Editor's Note: We're doing a new series here called "The Plug" where some of our guys give their favorite digital effects. The great part about this is that all of these effects are covered in the KMG Academy RAAB Program curriculum and available for anyone working at home. Sure an LA-2A sounds great but you can't always have that with you in your backpack. Everyone is always looking to Jeff Tanner for mix advice, so I knew I had to ask him first. Jeff is not only one the the best hip-hop mix guys out there, he's also a really chill guy. So you'd probably be surprised how hype he is about plug-ins. Here's his top five right now.
Waves H Delay is one of my most used plugins. Why because it sounds exactly the way you want it sound. The functionality and the options on the unit give you flexibility and the sound shaping that is needed for your mix. Filters, Modulation, Depth and Feedback oh my.
Waves SSL Channel Strip
The SSL Channel Strip is widely used in my mixes. I love the idea of having all my dynamics and EQ on a single unit, on top of that it sounds great. The built in Soft Knee Compressor is always a go to when needing to bring out the element just a little bit. The top end of the SSL Channel Strip is pleasant not harsh and opens up more than other EQ plugins.
Antares Auto Tune
Who doesn’t like a little Auto Tune? I am a big fan of Auto Tune. If I am using it to tighten a singer up or to use it as an effect, it is a must in today’s music industry. One of my favorite things to do with Auto Tune is to have it on a Pre Fader send, sending to a delay with the Auto Tune tweaked out to it fullest and restraining it to the root note or a combo of notes.
Waves API 2500
Waves API 2500 has hands down become my favorite Buss Compressor. The way it glues stuff together is unreal. One of my favorite parameters is the High Pass and Low Pass Filters. Using these in combination with link function can get you the Buss Compression that is needed for the mix. I also like to mess around with the knee settings and the Feed Back and Feed Forward circuits.
Yup D Verb. It doesn’t always get to be the star of the show but by using it in audio suite and using the reverse function it now becomes the lead up into the focus of the mix. I use several Audio Suite plugins for Drops and Chops. A few other monsters in Audio Suite are Var Fi and Pitch Shift.