The Big Bundles... (A question about VST effects/mixing bundles)

Very much in the “nice to have” category, I’m wondering about other folks experience of the mega bundles that go on sale around Black Friday. I know some people have bought a selection of these, or even multiple of them. From what I’ve read, although they have some crossover, they tend to fall into 2 categories, where you either get a) a lot of plugins, or b) a few mixing/mastering plugins:


  • Arturia FX
  • Baby Audio
  • Soundtoys


  • Fabfilter
  • Ozone

I’d be interested to hear your perspective on integrating these plugins into your workflow. With the effects, how many of the bundled units do you actually use, and is the number of options ever overwhelming? And on the mixing & masrtering stuff, I’ve heard that the Fabfilter stuff is in a class of its own in terms of the power of their tools. Is this the sort of stuff that needs to be handled by trained mixers, and is learning in the DAW a better approach before you grab these tools?

I guess overall I’m interested in hearing opinions on how you’ve found these bundles, the good, the bad and maybe if any of them have stood out to you over time in real world use.

I like their stuff, and they have regularily 50% off sales.


I like Soundtoys. They are the standard in a lot of cases.

And the Arturia bundle also is well regarded, but since I have the soundtoys bundle and all the Eventide H9 vsts, I decided not to get the Arturia fx bundle.

Same reason I didn’t get the V collection. I got the analog Labs and pigments, so I feel like I’m covered.

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I have a couple of these. One nice thing about them is that you end up with a bunch of different stuff, some of which you want right now, and some of which you end up trying later and liking. I bought the Arturia FX bundle primarily because I wanted the Fragments granular plugin and I thought I could get some use out of the delays and reverbs. Later on, I’d just try random stuff and discover that the preamp plugins sometimes made things sound subtly better, or that I like using mid/sides EQ. You can do mid/sides EQ in Ableton, but I didn’t know about it until I was randomly surfing presets in the Arturia EQ. The filter plugins in the Arturia bundle are really fun to use too.

The Ozone holiday bundle used to come with Trash and some other things which I’ve just started getting into. Using the mastering wizard in Ozone taught me a lot about mastering. Sometimes I’ll build my own mastering chain with the Arturia effects or Ableton stock effects instead of using Ozone, or I’ll just use Ozone’s dynamic EQ to tame resonance on a single track.

I don’t think I’d buy more plugin bundles for a while as I have plenty to work with now, and moving to a new computer recently reminded me that license management can be a pain. But you can learn a lot from the different presets, customize them up how you like, and generalize that to using stock DAW stuff or as part of sound design on hardware or software synths.

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The lies we tell ourselves.


I have Arturia, Fabfilter, Soundtoys and Baby Audio.

In order of usage

Fabfilter plugins are amazing and I use them all the time L2, C2 and Q3 are all best in class and are on everything I do.
Volcano, Saturn and Timeless are also excellent.

Soundtoys are a bit old now but they are superb. A bunch of them aren’t that useful and there is loads of crossover so you are getting a lot less than it seems but things like Decapitator and Echoboy are classics for a reason.

Baby Audio are kind of fun and esoteric.
Crystalline I use loads, Smooth operator is useful and TAIP and Super VHS are great retro colour plugins. The compressors are good but I pretty much always use Fabfilter in preference.

The Arturia stuff I’m torn about. Given I got it at a really good price and it has an insane amount of stuff it’s clearly a great deal but I find the reliance on skuomorphic re-creations of vintage hardware is not that useful compared to things like Fabfilter which are PC first. As a result I don’t tend to use the compressors, preamps and eqs that much.
The modulations and filters are excellent though and Fragments granuliser is great fun.


not quite a bundle but someday I wish to have most of Valhalla stuff, their plugins are so good and creative.
don’t think I need everything but delay/reverbs would be awesome to have.

also u-he stuff, aside from the synths, satin, color copy and presswerk seems amazing

IK Multimedia Mixbox?

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You know, you would think so, but I’ve started seeing it as a challenge. Like I’ll read about some new plugin and try to figure out “how can I do something like that using what I have?” Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t! But it’s usually pretty fun to try. It is super easy nowadays to get caught up in new stuff when you can literally buy software in your pajamas. I am trying to cultivate a space for old school 1990s style boredom in my life 'cause that is where I get my creative juices from.


Neutron and ozone and soundtoys here. Use all of them for different tasks plus a bunch of other tools.

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For 90% of the Plugin bundles I could very easily recreate them in Bitwig.

That’s where the really interesting stuff like Smooth Operator, Alter Boy, or Fragments come in.

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I am a weak man… haha…

But thats actually a great philosophy to have… I am close to that myself… I have bought all the top gear, and plugins… the only thing I see myself needing to get in the future is to upgrade to kontakt Komplete Standard during the summer sale… I selectively bought all the expansions that I liked…

And its funny, because right before I got the Maschine mk 3, I bought a bunch of Capsule expansions and some Spitfire ones… but once I got the controller with the expansion implementation… its was easier to stay in the NI environment.

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I have FabFilter and Soundtoys.

I don’t use this term lightly, but FabFilter is must-have IMO. I use the EQ all the time for subtractive EQ. If I’m adding to frequencies later in the mix, I’ll often use more of a character EQ. Pro-C is my go-to non-character compressor, and the limiter is my go-to when I do my own masters. Saturn is a nice saturation tool. Other than that, I rarely use the other items.

Soundtoys is good, but offers far more than I actually use. I primarily use EchoBoy, occasionally the Effects Rack, but that’s about it. The number of options can be overwhelming at first, but once you realize what you’re looking for, you wind up with your go-tos and just turn to them most often.

