Enhancers can be a real lifeline for you in audio production. This article will show you the top 7 enhancer plugins for bass, drums, vocals, and harmonics.
You can use enhancers where EQ is no longer valid. It’s a great tool to polish individual tracks and mixes in general. We’ve prepared different options for you, both universal and for specific instruments. Let’s first understand what enhancers are in general.
What Is an Enhancer In Music?
There are situations when the audio signal is somewhat weak. It can be due to improper miking technique or individual characteristics of samples. Or we hear that in the context of the mix, we need an extra bite. Then we come to the aid of enhancers, which can be both analog equipment and software.
What Does An Enhancer Plugin Do?
Enhancer plugins most often generate additional harmonics in the frequency spectrum. These can be both low, medium, and high ranges. Thanks to this, the resulting signal becomes more prosperous and expressive and breaks through the mix better. Using such software can help you a lot when mixing.
But remember that enhancers are not a tool that you need to use all the time. It is advisable to use them only where they are necessary to avoid any overprocessing.
What Is The Difference Between Aural Exciter And Audio Enhancer?
The Aural Exciter can be either a studio unit or a plugin used to add harmonics in high-end frequencies and get an extra spark to the audio signal. And Audio Enhancer can provide content in both the low-end and high-end ranges. But both share the same goal: to improve the audio signal.
Top 7 Enhancer Plugins 2022 (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)
1. Wavesfactory Spectre (All-Round Hybrid Enhancer)
A fantastic mix of enhancer and parametric EQ that will help you improve both individual tracks and masters is the Spectre plugin from Wavesfactory.
Wavesfactory is a company located on the beautiful island of Mallorca in Spain that creates great software for musicians and engineers. Their products include audio plugins and Kontakt libraries. Wavesfactory, in particular, has impressive solutions to help you create better music.
One of them is the Spectre plugin, which is a multi-band enhancer and saturator. It’s a powerful tool to work on improving the frequency spectrum. You will have ten saturation algorithms and high sound quality at your disposal. Spectre also has a friendly and intuitive interface, which will be especially nice to work with.
If you get a little confused about working precisely with the plugin, it’s no problem. Wavesfactory has prepared a large number of presets for you. All of them are divided by instruments, and there is a separate set – specifically for mastering. But let’s take a closer look at the main features this excellent plugin has in store for us.
- Color Your Signal
You get an opportunity to color your signal as if you were using analog equipment. The point is that the plugin affects the difference between the input signal and the signal that is processed by the equalizer, adding harmonic content.
- Five Different Bands
You can add life to your music with five different bands. For example, try working with the leftmost one if you need to improve low-end information. You’ll intuitively understand how to work since everything here looks like a modern EQ.
- Choose a Saturation Algorithm
It’s just amazing, but the plugin has as many as ten saturation algorithms. There are options such as Solid, Tube, Warm Tube, Tape, Digital, Rectify, Half Rectify, Bit, Diode, and Class B. Switch between them and listen to which one is right for you.
- Use on Whatever You Want
Thanks to the principle of the plugin, you can use it on any tracks that need more “brightness.” For example, it can be a single instrument or a sub-mix. Also, the plugin will be ideal for mastering.
- Excellent Sound Quality
You don’t need to worry about the quality of the signal, even if the plugin’s settings are incredibly extreme. That’s because it uses 4x and 16x oversampling modes.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Spectre by Wavesfactory is a plugin that helps to bring your tracks and masters to life. You will be able to add harmonic distortion thanks to 5 different bands. In addition, you’ll have a vast choice of saturation algorithms, which makes this software directionally versatile.
2. Cymatics Vortex (808 Enhancer)
If you want to enhance your 808, the Vortex plugin from Cymatics will do a great job since it was created precisely for that.
If you’re in electronic music or hip-hop production, you know about the 808s. Its history goes back to the legendary Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer drum machine. In simple terms, it’s a sample that’s used as a kick drum. The 808’s main characteristic is a powerful bass sound that will make your walls wobble.
The Vortex plugin is super simple software that will help you make your 808s more expressive by emulating analog saturation. It has four modes of operation and only three knobs with the most necessary settings. You can also use quite interesting presets to experiment with the sound of the plugin.
