1 - Snapshot
Super handy free plugin that lets you load in photos of your outboard gear into the session.
2 - Waves API Collection
Waves have totally nailed the sound of the API EQs, so much so we were stunned...
Check out the shootout we did against the real thing to see what we mean.
3 - Waves Vocal and Bass Rider
Waves Vocal and Bass Rider
While we have been fans of automating vocal levels by hand we recently had a session that we didn't have the time required to do this. So scratching our heads for a bit we remembered about Waves vocal rider and decided to give it a go (and compare it to some of the tracks we had already automated by hand). Suffice to say we were impressed. It's a really useful too to have on hand, especially for BVs that might otherwise be unattended or rely solely on a compressor to even out the dynamics.
Waves also do a Bass rider, which, no surprises is specialized for smoothing out bass
So we'd recommend you give it a go and blind test it against your manual automation.
4 - Sample Magic - Magic A/B
This handy plugin let you swap between reference tracks or material in real time.
Load up your favorite reference tracks and quickly jump back and forward between them using this handy plugin on your Master Buss
Allowing you to level each track to avoid loudness comparison issues and set up loops to compare certain parts of songs.
Save all your favorite reference tracks as presets for easy recall.
Get your own copy of Magic AB 2 Here
5 - Voxengo Span
Another great freebie by another great company
A "fast Fourier transform" audio spectrum analyzer with a highly customizable display
Good tip - Set the slope to 2.73 and it becomes flat for pink noise.
Having this set up on your Master Bus after Magic AB is also very handy to compare the frequency response of your mix or master in comparison to others.
Ultra handy for testing gear and trouble shooting problems too.
I highly recommend you check out the Voxengo Span and the Rest of their plugins.
6 - iZotope rx7
One of our favorite pieces of software for saving recordings.
The breath control plugin is a life saver for many takes, especially for its speed of use and ability to do a really really good job!. Coupled with the De-plosive plugin which will save you hours of hassle, and let you use takes you might have otherwise had to bin.
Also useful is the de-click for when you get delivered dodgy edits, or have a faulty piece of gear and the spectral edit which can let you remove the fret noise from an acoustic guitar (this recently saved a live album for a client).
There are a bunch of really good tutorials with this app which we'd recommend you watch just to see how powerful it is.
They have multiple levels of it depending on your needs as well, which is also handy.