We’ll take scientific approach (with our limited tools of the built in Channel EQ Analyzer) and see what various distortion and harmonic Logic Pro X Plugins actually do to the sound. Is it the best analyzer out there? No! The reason I’m using the Channel EQ Analyzer is because you have it! It’s one of the best tools that comes with Logic and you should be using it to lend insight to not only your EQ’ing, but how plugins are affecting your signal.
For this experiment, I’ll use a clean pad that I’ll be affecting in various ways. The accompanying Analyzer from the Channel Strip EQ shows the frequency profile.
First we’ll look at what the Waves version of the Aural Exciter does. You’ll notice that it adds harmonics starting around 2kHZ. It seems to give a boost of around 5db from the 2kHZ to 5kHZ. And as much as 20db at 10kHZ.
Next we’ll look at the UAD ATR-102 Ampex model. This gives subtle tape saturation, and is best used on the mix bus. It affects all frequencies slightly, and visually adds a few db of lift from 5kHZ up.
Next we’ll look at the SPL Twin Tube. I set both the Harmonics and Saturation to 9. It gives a nice boost across the entire spectrum.Rent-to-Own Top VST & AU Plugins Like iZotope’s Neutron 2 – Try Free Today!
Here I apply iZotope’s Exciter from Neutron 2. I kept it in the middle, but they give you options for Tape, Tube, Warm and Retro. It is quite subtle unless you turn the drive up. Also, iZotope has Trash 2, which is all about saturation/distortion/harmonics. Too many settings to look at here.
Next up is UAD’s offering of Dave Derr’s Fatso Jr. There was a nice setting called Harmonic Gen that I used to add Harmonics.
Don’t forget Logic Pro X’s own built in overdrive. It may not be the sexiest of interfaces, but it gets the job done at a great price. The tone knob allows you to decide if you want to affect the higher end or lower end. The settings below, I’m not doing anything with the treble, and just affecting the mids.
This one is probably my favorite to put on the mix bus. The Vertigo VSM-3 ( the hardware version is the VSM-2 Extentsion.) It lets you apply 2nd and 3rd order harmonics. You can apply them in series or parallel, and mix between the two. It doesn’t boost the db so much as adds more harmonics. I’d call this a secret weapon or desert island unit (wish I could afford the hardware version.) If you’re doing hip-hop, it’s a must have for your 808s.
Next is the much beloved Soundtoys Decapitator. I’m not sure why, but I don’t find this one as pleasing as some of the others. This one doesn’t seem to boost as much above 5kHZ as the others, but definitely adds oomph. I think it raises the low end a lot more than the others. (Mental note, try the Decapitator on a Kick.)
Trash 2 by iZotope is all about distortion, harmonics, and saturation. This is a setting called Cassette. There are a plethora of settings if you really want to tweak.
Finally, the Sony Oxford (Sonnox) Inflator. This is probably my favorite for the mix bus. It’s the most musical and most subtle. It adds apparent volume without adding actual volume (well maybe a little.) It adds harmonics. You can even add in db gain and set it to not clip. This may be THE secret weapon plugin for adding volume and warm distortion to your mix bus.
These plugins can help add warmth or grit to your tracks and mix bus. Plus don’t forget the plethora of foot pedal and amp plugins that come with Logic Pro X, not to mention the UAD and Brainworx amps and pedals, and NI’s Guitar Rig. I use all of them, but my favorites are the Inflator and VSM-3. I hope you enjoyed the overview, and don’t forget to checkout our other Logic Pro X Tutorials. Until next time…