The best mastering plugins allow you to enjoy many advanced features such as limiting, compression, stereo, equalization improvement, linear phase, filter types, per-band mid/side processing to make your songs perfect.
These functions will help you reduce the unwanted noisy parts while the beautiful part of your track can be intensified. It is for sure that your music will sound ear-catching after using a mastering plugin.
However, finding suitable mastering plugins is not easy. There are numerous great plugins on the market. That is why I have picked out the 15 great products for you. If you’re looking for one, you’re in the right article.
- Best Mastering Plugins You Can Trust
- 1.Ozone 9 Standard: Great For Beginners
- 2. Brainworx bx_masterdesk: Quick Formatting Songs
- 3. FabFilter Pro-Q 3: Extremely Transparent
- 4. Oeksound Soothe: Suppressing High Frequencies
- 5. FabFilter Mastering Bundle: New In The Audio Processing World
- 6. ADPTR AUDIO Metric AB: Automatic Loudness
- 7. Eventide Elevate Mastering Bundle: Automatically Raising The Tracks' Loudness
- 8. Audified MixChecker: Different Speaker Simulations
- 9. Mastering the Mix EXPOSE: The Second Ears On Your Mix
- 10. Softube Weiss MM-1: User-friendly Interface With Great Results
- 11. Leapwing Audio DynOne 3: An easy-to-use Compressor
- 12. Softube Weiss DS1-MK3: An Original Plugin With Additional Features
- 13. Sonnox Mastering Collection: For Both Intermediate and Beginner Mastering Engineers
- 14. Waves API 560: Filter Bandwidth Widening
- 15. Waves CLA-2A: Smooth Natural Compressor
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Mastering Plugins You Can Trust
The below will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of 15 different EQs. You should read them carefully to choose great mastering plugins.
1.Ozone 9 Standard: Great For Beginners
If you’re a newcomer and don't know much about the mastering process, you may consider the Ozone.
One of the most amazing features is the "auto-match" function, analyzing a track's frequency spectrum. Then it will produce an EQ curve, so you don't have to spend a large amount of time learning about EQ for your mix.
The tool also possesses other characteristics, including limiter, pre-and post-compression, and saturation.
2. Brainworx bx_masterdesk: Quick Formatting Songs
This plugin is suitable for those who don't want to spend much time formatting the songs. The producer creates it with an easy and fast mastering process.
In choosing particular compression settings, you simply opt for 4 TMT compressor modes and dial to pick the amount.
Overall, it is not really useful for professional mastering engineers; its design is for beginners and people who want to make demo masters.
3. FabFilter Pro-Q 3: Extremely Transparent
This tool is considered to be one of the best EQs on the market. One unique feature is that it is extremely transparent; hence you can make large cuts or boosts with no effect on your songs' tone.
Thanks to the feature, when you want to control the frequency spectrum but don't want to change to tone, you can go for the Pro-Q. The Spectrum Grab can recognize your peaks and then produce bands with a resonant frequency.
The tool also provides 9 different filter types, zero latency, 24 bands, and natural phase modes, dynamic mode allowing toggling bands, per-band mid.
4. Oeksound Soothe: Suppressing High Frequencies
This EQ comes in handy when you want to suppress resonances in the middle to a high-frequency spectrum of mixes.
When many elements gather together, particular harmonics can produce resonant frequencies, which are difficult to remove from your mix. The Oeksound Soothe has different mixing applications which can help you solve the problem.
It also can tame fretboard noise, whistling, vocal sibilance, whistling. On top of that, the tool features a user-friendly interface, allowing you to learn to use it quickly.
5. FabFilter Mastering Bundle: New In The Audio Processing World
The Febfilter can offer you many tools. It has a Pro-C mastering compressor with various modes, including M/S or L/R mode, enabling you to adjust your mix's tone.
Besides, the tool also has Pro-Q with an exact frequency analyzer, 24 bands, as well as Mid/Side and Left/Right processing.
Pro-L Limiter from the EQ is great as it comes with 4 limiting modes, helping tone and shape your track. Also, there are parameters like channel linking and lookahead control options.
6. ADPTR AUDIO Metric AB: Automatic Loudness
By pressing the large A/B button, the ADPTR will enable you to compare your mix with a reference in different ways.
However, some people may find it hard to do it because of the inconvenience in matching loudness levels. The tool is a key solution for you as it features loudness match bottom.
The characteristic allows you to find the reference track’s loudness that fits your song loudness.
Besides, the software has 5 metering modes including phase correlation meter, a spectrum analyzer, loudness meter, dynamics meter, and stereo imager. These functions will help to compare and seek the most suitable reference track.
7. Eventide Elevate Mastering Bundle: Automatically Raising The Tracks' Loudness
The Eventide is a complex plugin, raising the loudness of your songs without eliminating the original tones.
There are 4 high-quality reverb plugins, but the most valuable one is the Mastering/Limiting plugin, offering loudness when retaining much dynamics.
Its main feature is the built-in AI assistant, helping you with each band's transient variation and speed. The characteristic also allows many other applications of limiting parameters, creating a more natural result.
You can have other 3 great plugins, including equivocate, saturate and punctuate. The equivocate provides 26 bands, enabling you to make natural sounds, whereas the saturate assists in the peaks.
8. Audified MixChecker: Different Speaker Simulations
Not only is the Audified Mexchecker a package of mastering tools, but it also contains multiple speakers simulation for your mix. You can simply press 12 buttons, which will allow you to hear what your mix would sound like in different conditions, including radio, inEar, and PA.
There are, in fact, 62 models that can meet your needs. As the product is tweaked, there are no built-in modifications.
