The best way to stand out from the crowd as a music producer is to have your own Sonic personality. One of the major elements of any music producer's secret sauce is the plugins that they use.
If you're trying to be a great music producer, it's important that you have access to the best tools possible.
Luckily, there are several plug-in bundles out there that provide access to world-class Studio software.
We've created a list of the best plug-in bundles on today's market to help you achieve a professional-sounding production style. Whether you're looking for advanced mixing and mastering tools or emulations of legendary outboard gear, we've got the plug-in bundles to level up your arsenal.
Let's dive in!
Waves: Vocal Production Bundle
If you often find yourself recording and mixing vocals, then we highly recommend the Waves Vocal Production bundle.
You'll find 15 high-quality vocal plugins within the waves vocal production bundle, including a Reverb plugin, a de-esser plug-in, a compressor plugin, a vocoder plugin, a Doubler, and much more. Each one of these multiple plugins has been beautifully calibrated to help you mix professional vocals similar to the ones you hear on the radio.
Let's take a look at some of the best plug-ins available in this bundle.
One of my absolute favorite plugins in this bundle is Sibilance . This unique de-esser plugin uses the Waves Organic ReSynthesis algorithm to intelligently identify sibilance. Its four-knob design makes it very easy to use and dial in smooth and natural vocals.
When it comes to pitch correction plugins, Vocal Tune Real-Time and Vocal Bender are some of the best around.
Of course, beyond the crazy effects plug-ins that you can find in this bundle, you also get access to some Waves staples, such as the R-Vox compressor plugin.
One of the reasons that Waves plugins are so popular is that the interfaces are very straightforward and intuitive. Many of them have very basic controls that allow you to make processing decisions much faster, letting the plug-in take care of the rest. Plus, even with their low prices, the plugins sound smooth and musical.
Through every major release, Waves provide free updates. No matter how your operating system or DAW software updates, you never have to worry about breaks in your workflow. The Waves Central software makes updating, installing, and modifying easier than ever.
Overall, this plug-in bundle provides plenty of value for a low cost. With high--quality sound and intuitive designs, they are great for any kind of music production.
iZotope Music Production Suite 4
Within the iZotope Music Production Suite 4 , you'll find a wide range of products that can assist you through the recording process all the way into the mastering process.
The plugins in this bundle include:
- Neutron 3 Advanced
- Ozone 9 Advanced
- Nectar 3
- RX7 Standard
- VocalSynth 2
- Insight 2
Most of these plug-ins contain an array of modules you can apply separately as unique forms of processing in your mixes.
One of the things that set iZotope plugins apart from others is the assistant algorithms you can utilize for automatic processing. These unique algorithms listen to your audio, providing you with completely custom signal chains that use built-in tools.
While most mixes will rely on the sound design and the quality of the arrangement, the automatic tools can help once you move into the mixing and mastering phase. One of the great things about these automatic processing tools is that they are completely optional. If you want precise manual control, you'll find a surplus of controls to help you out.
Every product in the iZotope Music Production Suite 4 is clearly defined. For example, you can use RX-7 to perform Audio Repair. Or, you can use Ozone to master your music beautifully.
You can think of each plug-in in the iZotope Music Production Suite as an all-in-one solution that solves complex problems. Head to the iZotope YouTube channel, and you'll find plenty of educational content that explains how to use their plugins in your workflow.
FabFilter tools are often praised for being crisp, clear, and precise, great for any of your surgical processing needs. You'll find a few high-quality plugins in the FabFilter total bundle instead of a large number of plug-ins. This bundle includes an ultra-powerful batch of fundamental mixing and mastering tools that you'll use in every single mix.
One of the things that I love about FabFilter products is that they are very easy to use. The interfaces are user-friendly and transparent.
The plugins in this bundle include:
- Pro-Q 3 (EQ)
- Pro-C 2 (compressor)
- Pro-DS (de-esser)
- Pro-MB (multi-band compressor)
- Pro-G (gate/expander)
- Pro-R (Reverb)
- Pro-L 2 (Limiter)
- Saturn (Saturator)
With their processing predictability, these plugins are very reliable problem-solving tools.
You get all of the bells and whistles with FabFilter plugins, as the company shamelessly dove head-first into digital waters instead of developing a batch of analog-modeled plugins.
It is also worth noting that FabFilter does an excellent job of updating its plugins, keeping them relevant over the years. For example, the recent Pro Q 3 update brought along Dynamic EQ nodes and external side chain triggering.
