Studio Plug-Ins | Cool Software, Hot Sounds

Jun 24, 2010 5:43 PM, By George Petersen



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After analyzing vintage and modern classics from Neve, API, Ampex, EMI, Thermionic Culture and more to create accurate models of high-end studio gear, SoundToys created its Decapitator analog saturator modeler plug-in, which models the saturation or distortion created when driving professional analog studio equipment. In addition to its drive, low/high cut, tone and output controls, Decapitator also features a Punish button that adds an extra bit of edge when you want to push a track over the limit. It’s offered for Mac or PC in TDM/RTAS/AudioSuite/VST/AU formats, and also in SoundToys’ TDM Effects and Native Effects bundles.

DrumXchanger is just what its name implies: a drum replacement plug-in that can substitute drum sounds in multitrack sessions regardless of the level they were originally recorded at. DrumXchanger uses SPL’s Transient Designer technology for drum-hit recognition and includes a library of 24-bit/96kHz samples and drum sounds that can be replaced entirely or mixed with the original tracks—all in real time with phase-accurate precision. Users can also load in their own WAV samples. This Mac/PC Native version supports RTAS, VST and AU formats.

MEQ Analysis from Starplugs is a high-precision, 30-band, frequency-analysis and level-meter VST plug-in for Windows XP. It’s intended to be used with the company’s high-end Master EQ but can also be used with any available EQ. Features include RMS and peak meters with hold, fast 30-band analysis, a Meter Freeze function and adjustable decay time on the peak/peak-hold meters.


Video Demo of Massive Passive

New for the UAD-2 platform (it requires a UAD-2 DSP accelerator card), the Manley Massive Passive plug-in is a virtual version of Manley’s 2-channel, 4-band equalizer that uses design strengths from choice console, graphic, parametric and Pultec EQs, and can provide radical tonal shaping, delicate vocal shading or subtle mastering enhancement. It is available as part of the new Universal Audio UAD Software V. 5.6 release, which also includes the EMT 140 Plate Reverb and the Precision Enhancer Hz plug-ins. UAD-2 is Mac/PC-compatible, supporting VST/RTAS and AU formats.

Vocal Rider automatically matches a track’s vocal level with the rest of the song by busing an instrumental mix into the sidechain. As a plus, this plug from Waves also writes an editable automation track for fine-tuning, and provides the feel of a veteran studio engineer providing a little gentle “finger-limiting” as the vocal plays. It supports Mac and PC DAWs in VST, RTAS and AU hosts.

Mix executive editor George Petersen also runs a small record label at

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