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Plugins so Simple you Could Mix with your Eyes Closed

Apr 16, 2024

Mixing music doesn’t have to be a technical minefield. In this article we’ll introduce you to seven plugins that can bring an instant mix uplift, clarity, power and interest without the inconvenience of muddling yourself up with frustrating guesswork.

Plugins so Simple you Could Mix with your Eyes Closed

Once upon a time, mixing engineers had far fewer options than they do now. Often they had channel volume, and LCR panning whereby a channel could be hard-panned or in the center... and that was about it.

Although you can apply more advanced audio processing with your mobile phone today than you could with a mixing console 70 years ago, there’s something to be said for simplicity when it comes to recording, making and mixing music.

Here, we’ll highlight some of the most simple but effective plugins for a broad range of instruments and applications.

In This Article

Clarity Vx and Clarity Vx DeReverb

Instantly remove background noise and ambience with these simple AI-powered plugins

Recording and mixing vocals at home can sometimes feel challenging, but it doesn’t need to be and that’s the whole point of this article. We’re kicking things off with two of the simplest plugins to use, but two that have the potential to save the most time.

If you record at home or on the go, chances are you’ve accidentally picked up some type of unwanted background noise and only realized when the time has come to mix it. Rain, electrical noise, traffic or room noise can all prevent a recording from sounding professional.

Clarity Vx DeReverb

Using advanced Neural Networks, Clarity Vx and Clarity Vx DeReverb can distinguish a vocal from unwanted background noise within any given recording. As you increase the Main Control Knob, the volume of the background or room ambience is reduced until you’re left with an isolated vocal free of noise, reverb or artifacts.

A range of Neural Networks means you can switch between different noise or reverb-reduction algorithms to see which is most effective on your signal. You can also see how and where the plugin is removing noise or reverb using the Waveform FFT Display to the right of the plugin.

With just one knob, Clarity Vx and Clarity Vx DeReverb make it quicker than ever to remove unwanted noise from your vocal recordings.

Silk Vocal

Tackle nasty resonances and unwanted sibilance in seconds

This smart EQ and dynamics processor is a one-stop-shop for lifting your raw vocal recordings up to a polished, professional standard. Across 2000 bands of analysis and three bands of control, Silk Vocal makes it easier than ever to remove boominess, harshness and sibilance from your vocal recordings.

The Male and Female Voice Modes tell the plugin where it should focus its attention in the frequency spectrum, and then all that’s left to do is to adjust the Process Amount Knobs to refine the processing.

Silk Vocal

By default, the Low, Mid and High bands are each applying 50% processing, but you can reduce the amount for a more subtle effect or increase it for more extreme processing. The processing being applied to each band is visualized on each band’s Reduction Graph.

On the right of the plugin interface, you’ll find the Dynamics Processing section. Reduce the Dynamics Threshold fader to initiate compression, reducing the dynamic range of your vocal. For level-matched compression, you can link the Dynamics Threshold and Output Level controls using the vertical arrows icon.

While you can use Silk Vocal to apply professional vocal processing with just a few clicks, if you want to experiment with more in-depth controls such as gating or processing Speed and Precision, the Advanced tab lets you do that.

CLA Vocals

A powerful all-in-one multi-effects unit for comprehensive vocal mixing

We’ve worked with Grammy-winning mix engineer Chris Lord-Alge to develop a suite of powerful mixing plugins for a range of applications. One such plugin is CLA Vocals, designed to be a simple yet versatile vocal-mixing powerhouse.

CLA Vocals is a multi-effects plugin armed with all the processors you’d expect to use when mixing vocals of all qualities and styles. Spread across six faders, there are Bass and Treble controls for adjusting the tone of your vocals.

CLA Vocals

Process vocal dynamics with the Compress fader, or add space with the Reverb and Delay faders. You can even add extra width to your vocal with the Pitch fader. Each of those six faders then has three processing modes located above, so you really get a total of 18 processes instead of six.

The simple Input Sensitivity LED feature makes it easier than ever to accurately gain stage your vocals so the processing isn’t being hit too hard or not hard enough. Simply adjust the Sensitivity Control fader until the LED is lit up yellow, then adjust the Output fader to compensate.

CLA Vocals is designed to give you confidence when applying processing to arguably the most important part of your productions, the vocals.

R-Bass

Bring your bass to life on even the smallest of sound systems

Getting your track’s low-end to sound good on all playback devices can be one of the most infuriating and time-consuming parts of mixing music. What sounds great in your car or studio might sound flat and lifeless on your headphones.