If you are looking for clean and intuitive digital processing tools, FabFilter is one of the best developers on the market today.
Soundtoys 5 is one of my absolute favorite plugin bundles for when I want to get creative with effects.
This plug-in bundle comes with 21 plugins that apply raw, analog-style organic effects. Soundtoys stands out from the group with its nonlinear processing styles, giving your mixes an analog vibe straight off the bat. Though you can certainly use these plugins in the context of mixing, I often like to use them for sound design and creative effects. Of course, in modern production, these once-different processes depend on each other.
A few of my favorite plugins in this bundle include Decapitator (saturation), EchoBoy (delay), Cystrallizer (pitch-shifting granular delay), Little AlterBoy (pitch shifter and vocal formant), and Radiator (saturation).
If you are looking for unique audio processing, Soundtoys delivers like no other audio company.
I love the fact that the Soundtoys 5 bundle comes with the Effect Rack component, allowing you to load up your individual plugins into a custom rack, so you can use them as processing chains.
The entire Effect Rack runs through an output with a dry-wet knob, allowing you to blend your signals between the dry input signal in the processed Effect Rack signal.
Universal Audio UAD 2 Ultimate
Universal Audio is unique compared to many other plug-in manufacturers in the music industry, and their plug-ins use Digital Signal Processing built into their audio interfaces and high-quality hardware. The beauty of this unique design is that it reduces the strain on your computer's CPU, allowing you to run more complex projects with higher numbers of plug-ins.
While the cost of purchasing UAD plugins is much higher compared to the other best plugin bundles, you won't find this kind of quality anywhere else.
This is especially true if you're interested in getting your hands on analog-modeled plugins. Universal Audio has some of the best vintage hardware emulations I've ever heard. There are several plugin developers who design analog-modeled plugins based on iconic hardware units, though very few companies succeed in capturing the nuanced tonality of these original units.
One major bonus that you get when you purchase a Universal Audio interface is the unique Console software. You can use this Console software with applied preamp emulations that process your signal before it ever hits your DAW.
When you bake plug-in processing into your recordings before they hit your software, you can save tons of time during the mixing process. If you have always dreamed of owning vintage studio hardware but don't have the budget for it, the universal audio UAD 2 ultimate bundle is the most convincing alternative on the market.
Slate Digital VMR
For only $14.99 per month, you can enjoy the Slate Digital Virtual Mix Rack (VMR), which offers an analog-style channel strip design. You can easily create custom channel strips using a wide range of analog emulations. Because the Slate Digital VMR bundle is subscription-based, you never need to stress about paying top dollar to update your products, as you would with other companies on this list.
Essentially, every upgrade in the Slate Digital VMR bundle is included with your subscription.
Analog-modeled processing seems to be all the rage these days. While many digital mixing tools sound very similar to one another, analog-modeled plugins typically have their own sonic stamps.
Slate Digital VMR not only has its own unique sonic flavor, but it also has a unique overall design. The plugin is loosely based on the API 500 series modular format, which features a number of lunchbox racks. This rack plug-in comes with eight slots, with which you can host a variety of proprietary modules.
You'll find a wide range of high-quality emulations baked into the Slate Digital VMR bundle, including:
- FG-116 - FET compressor with a lightning-fast attack and release, great for bass and vocals
- FG-401 - Feature-rich Distressor and compressor based on the Empirical Labs Distressor and Teletronix LA-2A
- FG-N EQ - This plug-in is somewhat of a super-sized Neve 1073, delivering two parametric EQ bands with identical frequency ranges, a high-pass filter, and high and low shelves.
In terms of overall flexibility, Slate Digital VMRis a total winner. The design of the bundle is very slick, helping to deliver fast results during the production and mixing phase. Of course, when all is said and done, it is the sheer quality of these analog-modeled emulations that makes Slate Digital VMR one of the best plugin bundles on the market today.
Native Instruments Komplete 13
Native Instruments is one of the largest professional audio software and Hardware developers in the world. The Komplete 13 music production Suite is the latest iteration in the company's software bundle releases, which started in 2003.
Throughout the years, this bundle has grown exponentially and is now a comprehensive suite of creative instruments and mixing plugins for all of your music-making needs.
From complex synthesis to in-depth sampling, there isn't an area where Native Instruments doesn't excel.
