Here at WhiskAudio, we've discovered some extremely useful VST plugins that aren't so well known and some of these plugins have become a part of our daily arsenal when it comes to mixing, mastering and even production. This list is based on pure usefulness and practicality.
1: VariMoon - Analog Obsession
First off, we would like to say that VariMoon isn't the only useful plugin that comes from Analog Obsession. Some of their other ones worth mentioning would definitely be CHANNEV (a Neve channel with extra features), HLQSE (similar to the Waves Kramer HLS,) SweetVox (an excellent desser) and Rare (Pultec). It's not an exaggeration when we say Analog Obsession produces some of the best analog gear emulation circuits. The character that's added to the tone of whatever your working on when you use one of their plugins is truly unmatched.
That being said, we included VariMoon in this list to exemplify what we believe is AOs best compressor released. VariMoon is a 600 Style Vari-Mu Compressor/Limiter and has some extra features included. It includes a release knob with 5 different timings (0.3, 0.8, 2.0, 5.0, A1, A2) along with your basic threshold knob. To the left of the threshold knob there's another knob where you can switch between compression or limiting. It also has a dry/wet mix control, a HPF control and then also the option of sidechaining. Then of course you can't forget about the ability to turn on oversampling which is great in itself.
VariMoon is an incredibly versatile compressor and is excellent with all types of signals or tracks. We believe that it can really bring out the tone and produces both a very wide and pleasant sounding output.
Find it here.
2: SplitEQ - Eventide
SplitEQ™ is a groundbreaking EQ that offers a fundamentally new approach to corrective and creative audio equalization. It excels at Repairing, Rebalancing, Enhancing, and Widening any musical source or audio signal. SplitEQ is both a surgical tool for fixing particularly nasty problems and a creative tool as it opens up exciting new musical possibilities. More than just an EQ — It’s a new and better tool.
Eventide has really outdone themselves with this plugin. SplitEQ gives you virtually unlimited control when equalizing simply because it's not your average EQ, we wouldn't even really classify it as an EQ to be honest. What's unique about it is that you have the ability to manage both the tone and transient of your signal. Not only that but you also have the option to pan each of those nodes in EQ if you need to, giving you the complete ability to govern the dynamics especially when combined with automation.
This tool has a multitude of use cases but some of the more common uses would be to unmask frequencies with conflicting tracks or maintaining a proper tonal balance. You can even use it for creative purposes such as sound design. Because you have this control over the signals tone and transient it makes it relatively simple to also use it to repair a lacking audio source.
Furthermore, its interface is clean and mimics that of a classic digital EQ with 6 bands and underneath those bands is where you'll find the controls for both tone and transient, Q, shape and frequency.
Find it here.
3: Tonal Balance Control - Izotope
The creators of Tonal Balance Control, Izotope, are very well-known in the audio space and because they have put out so many great plugin packages like Neutron, Ozone, Nectar and RX people tend to over look this simple yet useful plugin.
With Tonal Balance Control you throw it on your master bus and it'll give you a rough idea of how your mix sits tonally. There's two views, a broad one and a fine one. The broad view allows you to view your source in 4 parts (Lows, Low-Mids, High-Mids, and Highs) and then the fine view shows you a sort of spectrum that's outlined by the full frequency range. If theirs sections of your mix that goes out of the tone your referencing the plugin will let you know and you can make corrections as needed.
What's great though, is that aside from their reference presets they provide you can also analyze an external source that you want to match tonally. This option really allows you to take your mix further and glue the proper frequency ranges together making it sound as similar as you want to your closest reference.
Find it here.