that you try it for yourself and let me know what you think 😉

Drum Kit Designer
I can’t close the Best Drum Plugin list without this beast. This is a special one. Every time I wasn’t happy with some of the snares or bass drums on the other Plugins I used, I immediately opened another channel with Drum Kit Designer, and it totally saved my ass. I was using this, mostly, to replace drums in an existing set or add to it as an added layer.

This plugin is my go-to drum sampler for demos. It is very simple, quick, and sounds amazing!
I must add that this one is exclusive to Apple Logic, so you can’t use it on any other DAW, but it is a good enough reason to move over to mac and Logic, my friends 🙂

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