Top 10 Utility Plug-ins

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Very few of us are looking to make music production harder than it needs to be, so it seems silly not to take advantage of the great utility plug-ins available. Here, we present our buyer’s guide to the top 10 that we’ve reviewed over the last four years. For our top 14 creative effect plug-ins click here

Audified MixChecker


utility plug-ins

Price $149
Type Mix checker
Format VST, AU, AAX

Lets you check your mixes through models including Classic Studio Monitor, Classic Cube Monitor, On Ear Headphones, Smart Phone and more.

We say: “A simple plug-in that’s really easy to use and can help you get better mixes… and quicker.”

Mastering The Mix REFERENCE


utility plug-ins

Price £49
Type Metering and referencing
Format VST, AU, AAX

Innovative tools to help you compare your mix to your references, with a comprehensive A/B tool kit and some unique features for a better insight into the differences between tracks.

We say: “An excellent, well-designed plug-in that offers unique insight.”

iZotope Neutron


utility plug-ins

Price $249 to $499
Type Software that does your mixing
Format VST, AU, AAX and RTAS

A plug-in suite that can listen to the audio of your tracks, intelligently analyse the dynamic and spectral content and make recommendations.

We say: “Possibly iZotope’s best product since Ozone. It really can improve your mixes.”

Meterplugs Perception


utility plug-ins

Price $149
Type Metering and referencing
Format VST, AU, AAX

Perception syncs dry and processed signals, balances loudness and compares levels.

We say: “A great tool to aid listening. Though it doesn’t do anything to audio, Perception is a great addition.”

iZotope RX


utility plug-ins

Price Advanced £939, Standard £315, Elements £99
Type Audio-repair system
Format VST, AU, AAX and RTAS

This powerful spectral-based audio editor is a hugely effective audio-repair system. Used for post production, but with an increasing number of music-production features.

We say: “iZotope’s RX has matured to be a dependable and highly useful audio editor.”

Nugen Audio MasterCheck


utility plug-ins

Price £102
Type Mastering reference tool
Format VST, AU, AAX and RTAS

A plug-in that you strap across a master so you can tailor mixes to individual target platforms like Spotify and iTunes.

We say: “An important tool for readying your mix for the myriad of digital platforms out there.”

Mastering The Mix LEVELS


utility plug-ins

Price £49
Type All-in-one metering solution
Format VST, AU, AAX

LEVELS lets you quickly assess Headroom, Stereo Field, Dynamic Range and Bass Space, so you can quickly see if there are any problems in these areas of your mix.

We say: “A useful tool for those after an all-in-one metering solution.”

Sonarworks Reference


utility plug-ins

Price €99 Headphone Edition; €249 Studio Edition (plus mic €299)
Type Referencing software
Format VST, AU, AAX and RTAS

Speaker, headphone and room measurement and correction software calibrates your mixes with your environment.

We say: “It’s now easier than ever to start tuning your ears to your setup.”

Sonnox Codec Toolbox


utility plug-ins

Price £35
Type Referencing software
Format VST, AU, AAX and RTAS

Allows you to hear how your mixes will sound on a variety of platforms, enabling you to master accordingly for each one.

We say: “It’s hard not to recommend Codec Toolbox to anyone producing music. It could change your approach to mixing and mastering your music.”

Synchro Arts Revoice Pro 3


utility plug-ins

Price £454
Type Pitch and time-correction
Format VST, AU, AAX and RTAS

Analyses the pitch and timing of audio and can then apply this pitch-and-time map to another performance.

We say: “Sure to become almost a standard for many engineers when faced with comping and editing multiple vocal tracks.”

Read our Essential Guide to Plug-in Effects!

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About Author

Andy Jones

Andy Jones has an MA in Music Technology and has been writing about it for 25 years. He has launched and edited several magazines on the subject and was editor of MusicTech for the last four years. Naturally, he has far too many synthesisers...

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