Within the Native Instruments Komplete 13 bundle, you will find 68 instruments and effects, as well as 24 expansion packs. One of the biggest highlights of this bundle is the Kontakt 6 plug-in, which is one of the most popular samplers in the world. You'll find a wide range of advanced sampling features, scripting capabilities, and editing tools.
On the other hand, you have Reaktor 6, which is one of the most powerful sent instruments in the bundle. Upon opening the plugging up, you become immersed in an ultra-flexible modular environment, allowing you to design new synthesizers and effects with your coding skills.
However, if you aren't somebody that likes to build sounds from scratch, you can enjoy the vast collection of built-in instruments and presets. Though this might all sound great, it doesn't even scratch the surface of Komplete 13’s capabilities.
You'll find 14 synthesizers in this bundle and 30 sampled instruments, including six pianos, two guitars, a string section, a brass section, two bass guitars, 3 electric pianos, a unique collection of analog synth plugin options, an organ, and a variety of additional hybrid instruments. The bundle delivers more than 55 gigabytes of sounds, from orchestral instruments to drums and beyond.
If you are just getting started in the world of VST plug-ins, Komplete 13 from Native Instruments offers one of the most comprehensive sets of tools on the market today.
SSL Native Essentials Bundle
SSL is one of the most iconic music hardware production companies in the world, with a long-standing portfolio of top-notch hardware.
Luckily for us, the company decided to create the Essentials Bundle , which combines the SSL Channel strip to end the SSL Bus Compressor too.
The SSL Channel strip 2 is an emulation of the iconic SSL 9000k SuperAnalog mixing console. You'll find a 4-band parametric EQ, a compressor, a filter, a gate, and an expander. You even get added versatility with the ability to switch between the E-Series and G-Series consoles.
The Bus Compressor 2 plug-in is a quality replica of the classic bus compressor, which you have likely heard on some of your favorite hits over the past couple of decades. The glue that comes from this bus compressor is one of the reasons that it is so sought after, making it a plug-in with universal admiration.
There is certainly no harm in having two of the most legendary studio tools in your mixing arsenal. Each time you use one of these plug-ins in your mix, you can be sure that it will deliver exactly what you need, even in the most complex mixing and production circumstances.
With a crisp and clear EQ console and a tight and punchy bus compressor, the SSL Native Essentials bundle delivers the secret sauce for a mix that sounds like it was made on real hardware.
When it comes to comprehensive plugin bundles, the MComplete mixing bundle from MeldaProduction is one of the best around.
MeldaProduction is a relatively new plug-in developer, as the company was only founded in 2009. Even so, the company has garnered a reputation as one of the most diverse plug-in developers on the market. Within this plug-in bundle, you'll find just about every tool, plug-in, and instrument that you could need to craft professional mixes.
At present, you get a whopping 112 plugins, which cover all the basics, such as EQ, compression, Reverb, Dynamic EQ, looping, pitch-shifting, and more.
You'll find three instrument plugins in this mixing bundle, including the Mdrummer, the MPowerSynth, and the MSoundFactory.
The Mdrummer is a solid drum machine that comes with a wide range of high-quality sounds and loops, perfect for just about every genre of music, including pop, rock, Jazz, EDM, and more. It also uses an intelligent rhythm generator, which you can use to create custom Loop variations and new Loops altogether.
MPowerSynth synth plugin delivers three oscillators, two-mode filters, a single noise generator, and a robust effects section. To take things even further, you'll find customizable LFOs, envelopes, a feature-rich polyphonic arpeggiator, and a number of random generators for experimentation.
When it comes to the effects of this plug-in bundle, there are far too many to cover in this article. However, for review's sake, I'll try and give you a few of the highlights. The MAutoEqualizer is one of the best effects plug-ins in this bundle, automatically analyzing your track to create EEQs based on your preferences. The best thing is that it does so without any latency.
You also get the MCharacter, which lets you create harmonics from monophonic audio, such as vocals or lead guitar. This plug-in differs from your traditional EQ in that you can smoothly control the thickness or brightness of an audio source, regardless of its pitch. I love using this plugin to generate synthetic harmonics, giving my audio unique flavor.
If you are in the market for a huge bundle of plugins that covers all of your music production, mixing, and mastering needs, the MComplete bundle from MeldaProduction is one of the best on the market. We would need an entirely separate article to go deeper beneath the surface of this bundle, as the feature richness is so much deeper than most of the best plugin bundles out there.
