Saturation is now an increasingly common type of processing, probably because of how to clean electronic processing seems.
When combined with the cost of buying quality hardware for saturation, it is clear why an increasing number of producers are turning into analog and saturation emulation to make a number of those traditional tones folks adore.
Bearing that in mind, Fidlar sought to discover some of the Best Saturation Plugins for virtually any scientist on a budget.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is Saturation In Music?
- 2 How Can I Pick A Saturation Plugin?
- 3 Best Saturation Plugins
- 3.1 1. Softube Tape Machine Emulation
- 3.2 2. FabFilter Saturn Distortion Unit
- 3.3 3. Softube Harmonics
- 3.4 4. Soundtoys Decapitator Analog Saturator
- 3.5 5. FabFilter Saturn two
- 3.6 6. Eventide Saturate
- 3.7 7. Waves Abbey Road Saturator
- 3.8 8. Antares Warm
- 3.9 9. Waves Scheps 73
- 3.10 10. McDSP Analog Channel Native
- 4 Final Thoughts
What Is Saturation In Music?
Audio hardness is an impact that creates harmonics and employs soft-clipping compression. Saturation is also the nature of that which makes analog hardware seem and gratifying. Driving sounds through tubes, tape, transistors, and circuits have been essential parts of great-sounding combinations.
The result arises in the analog plugins days when sound recordings are conducted through different pieces of hardware. Mix engineers found that they could insulate magnetic tape machines, vintage tube amps, and transistor-based preamps to make contrasts and soft-clipping effects. This technique gave records of sought-after qualities, which improved the noise of mixes.
Artists and engineers utilize harmonic generation to add existence, personality, heat, advantage, cohesion, and much more to digital sound. From subtle to intense, saturation is an essential portion of excellent mixes.
How Can I Pick A Saturation Plugin?
Saturations can include many parameters and personalities, so here are some questions you must ask yourself :
Form of Saturation
Have you got some particular classic hardware you’re looking for? Establish your kind before your buy since there’s probably an emulation of each actual hardware. If you don’t have such hardware in your mind, a contemporary and “generic” saturation can do the job just fine.
Additionally, not all situations work well on all devices. Some excel in vocals, but some do the best if used as a mastering tool or a drum mix bus.
Establish Your Abilities
Newbies prefer basic and straightforward controls that are simple to comprehend. Others may request detailed alternatives that could be used only if you understand what you are doing. Fortunately, saturation comes from the two choices, so don’t push yourself since it will be nearly counter-productive.
Moreover, be mindful that a more sophisticated saturation Vst will hit on your wallet more also.
Music or Audio Design
Some situations work very nicely in musical terms, although some can be a creative tool that can make unique sounds. Thus, if you are working on a familiar tune, you might not require that expensive but quite inventive saturation Vst.
Different types of Saturation Plugins
There are three kinds of situations on the market, and each category can work for other functions, so let us see what is so different about these:
This is probably the most well-known kind of saturation.
It derives from the time once the music has been listed on the analog tape. Every track needed a dedicated course that would be performed together and recorded on a single or more video once more.
These subtle modifications were multiplied and made a distinctive sonic trademark. Engineers discovered that along with this type of production, the heavier the input signal is, the less perceptible those mistakes were. That is precisely how to tape saturation plugin has been devised.
Tube saturation creates powerful harmonics closer to the bottom frequency. Contrary to the tape saturation, they make heat from low-frequency rather than high-frequency. This sort of saturation may result in quite a nice overdrive if pushed to the limits. Additionally, it adds up a subtle type of compression for a side-effect.
This is the most typical hardware modification. This sort of saturation is employed as a starting point for producing guitar pedals we utilize now. When the input is so hot, it induces a voltage drop and blocks some extra signs.
Best Saturation Plugins
1. Softube Tape Machine Emulation
The Softube Tape Machine Emulation gives you the capacity to select between three different tape machine choices. This alone makes it more flexible than many tape machine emulations on the market. One more thing that sets it apart is that the comparatively low CPU amount it takes up can be only one less thing to be concerned about.
