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Best Channel Strip Plugins

Channel strips have almost become a thing of the past for home studios and bedroom producers. You no longer need to fit an entire SSL or Neve console in your room to produce great music. That being said, there is a reason consoles are so sought after anymore. They have a great sound. Many classic consoles and signal chains have been reimagined to make new digital versions that everyone can afford. To get the best channel strips, you need to know what you are looking for. 

Channel strips refer to the signal processing of analog boards that go from top to bottom. The idea is that a channel strip will have multiple components that you will need on each channel, eq, compression, gain, and so on. You can see on recording boards that additional features are added in comparison to the plain live boards that only have minimal features. In some cases with the digital versions of each board, you will find even more pieces added on. In this article, the criteria we have for considering it a channel strip is that it is not module-based, and is based around at least eq and gain controls. 

What To Look For When Choosing a Channel Strip Plugin

Here are some key points to keep in mind whenever looking for the best channel strip plugins, or any plugins for that matter. You want to make sure you know what it is you need out of your channel strip, and what are all of the factors that you can handle. 

Pricing

The bigger the name attached to the plugin, the higher the price will be. That being said, the bigger names will only back a quality product that reflects well on their name and brand. 

Compatibility – System Requirements

The majority of the channel strip plugins available will take a little more processing power than the average plugin. This is due to its processing more than just one aspect of a signal chain. 

DAW Compatibility

Every channel strip I have found has been very compatible with mainstream DAWs. The only way I can find that someone would have issues running these channel strips is if the computer’s processing power was not strong enough. 

Frequency of Use

The Best Channel Strips are not only going to be something you can use often, you will WANT to use it often. The clean and classic tones you can pull out of these plugins has no rival in the world of digital audio. 

Skill Level

Channel strip plugins will require some experience to understand. They usually will be a lot less visual in their layout. That being said, once you understand what you are looking at they will be a breeze to use. 

6 Best Channel Strip Plugins

Now let’s dive into our selection of the best channel strip plugins.

1. Scheps Omni Channel – Waves

Scheps Omni Channel
Scheps Omni Channel – Waves

Andrew Scheps is iconic in the land of audio engineers. Waves worked with him to develop the Scheps Omni Channel which is an amazing combination of almost everything you would need for any instrument. Andrew Scheps’ whole goal was to make every piece in this a colorful addition to your signal chain that you would want to use rather than just choose because you could.

  • Who’s it for? Experienced and above
  • Price: $149
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Pro Tools

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB RAM
Operating System10.12.6 – 10.15Windows 10 64 bit

2. Pre TridA – Arturia

Pre TridA
Pre TridA – Arturia

Based off of the console in Trident Studios in England, the Pre TridA is Arturia’s take on the classic Trident A Range console. Artists such as Elton John., Queen, Frank Zappa, Thin Lizzy, and Kiss have all been run through this console.  One of the best aspects of this plugin is the option to choose between running it mono or stereo and having separate gain control for each. This plugin is also available in the FX Collection from Arturia.

  • Who’s it for? Beginners and above
  • Price: $99.00
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Reaper

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory4 GB RAM4 GB RAM
Operating System10.10 +Windows 7 +

3. SSL G-Channel – Waves

SSL G-Channel
SSL G-Channel – Waves

Solid State Logic is a name that will echo in the world of professional audio forever. The layout of the SSL G lends itself to the style of classic analog. This can help you get in the mindset of approaching a mix differently. The SSL G is perfect for rock, whether it be guitar or vocals with its amazing mid range response and overall warmth.

  • Who’s it for? Experienced and above
  • Price: $249
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Studio one

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB RAM
Operating System10.12.6 – 10.15Windows 10 64 bit

4. SSL E-Channel – Waves

SSL E-Channel
SSL E-Channel – Waves

You may be looking at the SSL E and this is the same plugin as the last we one, the SSL G. They both come from SSL and have sounds from classic consoles. The SSL E however, has more of a pop sound that punches through a mix with more of an edge than you would get on the SSL G.

  • Who’s it for? Experienced and above
  • Price: $249
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Cakewalk

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB RAM
Operating System10.12.6 – 10.15Windows 10 64 bit

5. Channel Strip – SSL

SSL Channel Strip
Channel Strip – SSL

If you are wanting a top notch digital version of the SSL consoles, what better place to go than SSL itself? In the SSL Channel Strip you get an EQ, Compressor, and Gate/Expander. We went over the differences between the E and G series strips earlier, and you are given the choice here to switch back and forth between the 2 in the plugin itself.

  • Who’s it for? Intermediate and above
  • Price: $329
    • Subscription for every Native v6.4 plugin – $14.99 monthly (annual commitment)
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for FL Studio

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB RAM
Operating System10.11 – 10.15Windows 8.1 and 10

6. API Vision Channel Strip – Universal Audio

API Vision Channel Strip
API Vision Channel Strip – Universal Audio

After working with API, Universal Audio created this digital version of their flagship console. You can work with eq, compressor, and a gate/expander to create new definitions of your music, as well as work with presets from established engineers.

  • Who’s it for? Experienced and above
  • Price: $299
  • DAW Support: All popular DAWs supported, good for Logic

System Requirements: 

MacWindows
Memory8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive8 GB RAM8 GB free disk space on the system drive
Operating System10.15Windows 10

Great Raw Sound

Back before digital recording really took off, mic placement and a channel strip such as these is all there was for a recording. In today’s day and age, you have a lot more options at your fingertips to create new and amazing recordings, but sometimes you have to return to basic principles and get as much as you can right early on. If you are properly miking and eq-ing your instruments, you can get amazing raw sounds right off the bat that will save you time and frustration later on. This isn’t to say a mic shift or a channel strip is going to fix your every problem, but channel strips whether digital or analog, can color and characterize your recordings in a way that you can fall in love with.

If you found this information helpful and are wanting to read more comparisons and reviews regarding plugins, click here to see our catalog. 

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