5 Best FREE VU Meter Plugins in 2021

Before people started working in-the-box, VU meters measured the average level of a signal. You’d see them on consoles and outboard gear for measuring input or output level as well as gain reduction on compressors. The default digital meter is…

Making Microtonal Music is Easier Than You’d Think

  Welcome to this Tutorial Tuesdays article by Michael W. Dean, synth player in BipTunia. Author of $30 Music School. PRO TIP: I’d recommend that while you read this article, you listen to this Microtonal Playlist on Spotify. It has…

What is Spring Reverb?

Spring reverb is an early form of synthetic reverb. Similar in principle to plate, spring reverb uses a coiled up piece of metal instead of a flat sheet. What is Spring Reverb? A spring system has a transducer at one…

Neumann TLM 102 vs Neumann TLM 103: Comparison

Neumann is synonymous with exceptional recording quality. Founded by Georg Neumann in Berlin, Germany in 1928, the company has been making the world’s preeminent microphones for decades. It all started with the CMV 3, or the ‘Neumann Bottle,’ which was…

Audio-Technica AT2020 vs AT2035: Which Mic Is Better?

Audio-Technica has a long standing history as one of the most trusted sources for consumer and professional audio equipment. From turntables and cartridges to headphones and microphones, A-T’s product range is as diverse as it is high-quality. For those looking…

Apollo Twin X vs MkII: What’s the Difference?

Universal Audio is one of the most famous names in all of recording. Founded by Bill Putnam in 1958, the company has been at the forefront of technological advances for more than 60 years. If you’re thinking about adding a…

RE20 vs SM7B: Battle of the Broadcast Mics

Today we’re looking at two competitors, the RE20 vs SM7B. Both are celebrated mics, often used similarly for radio, podcast, and voiceover. That’s not all they can handle, though, with the RE20 becoming a a favorite on low-end instruments like…

Tyrell N6: The Best Free Synth?

The Tyrell N6 is a free software synthesizer designed by u-he founder Urs Heckmann. A “compact, sporty synth,” Nexus 6 boasts a huge array of classic analogue sounds in a streamlined, intuitive interface. How the Tyrell N6 Was Born Tyrell…

Black Box HG-2 Review | High-End Tube Saturation

The Black Box HG-2 is a hardware unit designed to add saturation, harmonics, natural compression, and increased RMS for mixing and mastering. In one tool, it accomplishes what would normally require multiple stages of processing. HG-2 exists as a highly detailed plugin…

SSL Fusion: The Vintage Drive You Need?

Founded in 1969, Solid State Logic is renowned as one of the finest manufacturers of high-end consoles and recording equipment in the world. In the ’80s, their famed 4000 E series console set the benchmark for recorded music, becoming a…

Best Vocoder Plugins 2021: Fun Vocal Effects

A vocoder is an effect we’ve heard in music from the ’70s to the present day. It’s frequently described as the ‘robot voice’ heard in songs like “Intergalactic” by Beastie Boys. Like everything else, vocoders have gone software in the…

Types of Audio Compressors and Their Uses

There are 4 types of audio compressors from the analogue world that software emulates. Different hardware makes use of certain internal components and designs for various styles of compression. If you’ve only ever used plugins, you’d be totally forgiven for…

Which Free Autotune Plugin Really Works?

Antares Audio Technologies introduced their proprietary Auto-Tune software in 1997. The purpose was to correct off-key pitches in real-time for perfectly tuned vocals or instruments. Autotune is a colloquial term now, frequently understood by artists as a catch-all for heavily…

Best Headphones for Music Production 2021

Finding the right pair of headphones for music production can be tough. There are so many choices that if you ask engineers what their favorite headphones are, you’ll probably get different answers from each one. We’ve done our diligence to…

Dexed VST | Free Yamaha DX7 Plugin

Dexed VST by Digital Suburban is a free software emulation of the coveted Yamaha DX7. The first successful digital synthesizer ever, the DX7 changed the course of modern synthesis. Free VST Plugins: Dexed Dexed VST is a multi-platform, multi-format plugin…

Sausage Fattener | All-In-One Saturation/Dynamics Plugin

Production duo Dada Life teamed up with Tailored Noise to release Sausage Fattener 10 years ago. Over time it’s become a cult classic in the plugin world, known both for its performance as well as its humorous name and interface. Don’t…