The three tape machines you can pick from are a British classic tape system, a Swiss reel-to-reel machine, plus a transformer-based machine. You are going to need to experiment with each to find out which one you prefer. You then use the quantity knob to dial in the ideal degree of hardness for your mixture. Additional controls permit you to make alterations to rate equilibrium, cross discussion, tape speed, along with other aspects.
We advise that you utilize Tape Machine Emulation if you would like to add only a small bit of analog-style saturation to some monitor. This plugin will help elevate your mixture when you’ve transients you wish to create softer or if your whole combination has to be more cohesive. It is also the tape emulation plugin.
- Authentically reproduces a tape machine
- Three exceptional cassette machine options to choose from
- Main GUI does not include remote management.
2. FabFilter Saturn Distortion Unit
The FabFilter Saturn offers you choices for days with a total of 16 saturation and distortion models. The user may select between many custom noises posed by FabFilter, such as tape noises, tube noises, and amp sounds. The GUI and display controls are well-organized and user-friendly.
You’ll come across several parameters to utilize, such as the modulation controller, which provides you the mad capability to operate with 50 individual bands at precisely the same moment.
The plugin extends past saturation and reaches into the realms of compression, modulation, and panning. Click here on the spectrum analyzer to obtain access to such functions. You are going to be able to produce crossover points to your saturation on various frequency bands.
This can make it feasible to concentrate on the part from the frequency spectrum in which you wish to highlight the saturation most.
When you change gears to operate on modulation, you can make the most of this LFO, envelope generator, MIDI origin modulator, envelope follower, and XY controller. Even the FabFilter Saturn goes farther than many saturated plugins from the marketplace to supply you with the capacity to inject life into specific audio or section that requires a little attention. This is probably the best distortion plugins.
- Insanely versatile
- Multiband layout enables more detailed processing
- Impressive modulation system
- Takes longer to find out than several other comparable plugins
3. Softube Harmonics
Regrettably, it’s easy to go forward using a saturation plugin. This may give you a level sound that has had all the life sucked from it. Softube Harmonics will help you avoid this circumstance rather than ensuring you get lively, warm, and compatible sounds. It is possible to use this plugin with virtually any device guitar, drums, synths, vocals, bass, along with many others. You can pick from one of the five accessible analog distortion Vst versions.
Among the most exciting features of the plugin is to do with distortion. It’ll assess any incoming signal in the order. It can keep the tone and dynamics since you add the right quantity of distortion. You’ll discover a personality knob that will help you find the appropriate saturation color on the port. There is also an amount knob so you can find the ideal amount of saturation.
The low and high cut filter allows you to shape your tone efficiently. Instead of mixing the saturation in parallel, you can make the most of this wet/dry knob. Analog fans are attracted to the plugin, together with its incredible flexibility and accurate analog tones emulation.
- Superb analog reproduction
- Protects dynamics with an Exceptional algorithm
- Beautiful for subtle saturation
- Experienced engineers might not enjoy the absence of tone-shaping controls.
4. Soundtoys Decapitator Analog Saturator
The Decapitator is also a great plugin that works nicely with a vast selection of sounds, such as vocals, bass, and drums. It is super easy to use, and you also won’t need to waste any time dialing in the best sound. It is quite simple to rapidly transform warm sounds that have a gritty and raw tone. Create your way through the five analog saturation models and perform with all the drive to find the audio that is ideal for your project.
One unique feature with this plugin is that the “Punish” button compels your input to the limitation to come up with mad distortion. This can be an exciting alternative if you would like to include fuzz to bass or guitars or find subtle parallel distortion with the mixture knob’s support. The tone knob, higher cut, and shallow cut will allow you to add control over the observable effects.
The Decapitator is a somewhat easy distortion plugin but also provides lots of flexibility and performance. If analog grit is what you are after, this plugin will more than handle the occupation.
- Compatible with virtually any device
- Ideal for thick distortion
- Pro engineers may want more tone-shaping controls.
