Besides EQ, compression and reverb, there is a multitude of plugins that are handy for tasks such as frequency analysis, audio repair, and so much more. Metering, mastering assistance, and all utility plugins for post-production are invaluable tools.

With all of that said, we think it’s time to explore just what plugins you will find useful in your music creation process.

Voxengo SPAN

Voxengo Span is a free spectrum analyser, Source: Voxengo

SPAN is a free spectrum analysis tool that’s stood the test of time.

SPAN helps us gain an insight into the exact frequencies that we’re hitting in our music. Whether individual channels or whole mixes, SPAN allow us to make better mixing decisions as well as reference other tracks!

Using SPAN will allow your EQ’ing techniques to improve too. SPAN is very accurate, so you’ll find your mixing process speeding up dramatically. Think of SPAN as your frequenCY tour guide. It’s showing you exactly what you’re doing!

iZotope RX

iZotope RX, Source: iZotope

On the more expensive end of the list comes RX. (Advanced £939, Standard £315, Elements £99). iZotope RX is an audio-repair system and is a very powerful spectral-based audio editor that’s used in movie post-production, but with an increasing number of music-production features. Hence why music producers are starting to take notice!

For example, guitarists will find RX 8’s plug-in Guitar De-noise – which does what it says on the tin. Guitar De-noise combines tools for eliminating squeaks from the recording, as well as pick sounds, and even hum from amplifiers and/or guitar pickups!

Nugen Audio MasterCheck

Nugen Audio MasterCheck, Source: Sound On Sound

For £102, MasterCheck will allow you to specifically tailor all of your music for specific streaming stores. It’s a reference tool for the mastering stage of the music production process that we can insert on a master so we can tailor mixes to individual target platforms such as Spotify and iTunes.

For accurate metering, MasterCheck uses terms like Loudness Units (LU) and LUFS (LU Full Scale), instead of dB, as well as True Peak, (but this is expressed in dB).

One LU equals one dB. However, it’s measured with specific frequency filtering. Loudness standards for streaming and broadcasting include True Peak and Integrated Loudness. These represent both frequency and time averages that your DAW’s peak meters can’t measure.

Mastering The Mix Levels

Mastering The Mix’s Levels, Source: Mastering The Mix

At £49, Levels is an all-in-one metering plugin that allows us to assess the Headroom, Stereo Field, Dynamic Range and Bass Space in our music quickly. You can almost instantly see if your music has any issues that need your attention.

Levels has an intuitive user interface that removes the guesswork from crunching the numbers during the mixdown process. With Levels, we can focus more on the actual sound of our music instead of technical aspects. Its accurate True Peak Meter for monitoring intersample peaks, which a lot of metering plugins do not have, and LUFS meters for loudness, Vectorscope for stereo imaging and a correlation meter to monitor your phase makes Levels the best metering plugin at an affordable rate.

faTimeAlign & faSampleDelay

faTimeAlign & faSampleDelay, Source: KVR Audio

faTimeAlign is probably Time & Phase alignment tool with more accuracy than any before it. For only £74.62!

Most plugins work within a single sample range. But faTimeAlign can adjust at 0.001 of a sample! We can group multiple instances of faTimeAlign and adjust them all from just one plugin, making this tool incredibly useful. The plugin comes as a free and paid version.

Often overlooked by musicians and producers that are just starting out, utility plugins aid us in so many ways. They give us a fresh perspective on what music we’re making and how it’ll sound to our listeners. But the first step to making good sounding music is to use top-quality samples.

The sampling revolution has risen in popularity and shaped music since the early 1970s. Sample culture continues to transform how millions of artists and producers do their thing in DAWs.

You too can break conventional norms, challenge the status quo, and open Pandora’s box of sound design.

Mixxed works with a growing number of sample labels and contributors to provide you with a premium sample subscription service that’s more accessible than any before.

You’ll have access to our growing catalogue of loops, one-shots and sound effects that you can browse, download and keep forever for less than $3 a month.

Sign up today to find your sound!