Presets For Plugins

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Who Is That?

Ever notice a bunch of random names when you open a plug-in presets folder? What’s up with that? Who are these people? Most often, these are the names of successful engineers and producers. Why does this matter? Because if a top-tier industry vet designed this preset for this particular preamp, EQ, compressor, etc; you can bet it’s going to sound good! 

The Concept ๐Ÿ’ก๐Ÿ“ ๐ŸŽš

Ed Cherney, Greg Wells, Tony Maserati, Joe Chiccarelli, Chris Lord-Alge, Manny Marroquin, Dave Pensado… these are just a few of the names you might see in the presets of your favorite plug-in. These are gold and platinum-selling, multi-Grammy-winning experts! And their expertise has literally been captured in each of these plug-ins with a specific purpose in mind. 


Going a step further, some of the software companies hire these experts to design their very own signature series plug-ins. Some examples are the Chris Lord-Alge plug-ins for Waves, the Jack Joseph Puigg series, Tony Masrati, Andrew Schepps and so many more.

Free Plugin Presets from Top Producers & Mixers | Waves

Now, in the studio, I work fast – usually to meet deadlines. I don’t have the luxury of time to play and fiddle with my plug-ins every time I work a session. I need to be able to quickly recall my favorite settings that I trust to sound good every time. It only makes sense to rely on the ears of legendary producers and mixers!


Digging In 

Let’s take a look at a few of these presets and how to practically employ them in a session…

 API Vision Channel Strip Collection | UAD Audio Plugins | Universal Audio

My first choice when recording an instrument or voice is the API Vision Channel Strip by Universal Audio. If I’m recording a background vocal part, I’ll try toggle between the Airy Vocal or Background Vocal by Joe Chiccarelli. If I’m looking for an old vintage muted bass sound with lots of rubbery qualities, I’ll hit the Beatley Bass preset by Joe as well. I really dig Joe Paterno’s Acoustic Guitar preset for my steel string and nylon string acoustics. Nathaniel Kunkel’s Clean Electric Guitar preset is my go-to for anything with a clean tone, especially those buttery tremolo and reverb tones.


Once I’m in the box and have my tracks recorded into my DAW, (most often Pro Tools, although I do use Logic and Ableton) I have a handful of favorites. When I need to get my drums tight and punchy, I lean on the Native Instruments Solid Bus Comp Drum Bus preset and the Solid Dynamics Parallel Drums preset. A favorite for guitars is the Waves signature series CLA Guitars. I often use Cleartone for tracking electric parts and Soaring Solo for a killer distortion solo! For my Master Stereo Bus, I really like the SSL Comp plug-in, G-Master Buss Compressor. Just about any of the presets in this plug-in are golden. There’s a preset in there simply called Mastering – which makes for the perfect amount of glue on my mixes. 

Waves SSL 4000 Collection – Thomann United States

What’s Right For You May Not Be Right For Some

It doesn’t matter why you like the presets that you like. It could be that the user interface is simple and clear, or the graphic design and layout is aesthetically pleasing, etc. Whatever the reason is, it’s okay to like it for yourself. Your preferences require no explanation! The thing that matters most is that it SOUNDS GOOD! I get asked, “Don’t you have to still tweak the settings once you open the preset?” – The answer is: hardly ever. It’s extremely rare that I’ll need to tweak anything. The whole point of these presets is that they were designed by experts and always sound amazing right out of the box! Find the plug-in presets that inspire you!



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