5. FabFilter Saturn two
Saturn 2 provides you with 28 distinct distortions all of the ways from the tube saturation up to bit crushing. It begins as a simple saturation effect, but it may be divided into six groups. Each group can be treated separately with dedicated knobs to get the driveway, tone, opinions, dynamics, mixture, and degree.
Some of those features are managed by one dial, while some may be automatic and hauled directly into the modulation matrix with a drag and drop system. All modifications may be audited with an A/B alternative.
Why it Stands Out to Us
Saturn 2 isn’t your normal saturation. It will not provide you with hardware emulations. Nonetheless, it’s considered one of the most flexible applications available in the industry.
You will adore the multi-band approach and the full-screen contemporary artwork with a spectrum analyzer exhibited in the backdrop that will ask you to enter particulars.
Additionally, provided presets are incredibly beneficial if you’re unsure where you wish to go along. The modulation panel gives you nearly endless choices regarding various envelopes, LFOs, and sometimes even XY pads.
- 28 distinct distortion fashions
- Incredibly versatile spacing and distortion plugin
- Massive modulation matrix mod using drag and drop feature
- Contemporary user interface with exquisite visuals and full-screen style.
- Split up the effect into six separate bands with individual parameters
- We’d enjoy more choices for your dynamics part.
- Might be overpowering and slow down your workflow
6. Eventide Saturate
Eventide Saturate is an essential saturation plugin with dedicated input and output sliders. Output can be put into an auto mode that can compensate for the change affected in the Drive slider. Push adds up to 24 dB of gain to the input signal, and its character is heavily dependent on the Clipper Shape parameter.
If you don’t transfer it to 12 dB, that will provide extra sharpness all of the time. It changes the profit curve between Soft and Hard manner in a harmonically enjoyable way. Both these sliders are placed horizontally.
Why it Stands Out to Us
We enjoy the fact that it does exactly what it should without impacting your wallet too much. It might not be the ideal option if you’re searching for some specific vintage noise, but it might come inconveniently if you are short on a budget. It seems nice and contains comprehensive parameters.
It might also be the ideal option when you haven’t ever worked together with saturation before as you’ll receive clear visuals of everything you are doing, and pretty soon, you’ll find out what settings work the best for your project.
- Automobile output level scaling
- Excellent learning tool for novices
- Comprehensive Gain Curve screen
- Smooth noise transition through all cutting shapes
- Affordable saturation plugin with up to 24 dB of fresh overdrive
- Presets are hit and miss
- Clipper Shape could have several step-based manners.
7. Waves Abbey Road Saturator
This plugin has been created in cooperation with Abbey Road engineers. It just emulates the initial TG12321 hardware fed to solid-state and warmer TG12345 or competitive and edgy REDD17 mixing desk to get saturation effect.
Its user interface is organized in a reasonably classic layout. You will find dedicated knobs for input, output, and equilibrium with a VU meter, which can exhibit both output and input signals. Compander compresses the pre-EQ sign and expands it after employing a low and high-pass filter. The two Pre-EQ and Post-EQ are equipped with a soft and higher shelf and full-parametric around the mid-range.
Why it Stands Out to Us
If you had the opportunity to work together with the analog components units, you probably had discovered that two identical units do not sound quite the same on account of the subtle differences from the elements and voltage differences. That is why the very fact that this program was modeled directly from the unit used at the legendary Abbey Road’s Studio isn’t merely a classic hardware emulation.
It is also an exceptionally reasonably priced part of history. If classic saturation is precisely what you require, this plugin will operate every track – in lower settings; it is going to nourish the bass drums and guitar while higher values will probably work amazing things for your vocal tracks.
- 3-band Pre-EQ and Post-EQ
- May function as tape saturation and station strip
- The option between RED17 and TG12345 mixing consoles
- Compander using semi-parametric hi-pass and low-pass filters
- Emulation was made upon a precise TG12321 unit utilized in Abbey Road Studio.