- One Big Knob
The heart of the plugin is a large knob located in the center. Turning it to the right will give you the most extreme sound. It is how you control how much your saturation effect will be noticeable.
- Make It Electric
The first mode of the plugin is called Electrical. Its sound is based on a pentode tube. And it’s not strange because it will give you a bright and aggressive low-end.
- Add Some Fire
Thanks to this mode, you get a warmer sound, as if it were heated by analog tubes. The developers promise that with it, you can get a loud signal, but without any harshness.
- Danger Radiation
Radiation mode is the third in the order. It will serve perfectly to give your low-end more edge since it is based on symmetrical clipping.
- Extreme Ultraviolet
The last and most extreme is a mod called Ultraviolet. It will give you metallic timbres that can make your sound unique. That’s because it uses waveshaping.
- Dial Into Additional Settings
You can always influence the sound of your plugin even more with additional settings. The three knobs at the bottom often help you adjust the color, filter, and mix levels.
The plugin is available for Windows and macOS, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Vortex is an excellent and super simple plugin from Cymatics that will help you achieve the wealthiest 808s. You can use the four modes of operation and get both expressive and unique sounds. Thanks to the additional settings, Vortex can positively influence the sound or destroy it completely. Of course, this is in the figurative sense.
3. Waves Vitamin (All-Round Enhancer 2)
Perhaps one of the most popular enhancer plugins is Vitamin from Waves Audio.
Waves software is used by top producers and engineers all over the world. The company is also famous for collaborating with them to release exciting products, such as Scheps Omni Channel Strip, CLA Classic Compressors, Greg Wells Signature Series, and more.
Vitamin can be your secret weapon for polishing mixes and masters. It is a multiband harmonic enhancer, tone shaper, and stereo widener software. Thanks to it, you can improve the different frequency areas, giving them more spark and excitement with incredible ease. Excellent, isn’t it? Let’s dive into its features.
- Five Bands of Excitement
You will have five faders at your disposal, which belong to different frequency ranges. All of them are separated by four frequency crossover points, which you can also adjust. Just move the zero fader up to hear how the harmonics are added to your signal.
- Add Some Width
It is terrific, but the plugin allows you to add harmonic distortion and extend it in the stereo picture. You can do this thanks to the separate knobs under each of the faders. It will be a great solution to add some width to your mixes.
- Balance Your Signals
On the left side of the plugin, you will see the Direct fader. With it, you can adjust the ratio of the original signal to the processed signal. It is essential to get the “golden mean.”
- Get Extra Bite
If you have set up your sonic richness but still feel missing, the Punch control can help you. It gives you the ability to amplify or soften the impact of the transients.
- Zero Latency
Waves Audio assures that the plugin has no latency whatsoever. Therefore, you can easily use it not only for mixing but also for live performances.
The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
Waves Vitamin is a plugin that can become one of the “to-go” in your arsenal. Thanks to the five bands, it allows you to work meticulously on adding richness and excitement to the different frequency ranges. Based on this, you can influence both individual tracks and mixes and masters. Also, a great feature is the stereo extenders, which help you improve the full stereo picture and the punch control.
4. Noveltech Vocal Enhancer (Vocal Exciter / Enhancer)
A pretty simple yet powerful Vocal Enhancer plugin from Noveltech will help you achieve a juicy sound in just a couple of seconds.
The Finnish company Noveltech can boast a severe approach to its work as it was founded to commercialize the results of scientific research they had done before. So in their plugins, they promise a whole “rocket science under the hood.” But despite this, the interface of their software remains straightforward, but simultaneously with all the necessary settings.
The developers assure that the Vocal Enhancer plugin works great on anything based on midrange frequencies. It means you can use it not only for vocals but also for guitar and snare. It is based on the patented IAF technology, which allows you to get clarity without side effects such as harshness.
- Adapting to the Source Material
Instead of statically boosting certain areas of the frequency spectrum (like EQ works), the plugin dynamically expands a separate range of the source. It constantly adapts, which gives us a fantastic sound quality without any side effects.
- Set Your Focus Frequency
You can determine for yourself which area of the signal the plugin will affect. The desired panel with a high and low filter is placed in the center of the window.