All you can do now is renaming buttons, checking noise level and distortion, then you can change speaker models. For the presets, you can set 5 models in 1 button at a time.
9. Mastering the Mix EXPOSE: The Second Ears On Your Mix
The Mix EXPOSE can tell you what your record needs improving and what you can do to produce a professional sound. Using the tool is pretty time-saving, and it only takes a few seconds to load.
Once you insert the song into the dashboard, you can opt among various presets, including Spotify, SoundCloud, Youtube, CD, Broadcast.
Most importantly, the software can offer you a large amount of information about the peaks, overall loudness, dynamic range, stereo information, and phase. If there is a problem in your track, it will be highlighted in red, informing you where the problems are.
You can simply drag your mouse to the issue area. The software will provide you the information about the issues and some solutions to deal with them.
10. Softube Weiss MM-1: User-friendly Interface With Great Results
The software producer takes all the most wonderful components of the DS1 hardware and then transfers them into a digital format. There are 5 limiting choices such as loud, wide, punch, de-ess, and transparent.
The MM-1 features a mix knob and an amount knob to create a more natural and exact sound.
Compared to other plugins, this one has fewer features. However, it possesses a top-notch algorithm, enabling you to finish any song quickly and easily.
11. Leapwing Audio DynOne 3: An easy-to-use Compressor
Another useful compressor worth noticing is the DynOne 3, which is known for its easy-to-use feature. Compared to other multiband compressors, which require a lot of tweaking, this one offers an intuitive workflow, making it easy for you to have the right tone.
It is interesting that the software can use different timing values in a transient-dependent manner by itself, allowing you to have a great natural sound. Also, you can mix the original with processed signals to create more influential sounds.
The unit is easy to use as it has stereo linking proportion, variable controls, peak detection, an adjustable interface. These features will make you adjust your track easily.
12. Softube Weiss DS1-MK3: An Original Plugin With Additional Features
This Weiss DS1-MK3 is one of the best standards for master applications. The software offers compression, de-essing, and limiting while maintaining the original song.
The product replicates the hardware unit in the 1990s, yet it has more features, making it versatile. It can do some jobs on the original unit as well as perform additional tasks.
The tool enables you to de-ess mid-side. It can also compress with soft-knee settings. Just like other mastering plugins, the equipment provides the most transparent limiters.
You can retain the original sound by using the product and at the same time produce a punchy, loud, and natural mix.
13. Sonnox Mastering Collection: For Both Intermediate and Beginner Mastering Engineers
There are 5 plugins in the bundle, including Oxford EQ V3, Oxford Dynamic V3 compressor, Oxford Limiter V3, Fraunhofer Pro-Codec, Oxford Inflator V3.
The V3 compressor helps make musical compression, whereas maintaining the sonic clarity. Besides, it can perform with 6 parameters, allowing straightforward control.
It is worth noting that the EQ V3 is flexible and transparent, offering cut or boost. The Inflator adds presence and power, helping achieve loudness without pumping.
You will like the peak limiter as it can give you the improved maximum loudness and accuracy.
14. Waves API 560: Filter Bandwidth Widening
One of the best features of the API 560 is to broaden the bandwidth yet still keep the cut/boost level low. This means that you can choose a gentle cut/boost to retain the natural tone of the track.
There are 10 bands split into one-octave increments. This feature helps avoid phasing issues and helps improve clarity and musicality.
Besides, you can actually turn off the analog characteristic, which can help remove the API analog circuitry's harmonic distortions and noise.
The EQ can help users sculpt any sound, including snares, kicks, vocals, guitars, and pianos.
15. Waves CLA-2A: Smooth Natural Compressor
The product is pretty easy to use because of its limited parameters. The most noticeable ones are the peak reduction and gain knob, which are important to control the signal given to the sidechain.
Although it is simple, it still possesses advanced features. The release and attack sets are independent, and they can change depending on the input signal.
For example, when there is a large amount of input signal gone to the compressor, the release feature will react to the situation.
It is noticeable that the tool has 2 ratio options, including limiting (100:1) and compression (3:1). The manufacturer equips the software with a filtered detector. It will filter low frequencies.
After using the compressor, the track will be silky and smooth.
Frequently Asked Questions
The below are some questions that people usually ask. You should look at them to know more about mastering plugins.
1. Why Should I Have My Audio Mastered?
Well, you don't have to get your audio mastered, but it would be more professional if you do so. It is the last step to make the most potential out of your track.
It will make your song sound bright, full, and loud. It can be achieved using many tools, including limiting, compression, stereo, and equalization improvement.
Once mastered, your songs can compete with other songs on the global stage.
2. How Many Plugins Do I need To Master A Track?
There will be 5 plugins you will need to have, including compressor, hard limiter, de-esser, equalizer, and reverb.
- The compressor: It can help reduce the track's dynamic range. It will make the louder part a bit quiet while the quieter one becomes louder.
- The hard limiter: The plugin is actually a compressor with a 10:1 ratio. While the de-esser allows reducing sibilance, the reverb helps add the finishing touches to the mix.
- The equalizer: The tool will find the frequency levels and make it sound better. This feature is helpful if you have little or too much bass when recording.
It is undeniable that mastering plugins can be of immense help when you want to have a perfect song. These products can assist in reducing the disturbing noise and intensify the beautiful part of the track.
The above is the top 15 best mastering plugins, each of which will have its own advantages and disadvantages. If you’re a newcomer, you can go for some EQs with few features, such as the Brainworx bx_masterdesk.
Meanwhile, suppose you have some skills and want to produce a professional track. In that case, you can opt for more complicated products like the Softube Weiss DS1-MK3.