Softsynths & FX Thread



my mastering chain changes depending on the clients needs.

That said, for my own masters I’ve landed on this (for now)

Ableton eq 8. I like it’s inbuilt spectrograph and I use it for a 30hz high pass cut and any surgical cutting of problematic frequencies. that said if I’m cutting more than a couple to 3 db I’ll pinpoint the offending channel and carve it out there.

UAD Pultec clone. Just putting this in the chain creates a subtle shift in tone I like, likely odd harmonics added. I like this for boosting upper Midrange, especially in tracks that have vocals.

UAD Manley Massive Passive EQ. This is sort of the opposite of the Pultec, it’s really transparent. I’ll use this for a small boost or a resonant bump around that high pass cutoff point, and to push the highs, this is where this EQ really shines. You can push “air” really hard and it remains really smooth (depending on content)

UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Comp. Mix Glue. I rarely squash more than a couple of dB, but this too has some pleasant “color” that I like.

FabFilter ProMB. Recent acquisition and I’m still working around how much I’ll be leaning on this. Thus far I’m liking it for taming low mid mud, sort of like a dynamic EQ.

FabFilter ProL. Transparent limiting for loudness. I’m not hitting a limiter nearly as hard as I used to, I think the nature off my tracks has changed. They’re more minimal in nature and the space in the tracks needs more dynamics.

Ok there is my contribution to the now no longer soft synths thread. :rofl:


I got the non-UAD one a few months ago. Used it in a few mixes, haven’t had it on a master yet (though I think I’ve only mastered 4 tracks since I got it, so not many chances yet).


A lot of times in my more recent tracks I’ll have a droning bass sidechained to the kick and then a more plucky syncopated bass. That compressor is great for getting them wrangled, put them both in a folder track or subgroup and apply to taste.


There. Fixed the thread so we are on topic now.


I think this forum would be fine with just about five threads. The hardware, software, release, WIP and spam super-über-megathreads :wink:


Yea, I’ve always been pro less sub forums, less threads etc. I like the giant rolling conversations.


Ah, I can see that being cool for people who haven’t spent as much time on mastering as me. I think I’m still on V8, so not even sure I could have gotten the automated version at the time I bought it.

But even still, when I started learning it was like 7 or 8 years ago, when Neutron and the newer automated Ozone were but a glimmer in Izotope’s eyes. I didn’t even know what mastering was until I put my first track up on Soundcloud. Then I got a message offering me mastering for like 15 bucks a track with before and after samples, and I heard the samples and thought “well if they only want to charge 15 bucks for that why don’t I teach myself? How hard could it be?”.

It was about a year of trial and error before I got something that I thought was legitimately better after I touched it than before, and I started to realize it wasn’t about just making stuff louder or adding reverb (oh yeah, I used to add master reverb to EVERYTHING). I realized I could address minor weaknesses of the mix, that I could make the track play nicer on small setups, that I could make it sound better, not just louder. And then shortly after that the netlabel needed a mastering engineer for 048 and I threw my hat in the ring and I was good enough to get the job. So I got to learn a lot more a lot faster by doing a bunch of mastering for a bunch of people.

So now, having a decent pool of experience to pull from, Izotope arrives to the party with their automated mastering just a few years after I could have avoided all this mess!


I should send you some tracks to master for me! :wink:


Native Instruments are offering Ozone Elements and Hybrid Keys for free atm.


Plugin Alliance doing Knfonium for $49.99 today.


I am weak and bought it. It is a heap of fun.


Sorry if it’s construed as spam - I’ll delete it if so

I just wanted to endorse my own plugin, Forager, because I genuinely use it all the time.

It’s on sale and we just added some new features. You can find us by googling “Harvest Plugins Forager”


Valhalla DSP’s Delay plug-in is, unsurprisingly, quite good and will probably be my go-to from now on. No need to worry about it being on sale as its regular price is only $50 and is probably as good as more expensive plug ins from some of my other favorite VST developers.


I finally found a vst synth I enjoy programming, Vital Synth.


Just to verify: this is it?

edit: it looks pretty cool, defo in Serum territory with a nicer price and some additional features it seems. I’ve been feeding the SP-16 from my VST synths lately and I don’t have that many in my corral these days.


Had it a wee while now. Its good.


That’s the one. Really happy with how simple and wavetabley it is.
I’m obviously born to write reviews…


I prefer a concise review.


Not that I looked at Serum, Vital is a free to play/cheaper version of it.


Yea, that was my impression. I’ve got a copy of Serum on perma-loan from a friend but I like the interface here a lot better, that simple, basic color/shape style really appeals to me and the price is right.