- Control the Enhancement
Control the amount of signal processing with the large Enhancement knob in the lower-left corner. The developers assure you that you won’t get an annoying sound no matter how you turn.
- Get Standard or Strong
You will have a special Strong Processing button at your disposal. Just click it to make the results of the plugin processing more extreme. But still, we advise you to start working with the plugin with the option turned off.
- Useful Presets
Sometimes we need some starting point to get the job done. In that case, presets can help us. The plugin has several handy ones, namely CrispVocal, FemaleCoval, LeadVocal, MaleVocal, and StrongEnh.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The main feature of the Vocal Enhancer plugin is that you can safely experiment with enriching your vocals without getting unwanted artifacts. This software has a relatively simple and accessible interface – filters and a few knobs but at the same time a robust work algorithm. It will serve you wonderfully, both for improving vocal tracks, as well as guitar and snare.
5. Melda MBassador (Bass Enhancer)
With the MBassador plugin from Melda, you can easily create missing bass most pleasantly.
There is probably not much to say about how important low-end is for modern music. In most cases, our primary tool for working with it will be the equalizer. But what if your source does not have the bass response due to poor miking techniques? In this case, a plugin from Czech company MeldaProduction can help us to fix it.
The MBassador plugin resynthesizes lost bass frequencies based on existing mid-range harmonics. As a result, you get an enhanced solid and tight bass. You can control this process thanks to modules responsible for different areas and thus find the right sound easily and quickly.
- Use For Any Bass Instrument
The MBassador is great for any instrument that needs a low-end lift. It could be a kick drum, a bass guitar, or a bass synth. The addition of bass frequencies is done musically here, so it sounds the most organic.
- Bass Enhancer
It is the first plugin module that is colored green. Thanks to it, you will be able to add the necessary information around 100 hertz. The re-synthesis is very tight and produces nice upper-harmonics.
- Sub Generator
You can use the second module, called Sub Generator if you want to go even further and add sub information to your sound. It creates a tone an octave below the lowest note.
- The Lowest Sub
It is the last module that will give you the ability to generate even more sub information. The Sub 2 Generator will add harmonics 2 octaves below the lowest note. A great feature for extra low-end.
- Shape Your Tone However You Want
You will have ample opportunity to sculpt your bass sound. For example, you can use the Tone control to add the desired upper harmonics. There’s also a Saturation slider, which will give you more aggression and bite.
The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher (both 32 or 64-bit) and macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.
The MBassador plugin can save your low-end. It comes in handy where EQ is powerless and provides a lot of options with low-frequency restoration. Thanks to the three modules, you can work on both bass and sub information. Plus, the plugin adds this in the most musical way possible, so it’s hard to notice the difference.
6. AudioThing Type A (Vintage Enhancer)
This vintage type of enhancer in AudioThing’s Type A plugin can be a real highlight of your vocal tracks.
Here we are going to make a little excursion into history. The Dolby A301 and Dolby 361 hardware units were created in the 1960s and 1970s as a tape noise reduction system. Engineers soon began to use them for a different purpose to add air to vocal tracks. They used only the encoding stage with the two lower bands off, leaving only the compressed upper frequencies. Later this technique was called Vocal Trick or “John Lennon mod.”
AudioThing, a company based in Ireland, decided to create a digital emulation of these legendary units. And, we must say, they did a great job since the plugin dynamically boosts the upper frequencies of the signal but does not create any side effects. This effect is somewhat similar to the dynamic equalizer and gives a much more presence to the tracks.
- 4 Available Bands
You will have four bends at your disposal in the form of simple buttons so you can turn them on and off. Each acts on a different frequency range. Just listen to which combination will be the winning one for you.
- Adjust the Effect Volume
Go to the volume bar by clicking on the gear icon. There you will see the knobs that allow you to adjust the volume of each band.
- Disable the Direct Signal
You can press the red button to turn off the direct signal and hear only the sound of your bends. It will just be the dynamically compressed signal that the enhancer gives.
- Not One of Your Typical Exciters
This enhancer works more naturally than other enhancers and does not provide any artifacts. It is because the amount of compression here is proportional to the volume. Loud sounds don’t change, but quiet sounds get louder.
