Recently I just took advantage of the UAD all month special on Neve Plugins. Specifically I purchased the Neve 1081. However I really had a struggle with this one, as I already own their 1073 Preamp (2nd generation), 88RS as well as the Slate Everything Bundle, the PA BX_Console (VXS) and Mercury Waves (V Series and Scheps 73). I’m starting to feel like I seriously have “plugin-itis” or something, lol. i.e. some strange need or addiction to own EVERYTHING in order to compete and cover all bases. I’ve been in this business for over 30 years and “came up” during the analogue days where you really only worked on ONE desk and therefore only had that one sound to make everything work. Unless of course you ended up mixing on another console (Track - Neve, Mix - SSL). Anyway’s just some random thoughts to see how others are dealing with this…
I think we all go through it, I went through a stage of buying every plug-in that came out but recently I have cleared out my plug-in folder and I am really strict on what I purchase. Although, I do seem to buy every UA developed plug-in…
It’s funny. This question sparks so many talking points. I like to think of our school as curatorial. We really do try to save everyone money, by creating and updating our “highly recommended” plugin list.
You don’t need every plugin to get a good sound. But you do need a good selection of musical analog modeled plugins and modern clean digital plugins. We have the ones that we love, and we are not shy about it. And we have a “test kitchen” every week to try out new technology and do shootouts against our “highly recommended list”.
Sometimes new plugins win. Sometimes they don’t. And so it goes.
It’s not always brand driven. There are certain plugins from certain brands that we could not live without – and others that we are quite happy to live without.
In specific, the 1081 is quirky for sure. It has a dynamic low end and a bright top end by nature. Neve for sure, and does not work for everything…but…i love it! I use it on vocals, guitars that need to be bright, kick drums and basses. I also use it for console color in stem and stereo mastering…often just doing nothing…
so, there you go…the story continues…
It would be good to have a reference guide (cheat sheet) that has almost a ‘for this, go for this’. So similar to the one @Danny has done on what each console characteristic is but with a more ‘for this application, go here’.
An example would be;
If you have a synth that is sounding harsh at the top, go for the xxx from UAD or the xxx from Slate. It will smooth the top without destroying the brightness
If your bass is lacking low end punch, go for xxx from Slate or the xxx from UAD, it’s additive on the bass will give more punch without killing things
I am using Blue Cat in Cubase to set up channel strips and I am saving each strip that I think ‘worked’ with a descriptive name so that I can essentially load the right strip based on what I want to go from and to, rather than just ‘pad’. Each time I will have to tweak to taste of course but if we take the three new Slate ‘Hollywood, London, New York’ plugins, they each work better on different source materials or for a different output
P.s. Having just made the most of the UAD sale, I have now banned myself from buying anymore plugins (until next class). I did sneak in the Moog filters, which is not on the recommended list but I just ‘HAD’ to have it!