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Help Choosing Plugins

Support and feedback for Acoustica's Mixcraft audio mixing software.

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warhenk@yahoo.com
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Help Choosing Plugins

Postby warhenk@yahoo.com » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:49 am

Hi all! With a dizzying array of plugins to sort through, I wonder if Acoustica or some of the experienced mixers, might help me narrow them down some. FYI- I'm doing contemporary/smooth Jazz, so it's less likely that I'd need some of the crazier effects. But I'd love to see some consensus on what might be the best/easiest to use plugins for Compression, EQ, Reverb, Delay, and perhaps Saturation. I see that there are the 'Acoustica' ones, and many, many more.

So far, I like the DTC-1's compression presets, the 31-band EQ, the Acoustica or Classic reverb, and the same in delays.

I'm sure many are great, but I'm a minimalist, would get overwhelmed in comparing them all, and while I'm a good mixer, I am primarily, a composer/musician and not an expert. Thank you!!
Best, Warren

Warren A. Keller - woodwindist/composer/producer
Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion™
www.spontaneousgroovincombustion.com
"She is all that I have left and music is her name"

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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby bigaquarium » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:18 am

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Last edited by bigaquarium on Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby warhenk@yahoo.com » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:43 am

Thanks Nathan, but need to weed down, rather than add- my OCD does not do well with too much choice. :>) Thanks!
Best, Warren

Warren A. Keller - woodwindist/composer/producer
Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion™
www.spontaneousgroovincombustion.com
"She is all that I have left and music is her name"

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jlouvar
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby jlouvar » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:27 am

I’ve downloaded some extra third party plugins, but to be honest I rarely use them because the plugins that came with Mixcraft 8 Pro are more than enough for most of my needs.
- Joe -
MX 8.1 Pro, Build 418, 64-bit. i5, 1.80GHz, 8GB, Windows 10. Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, Event and PreSonus monitors, Sony MDR-7506, Korg TR61, Akai MPK249, Fender P & J basses, Ric, Strat, D35, stomp boxes and a lot of microphones, etc.

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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby warhenk@yahoo.com » Fri Jul 12, 2019 8:33 am

Thanks Joe and Nathan, but per T.O.P.- of the existing plugins in Pro, what are our favorite Compression, EQ, Reverb, Delay? Thanks!
Best, Warren

Warren A. Keller - woodwindist/composer/producer
Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion™
www.spontaneousgroovincombustion.com
"She is all that I have left and music is her name"

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jlouvar
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby jlouvar » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:30 am

My main instrument is bass guitar, then a little guitar and keyboards... I also use stomp boxes and etc, and I either tap-in drums with my Akai MPK249 or use EZDrummer2, etc so my needs may be different than yours.

What musical instruments do you play?

EDIT: The plugins I use most are the Shred Amp Simulator, Acoustica 31 Band EQ, Acoustica Reverb, and CL Master Limiter.
Last edited by jlouvar on Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
- Joe -
MX 8.1 Pro, Build 418, 64-bit. i5, 1.80GHz, 8GB, Windows 10. Focusrite Scarlett 2i4, Event and PreSonus monitors, Sony MDR-7506, Korg TR61, Akai MPK249, Fender P & J basses, Ric, Strat, D35, stomp boxes and a lot of microphones, etc.

bigaquarium
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby bigaquarium » Fri Jul 12, 2019 12:18 pm

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Last edited by bigaquarium on Mon Aug 26, 2019 5:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby Mark Bliss » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:24 pm

Wow Warren, you stick to your guns man, your going to do just fine. Another great question!
Go with your initial gut feeling. Ignore much of the overwhelming plug-in content, it is just an abundance of distraction!

Opinion: Lets say right up front- 90% is the song. Arrangement, composition, and where applicable, lyric. A great hook either melody or lyrical (or both), trumps all else.
90% of whats left is performance and recording quality. Never fall for the thought you can fix it later....