- Use “John Lennon mod”
The great thing about this plugin is that you can reproduce exactly the legendary technique that made this unit once so famous. Disable the two low bands, leaving the other two high.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
If you want to get the coloring of an analog enhancer and even apply the Vocal Trick technique, this plugin will help you with that. Type A has a super simple interface, so you won’t have to deal with the settings for a long time. Turn the buttons on and off, balance the bend volume, or mix just the effect to the original track, and you’re sure to get great-sounding audio.
7. Boz Digital Labs Sasquatch 2 (Kick Enhancer)
Transform your kick drum or lowest synth with the great Sasquatch 2 plugin from Boz Digital Labs.
As we all know, the bass drum is the foundation of any mix, whether it’s electronic music or more live. It is where the lowest information of our mix is located. Sometimes, this foundation is relatively weak, and you need to bring it up somehow. In this case, the plugin Sasquatch 2 will be a great help.
It is not just a kick drum enhancer but also a kind of customizer. Thanks to it, you will be able to influence the harmonic information and slightly change the sonic characteristics of your lowest instrument. And all this from the more imperceptible nuances to the most extreme ones.
- Add some OOMPH
It is the name of the first regulator of the plugin. Thanks to it, you can control the level of low-end that is generated. Increase it if you want to have a massive and shuddering bass.
- Click Control
With the Click control, you can influence the attack level of your bass drum. Turn it all the way up if you want to get the brightest sound.
- Blend The Unprocessed Signal
You can do this thanks to the purple Dry control. It affects what the ratio of the raw signal to the enhanced one will be.
- Use It as a Virtual Instrument
An outstanding feature of the plugin is that it also supports the MIDI function. That means you can use it as a virtual instrument for writing your bass synths.
- Trigger Section
This section will allow us to fine-tune the triggering response. For example, there are three triggering modes for transients, volume and MIDI. Also, there are settings for side chain filters.
The plugin is available for Windows and macOS, both 32 and 64-bit. It comes in VST2/3, AU, AAX, and RTAS formats.
The Sasquatch 2 plugin will give you tons of options to improve your bass drum, whether it’s acoustic or electronic. You no longer need to dig through your sampler folders because, with this fabulous enhancer, you will be able to influence the amount of low-end and even the attack. A nice bonus will be the ability to use this plugin as a synthesizer. In that case, it will be beneficial for EDM music.
Top 7 Best Free Enhancer Plugins 2022
1. Cymatics Diablo Lite (Drum / 808 Enhancer)
The Diablo Lite plugin by Cymatics will help give your drums and 808s some heat.
Sometimes a situation may challenge you to get the drums to cut more through the mix. Saturation and enhancing can help you with that. The good news is that Cymatics, next to the paid version of the Diablo plugin, has also made one free version. The features there are limited, but it’s still a great way to help you get results.
It’s a super simple but modern-looking plugin that only has a few knobs. Even if you have quiet kick drum samples, Diablo can help you make them sound ten times hard and punchier. And that’s just amazing. Let’s take a closer look at the functionality of this software.
- Give It More Punch
On the left side, you will see the Punch knob. It is the one that will help make the drums cut through the mix well. It will intensify the attack and give the impression of a more decisive kick.
- Clip Your Signal
It’s great that we can use two types of clipping with the free Diablo lite plugin – Soft and Hard. With the first one, you get a softer but still noticeable clipping. And with the second, you get more aggressive and extreme.
- Adjust the Ratio
You also get some standard controls like Input, Output, and Mix. Thanks to them, you can adjust how much effect will be noticeable in your audio.
- Suitable for Many Things
The Diablo plugin is perfect for kick drum, 808s, and even snare. It will fill them with energy and brightness. Just try it out and listen to how exactly it can fit your mix.
The plugin is available for Windows and macOS, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.
If you need to quickly get a plugin to add more punch to your drums, you can use Diablo lite. This software is straightforward to use – spin a few knobs, and you’ll immediately see how it affects your drums. You’ll have two clipping options, which is also great because this plugin is free. The wonderful thing is that you can use it on all types of drums, including 808 synths.
2. Wavegroove Vastaus (Harmonic Enhancer)
Wavegroove’s Vastaus plugin is created to save you from annoying harsh frequencies.