Softube Saturation Knob | Free Plugins

Softube Saturation Knob has been around for a long time, but that doesn’t make it any less great than it was when it first came out. This plugin from Softube is easy to use, sounds great, and best of all,…

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins

A transient shaper lets you control the attack and sustain of a signal. Unlike a compressor, they do not affect the level or the entire envelope of a sound. Transient shapers (also called ‘designers’) can increase or decrease the attack,…

SPL Transient Designer | Level-Independent Dynamic Control

When it debuted at the Frankfurt Prolight + Sound Fair in 1998, the SPL Transient Designer was mysterious new technology. Everyone who visited the SPL booth had the same question: is it a compressor, or is it a noise gate?…

SurferEQ by Sound Radix | Adaptive Pitch-Tracking EQ

SurferEQ 2 by Sound Radix is a genuinely innovative equalizer plugin. It’s been around for a while now, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive today than it was at release. Sound Radix incorporated real-time pitch-tracking technology to completely…

Aphex Aural Exciter | Breathing Life into Recordings

The Aphex Aural Exciter is one of the most recognized exciter effects. Its main job is to add a bit of top-end sheen to a signal while imparting some subtle harmonic distortion as well. Lots of engineers like it on…

Soundtoys Decapitator | Grade-A Saturation

Soundtoys Decapitator is one of the most popular saturation plugins on the market. It gives mixers plenty of variety and control in an easy-to-use package. It can do everything from giving an instrument a bit of analogue character to ‘punishing’…

Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

The Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is nothing short of a modern classic. The thing is a monster, equally recognized by its imposing looks and its premium sound. For engineers who need unrivaled dynamic control, the Shadow Hills gets the job…

Neural DSP Quad Cortex: Next Generation Modeling

The Neural DSP Quad Cortex is the most hyped piece of gear for guitarists right now. Neural have already garnered praise for their high-quality plugins, and their first foray into hardware appears to be a game-changer. Neural DSP Quad Cortex…

Kaotica Eyeball Review: Is It Worth It?

The Kaotica Eyeball is a microphone isolation ball with an integrated pop filter. It’s a big foam sphere you slide over the microphone capsule to protect it from reflections. The Eyeball intends to keep untreated room sound out of your…

Sonnox Inflator Review: Loudness without Compromise

The Sonnox Inflator plugin has been around for almost two decades. It’s sort of a mysterious desert island tool for many engineers, somewhere in between a compressor and a limiter. The Inflator is able to increase perceived loudness, and it…

Monitor Isolation Pads | Home Studio Accessories

Monitor isolation pads are a small but important addition to any home studio arrangement. In this article we’ll look at what they are, whether they’re 100% necessary, and how you might make some of your own! What are monitor isolation…

UA Console Application Explained

The UA Console application is the key to Apollo interfaces’ Realtime UAD Processing capabilities. It lets you insert and control UAD plugins, as well as route and monitor audio. UA Console: Recording Through Plugins Perhaps the main feature of UA’s…

RC-20 Retro Color Review

RC-20 Retro Color by XLN Audio is a popular creative effects plugin. With its multiple parameters, you can quickly add character and vintage vibe to any sound source in your mix. RC-20 Retro Color Overview The idea behind Retro Color…

Flux BitterSweet v3 | Free Transient Designer Plugin

The first transient designer came out in the late ’90s. It was a whole new concept that left lots of people wondering whether it was a compressor, or a noise gate, or something else entirely. The real answer is the…

Slate Trigger: Industry Standard Drum Replacement

Drums are difficult to mix. Just the sheer number of mics creates unique challenges we don’t encounter with other instruments. This is probably why there are so many plugins dedicated to drum mixing; and Slate Trigger tops the list as…

Squarp Pyramid Review: 64-Track Sequencer

The Squarp Pyramid Mk3 sequencer is considered ‘the perfect brain for your musical setup, from studio to stage.’ It combines a powerful 64-track sequencer, a looper, a rhythm generator, a real-time effects processor, a MIDI controller, and an I/O interface.…

A Few of the Best Saturation Plugins Available

Saturation is the secret weapon for adding some grit back to pristine digital recordings. Whether you just want to add a bit of body and richness to an instrument, or make it unrecognizable with blazing distortion, saturation is one of…

PreSonus FaderPort: Does Your DAW Need One?