It is common to use some corrective eq at this early stage. IE: high pass filtering to remove unnecessary low frequencies or (often) surgical cuts as needed. I prefer (and most people I know use) a parametric eq for this. The included plug in is a fine place to start here IMO.

The majority of mixing from there is levels, and more subtle eq, such as to "make room" or allow different instruments to fit together. The 31 band eq, or again, the parametric eq can be used for this. Combine this with level automation, and this makes up the core of mixing.

Reverb/delays are usually a part of the final polish or "candy"
The included plug ins are quite usable for getting started with this. I think it is far more important when starting out, to learn how to craft them into your mixes tastefully than to be overly concerned about which plug in, or considering third party plug ins.
You may later learn of plug ins with a gui or sound you prefer. The knowledge gained by using the stock plug-ins translates. Again, dont let all the temptations distract you, if/when the time comes you will know.

You may notice I havent mentioned compression.
I have often suggested that when starting out it is best not to be too concerned with it until you have truly fully explored all the previous items, you might be better off just not being too distracted or overly concerned with it.
A few people have periodically taken me to task for that suggestion... Yet I stand by it.

But I will say.... You mention using presets. Beware that compression presets first and foremost are likely primarily just louder..... they lie.
I would suggest that compressor presets probably arent of much real utility, in any application or purpose.
Level match by adjusting the make-up gain until you hear no level change when bypassing/toggling the plug-in. Now do you hear the compression? Any difference? Any benefit? Is it doing what you wanted compression to do? What was that?

I kind of think of it as a subject of its own?
Stay in tune, Mark

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warhenk@yahoo.com
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby warhenk@yahoo.com » Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:59 pm

Thanks for taking the time Mark! LOL, I'm a charted musician/producer in the contemporary/smooth jazz genre, so, this isn't exactly my first rodeo. :-) I'm just trying to cut the learning curve down a little bit, curious as to what experienced users' favorite plugins are. I agree with you about compression though. I find that really tough to master! Effects, including EQ are basically what you hear is what you get. Great compression it's still difficult for me. Thanks again!
Best, Warren

Warren A. Keller - woodwindist/composer/producer
Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion™
www.spontaneousgroovincombustion.com
"She is all that I have left and music is her name"

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Rolling Estonian
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby Rolling Estonian » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:09 am

Not free but the Fabfilter ProQ3 is incredible. It's taught me more about eq than any other source by far, because I can hear and see what I'm doing. The Pro C2 is on my very short list, if it can teach me as much about compression as the ProQ taught me about eq it'll warmly welcomed.

M

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comedians
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby comedians » Sat Jul 13, 2019 4:40 pm

and.. Warren if you don't want to pay for the rather costly Fabfilter don't forget, if you're not already aware of it, the wonderful free alternative, TDR Nova.
4 band dynamic EQ with side chain, compression & other useful features. Check some of the YouTube videos or the write-ups.

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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby warhenk@yahoo.com » Sun Jul 14, 2019 7:56 am

Yes that ProQ3 is great but I see a similar parametric in Mixcraft's list?
Best, Warren

Warren A. Keller - woodwindist/composer/producer
Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion™
www.spontaneousgroovincombustion.com
"She is all that I have left and music is her name"

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Mark Bliss
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby Mark Bliss » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:40 am

Yes. There is a parametric included. (Tone Boosters- "TB parametric" as I recall.)
Perfectly good place to start IMO.

When you discover the need, the other options mentioned may be worth considering.
And I agree, TDR Nova is one heck of a plug-in for free. Love the dynamic eq feature personally. 8)
Stay in tune, Mark

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warhenk@yahoo.com
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Re: Help Choosing Plugins

Postby warhenk@yahoo.com » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:46 am

So, Mark, et. al., What's your take on the 'Acoustica' series of plugins? They certainly don't have the fancy skins and their adjustments are minimal and straightforward- are they especially good? Thanks!
Best, Warren

Warren A. Keller - woodwindist/composer/producer
Spontaneous Groovin' Combustion™
www.spontaneousgroovincombustion.com
"She is all that I have left and music is her name"


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