Howdy, welcome to part four of my four part series. However, can I tell you something first before I begin? Well my friend to be honest, four parts is probably not enough to cover the huge amount of plugins that you can choose from. these days. I could easily write 6 or 7 or even 10 articles on the most useful plugins for drum n bass. However, what i wanted to do was give a good overview on some of the plugins that I use for DnB. It was never meant to be all the plugins that I currently use and have ever used in my lifetime! No way! So now that I’ve got that out of the way lets move onto to some of my favourite plugins for making your tracks sound loud, beautiful, dirty and proud.
Limiters Maximizers and Brickwall Compressors.
Alright, before you get your knickers in a knot yes I use them and yes I love using them. Why? D0n’t they end up just squashing the sound and making everything sound crap? I heard in one interview that Producer X doesn’t limit blah blah blah… I’ve heard this crap for ages now and I’m sick of it. If you don’t know how to use a compressor or limiter or EQ or whatever of course you’re going to stuff it up! Its obvious right? Its not the limiters fault… its the user! All I know is that every producer who has ever sat with me in my studio has used a compressor, limiter etc. This means Noisia, Phace, Misanthrop, Psidream, The Upbeats etc all get down with the limiting goodness on hand. Remember, don’t worry about stuffing up a mix because you’ve over-compressed it. Who cares? At least you’ll know how you’ve stuffed it up and then all you have to do is not compress it so much! Easy! Okay, rant over. Lets move on to some of the recommendations.
1. I’m loving the Sonnox Limiter right now. Its replaced the L2 from Waves that I’ve absolutely smashed during the last 3/4 years!
I decided to try a few different limiters out and the Sonnox plug for me came out on top. Now I also love the PSP Xenon Limiter.
Superb plugin but a little to resource happy for my liking. I haven’t tried the UAD Precision limiter yet but Misanthrop assures me
its a proper winner. I have to tell you as well that I’m just using the limiters like brickwalls. I’m not using any of the limiters special
features. I like to drive the channel pretty hard. This cuts off the peak of the waveform but that’s okay just as long as it doesn’t sound
crap. You have to use your ears but that’s fine, we are making MUSIC after all not painting a picture!
Placing your samples in the stereofield is mega important. If your not doing it in your mixes then shame on you! Think about where a sound sits in the stereo field when mixing down or creating tunes. Sub bass, kicks and snares go dead center and then all the rest goes around them. Cubase has a really cool spatial plugin. Dead easy to use and comes as standard with the program. One of my
favourites for sure. I also use the Waves S1 when spatial just doesn’t seem to doing its job. You can also you Cubase’s Pan function on the channel for an easy win.
Alrighty then, moving on to distortion plugins. This has been a real shit fight for me for like ages. I’ve been a metal guitarist for years so picking the right distortion sound is something I find crucial. I’ve tried them all, a million times over so to save you the grief and heartache that i’ve endured I’ll give you what I think are the best ones.
1. IK Multimedia Amplitube 1 – Love this plugin. Martjin from Noisia got me onto this one. The trick to this plugin is to TURN OFF
the speaker emulation. Indeed you could probably say this about all the distortion plugins. TURN OFF SPEAKER EMULATION!
2. Ohmforce Omhicide – Crazy plugins fro completely destroying a sound proper.
3. Cubase overdrive – Again guys I’ve got to big up Noisia and Phace for the hot tip here.
4. NI GuitarRig 1,2,3 – What can i say about NI GuitarRig that hasn’t been said already? Wicked plugs. Enuff said.
Okay so that wraps up our four part series on plugins. I hope you’ve picked up some hints and I hope you try some plugs out that
I’ve recommended. The most important thing to remember is to really get to know your plugins and what they can do and can’t do.
A/B like with stacks of tunes so that you can really focus on sculpting the sound and improving your ears. It takes time to develop a good ear so you might as well start now. Anyways, enjoy and i’ll speak with you soon.