In many cases, we boost the high frequencies to make the instrument cut through the mix more or clarify it. But after that, we often get a side effect – harsh frequencies that are, to put it mildly, not very pleasant to the ears. Some well-known, costly plugins can help you handle it. But the good news is that you also have a free alternative.
Wavesgrove has created an excellent plugin called Vastaus that you can use to tame annoying sounds on offbeat instruments, stems, and master buses. You can get it completely free on the Patreon page and support the author for his fantastic work.
- Tame Whatever You Want
The Tame knob is the heart of the plugin. Twist it to the right to hear how the plugin responds to the harsh frequencies on the guitar, cymbals, and vocal esses.
- Play With the React Switch
With this switch, you can achieve more detail and clarity in your tracks. Experiment with Tame and React to get the effect you want.
- Adjust the Bias
A small Bias knob will help you generate harmonics as you work with the plugin. Here you can achieve a nice silky effect.
- Balance with Output Gain
Once you’ve tamed the unwanted frequencies, you can use the Output Gain knob to boost the signal a bit and balance it out of the mix by “putting it back in place.” It will give it extra high frequencies.
The plugin is available for Windows and macOS. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.
The Vastaus plugin can be a fantastic tool for you to “polish” your audio. It will eliminate all annoying harsh frequencies in the most musical way and make your signal more pleasing to your ears. You will have all the necessary settings at your disposal to experiment with taming levels.
3. iZotope Imager 2 (Stereo Enhancer / Imager)
With the following plugin, which is the Ozone Imager 2 from iZotope, you can expand your stereo picture or, conversely, narrow it.
Stereo Imaging is a beautiful mixing technique used by many engineers and producers. All because it helps you expand your stereo picture, whether it’s a single instrument or two buses. As a result, you get a universal sound, and therefore a more exciting sound. Interestingly, you can also use this effect in reverse by narrowing tracks to focus the listener’s attention on them.
The company iZotope, known for its premium products for music production, decided to give a gift and provided the Imager 2 plugin for free. It is a modern-looking software with three metrics, two operation modes, and some more exciting features. Let’s take a closer look at it.
- Add Some Width or Reduce It
You will see this slider on the right. Thanks to it, you can adjust how wide your track will be. Pull it down, and you’ll go back to the mono signal.
- Stereoize the Picture
The second slider is located to the right of Width. With the Stereoize function, you can adjust the time delay. At the bottom, you will have a value in milliseconds.
- Play With Two Modes
Two completely different modes of the plugin will be at your disposal. If the first one can expand your stereo picture as much as possible, the second one does it more subtly.
- Different Visualization
The three visualization modes help you keep a better eye on what’s going on with your stereo picture. Specifically, find the best one for your eyes, how the signal is distributed to the right and left channels.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
An essential tool that you can get for free. It is how we can describe the wonderful Imager 2 plugin from iZotope. It has comparatively enough features to enhance your signal and make it much wider. However, you can choose it to your liking thanks to the two available modes of operation and the Width and Stereoize sliders.
4. Bassprofessor MarkII (Bass Guitar Enhancer)
With the Bassprofessor MarkII plugin from Sonic Anomaly, you can take your bass DI and make it sound like it was recorded with an amp.
Recording a bass DI is a regular practice in music production. The point is that this signal is ideal for the extraction of low-end. But that’s only half the battle. To achieve the full bass sound, you need to add a track from the amp to the top. Not a problem if you don’t have this equipment, because you can use an emulation.
Bassprofessor MarkII is a bass amp sim and enhancer that you can use entirely for free. But, unfortunately, this only applies to Windows users. However, this plugin has all the necessary settings to add drive to the bass line, fill it with sub information, or make it more expressive and cut through the mix. You’ll have as many as seven bands with which to sculpt a bass sound to your liking.
- Control Your Low-End Frequencies
The three bands will refer to the control of the three main areas of low information. These faders are called Sub Bass, Lo Bass, and Hi Bass. Adjust them to get the sound you want.
- Add Some Fullness
This fader helps you make the bass track fuller because it adjusts the midrange frequencies. But be careful because it can also add some muddiness to your sound.