You don’t need to learn in the DAW first - you could do either. But I would wait on a sale for the FabFilter bundle, if you’re exploring going that route. I think twice a year they offer a sale on it. You also don’t need to be a trained mixer. Watch Dan Worrell’s videos on youtube regarding FabFilter stuff. You won’t necessarily need to use all of it, but it’s good to know the capabilities.


Fabfilter is top notch. Definitely leaned on a lot in my DAW. Arturia’s V Collection covers a ton of ground.

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This is veering more towards VSTs (oops), but I absolutely love the combination of Diva and Pigments. Diva is a known quantity for that fat analogue sound, and Pigments can be an ice cold (or warm if you want) companion. A great pairing. Like you I took a quick look at FX, but I wasn’t into the crossgrade with V Collection, which brings the price of FX more into line with some of the other options out there.

I feel you on that. Having alternative interfaces opens up other ways of making stuff, so to me this is very valid if you have the funds to try it.

I sortof want to like the BA collection, for the exact reason you give for not being as keen on the Arturia stuff. I see a list of that many plugins and think… that’s a lot! The BA collection does seem quite focussed and refined - and it’s also not too mad on pricing. I look at that bundle and think I could get a bit of mileage out of it.

I really want to try VintageVerb for sure. It’s on a lot of the records I like, and for 50… Given the quality of the free one I have as well I have no doubt this one would be mega.

When I posted I wondered if this would come up and, hehe, here we are. It’s super interesting that this one comes through as the must have in a lot of reviews/comments etc, and this thread is no different.

This is all great info folks. These are some super interesting pointers.


Fabfilter, Ozone and Waves bundles are 100% a must in my workflow.

I don’t really have many plugins, I have some Arturia, native instruments and Roland soft synth stuff which I could take or leave because I prefer hardware for writing music but for mixing I couldn’t live without the aforementioned bundles. I don’t find them overwhelming at all with the exception of the Waves bundle mostly because all the plugins have such cryptic names (to me at least) I use the limiter, compressor, EQs and reverb from waves a lot, pro q is my surgical eq, Saturn is my preferred distortion and ozone for very basic mastering.

Only thing I gotta warn people about with waves is they charge yearly “update” fees which aren’t feature updates, just critical software updates to make sure they stay up to date with modern PCs and Macs and if you don’t pay them you can be screwed out of using the plug-ins you purchased. It’s like a way they make you buy the plug-in and still pay a subscription fee. I’d say just do your research on whether or not you want to deal with that.

For me I use Fabfilter for most everything and lots of stock effects from both Ableton and FL Studio (I like FL studios audio editor, Edison). Fabfilter just have great sounding effects and easy workflows. The reverb, delay, and distortion are all very good and all the mastering stuff I use on every track.

I used to use Ozone. I still have it installed but now I just use some of the modules in it and that’s it. I always leaned on the AI too much because it was so easy but it literally did the same thing every time. And then I found a lot of the tools to honestly not really be mastering tools but more for mixing, but they sell Ozone as a mastering suite. Not really a bad thing but just something I noticed.

I have some other effects bundles out there like the Moog Moogerfoogers and the Arturia FX collection but that’s all more creative stuff. I’m not a big fan of analog emulations in terms of the EQs and Compressors, I just don’t care about that modeled stuff and I honestly don’t notice a difference. So I stick with cleaner sounding digital Fx from Fabfilter and color things with outboard distortion units.

Sounds like the L2, C2, Q3 & Saturn is a good combo from FabFilter.


I wouldn’t enjoy making music and mixing without Siubdtoys and, I don’t see it mentioned much, Softube.

Softube plugins sound amazing. The Empirical Labs ones are my favorite eq and compressor at the moment. They have many great ones!


Very nice stuff they make. I find their pricing a little on the high side, so I usually wait till Black Friday to buy from them, but their vsts are definitely top notch.

I personally really like the Fuse Audio Labs plugins, in particular the preamps, harmonic/distortion effects and compressors.

In terms of bundles I own most out there (bad habit), I rate Soundtoys though what @ImNotDedYet wrote about that bundle is spot on in my book.

Eventide plugins I love the idea of but I rarely end up using them…they just never stay on.

I have the Black Rooster Audio bundle as well. That one is awesome for its compressors and distortion vsts (Omnitech is phenomenal). No coincidence, the dude that made those is the same guy running Fuse Audio Labs.

Arturia FX I find ok. Something about that Arturia sound that just doesn’t gel with me. I can’t put my finger on it, but these as well never end up staying on a track.

Izotope stuff I like, Ozon is great, Nectar & Neutron are great — but don’t love their installer/updater and they tend to be a bit slow with updating their stuff (eg M1 compatibility).

NI Komplete is another bundle that has effects that surprise me, eg Raum I find great.

I don’t own the FabFilter bundle, but that one certainly is worth its money, their stuff is amazing.

I do own 90% of the UAD plugins and their stuff is also amazing just way too expensive. But the AKG BX20 is nuts and the Distressor emulation is just wonderful.

In the past I found the “clutter” from bundles quite annoying and it would slow me down, but since I use Studio One and Bitwig (both have amazing browsers and allow for organisation of plugins by company, type etc) I don’t mind the clutter that much anymore.

In general I think it is better to pick up individual vsts you want over bundles though unless the deals are just too good to be passed on.

One of my go-to-reverbs for example is LiquidSonics’ Bricasti M7 emulation, Seventh Heaven Pro, hard to beat that one in the reverb department, but there’s no bundle that has it :slight_smile:

I don’t think you can go wrong with any of the typical bundles out there, especially if you don’t own a good selection of handpicked vsts already. The quality you get today is pretty much excellent across the board.

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