We’ll give you the Logic Fiends’ recommendations on the best Plugin Alliance plugins. We own just about everything that Plugin Alliance offers, and have reviews many of their plugins. Rather than give you a top 10 list like everyone else, we’ll pick on or two from each category. If you don’t have a huge stockpile of plugins yet, we recommend being well rounded and try to get one (or two) from each category.
The Vertigo VSM-3 can add 2nd and/or 3rd order harmonics to any track or your mix bus. This is a great way to add subtle warmth or really add a lot of saturation.
While we do like the Vertigo a bit more, the SPL TwinTube is another great way to add some tube saturation to a track or the entire mix bus and the controls are pretty simple
Best Guitar Plugin
Then Engl E646 is our favorite guitar amp emulator. It’s a Victor Smolski signature amp that can do cleans really well, heavy metal crunch, and shredding solos.
Best Bass Plugin
There aren’t a lot of bass options, but we really like the Ampeg V-4B. It captures that Motown type of bass sound and Ampeg is synonymous with Bass.
Best Plugin Alliance Reverb
Sandman Pro by Unfiltered Audio is a great delay unit. You can apply pitch changes, and it effortlessly puts the delays in time. While it is a bit more complicated than many analog modeled units, the presets can get you up and running quickly. Note: this is more of an “effect” to alter the track as opposed to a subtle delay to thicken or widen a track.
Best Plugin Alliance EQ
We would pick the BAX EQ, but we picked that for best Mastering plugin, so we’ll go with the Maag EQ4. If you need to add “air” then this is what it’s known for. While this is great on a vocal track, it can also be useful on the mix bus if you need to pull the high end out of a mix.
Best Dynamics Plugin
It was the Magnum-K, but now that they’ve released the MC77, that’s the one to get. After the UREI 1176 stopped production, Purple Audio stepped in to fill the void. There are lots of 1176 emulations out there, but not much in the way of Purple Audio. Watch for our upcoming review.
Best Mix Trix
The SPL Transient Designer really is a must have. You should get this before anything else in the category. Especially if you are focused on EDM or Hip Hop as you’ll have to shape your Kick, Snare, and Hats to really stand out. You can use it to almost add a ringing reverb effect to open up a track, or clamp down to make it more staccato. It really can work wonders. the Elysia Nvelope would be a good second option to the SPL.
For a more creative effect, consider Zip which does compression more as an effect than to tame transients.
Best Channel Strip
Focusrite SC, mainly because there aren’t any other options for this. There are lots of SSL and Neve offerings, but the ISA emulation is unique.
Best Mastering Compressor Plugin
We’d have to go with the Vertigo VSC-2 for compression as it can do subtle and smooth really well. If you want Mastering EQ then the BAX EQ is good for true subtle mastering, while the NSEQ-2 is capable and has a nice Mid/Side option.