The PreSonus FaderPort gives users tactile control over features in their DAW. With transport buttons and a single fader, it’s main use is for writing automation in a hands-on way. Control surfaces like these bridge some of the gaps between…

Is Waves Vocal Rider the Solution to Levels?

Vocal levels are one of the most important things to get right. Even with all the compressors in the world, nothing compares to putting in the work and riding the fader — automating the levels in each part of the…

iZotope VocalSynth 2 Overview

iZotope launched VocalSynth in 2016. Right away, its features got a lot of attention. It was obviously a fresh approach to creative vocal production not previously seen in other plugins. Two years later, iZotope VocalSynth 2 came out, which is…

Vocaloid: Virtual Singers in Your DAW

Vocaloid is a very unique type of voice synthesizer software. Initially not meant to be a full commercial product, research on its technology began in 2000. Yamaha then got involved during the development process, and the first version of Vocaloid came out in…

Avid Pro Tools First | Free DAW Overview

Avid Pro Tools is the industry standard. It’s the platform for virtually every studio because it excels at tracking, editing, mixing, and production. Pro Tools First provides an introduction to the gold standard DAW without committing to a pricey monthly…

Room EQ Wizard | Free Acoustics Software

Room EQ Wizard (REW) is free room acoustics software for measuring and analyzing room and loudspeaker responses. The analysis helps you optimize your studio by finding the best spot for the speakers and listening position. Shooting the room gives you…

Seventh Heaven Reverb | Convolution Reverbs

LiquidSonics Seventh Heaven reverb is a plugin reproduction of the Bricasti M7 hardware unit. The company is known for their superior convolution modeling, which Seventh Heaven has in spades! Seventh Heaven Reverb: A Convolution Masterpiece Convolution digitally simulates an actual…

Cytomic The Glue: Best SSL Bus Compressors?

Cytomic The Glue is an affordable SSL-style bus compressor plugin. The plugins gets its name from the SSL hardware’s famous ability to ‘glue’ mixes together. Even though there are tons of SSL bus compression plugins on the market, Cytomic makes…

Does Your Mix Sound Accurate?
Today, we will be using Sonarworks' incredible Reference 4 technology and talking about speaker and headphone correction. This software works to flatten out the speaker responses in your room, which allows you to hear as accurately as possible in your…
The Rupert Neve Designs MBC: A Deep Dive

Written by Chris Frasco In an audio landscape where things are continually moving further inside the box, many of us are craving some tactile interaction with our mixes – not to mention some analog flavor. To help us along, Rupert…

Flanger vs. Phaser: What’s the Difference?

Two of the most common modulation effects are flanger vs. phaser. We’ve heard both all over various recordings, and they do have a similar sound. This lends itself to some confusion, but if you know the subtle differences between each,…

Why I Love Leapwing Audio Plugins!
If you have been watching my videos for a while, you probably know that I love Leapwing Audio's plugins. I love the products, and the company, and I use their plugins all the time when we are mixing in the…
The Legendary ODR-1 Overdrive Pedal is NOW A PLUGIN!
If you have been watching any of our videos over the last few years, you may have noticed that we use the Nobels ODR-1 Overdrive Pedal a lot! This is an incredible, boutique-sounding pedal, at an affordable, non-boutique price. RELATED:…
A Short History of the Vocoder

The vocoder has been around for a very long time… In 1938, Homer Dudley at Bell Labs invented it to reduce the bandwidth of speech transmission for telecommunications. In other words, it was originally intended as a voice codec for audio…

Adjust the Polar Pattern in Real Time! | Austrian Audio OC818
Today, we are testing out the OC818 from Austrian Audio! What is unique about this microphone is that it records the front and the back of the capsule at the same time, and also includes an app that allows you…
A Must-Have for Recording Bass! | Radial HDI
Today, we are trying out the wonderful Radial HDI! Radial is quite well known for their DIs, and has been an industry standard for quite a few years now. We have used a few of their products before and loved…
From Covering Queen to Playing with Brian May: Interview with Danny Gomez
a Rafflecopter giveaway We have a rather wonderful guest on Produce Like A Pro today; Danny Gomez! Danny is a huge Queen fan, much like myself! Danny did a lot of the official demos for the IK Multimedia Brian May…