Best smart Mixing and Mastering Plugins
When you hear the terms “smart” or “intelligent” plugins, they’re referring to a group of technologies that combine forensic audio analysis, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. These programs can react individually to the input signal. Take, for example, an EQ. A regular EQ allows the user to process a wide range of frequencies. But the EQ itself is unconcerned with the material entering the input and just follows the instructions. The included appropriate presets are for certain content but only roughly and not perfectly matched to the input signal. A ‘smart’ EQ, on the other hand, will analyze the incoming audio and adjust its operations accordingly, such as cutting too much sub on bass or giving a kick more punch.
All of these technologies rely on pattern recognition algorithms that have been trained. Machine learning means teaching a program to individually recognize certain details and peculiarities of the incoming signal and to assess how it should react to them.
This is my current list (updated regularly) of the Best smart Mixing and Mastering Plugins. These tools are valuable building blocks when creating my sample packs. For detailed specifications please visit the linked websites of the manufacturers.
iZotope RX10 Advanced
Leading post-production engineers rely on the multi-award-winning audio repair suite RX 10 Advanced when they need to efficiently and effectively prepare audio for commercial release. RX10 Advanced is an amazing tool when it comes to ridding problematic recordings of unwanted background noise. There are many sophisticated modules available that impressively remove hum, clipping, clicking and even isolating dialogue from other noises.
Here are some news of the latest version RX10: The new Repair Assistant uses more modules at the same time and gives better results than RX 9. It’s the new kind of magic. With the upgraded
Spectral Recovery, you can resynthesize missing frequencies in recordings with limited bandwidth. The new Text Navigation feature, which generates and displays transcriptions of speech, allows you to navigate dialogue recordings. With the new Dynamic Adaptive mode in De-Hum, which supports multichannel audio up to Dolby Atmos 7.1.2, you can remove unwanted hum more quickly.
Some examples from my practice: “Dialogue Isolate” removes road or wind noise from field recordings without any problems. De-reverb as the name suggests removes reverb. This way, you can effortlessly bring the core of the recording “forward” in the mix again. Or if, for example, voice recordings were made with less than ideal equipment (or VoIP / telephone recordings), it is not uncommon for highs to be missing in the frequency spectrum. The problem is solved with a few clicks on “Spectral Recovery.” This is impossible to achieve with an Exciter/Vitalizer. Anyway, I think it’s impressive that you can edit/remove everything that appears in the spectrum display. This is much more than a standard EQ.
It’s not just about eliminating “disruptions/noise,” though. When I make a demo track, for example, the mix of the various parts does not always match perfectly. However, with “Music Rebalance,” you can adjust the stereo sum mixing ratios afterward – yes, afterward!
This tool is definitely a must-have for every mastering engineer or producer! Since you may be overwhelmed by the available modules at the beginning, the RX10 has a “repair wizard”. This diagnoses your audio data and offers processing suggestions. It’s that easy!
Rolling back an audio selection to any previous step in the History list to get the best combined audio processing from any point in time is also simple. Also that the expandable history list now shows up to 30 of the most recent undo steps for quick reference without scrolling is a very useful feature.
When it comes to processing problematic audio material, RX10 Advanced has a lot of options. At this point, it’s impossible for me to go over all of the features. I am convinced that there is nothing comparable in this field – it is truly remarkable. RX10 is one of my best smart Mixing and Mastering Plugins. The gold standard for audio repair has improved once more.
iZotope Ozone 10 Advanced
The most recent version of the well-known mastering toolkit is called iZotope Ozone 10. New modules provide fresh solutions for handling issues with your audio content.
Ozone 10 is a standalone software and plugin that allows you to create the perfect mastering chain for your track by chaining together a variety of processing modules (Compressor, Match EQ, Maximizer, etc)
The AI-powered Master Assistant in Ozone generates genre-specific starting point preset
for you based on an analysis of the input signal or a reference track. The use of AI has increased significantly and produces top-notch outcomes (BTW: The advice provided by AI Assistant is useful even if you are managing an analog mastering chain). It then does the main work and provides an excellent basis for my own final tweaks.
