Recently Dan cleared out around 50 plug-ins from his system and he felt much better for it and it got him thinking - "What if I only had one plug-in within each Pro Tools plug-in category? One EQ plug-in, one Dynamics, one Reverb and so on". You can read Dan's choices for If I Only Had One Plug-in For Each Pro Tools Plug-in Category but I thought it would be interesting to take the same challenge from an audio post production perspective so here are my choices...
EQ - Avid EQ3
I have many EQ plug-ins but I find myself reaching for this over and over again. It does what I need EQ to do for me and its DSP. Rolling off the bottom end of interview content, or adding a little HF boost to improve intelligibility, are just some of the tasks that I turn to EQ3 to help me achieve.
Dynamics - Avid Pro Compressor
This is my go-to compressor in all my audio post work. Whether it's to add a little weight to a presenter's links on a documentary or helping to manage speech dynamics on discussions like the Pro Tools Expert podcast Its the Avid Pro Compressor I use.
Pitch Shift - Avid Vari-Fi
In audio post production we rarely use anything from this category, but for me there is this one plug-in that I love to use, and that is Vari-Fi from Avid. There was a time where I was perhaps overusing it a little as people knew that if they heard it in a music documentary there was a very good chance I had made it. Its great at what it does, slow downs and start ups, and used sparingly is an excellent punctuation tool.
Reverb - Exponential Audio R2 Reverb
I noticed that Dan has selected the Exponential Audio Phoenixverb and when I first started using the Exponential Audio reverbs I expected I would prefer the clean and natural sound of the Phoenixverb but actually I found myself uncharacteristically preferring the processed sound of th R2.
Modulation - Avid Sci-fi
As with Pitch Shift, there isn't much in this category for use in an audio post production workflow. The only one here I turn to is the Avid Sci-fi, to get some robotic voice effects. A while back we asked about techniques for making Robot voices and Chris Linder suggested setting the effect to Res+ or Res- and then tweak to suit. Adding a little bit of subtle chorus (AIR, BlueCat, Acon, to name a few free ones here), and maybe a touch of pitch-shifting.
Harmonic - BBE Sonic Maximiser
I was sceptical about this effect but a client brought over a hardware unit for a multi-site recording project back when I had my own mobile recording unit in a truck called the Omnibuss Mobile. Once I heard this unit I was hooked. I often use a hardware unit on live sound rigs to get a little more brightness without having to resort to EQ. I also use it for podcast mixes to help with intelligibility when people are listening in difficult environments. It is of course in my Pro Tools Expert podcast template.
Noise Reduction - RX Connect (RX5 Advanced)
Well this is a no brainer, but because this is a plug-in story, it is the RX Connect plug-in from the AudioSuite menu that would be at the top of my list. RX Connect gives me access to the standalone version of my beloved iZotope RX5 Advanced software, that continues to deliver over and over again. On the plug-in front the Dialog Denoiser plug-in would be a very close second. I use it alot on documentaries to help push the background sound if it is too loud and making intelligibility an issue.
Soundfield - Nugen Audio VisLM 2
This may seem to be a strange choice but I cannot be without my Nugen Audio VisLM 2. It is now an integral part of my workflow in all the content I create. The killer feature for me is the ability to drop in to fix a patch on a mix and VisLM 2 then updates the Integrated loudness measurement for the whole program in real time. No need for re-analysing and tweaking to get the new version of the mix compliant.
Instrument - iZotope RX5 Monitor
Again in my audio post production workflows there isn't much in this category that I use,. I have used Structure in the past on a couple of heavy sound design jobs but that was back when we could drag clips into the timeline, but since that feature no longer works I don't find myself turning to Structure much anymore. So my selection for this category is the iZotope RX Monitor plug-in. I insert the RX Monitor plug-in on an Aux track in my sessions so that when I use RX Connect to ship out clips to the standalone version of iZotope RX5 Advanced I can hear what I am doing through my Pro Tools monitoring path, rather than having to send RX out through the Mac audio output and then have to switch my monitoring between Pro Tools and Mac Audio every time I want to work in RX5 Advanced.
Effect - iZotope Vinyl
This is the easy winner in this category. when I need to simulate a vinyl record this is the tool. So I was really pleased when iZotope brought it back from the dead recently.
Other - Avid Time Compression & Expansion
This is a real biggy for me. The code and the algorithm may be ancient but for stretching or speeding up speech this is the best tool by miles. Whether it is a contributor in a documentary that is a little laboured in their delivery or someone who speaks at 90mph a little adjustment with TCE and its fixed. then there can be occasions where I need the speech to be a precise duration, maybe an ad, or I am underscoring a documentary and I need a clip to finish bang on the beat to I can make the music fit, perhaps so I can bring a chorus up at the end of a clip. Whatever it is, I turn to the Digidesign Time Compression and Expansion plug-in to help me get it done.
How About You?
There you have it, those are my choices when working in audio post production for one plug-in in each category of the plug-in menu in Pro Tools. Please do share your 'post' choices with the community. I for one would love to hear what your choices would be.