With the release of Pro Tools 11 and its 64-bit architecture, you can now take advantage of all the memory on your system. While Pro Tools already offers a great out-of-the-box experience, plug-ins help you take your tracks to another level. From compressors and guitar effects to equalizers and reverbs, Pro Tools 11 supports a variety of Avid and third-party AAX plug-ins to improve your sound.
Quick look – 12 Essential Plug-ins for Pro Tools:
- All Waves Plug-ins – Get it now
- Fabfilter Pro-Q – Get it now
- SoundToys EchoBoy – Get it now
- iZotope Ozone – Get it now
- A.O.M. Limiter – Get it now
- Metric Halo ChannelStrip 3 – Get it now
- Softube Trident A-Range – Get it now
- Valhalla Verbs – Get it now
- SoundToys Crystallizer – Get it now
- Native Instruments Kontakt 5 – Get it now
- Sonnox Oxford EQ and Dynamics – Get it now
- Avid ReVive – Get it now
Best Plug-ins for Pro Tools
Waves creates so many useful plug-ins that they deserve their own article. For now, you can’t go wrong with any Waves plug-ins for Pro Tools 11. The Vocal Rider automatically keeps your vocal tracks steady. The V-EQ3 provides a three-band equalizer for mixing and mastering. From the SSL G-Master Buss Compressor to the Renaissance DeEsser, Waves offers a plug-in that pushes your tracks beyond the norm.
With the FabFilter Pro-Q plug-in, you can sculpt your sound with an interactive display. It offers 24 EQ bands, a real-time frequency analyzer, an intelligent solo mode, and multiband selection and editing. Pro-Q also comes with MIDI Learn and both stereo and mono versions.
Echoboy has appeared on every vocal track of Peter Gabriel and other artists around the world. It features a wide range of vintage echo effects and lets you hone in on the exact rhythm you want with its simple controls. Echoboy also comes with a three-band EQ that gives you total control of the analog saturation, wobble and more.
The Ozone gives you a complete mastering system in one plug-in. It comes with an equalizer, a multiband stereo imager, a maximizer, reverbs and more. Ozone 5 also provides visual feedback of your mix with phase meters, spectrums and vectorscopes.
With the A.O.M. Limiter, you can easily limit your signal without sacrificing volume. It offers unity gain monitoring, an oversampling mode and transparent brickwall limiting, which means you can maximize the loudness of your track without degrading the sound.
ChannelStrip 3 offers almost everything you need to create warm mixes from one plug-in. It looks and feels like a real console channel-strip processor, and it includes features such as an EQ, a gate, a limiter and a compressor. ChannelStrip 3 has a redesigned interface and gives you the control you need to produce a quality mix.
The Trident A-Range mimics channel 15 of the original console. It comes with four EQ bands and both high- and low-pass filters, and it has separate controls for controlling the saturation depending on your mix. If you’ve listened to Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning,” then you’ve heard the Trident A-Range on the guitars.
Okay, so Valhalla hasn’t officially released an AAX-compatible version of its plug-ins, but it does offer them for beta testing on OS X. Expect the Windows versions sometime in Q1 of 2014. From Vintage Verb to Shimmer, Valhalla’s reverbs wet your sounds in a big way, placing them in concert halls or small rooms depending on your preference.
The Crystallizer plug-in puts that retro 80s sound in your tracks. With a combination of reverse echo slicing and pitch processing, you can create synthlike pads and echo effects for your guitars, drums and more. Use the Crystallizer presets on your track, or really experiment with the controls and come up with something new and over the top.
If you need sounds and lack a sampler, Native Instruments Kontakt 5 gives you both in one plug-in. In fact, Kontakt 5 contains more than 1,000 instruments and over 43 gigabytes of samples. It also includes 37 new filters, four updated studio effects and more for creating songs of all genres.
With the Sonnox Dynamics plug-in, you get the compression, limiting and side-chain EQ sections of the OXF3 console. Combine it with the Oxford EQ plug-in for tweaking your track’s highs, mids and lows. The EQ plug-in comes with four EQ types and mimics the power of Sony’s OXF-R3.
Great for post-processing, ReVibe gives you total control of your track’s reverb. This Pro Tools 11 plug-in contains nine reverbs with more than 200 room models, and it works on 5.1-multichannel mixes. You can view the reverb shape, decay color and more through interactive displays.
Plugins By Tier
A great way to get some of the best plugins for pro tools is to purchase a plugin tier card.
Plugins are available directly from Avid’s website after purchase and you can choose from the following:
- Pro Compressor
- Pro Expander
- Reel Tape Saturation
- Tel-Ray Variable Delay
- Voce Bundle
Available Plugins on Tier Card:
- Classic Compressors Bundle
- Focusrite d2/d3
- JOEMEEK Bundle
- Moogerfooger Bundle
- Pro Limiter
- Pro Multiband Dynamics
- Pro Subharmonic
- Pultec Bundle
- Reel Tape Suite
- Reverb One
- ReVibe II