Some highlights of Ozone 10: The Stabilizer (adaptive mastering eq) module caught my attention a lot. Similar to the Soothe 2 plugin I typically used, it dynamically adds missing frequencies (or even the entire frequency range) to the spectrum while removing the annoying ones. The new Impact module dynamically restores missing transients or dampens too-loud peaks, and it does so in four different frequency bands in entirely different ways. I adore how the Imager module’s new Recover Side mode enables incredibly realistic-sounding stereo width adjustments!
Although these features already were included with Ozone 9, they are still stunning: With Master Rebalance it is possible to change the level of instruments from the finished mix in real-time without the individual tracks being available. It’s used to change the volume of bass, percussion, or vocals anywhere in the audio track. An incredible feature and a great help for me to be able to make fine adjustments after the mix. The low-end focus beats any EQ. This allows you to give the bass a little more pep, tightness and punch in a very short time. This function is very useful to avoid additional processing of the mix. A real-time saver. Also, the tonal balance plug-in is great. It will measure the frequencies of a reference track and compare them to your mix. Just incredibly useful.
If you’re looking for a simple layout that doesn’t overwhelm you don’t look further. This intuitive and easy-to-use gem – with its resizable and great-looking GUI – is a game changer for all kinds of mixings and masterings.
In my opinion, Ozone is preferable to online services such as LANDR, CloudBounce, etc., because the user can influence the result himself with just a few clicks. Such possibilities are not possible with any online service. Ozone 10 is a state-of-the-art solution and convinces in all areas. Absolutely impressive!
iZotope Neutron 4
I have been a huge fan of iZotope Plugins for many years and Neutron 4 is no exception. This unique mixing suite comes with 8 plug-ins including a mothership and 7 component modules. To sculpt your sound, use the component plug-ins individually or combine them in the mothership. You’ll also get Visual Mixer, Relay, and Tonal Balance Control 2 plug-ins to help you with your mixing.
Each update of this plugin expands the already rich possibilities enormously.
I find the new Unmask module impressive, where you can make space between two competing tracks, balancing your bass and kick or allowing vocals to shine over your mix.
Eliminating frequency interference has never been easier. Since I mainly produce drum loops, bass loops etc for Techno/Minimal/Deep production, the new punch mode in the compressor module is an impressive addition. This element gives my drums, percussion, and bass more thump, punch, or snap. For those who don’t have Trash yet (also a highly recommended tool), you can now also find a new trash mode in the exciter module.
Last but not least the intelligent mix assistant, as well as the well-produced, presets impress me again and again and offer an excellent option for further processing. Everything is very intuitive and easy to use. iZotope has raised the bar again!
I highly recommend Oeksound Soothe 2 if you have a problem with sharp, biting frequencies/nasty resonances.
This is a dynamic resonance suppressor plugin. It automatically detects problematic resonances and applies matching reduction with minimal artefacts. Soothe2 allows you to intervene across the entire frequency spectrum. It’s the first time that inharmonic signal components are suppressed organically.
It’s simple to use and gives you complete control over the procedure. This tool saves a ton of time when it comes to locating interfering frequencies.
Soothe2 works wonders with just a few clicks, especially with field recordings, which are often unbalanced. You can achieve such a result if there was no EQ. It’s one of those magical tools that you don’t realize how good it is until you use it.
Mastering The Mix Reference 2
It can be frustrating to not know how to make your music sound like your favorite mixes. Reference 2 brings you closer to the sound of them.
With this tool it is simple to match your reference tracks’ EQ balance, stereo width, compression, and loudness. This is accomplished by providing you with the clear, actionable information you require to get your music sounding great and ready for release.
I have several tools, including meter plugs, but getting all of my gear level matched to my current mix took too long, and there were too many steps that slowed me down. And now, with just one click, you’re done! The best part is that it always matches your current mix in terms of volume.
This plugin not only allows you to properly listen to the tracks, but it also visually displays what you need to work on, thanks to the “Trinity Display.”
It’s a great and inexpensive way to speed up your workflow.
These are my favorite smart Mixing and Mastering Plugins. Any producer will benefit from these ‘intelligent’ tools. I hope you enjoyed reading this.