When I was younger, I always considered myself a failure after comparing commercial tracks and my work. I connected my iPod to different sound systems, played one at a time, and wrote out the details that needed to be fixed. It always took a lot of time, since it was not possible to order professional mixing and mastering. For all the time I worked with sound, I identified five plug-ins for myself, which, when used correctly, can increase the perceived volume of the mix without distortion.
In addition, the sound processing itself and the techniques that I use have changed over time. Therefore, you should not assume that maximizers and compressors will somehow magically correct the information errors themselves.
1. UAD Neve 33609
I was recently shown this plugin (which models the classic Neve) and I found for myself that it is doing something incredible, which few other compressors can do. When using it on the master bus, reducing the volume by about 1.5dB, with a quick release, the output increases RMS without any artifacts.
I would not call it transparent. It adds a sense of space and a bit of brightness to most processed sources. This does not change the dynamics in a negative direction, but increases the perceived balance of the track. UAD company really pleasantly surprises!
2. FabFilter Pro-L
FabFilter Pro-L is certainly one of those limiters that fits most materials. This is a universal tool. It adds brightness and puts forward the sound, as they say, in the “forehead”. This tool is convenient for real-time analysis of RMS. I can accurately see how loud the material sounds compared to other works and immediately correct it. It is easy to overdo it, so you should first familiarize yourself with the manual for finer tuning.
3. Waves L3-LL Multimaximizer
L3-LL is an extended version of the famous L2, but in a multi-band format. I set the compression threshold so that the signal is not significantly suppressed. This allows you to easily and painlessly compress the sound. FabFilter Pro-L – makes it much rougher. He often saves me with vocals to compress the range 7000-9000.
4. UAD Studer A800 и Ampex ATR-102
I believe that when it comes to mastering, ribbon saturation can make the mix a lot nicer and louder. UAD Studer A800 and Ampex ATR-102 are tools whose quality is simply magical. I did not look for a replacement, because they fully live up to my expectations. It also works well on AUX buses when you need a lightweight, and at the same time, processed effect. Ampex ATR-102 offers various shades, boosting high frequencies, creating a sense of space and softening the sound. Be careful that the input signal does not go beyond 0dB, because these plugins will add unwanted distortion.
5. Cytomic The Glue
The Glue was modeled after the well-known SSL compressor, but it has a key feature – the ability to adjust the mixed signal (dry / wet). Despite the fact that the plugin was released in 2013, and received several updates – it is still loved for the shot algorithms of the analog compressor of the 80s.
If you use it on a master bus with a small attack and a quick release – this plugin will justify its name and will make your music louder.