With the announcement that AIR have released VST and AU versions of the AIR effects plug-ins which have been part of Pro Tools since version 8 we have all been prompted to look again at these effects which we take for granted as Pro Tools users. Some of them get used regularly, others not so much but how consistent are the favourites across the team?
This is easy for me. Probably the best "facepalm" moment I've had on the blog was when Russ featured a tip on using the AIR stereo width plug-in as a mono button on the master. Just set the width to 0%. Run the plug-in in bypass for stereo and un-bypass to check mono compatibility. I use this all the time.
I've got a couple of honourable mentions. Vintage Filter has been a friend in my teaching as its been the plug-in I use to introduce plug-in automation to beginners. It's nice and dramatic and because of the interdependence of the cutoff with the audio (and with the resonance) it's something which is much better written in real time rather than drawn (why do so many people want to draw their automation?).
Second honourable mention goes to Kill EQ. I've used the steep filters in Kill EQ for multiband processing experiments when the 24dB/Oct filters in 1 band EQ weren't steep enough. Strangely Kill EQ doesn't null properly whereas the filters in 1 band EQ do. This has since been superseded by the excellent splitter plug-in which comes as part of the Avid Multiband Compressor.
I've always like the AIR Spring Reverb. It gives a great vintage vibe with lots of flexibility. Most importantly it's easy to use. I own several third party reverb plug-ins that don't come close to the feel of AIR Spring. Anytime I'm working on a mix that requires some old school flavour I reach for this every time as I know what it sounds like and generally find I have to adjust it once and move on.
By a mile it has to be Filter Gate, you can use it on a variety of sources. It is great on guitars, synths, drums, even vocals - it's super easy to use and a lot of fun. It's the one plug-in that I never get bored of using and if I have a synth that needs some movement in it then I always reach for the AIR Filtergate plugin.