My Favorite Mastering Plugins
Mastering is a subject which takes quite awhile to learn the process of and achieve good results.
Good thing for you, I have a post on how to master a song in fl studio.
I’ve always wanted to share a post on what tools you need for mastering, and what you’re actually trying to achieve in mastering.
The biggest stumbling block for me was understanding loudness, and how loud you should master your music.
Again, the post above will teach you the most up-to-date techniques and terminology for mastering.
Because if you’re not aware, the loudness wars are ending because of loudness normalization.
Instead of measuring with RMS, we now measure in LUFS to achieve consistent loudness, and preserve high quality masters with dynamics which are still loud, but also have punch!
And now to my favorite plugins and tools I use to master my music:
FabFilter Pro Bundle
This bundle is expensive, but it’s a tool I’ve purchased and have been so happy with.
I’ve also suggested FabFilter’s Plugins on my favorite mixing plugins, too!
I specifically use:
Pro-L, which is the limiter is absolutely awesome!
I love the visual it gives me to see my levels, as well as an option to view inter-sample peaks if my song gets converted to MP3.
The Pro-Q, which is the EQ, has such an amazing workflow.
You can solo out certain bands to hear what’s going on within certain frequencies, and also switch on linear phase mode which is used to prevent frequency smearing.
I’m only currently on version 1 of these plugins, as I haven’t upgraded yet..
But this bundle contains the newest version – most of them are now version 2!
I highly recommend Fabfilter’s plugins.
IK Multimedia – T-RackS Classic Clipper
Clippers are popular mastering tools to achieve loudness.
We use clippers to chop off transients (the peaks of the wave form) to increase loudness.
This also adds frequencies because of distortion, and you can really get some hard hitting drums with a clipper!
The T-RackS Classic Clipper is by far my favorite clipper I have used to date.
I really like the simpleness of this plugin.
You are given 3 knobs:
- Gain (Input Volume)
- Slope (Knee)
- Output (Output Volume)
The slope knob is the awesome part of this plugin!
If set to the left, you get a more analog sound, rounding off your peaks.
If set to the right, you get some hard digital-type distortion.
When adjusting the input and output knobs, I use these to dial in how much clipping I’d like from the plugin.
Let’s say my sound is really loud, I could decrease my input knob, but increase my output knob.
This means less clipping, but when turning the plugin on/off, I still have a fair volume comparison.
The best way to buy the T-RackS Classic Clipper is through one of the T-RackS bundles.
I have linked the classic bundle, which is the essential version.
I personally have the deluxe version, but I tend to only use T-RackS plugins on my mastering chain because these plugins add latency to my mixer when using FL Studio. (Even with PDC – Plugin Delay Compensation on.)
Overall, I think the T-RackS plugins are cool, but not as cool as the Fabfilter plugins.
T-RackS Classic Clipper is highly recommended.
Youlean Loudness Meter
Metering is absolutely essential in mastering.
If you do not have a good meter, you do not know how loud to master your track.
With the industry changing with loudness normalization, it is crucial to master to the sweet spot.
This is typically -12 LUFS.
Youlean’s meter will allow you measure your audio so you can have your tracks sounding good on these music platforms implementing loudness normalization.
A loudness meter like Youlean’s will also allow your music to sound consistent in volume from one track to another if you were to create a beat tape.
This meter is a must!
And it’s absolutely free!
It allows you to measure your track’s loudness to achieve the sweet spot in your masters.
Variety of Sound
Variety of Sound is also has some really cool plugins I use for mastering from time to time..
Mostly the Densitymkiii compressor, though.
As much as I like these plugins, they are not 64-Bit, and the developer doesn’t seem too active on their plugins as of late.
Nonetheless, a cool company to checkout. (These plugins are also all free!)
The process of mastering is the most important to understand.
From there, learning about the tools you have available to you as a mastering engineer is the next important step.
And finally, learning how to use these tools, as well as what the industry best practices and techniques are will allow you to achieve the best results.
Hope you’ve liked my favorite mastering plugin list.
These are essential to my own workflow. 🙂