Studio Standys: Three Plug-Ins That Get the Job Done
September 21, 2010
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
Sound Toys EchoBoy
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
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
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 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.