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So how do we celebrate all of these releases? It's become somewhat of a tradition around these parts to round up the best new software halfway through the year. Check out some blasts from the past here (2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022), and continue on below to learn more about the hottest plug-ins of 2023 (so far).
Remember when we mentioned "meticulously emulated analog classics" a mere two paragraphs ago? Yeah, this is what we were talking about. Universal Audio has faithfully recreated the legendary CM5511 variable-gain stereo tube compressor from Capitol Studios. This plug-in is perfect for everything from adding tube warmth to individual stems to putting the final coat of polish on a mix.
Over in the virtual instrument realm, Universal Audio has given us all the gift of the Electra 88. Not only does this software capture the sound of the 1970 Rhodes Eight Eight Suitcase Mark 1, but it also offers a bevy of mics, preamps, rack effects, and stompboxes for crafting the sound of your electric piano. The options are literally endless with this one.
There's nothing quite like the sound of spring reverb. It evokes a specific place and time and can get you feeling nostalgic, even if you weren't alive in its heyday. Earlier this year, Waves Audio dropped Magma Springs, a reverb plug-in with seven different varieties of metallic twang like Motor City, Classic, California, and Heavy. Our favorite might be the Dark Space setting, a must on any Dub-influenced track.
Alright, so what if you DON'T want reverb? Don't worry, Waves Audio has something for that too. The Clarity VX Dereverb makes our list of the hottest plug-ins of 2023, thanks to its use of AI technology to remove reverb from vocals and dialogue. It's straightforward to use and gets the job done without mangling the quality of your audio.
Everyone is talking about immersive and spatial audio in 2023, and Sound Particles is helping sound designers level up their compositions with the SkyDust 3D synth. This virtual instrument offers full 3D audio support via an eight-oscillator synth engine that allows you to use EGs, LFOs, and movement modifiers to create spatial effects. Try one of the amazing presets or take the power in your hands and shape your own space-filling sounds.
The price of Moogerfoogers on the secondary market has been going up, up, up, but the good folks at Moog wanted to make the pedals easily accessible again. The storied synth brand opted to recreate these classics in plug-in form and allow users to recreate the CV interconnectivity in their DAW. In total, there are eight releases; MF-101S Lowpass Filter, MF-102S Ring Modulator, MF-103S 12-Stage Phaser, MF-104S Analog Delay, MF-105S MuRF, MF-107S Freqbox, MF-108S Cluster Flux, and MF-109s Saturator.
Our list of the hottest plug-ins of 2023 also includes another synth maker heading into the digital world. Erica Synths has recreated its Zen Delay as a BPM-synced stereo delay plug-in with five different modes. There is Tape, Tape Ping-Pong, Digital Ping-Pong, Digital, and Vintage. You can also use the feedback and overdrive knobs to push your sounds to some unique places.
In 2023, Arturia decided to take a go at the iconic Lexicon 224 digital reverb, and they landed on something special. Classic View gives engineers control of the LX-24 plug-in through the original hardware's control panel. When switching to Advanced View, Arturia opens up a different way of designing your reverb's sound with controls over Drive, High Pass, Threshold, Ratio, Release, Brightness, Stereo Width, Reverb Level, and more.
Not one to be left out, Soundtoys is getting in on the reverb fun with SuperPlate. As you might guess from its name, this plug-in is a collection of the world's greatest plate reverbs, including the EMT 140, EMT 240, Audiocon, Stocktronics RX4000, and EcoPlate III. SuperPlate keeps things simple with an intuitive interface that allows you to switch back and forth between plate sounds with the flip of a knob. You can also choose between three preamp modes (Tube, Solid-State, and Clean) to further suit your tastes.
Solid State Logic has been stacking up lots of new plug-ins over the past few years, and each new release ends up being some of the brand's best work yet. The 4K B plug-in brings the familiar punch and character of the brand's SL 4000 B console's channel strip to your desktop. This is the desk behind Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel's biggest hits, and now it can live right in your DAW.
When you think of the words "glue" and "compression" in series, Solid State Logic is often the next thought. The brand's compressors have been bringing together mixes for decades, and the G3 MultiBusComp is a new evolution of its designs. This plug-in offers compression across three independent frequency bands and has unique sidechaining and drive options from each individual band as well.
While we've featured some pretty in-depth software on our list of the hottest plug-ins of 2023, there is nothing more simple than the Sonible pure:comp. This AI-powered compressor plug-in dials in spot-on compression for you and allows some fine-tuning with the Style and Clarity settings. It's easy yet effective.
We're rounding out this blog with the new Eventide EQ45. This plug-in is based on the Urei 545, a rare single-channel parametric EQ that features four overlapping bands of frequencies. The digital version brings the tone and color of the classic EQ to your workflow and will give you ample opportunities to shape and sculpt sources to your heart's content.