Softube Weiss Complete Collection
Softube is another plug-in developer that excels in creating high-quality analog emulations. This Swedish company works closely with original hardware designers to ensure the authenticity of their plug-ins.
One of the most popular products from Softube is the Weiss Complete Collection bundle , which features an array of ultra-accurate Weiss hardware emulations, excellent for creating professional masters.
You'll find a wide range of tools in this bundle, including:
- EQ1 Mastering EQ
- Weiss EQ MP 7-Band Mixing EQ
- DS1-MK3 Mastering Processor
- Gambit Series: Console 1 Channel Strip
- MM-1 Mastering Limiter
The selling point of these plug-ins is their authenticity. You'll find painstakingly accurate coding derived from the original hardware. Essentially, you can expect the Softube plugins to have the same sounds as their hardware counterparts. The only major difference is the tangibility, which is one of the reasons the Weiss Complete Collection is one of the most valuable mastering-grade plugin bundles on the market.
Every plug-in works with 32-bit depth and 192 kHz sample rate accuracy, ensuring the highest quality results. With such a high bit-depth, you get a noise-free operation. Beyond that, the included mastering EQ has a dynamic phase mode and a linear phase mode, giving you a bit more flexibility with your masters.
The Softube Weiss Complete Collection offers an outstanding collection of plugins for those who are serious about mastering. Each one of these plugins provides a genuinely authentic sound, very similar to the iconic hardware that it emulates. If you would have told professional mastering engineers that digital plugins would have been able to achieve the distinct sound of iconic hardware a decade ago, they would have laughed. Now, that statement couldn't be more true.
In reality, these plugins are an absolute joy to work with.
Accusonus ERA Bundle 6
The ERA bundle from Accusonus is unique in that it isn't a bundle of mixing or music production plugins but rather a suite of high-quality audio restoration tools that provide fast and efficient results.
From the minute you load up a plug-in from this bundle, one of the first things that you'll notice is how limited the controls are. Most of the plugins in this bundle only have a single fader and knob on their interfaces. The complexity of these plug-ins lies under the hood. Each one of them comes with clever coding and algorithms that automatically detect problems in your audio, correcting them without much manual work from you.
It is important to note that the ERA bundle from Accusonus is subscription-based and comes with three tiers, including Standard, Pro, and Suite.
The standard edition provides 11 plugins, including the Noise Remover, Reverb Remover, VoiceAuto EQ, Mount De-Clicker, De-Breathe, Voice Deepener, Voice Leveler, Audio CleanUp Assistant, De-Esser, De-Clipper, and Plosive Remover.
Though the plugins in this plugin bundle are easy to use, they should not be underestimated. Even with their single-knob designs, these plugins are some of the most effective audio restoration tools on the market today.
You'll find a plug-in in this plugin bundle for just about any situation. For example, you can use the Plosive Remover when you are dealing with plosives, lip crackles, and proximity issues. If you are dealing with a vocal that has out-of-control dynamics, you can use the Voice Leveler plug-in to act as a gain rider.
If you work in the world of podcasting, music, or film, then you know how strict some deadlines can be. One of the great things about the ERA plugin bundle is that you won't have to spend any more time than necessary when editing to restore your audio, as deeper editing features are built-in. For example, if you don't have an acoustically-sound studio to record vocals properly, you can always use the intuitive Reverb Remover tool to get rid of external or unnecessary sound.
The ERA plugin bundle from Accusonus is best suited for podcasters and film sound designers. Each plug-in offers an efficient and straightforward solution to just about any kind of audio issue that you can think of.
Final Thoughts - Getting Your Hands On Quality Plugin Bundles
There are so many benefits to choosing to purchase plugin bundles over individual plugins. When you bundle several plugins together, you can reduce the overall cost and gain access to several unique tools at once.
Plus, when you're working with plugin bundles, you narrow the source of relevant information when it comes to learning how to use these tools. With a wide range of plugins on the market, trying to learn how to use different tools from vastly different developers can be overwhelming.
Modern music production is absolutely incredible, and with these plugin bundles above, you get excellent value for your money. Of course, for the best experience, you will need to have a computer that is capable of running each of these plug-in bundles smoothly.
Keep in mind that investing in professional music production tools is an investment in yourself as a musician and producer. With your creativity and your available tools, the sky is the limit.