I love audio engineering, digital signal processing and pretty much anything dealing with creating, capturing or modifying sound. This year, I switch over from Pro Tools to Logic Pro and in the process I got the chance to revisit plug-ins. After a few months of research (and recommendations from friends), here are a few thoughts on a few popular brands.

  • Fab Filter is expensive but it's very very good.

  • Positive Grid's Bias is great for guitarists new and seasoned. For new guitarists, they offer a service called Tone Cloud which allows you to download guitar stacks that emulate famous musicians such as Dimebag Darrel, Jimi Hendrix, Kirk Hammet, etc. For experienced musicians, each plug-in pretty much offers you the ability to tweak every aspect. It's pretty nuanced and impressive.

  • Good Hertz makes great sounding audio with an even better UIX. These guys really understand why skeuomorphic designs are a thing of the past.

  • Slate Digital offers you a bunch of plugins for only $15/mo. This is incredible because there's nothing more frustrating than managing dongles (iLok) and 3rd party installers (Pace, Waves Central).

  • Waves really pioneered the audio plug-in space and therefore they deserve credit on a few things. First, they're doing incredible work partnering their plug-ins with name brand engineers (Jack Puig, Chris Lord Alge) and producers (Butch Vig). They've also partnered with established studios (Abbey Road) and console brands (SSL Series). So a lot of what you'll be paying for is name brand recognition. That's not terrible but it's just important to understand where your money will go.