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Studio Standys: Three Plug-Ins That Get the Job Done

A few of Rich Tozzoli''s favorite plug-ins

This month, I’d like to take a look at a few of my favorite guitar production plug-ins. These get used on virtually every recording session I do, and have the ability to turn plain-Jane tracks into something special. Some of them originated with hardware units, but all three are currently available as software versions for your DAW.

Sound Toys EchoBoy

Sound Toys’ EchoBoy plug-in
EchoBoy, from Sound Toys, is a TDM, RTAS, AU (Audio Units), and VST echo plug-in that has quickly become an industry standard. What makes it so good, aside from its sonic quality, is its flexibility and ability to carve out great tones.

We guitarists don’t always want our delays to be crisp and bright—or, for that matter, perfectly on time. With EchoBoy, it’s easy to shape the sound of your delay with the Saturation control, LowCut and HighCut filters, and the Analog/Digital switch. You can also set the tempo to the song’s bpm, or tap your own using Tap Tempo. The actual delay times can be altered by setting the Groove knob to either Shuffle or Swing. Using the Feel knob, EchoBoy can push or pull the echoes by choosing Draggin’ or Rushin’. These small but important touches provide classic, warm-as-hell delayed sounds for guitar tracks.

EchoBoy is also good as a slap or short reverb, and can even provide some cool distortion effects. Presets such as Memory Man, Tel Ray, Boss DM-2, and others make this plug-in a must for a wide range of applications.

UA EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator

Universal Audio’s EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator plug-in
Universal Audio’s EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator can deliver some seriously cool reverb sounds. The original unit dates back to 1957 and can be heard on countless hit songs. This software version, which runs on the company’s UAD-1 and UAD-2 cards, was modeled after three different EMT 140s formerly installed at The Plant Studios in Sausalito, California.

What makes this plug-in special is the quality of the algorithms and the flexibility it provides in altering sound. Unlike the original, you can choose from the three different EMT 140 models directly from the front of the unit. You can also change the width of the return from wide stereo to mono, pan the reverb, and filter the sound with Lo and High Freq EQ. The Pre Delay can be pushed from 0 to 250 ms, and it even has a Mod (modulation) section to add depth and rate to the reverb.

Jimmy Page would be proud to have this in his collection. Placing the EMT 140 on a solo, adding about 60-90 ms of Pre Delay and panning it to one side is guitar reverb bliss. It is certainly one of the best EMT 140 emulations I’ve heard to date.

Eventide H3000 Factory

Eventide’s H3000 Factory plug-in
Eventide is a name long synonymous with great guitar effects, and the H3000 Factory is a powerful tool for those with Pro Tools TDM capabilities. This is the plug-in that I use to create lush, super-wide guitar sounds. From delays, echo, and reverb, to chorus, filtering, modulation, and pitch shifting, this plug-in covers a lot of ground in one unit.

The H3000 Factory (and the H3000 Band Delays) plug-in originate from the legendary H3000 Ultra Harmonizer hardware unit, and are currently available as part of Eventide’s Anthology II bundle. The plug-in is incredibly easy to use, because soft keys and a big rotary knob (just like on the original) allow for fast tweaking. If you demand more control from your plug-ins, you can enter tweak heaven through the H3000’s Program and Expert pages.

The H3000 Factory comes loaded with great presets to get you started, but like many power users, I’ve created a handful of frequently used patches such as “Solo Widener,” “Big Deep Slide,” and “Tight Rhythm.” Not just for the guitar, the H3000 is also great on vocals. I’ve also used it to pitch snare drums.

These are just three examples of plug-ins you might find useful when it comes to guitar production. Each one provides a way to get bigger, thicker guitar sounds without a lot of fussing around. These plug-ins are certainly not the only ones on the market, but they are some of the best at what they do.

Rich Tozzoli
Rich is a Grammy-nominated engineer and mixer who has worked with artists ranging from Al DiMeola to David Bowie. A life-long guitarist, he’s also the author of Pro Tools Surround Sound Mixing and composes for the likes of Fox NFL, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon, and HBO.