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I need some advice on nice compressor and EQ plugs

Which route should I take?  

6 members have voted

  1. 1. Which route should I take?

    • Sonalksis
    • URS
    • Waves SSL
    • UAD
    • Liquid Mix

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OK you guys, I know that the plugs I'm going to mention have been discussed over and over again in forums. But people here seem to have good ideas and give good solid advice that I really respect.


I want to buy one nice package of hi-end compressor and eq plugs to compliment Logic with a little mojo. I've demoed just about everything I can demo and honestly couldn't make up my mind in the limited time I had. Yes they all sounded clearly different/smoother than Logic's stock EQ and comps, although I like those too for other reasons. And of the native packages that I tried there were subtle differences between them - not so much a matter of better or worse but more a matter of more or less variety . . . or more or less ease of use. So I'm hoping that some of you can really compare these babies for me and speak from experience.


I have about $700. Because I am a teacher, I get some serious discounts on native plugins. So for the $700 more or less I can get the following. They all end up being about the same, some with and some without educator discounts.


Everything by Sonalksis

Everything by URS

Waves SSL

A UAD card (with all the eq and comp plugs)

A Liquid Mix

Some comps and Eq's from PSP (V- Warmer, Master Comp&Q, Neon, Mix-pack)



Other packages that are not high on my list:


Sonox (or Sony Oxford as they were called before) native

DUY plugs

I haven't demoed either of these.

Did I miss anything?


I haven't heard the UAD on my system though I have used it in a friend's studio. That makes it hard to directly compare. I haven't purchased a liquid mix because every store within 80 miles requires it to be a special order that I'll be stuck with if I don't like it.


I'm on a PPC Quad, which puts limits on UAD I know - not to mention that it's already a slow card. I don't really need to farm out processing, especially to a card that's so much slower than my native abilities.


Liquid mix on the other hand is appealing for its variety and because I've been impressed with even simple IR's from tape machines and compressors used in Space Designer to color tracks. I can imagine what Liquid Mix must sound like. If I follow this route I'm willing to add a firewire bus for $100.


I must say that of the native plugs I tried, SSL seemed the quickest for getting a good sound but also the most limited (maybe that's why it's so easy to get a good sound quickly). The URS eq's also allowed me to dial in a good sound quickly and I never missed the lack of a modern graphic frequency curve display. I found that I spent a long time trying to get the Sonalksis comp and eq to sound as good because they seem less limited overall so I had less direction. That can be a good thing or a bad thing.


OK - let it roll . . .

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I have the Sonnox native bundle and it is quite excellent. The 4 EQ models (simply gain/q relationships) are excellent. The dynamics processor is equally fantastic. It's not just a compressor, it has Gating, Expanding, Compression, Limiting, a side-chain EQ, and a warmth circuits which are independently switchable and useable. I've also found a wonderful amount of uses for the Reverb as well and it's a powerful great sounding non-convolution reverb.


If you're going to go whole-hog and get the bundle (which you might as well considering the 40% discount and the fact they are giving away TransMod for the month of May with any purchase of 2 or more plugs), the rest of the plugins are equally well built.


The best part is how well they are programmed. On a recent score I used over 40 instances of EQ, Reverb and Dynamics and didn't get up to 25% of my available processing power.


If you have an iLok you might was well try them. If you don't like them, no harm done.

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I would very seriously considering some patience. Why? URS has a new one coming.


Channel Strip Pro. Yes, I know it is delayed, but it should not be much longer. I have been working with the current build for some time, and while it is solid, Bobby is trying to be as close to 100% sure this one is tight before release, and they are working on another EQ model for it.


I wish I could go into more detail. I really do. But, being allowed to even say this much is rare (anyone who has dealt with NDA's knows this). Bobby Nathan (Mr URS, basically) is a really nice guy, and he does care about his customers. This is an absolutely amazing plug-in.


this site has a pic of the CSP (dunno how they got it). You can see the various sections, how you can set each one's position in the chain, and that you can select the model type for each section, including the input section, and then enable or disable whichever pieces you want. The flexability is awesome, and then the sound is even better IMO. It was wild to slam the input really, really hard, and then back down the output and hear the analogue saturation emulation, based on the model selected.


I dont work for URS directly, but I will say that I have a biased opinion, and love everything they have put out. Between URS and the Sony Oxford collection, alot of ground is covered for me. I would highly recommend plug-ins from both of those guys.

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For transparency the Sonnox (Sony) Oxford series is terrific, nearly unbeatable. For colored sound the UAD-1 plug-ins are the best. The Sonalksis are in between and VERY usable.

IMHO these are the class of the group.


I have not heard Liquid Mix and Duende in a "real" work setting but they both have their fans. I just don't trust firewire for this purpose, particularly if you are using a firewire audio interface als0.


The URS plugs are ok but pale next to the UAD-1 plugs.If you don't want a DSP card them you might consider them. PSP also has some good ones.

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OK - thanks guys. It sounds like I should give the Sony Oxford plugs a chance. I must say that the URS channel strip pro does look great. I specifically want some plugs to color the sound since with Logic's own stuff I seem to be able to get really good transparent results. The one problem I seem to have continuously with Logic's plugs though is getting the vocals to cut clearly through the mix. I try to carve a frequency hole for them by eqing other instruments but I'm just never happy with the result I get. The first time I threw a URS demo Fultec on a lead vox it was just instantly "there" with a little high boost. I had the same experience with Waves SSL and to a lesser extent, Sonalksis. Interestingly, I had great immediate results too with the Masterworks EQ included in Digital Performer. I love that eq and wish I could use it in Logic. I'm starting to wonder if I just work better with knobs and if seeing eq curves is what's throwing off what my ears should be finding naturally.
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