Whether you’re mixing your kick, bass or both elements, Waves R-Bass is essentially a one-fader low-end processor that creates upper harmonics in all the right places. The result is a bass sound that your listener will interpret to be fuller, deeper and louder than it really is.

RBass

Simply place R-Bass on your bass channel and set the Freq slider to the approximate fundamental frequency of your bass sound. Adjust the vertical Intensity fader to set the amount of bass enhancement you want to apply. Negative values will give a subtle effect, while positive values can result in distortion.

Using the IN button, you can bring the Original Bass or dry signal back in for a parallel effect. Despite only having a few controls, R-Bass is a simple and effective plugin that can be used on your bass or kick channels, as well as mix busses or even your master buss.

Magma BB Tubes

Add everything from gentle harmonic saturation to outlandish tube distortion

In the same vein as R-Bass, Magma BB Tubes is designed to add upper harmonics to your signal that help to give it some presence in your mix. The plugin is modeled on cascading tube stages, and can create analog tube-style saturation with the Beauty and Beast controls.

Beauty adds gentle and pleasing saturation with mostly even harmonics, while Beast can take things further with much more aggressive odd-order harmonic saturation. Combining both types of saturation or extreme use of the Beast knob can lead to distortion when pushed hard enough.

Magma BB Tubes

While this works extremely well on basses, it’s equally as capable for adding crunch and grit to drums, presence to vocals or a professional polish to instruments. You can even use Magma BB Tubes on your instrument or mix buss to add a sense of glue and cohesion between elements.

If using the plugin on a channel or buss which occupies a lot of the frequency spectrum, the Bass Relief control can reduce the amount of low end that has processing applied. This can help to keep your signal clean, focusing the saturation on the upper parts of the frequency spectrum.

Similarly, the Pre and Post Tone controls on the right-hand side of the plugin mean you can apply a high-shelf EQ to alter how the saturation circuit responds to frequencies above 10kHz. The Mix control lets you apply the warm tube-style saturation as an insert or in parallel, giving you maximum control over the character of your signal.

Scheps Parallel Particles

The best plugin for quick and easy all-round mixing processes

This versatile plugin is intended to improve the sonic quality of just about any source signal you can throw at it. Whether you want to add air to vocals, thickness to instruments, sub to your low-end or bite to your drums, Scheps Parallel Particles makes it as simple as can be.

With only four main controls, this plugin might seem slightly basic on the face of it, but that’s because Grammy-winning mix engineer Andrew Scheps has worked with Waves to deliver four of his signature parallel processing chains, all within one plugin.

Scheps Parallel Particles

The Air, Bite, Sub and Thick knobs each control a parallel chain that is kept under the hood. It’s designed this way to allow you to focus on reaching the desired sound faster, as opposed to getting caught up in endlessly complex mixing processes.

Scheps Parallel Particles can be used on individual elements such as vocals, pianos and drums, or entire mix busses. Because each of the processes is applied in parallel, you can even apply processing to your master buss without affecting the sonic character of your dry signal.

In Summary

Using a simple approach to mix can sometimes be seen as cheating, but as this article shows, simple to use doesn’t mean simple under the hood! We’ve highlighted several very powerful plugins that do a lot more for your audio needs than you would first think. Don’t forget, we offer a wide range of plugins like these designed to keep your production workload to a minimum and get the sounds, textures and processing power you need with little to no guesswork.

Check out, The OnKnob Series for quick and easy access to creative effects, MV-2 for a upwards downwards dual compressor that helps softer areas of a recording feel more forward, Waves NLS for imparting that legendary console sound across your music and Greg Wells VoiceCentric for a slightly different all-in-one vocals processor sound to CLA Vocals.

Get all the low end mix chains you’ll ever need

Of course, standalone plugins such as the ones featured in this article are indeed handy to have, but so is access to StudioVerse, our powerful mix chain engine. With StudioVerse, get instant access to an ever growing library of community produced mix chains.

One of simplest ways to get any track, mix bus or master dialed in perfectly is with StudioVerse. Simply load it across anything in your mix, and with the powerful AI search, discover a world of production ready chains that you can hot switch between in real-time. All the chains in StudioVerse are completely editable. If you find a chain that almost fits to bill, use the macros to dial in the perfect feel, or with the powerful plugin chainer add, edit or remove plugins as you wish.

Explore StudioVerse today.

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