The annual VST plugin thread

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What have you got? What are you using? What's new and plump and juicy?

My current setup is a bit stripped down from previous years. I've just settled on a handful of plugins that I really like. Here's what I've got:

Zynewave Podium: My favorite DAW.
tx16wx: My sampler of choice, which I use to create all my drum tracks, using samples I recorded myself in the studio where I work.
Rough Rider: Parallel compression is how you get your drum tracks to really thump. This is the compressor I use.
Thrillseeker LA: An LA2A style compressor, which I use for less extreme settings.
Ferric TDS: Put it on your stereo master track to make your song pop.
Boot EQ: It's probably the best free EQ out there.
Ambience: I put this reverb on an aux bus and send just about everything through it.

I have more, of course, but these are what I use most to produce my sound.

I'll have to check out a couple of these when I get on my desktop.

My favorite plug-in right now would have to be datube. I put it on most of my insrtrumental tracks to thicken them up a little.

I've also been messing around with a plug-in that a friend sent me called z-plane. It's a auto tune/pitch corrector that can also generate harmonies. I'm still trying to figure out if it is that useful for finished products, but as a tool for creating harmonic ideas it is very useful once you get the hang of it.

All of the Variety of Sound stuff is well worth getting, and is free. Smile

cts's picture

I hope these goodies work with Studio One Prime.

DAW - Cubase 7 (I've been using Cubase since SX3). I tried Reaper for a few days some time ago, and I couldn't figure it out.

Drums - I've been using BFD for years, but I've recently been playing around with NI Studio Drummer. I also have the other NI drum plugins as part of their Komplete package (60's, 70's, and 80's drummer, Modern Drummer, etc...)

Bass - I usually split the bass onto 2 channels... one I keep clean, and I distort the other (sometimes just a light overdrive, sometimes a nasty dirty fuzz). On the clean channel I usually use Ampeg SVX and the IK LA2a compressor. On the dirty channel I use various things, but I often use TB Ferox, and I've also been messing with the bass amp in NI Guitar Rig 5.

Guitar - whatever is needed, but I'll often use something from Soundtoys 5 on lead guitar stuff.

Vocals - Waves RVox, Soundtoys Echoboy, and I chop and change between other things. I often put the free Kjaerhus chorus on backing vox.

Mastering - Izotope Ozone 6, although I've been messing with a free online mastering thing at - it's not particularly amazing, as it adds that 'FM Radio' sound to everything (it seems to hype the bottom and top end pretty heavily), but it does a better job than I can.

Misc - Soundtoys 5, IK Sampletank3 (I mainly use it for the Mellotron sounds in Sampletron, and sometimes I use the strings from Miroslav), LA Scoring Strings, NI Komplete 10 Ultimate, TP Basslane (put it on your master channel, and it will pull all of the low end information into the centre. It's free, and very handy. Ozone has this feature too, but basslane is really simple to use), Valhalla reverbs (I have Room and Vintage Verb), various ToneBoosters plugins (very handy, especially Ferox and Reelbus).

I have various other plugins too, but those are the ones I tend to use most.

I used the VOS stuff until I upgraded to 64bit, but it seemed to become unstable after that so I stopped using it.

(Note - I use all of these things, but I'm still crap at mixing and mastering. Loads of fun though... Biggrin )

Pete what kind of hardware are you using to drive all that software?

Renoise host with whatever strikes at the moment.

Most-used VSTIs: Basic_64, DuneCM, Medusa2, Redtron

FSU FX: Sonic Charge Permut8 and Echobode, dblue Glitch

Lots of Renoise's built-in 'DSPs', and some of the Toneboosters offerings (Compression, Limiting, and EQ)

Roughrider has been on my drum channel 'forever' (5+ years).

DAW: Reaper

Drums: EZDrummer most commonly, with Poise as my main drum sampler if I want something more custom and Drumatic and various other bits for more electronic stuff

Guitar / Bass amp: Amplitube


Dynamics / Mastering: I use T-Racks for mastering stuff and their individual compressors get a lot of use too

Reverb: I really like the Valhalla Sound plugins

Instruments: Kontakt for sampled stuff, a huge collection of free and cheap synths

Not sure what I'll end up using this year as I'm trying to do more stuff 'out of the box', but those make up my main library.

I share a studio space with a couple of other guys, that has custom built PC (made by the most tech savy off us) that is a couple of years old, but we invested in some new SSD harddrives and more RAM earlier this year.

DAW- Ableton Live 9.1 and Cubase 5
These days I mostly just use Ableton Live

I use, both sample kits in Ableton and EZ Drummer for drums
Softube Vintage Amp Room and Bass Room for guitar and bass, when I can't be bothered to mic stuff (which is often these days)

For keys I use mostly freeware/donationware plugins like Redtron for mellotron stuff, Combo Model F and V by Martinic for combo organ sounds, Togu Audio Lines TAL U NO X for polysynth stuff, G Storms String Concerto II and VSP330 for string synth sounds, and some sample packs for Ableton from Puremagnetik, together with the Ableton synths.