- No assault or release knobs to get a compander
- Hidden headroom adjustment in the bottom twist on the meter
8. Antares Warm
This device feeds your soundtrack via a high-quality analog tube preamplifier using two identifying tube manners. Velvet versions the tube amp hardness found on antique hardware components while hammering models overdriven tube amp, which produce warmer and deeper distortion.
Warm is also part of this Antares Avox 4 plugin, so in the event, you want a vocal processor, you can consider repurchasing it. It leaves a little footprint on your CPU, which means it’s possible to use it on each track without discovering.
Why it Stands Out to Us
We enjoy how simple this plugin is to put this up. It is made from a few sliders and buttons, and it does exactly what it needs to. Once implemented, it pushes sound into high-end valve mic preamps making loud transients twisted in a manner that most men and women find pleasing.
We particularly enjoyed the Omnitube attribute that saturates complete sign rather than transients only. It seems very accurate to the first hardware it simplifies. While it had been intended for vocal monitors, you may use it reasonably well on almost any melodic instrument track too.
- Unbelievably low CPU ingestion
- The fundamental but handy tube preamp
- Velvet and Crunch tube amp style choice
- Omniture feature saturates the Whole signal
- Works nicely on both instrument and vocal tracks
- The lack of any more profound editing Choices
- The switch between stereo and mid/side input will come as a Wonderful update.
9. Waves Scheps 73
The Waves saturation combines channel strips using an extra driveway unit emulated by legendary Neve 1073. EQ is organized in 3-band with Hi-shelf, situated in 12kHz, while Low and Mid are semi-parametric and cover ranging between 360Hz to 10kHz for Mid group and 35Hz to 220Hz for Low group.
Both groups can employ up to 18 dB of gain, while High Profit goes around 16 dB. The high-pass filter can be set at 18dB/Oct and could be put in 50, 80, 160, and 300Hz.
The Drive control empowers an extra generator, which transports the preamp knob’s gain setting when it is turned on.
Why it Stands Out to Us
Andrew Scheps had an Opportunity to work with artists like Adele, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Jay-Z, and Metallica, to name a few. Possessing a plugin linked to the mixing scientist of these signs discusses how much effort he set to capture all aspects of the Neve 1073.
The preamp module can produce transformer saturation that adds some brilliant harmonic distortion, which could be pushed towards overdrive as soon as you press the push button. With the Link I/O button, you may test different input values while balancing output at precisely the same degree.
- Saturation according to Neve 1073 hardware
- Very Practical Hyperlink I/O button keeps the output
- Employ another effect to side and mid stereo material
- Colorful 3-band EQ with microphone preamp and push module
- Produced in cooperation with award-winning blending engineer Andrew Scheps
- We’d prefer a giant VU meter and more giant knobs
- Not quite a convenient skip button (hint: click that the EQ, preamp, or push preamp button!)
10. McDSP Analog Channel Native
The McDSP Analog Channel Native has a deceptive name. With this product, McDSP provides us both the AC101 and also the AC202two plugins using various functions. The AC101 is modeled after an analog station amplifier, while the AC202 reproduces an analog tape system.
Taking a look at the AC101 very first, it’s intended to be used as an electronic preamp. With this plugin, it is possible to dial in a sure profit when preventing unwanted distortion. You might also even out your launch and assault times with the drive management’s support along with the compression and saturation works.
Turning now to the AC202, you will discover all the features you may expect from a cassette machine for this plugin. These include playback rate, equalization, and prejudice. McDSP goes somewhat further in providing you added features you may not expect to be an unaffiliated head bulge and very low-frequency roll-off. Also included are several headset kinds, tape saturation recovery times, and tape formulas.
This plugin is used with just about any instrument or vocal sound due to the varied features it provides and its accommodating layout.
- Authentically reproduces old tape machines
- The choice for sliders or knobs on the port
- Confusing name
We are thankful that technology has enabled us to catch the distinctive, warm saturation characteristics of analog components in the electronic world. Saturation plugins allow us to distort our heart’s content or add warmth and personality to better our tracks. Pick up some of the plugins Fidlar has mentioned to take your mixes into a new realm.