While Matrix Digital is home to a mouth-watering array of analogue gear, a decent chunk of our audio processing is done using digital plugins. Here are the team’s top picks:
- TC Electronic | Clarity M Audio Meter: This monitoring hardware unit links to Pro Tools via a plugin, and allows us to check peak & average loudness at every stage of production. This has solidified the consistency of our levels, particularly for broadcast and mastering audio where specified loudness is vital. It’s an always-visible screen, that doesn’t use up any computer display real-estate.
- Waves | BSS DPR-402 Compressor: This is a surprisingly powerful compressor with side-chain features, de-essing, LR mix and Mid-Side functions. Good for heavy-effect, or subtle-soft compression.
- AVID | Channel Strip: Based on the very powerful Euphonix System 5 console (which is the centrepiece of our main control room), this plugin’s parameters are linked to the System 5 control surface. This means we can mix in a truly organic way, much faster than in-the-box mixing with a mouse. We can also have multiple engineers working on a mix at the same time without looking at the Pro Tools computer’s displays. As we’re running HDX-AAX hardware, we can run thousands of instances of Channel Strip and other AVID plugins without using any of the computer’s CPU or GPU power.
- Waves | F6 Dynamic EQ: Easily my favourite EQ plugin. 6 bands of dynamic EQ plus high and low pass filters. When you’re running it in stereo, each band can be applied to the mid, sides, or full stereo signal. Great for pulling out problem frequencies, adding body or clarity only when you want to. I use it on vocals when I’m mixing shows now too, makes my life much easier and gives me that extra 5% polish on the vocal.
- Waves | API 2500 Bus Compressor: I love this guy on the master bus. Whack it on and just barely tickle the gain reduction needle. It seems to make every mix sound a bit warmer, a bit fuller, a bit bigger. It’s magic.
- Avid | Expander/Gate III Expander/Gate: Stock standard Avid gate, I just know how to dial it exactly how I want it to gate drums without losing any of the attack. I like to record a drum trigger along with the mic/mics then side-chain the gate off the trigger track in mixing.
- Waves | IR-1 Convolution Reverb: I’ve recently been getting into this simplistic convolution reverb plugin… it’s like; all my life I’ve been cycling through reverb presets, on innumerable plugins, trying to find ONE nice reverb. And here it is!
- Waves | Renaissance Vox Vocal Compressor: Renaissance Vox is a great workhorse vocal compressor, especially for female vocals. I find it gives great high-end clarity, and remains fairly transparent if you don’t slam it.
- Avid | Big Bottom Dynamic Bass Enhancer: One of the best digital plugins for getting that chunky bottom end. It essentially works like a dynamic EQ/parallel compressor, specialised for bass frequencies, and it’s a great quick solution for somebody asking “Hey, can you fatten up the bass?”
Check out an extensive list of our facility’s features here.