Have SoundToys 5, that I use for echo, tremolo, phaser and such. Valhalla VintageVerb for reverb. Some Fabfilter stuff for EQ, gateing and de-essing, limiting and compression. Otherwise I mainly just use the plugins in Ableton.
There are a lot more plugins on the studio PC, that some of the others I share space with use, but I prefer using a smaller selection of plugins I'm very familiar with and knows how to dial up quickly.

This year I'm just using Addictive keys and Addictive Drums. Both just gorgeous instruments. You can do so much with these.

Here's a sample of Addictive Keys presets.

It has grand piano, upright, and electric piano. All sound sooooo damn good. And it's just ridiculous how different the presets sound and what you can do with the instrument.

The drums are just as insanely amazing. You can get any sound from any genre thru the years. It's crazy. I can get my stuff sound like beatles or megadeth. It's GREAT.

@JamKar - Mike, I have a system that was made by a company that specializes in audio computers. They're not too far from me (half hour drive).
I don't know too much about it, but it runs on Windows 7 and has 32gb of RAM. I'm not sure about the other specs.
I had my first audio computer from the same company, and they're really good.

My soundcard is an old Edirol FA-101 firewire unit (had it for years, and it's still working well).

Speakers are JBL LSR305's and an Avantone Mixcube (although I usually work on Sennheiser HD600 headphones, due to my recording/mixing area currently being in the lounge).

As far as other hardware, I use a Focusrite ISA One mic preamp (I did buy it with the digital card, but that stopped working, so now I just use it as an analog unit). I have a few mics, but only tend to use two of them (Shure KSM32 and Shure SM7b).

Let's see ...

DAW is Studio One, as it has been for the last few challenges.

Built-in plug-ins that get a lot of use will be Impact (sample based drum machine), Mai Tai (VA synth), Presence (sampler providing traditional instrument sounds) and Open Air (convolution reverb)

AAS Strum GS-2 is my 'go-to' for guitar sounds

Waves Doubler and H-Delay get used a lot on vocals.

BFD Eco for 'real' drums

New this year is Arturia's Synclavier V. Really simple to get your head round the basics, but also lots of depth to explore. The mix of additive and FM, and the way the synthesis engine hangs together is just brilliant. If you hear anything weird and/or digital sounding on my tracks this year, it be the Synclavier.

I'm using EZ drummer from toontrack. Also the amplitube 4. Ozone 5 on my mix bus. Valhalla room for Reverb a lot of Fab filter plug-ins. For vocals I use izotope nectar 2. Because amplitube is pretty terrible on that front. I'm looking forward to trying some of the suggestions you guys laid out for me. Thanks.

You can't use VSTs with Studio One Prime. I purchased Studio One Artist, and I still can't used VSTs unless I buy the upgrade add-on! But actually, I think the effects that come with Studio One, even the basic ones in Prime, are pretty decent.

DAW - Reaper
I have the IK Multimedia studio pack I got a few years ago so that is a majority of my sounds (Sample tank, the orchestra one and the mellotron mostly) one and my (Impersonation of) mastering (T-Racks) as well.
Really like all the Variety of Sound stuff, recently loaded Sanford reverb for free which I am really liking.
The is stuff out the under the Lisc name (also free) that is really cool for ambient and drone stuff.
The stuff from elektro studio is very cool
(I don't think he is making plug ins any more but the stuff is cool and free, his moog is awesome)
The H.G. Fortune stuff is also very cool for thick morphing sounds (He unfortunately passed away, but his stuff is still available out there).

I am looking for a Synclavier vst does anyone know of one?

Amazing! Thanks Chris. I was a fan throughout the 80's. I think it was used on X Files as well with Pat Metheny Group.

@JamKar - I've got the Arturia Synclavier V - it is utterly brilliant! The synthesis engine is pretty unique in the way it works and was clearly way ahead of anything else at that time. The things that are missing are sampling - Arturia have only included the Additive/FM synthesis - and resampling, which would be a nice addition for an updated version at a later date. Arturia have, however, enhanced it, both in ease of use via new GUI screens and depth by allowing more layers and timbre frames than the original.

I've used it on my track 'Rose and I Decline'.

I've said it before but I'll say it again: Charlatan is my favorite synth plugin~ It's free, simple to use, and gives great '60s-'70s raw analog squelches and bleeps. Not everyone's cup of tea but man, oh man, is it mine... take a sip:

yeah, charlatan is tight, man.

check out this new monosynth from 'HY'...

actually, he's got a lot of vst fx, etc.:

Just tried to get the Rough Rider for Windows link and it's dead Sad It sounded really neat too !

Try this page, @Amanda West. It may look exactly the same, but for some reason it works for me via this link:

(the difference is http at the start rather than https...)

How is it that I was not aware of these freebies? :/

wow... that is a big score! a lot of these i've never seen before.

Let us know which you try and what you think, @Xiangqi! The simple reverb sounds pretty good, for only 2 parameters. Biggrin

Izotope are currently offering their "Neutrino" spectral shaping plugin for free. I've downloaded it; the effect is quite subtle, but worth having

Chris at Airwindows is now recoding all his AUs as VST:

He writes really unusual plugins, decidedly without fancy GUI.
Really useful and interesting stuff.