- Adjust the Articulation
With the Atric control, you can add more detail to your bass sound. It makes the attack more expressive, which will also be especially useful in mixing.
- Be Aggressive and Bright
The last two faders are called Presence and Treble. Dive into experimenting with them to make your sound more aggressive or vice versa softer. Treble controls the high frequencies, which will help you achieve more brightness.
- Dirt Control
After you’ve worked on the frequency spectrum of your bass, add some dirt to it. You will see the corresponding control on the right. It is what will add the level of distortion to your signal.
The plugin is available for Windows, both 32 and 64-bit. It comes in VST format.
With the free Bassprofessor MarkII plugin, you get a lot of power in shaping your bass tone. You’ll have complete control over bass, midrange, and treble and tune your distortion level. Still, it’s worth remembering that this amp sim is only available to Windows users and is provided in a single VST format.
5. Analog Obsession Lovend (Harmonic Bass Enhancer)
This fabulous Lovend enhancer from Analog Obsession will instantly turn a weak bass into a powerful one.
Analog Obsession is the company of plugin developer, hardware designer, and musician Rıdvan Küçük. But it is not commercially oriented because you can find all their products utterly free on Patreon. Of course, you can donate to the author. As he noted on his page, it will give him the strength and desire to create new software.
Rıdvan Küçük also has a beautiful plugin in his assortment. It is a harmonic bass enhancer, and we can say that it does its job well. You can hear the plugin’s effect even with the default settings when loading it on a track. Then you have to turn a few knobs and listen to what you get.
- Boost Your Bass
On the right side, you will see the Boost knob. In its initial position, it will already add one dB to your low-end. You can go even further and add bass harmonics up to 10 dB.
- Frequency Control
The following important knob in the plugin is Frequency. It will give you the ability to choose exactly where you want to boost the bass. The whole range is from 60 to 180 Hz.
- Balance the Output Signal
Of course, when you add harmonics, the gain of your signal will increase. Therefore, it is vital to control it at the output of the plugin to avoid clipping. It is what the Output knob is for.
- Can Be Suitable For a Kick
The Lovend plugin can serve you well on the bass guitar and the kick drum. Thanks to this enhancer, you can make it more powerful and expressive.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.
Lovend is a simple but quite effective plugin that will give you lightning-fast results with an analog flavor. It can save weak bass tracks that have suffered from improper recording techniques. And it won’t take you long to figure out how it works since there are only three knobs. This software can be an excellent solution, both for bass guitar and kick drum.
6. Analog Obsession FetSnap (Transient Enhancer)
Another plugin from Analog Obsession, called FetSnap, allows you to enhance your transients well.
This time, you need to work on the drums, which were also not well recorded and sound a bit muffled. In this case, don’t get upset. All is not lost yet, as you can use a transient enhancer to improve the attack. And the FetSnap plugin can do it by adding an analog flavor.
In addition to the attack, this enhancer will also give you color since it is based on FET equipment. As with the other Analog Obsession plugins, you won’t mess up your head here since you’ll only have four knobs.
- Add Some Snap
It will be the central knob of the plugin, as it will regulate how much snap will be added. By this, we mean to increase the difference between transients, which will make the sound more expressive.
- Make It Dark or Bright
The next Tone knob will help you adjust whether the signal is dark or bright. If you turn it to the left, you will hear more fat in the low end, and if you turn it to the right, the sound will be brighter but thinner.
- Get It Right on the Output
It is elementary to achieve clipping with plugins like this because you directly affect the transients. The Output knob helps you keep this under control. There’s also Mix, which allows you to mix the effect in parallel with the original.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.
The FetSnap plugin from Analog Obsession is quite aggressive but at the same time an effective tool to improve the attack on many sources. Of course, it is best suited for drums and percussion. But still, you can experiment and apply it to other instruments that need an extra bite.
7. Mia Muscle (One Knob Enhancer)
The Mia Muscle plugin from MIA Laboratories will serve as a real protein shake for your tracks.
The Greek company MIA Laboratories makes excellent software for music production based on analog studio units. On their website, you can find many solutions for yourself, such as compressors, tape saturators, and enhancers. Also, these guys provided several plugins for free, and these are high and low-pass filters Border and one-knob enhancers Fat, Muscle, and Thin.
Enhancer Muscle promises to increase the volume and presence of your tracks without any compression. The developers recommend it for the quietest instruments. As a result, they will sound as if they “grew muscles.” You can use this plugin on master buses as well.
- One Big Knob
You will see a large knob marked Protein. It will be the primary tool for working with plugins. Just twist it, and you’ll hear your sound become more expressive.
- Watch Out for Clipping
The developers have made sure that you immediately notice when your signal clips. That’s why they’ve included a significant indicator in the plugin that lets you know when it’s overshooting.
- Control Your Volume
Since the plugin is straightforward, this is his last knob. It will let you adjust the gain when the effect is too much.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (64-bit only) and macOS 10.7 or higher. It comes in VST2, AU, and AAX formats.
The free Mia Muscle plugin may particularly appeal to you if you like one-knob software. It performs its task one hundred percent like a pretty standard enhancer. With it, your sound will be more powerful and expressive.
SubBass Doctor 808 (Sub / Bass Enhancer)
The SubBass Doctor 808 by United Plugins will help cure your low-end and give it a new, fresh sound.
If you do not have the necessary monitoring equipment, it won’t be easy to monitor the sub information of your mixes. Moreover, improperly processed subs can even harm some of the extensive PA systems. Plugin United has introduced software to help you keep your 808s healthy. And this is the one we decided to add to our article as a bonus – the SubBass Doctor 808.
This plugin is quite simple but has basic settings to help you get the right low-end. You will see four knobs and a good-looking indicator to help you understand your signal level. Let’s dive into what this doc can do with your subs.
- Cure Your Low-End
It is the central knob that carves your bass but musically with filters. In simple words, it will remove muddiness and some of the high frequencies present in the sub-bass.
- A Nice Saturation
The plugin also has a SAT knob, which gives saturation to your signal. To be more specific, it will add some nice frequencies to the midrange.
- Boost You Sub Harmonics
If you see that you need to add more subs, the SUB knob will help. The thing is that it adds harmonics in the same musical way, so your signal will benefit from it.
- Not Only For 808s
Of course, the SubBass Doctor 808 was initially designed for drums and synthesizers. But you can also use it for other instruments with low information, like 5-string and double bass.
- Smart Bypass
We know that sometimes we can get some clicks when we turn on the plugin. A nice bonus is that SubBass Doctor has an intelligent bypass system, so you can feel free to automate the software where you need it.
The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher (both 32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
SubBass Doctor 808 is a tool to help you keep your subs healthy. It removes dangerous frequencies and, besides, can boost quite pleasant ones for the ear, thanks to the built-in saturation function. Also, a cool feature is that you can use it not only for the 808s but also for bass and contrabass. In short, wherever you need to, make sure that the low-end is right.
As you can see, there are plenty of enhancer plugins. From one point of view, they are all very different, but on the other hand, they have one thing in common – they all improve your signal, turn weak into vital, add extra content and make your instruments sound fresher and more expressive. But still, let us give you some tips on how to choose a suitable enhancer for you.
First of all, you need to be ahead of the curve, whether or not you can invest in this software. And secondly, what genre of music you’re into, or whether you want a specific tool for one task or a universal one.
If you have some money and want a versatile enhancer, an excellent option for you would be #3 is Vitamin by Waves Audio and #1 Spectre by Wavesfactory. But if you can’t invest the money, there aren’t many universal solutions out there. Nevertheless, you can safely try number 1 of our free list – Diablo Lite from Cymatics and number 3 – Ozone Imager 2 from iZotope to expand your stereo picture.
For those who create electronic music, we can recommend the software to improve the 808s – it is number 2 Vortex and a bonus plugin – SubBass Doctor 808. For bass guitar, you can safely try #5 MBassador. And to enhance vocals, we suggest looking at the #6 -- Type A plugin from AudioThing.
Remember that enhancers are advised to be used where it is needed. Because, as we know, overprocessing can be a pretty bad habit. So, use them wisely. Good luck!
Ilarion Ivanenko is a remote mixing and mastering engineer, a musician with more than 15 years of experience. Specializes in rock, metal, progressive and the other genres. He can’t imagine his life without music, as it is the biggest passion in his life