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

Fabfilter stuff is fantastic.
Soundtoys stuff as well.
N.I. Raum is my most used reverb.
Baby Audio has some really nice coloration efx, such as cassette and VHS.
If I wasn’t su h a harder I’d mostly likely be perfectly fine with Ableton’s utility and limiter on every channel with Raum sprinkled where needed. Fabfilter bundle could be the last you’d ever need though.

A thing about FabFilter is they will work in any DAW, so if I put in the time to get to know them really well, I know I can use them in Reaper or Logic if I ever want to change.

I have the Soundtoys bundle too, I use the plate reverb a lot, I find them too heavy on CPU to use everywhere, but I have an old crappy Intel mac mini.

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Bitwig rule them all

I’m torn

On the one hand Fabfilter C-2 is a better compressor than you get in Bitwig.

On the other hand I used the built in “Dynamics” bitwig plugin to sidechain some hats and being able to see the amount of sidechaining being applied in the mixer window in real time is super useful.

Great question. I use the following tools for mixing & mastering:

  • Fabfilter Q3: Very precise EQ, easy to see the peaks of your sound and compare 2 sounds.
  • Fabfilter MB: Very flexible multiband compressor (up to 6 bands I think)
  • Sonible for Limiting: Best UI to keep track of your loudness and dynamics
  • Soothe2: to take away harsh frequencies
  • Gulfoss live with minimal settings when playing live; just adds some brightness and reduces the muddiness in a very nice way
  • Ozone: Mastering assistent to compare EQ to a reference track and for dynamic compression

The following Ableton stock plugins beat most of the more expensive options imo. I have tried arturia and soundtoys, but decided to stick to these instead:

  • Saturator
  • Hybrid reverb
  • Echo
  • Glue compressor

I’d also recommend watching the latest seed2stage video: 6 things you don’t need expensive plugins for (use Ableton instead) - YouTube :slight_smile:


You’ve hit on an interesting point here actually. I do keep a little budget for learning as much as I do for plugins, mainly because if I spot a knowledge gap I don’t mind investing in some proper tuition. Oddly I recently came across the S2S mixing course and did consider whether that would be the better move than more software. One to think about for later in the year…

But when that time does come, it looks like FabFilter is a long way out front, judging by this thread!


I’m thinking more and more that this is the move. I know it’s a silly thing, but not only are these powerful - but one of the big benefits of Ableton is the fact that the mixing tools are so discrete at the bottom, while also being tweakable if you need, rather than taking up the whole screen.

I’d be interested to hear more about saturation & limiting specifically. Even though I don’t understand it yet, I can see why Pro-Q3 is so popular because of the way it visualises the frequencies. I keep hearing one group of folks say that the stock plugins aren’t great (eg: using Oxford Inflator for example), but others literally recreating the same effect with stock devices. Do you have a view on whether Ableton is genuinely lacking in that area, or are the results with the bundle tools something that you can do in Ableton with a bit of work?

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imo the stock plugins are great, they are so easy to use and optimized for performance, lots of them have HQ mode although it’s usually hidden in right-click or something.
on individual channels I almost exclusively use stock stuff because it’s faster and easier.

but on buses/master when I try recreating same chain from stock plugins and FabFilter plugins the difference is night and day.
FabFilter stuff is that it’s just sounds so damn good straight out of the box compared to the stock ones with pretty much the same settings. that’s where FF stuff shines imo, I could try tweaking the stock plugins but when I put Saturn > Pro C2 > Pro Q3 > L2 it’s just great with minimal touches.

there are lots of bus and master chains within the Core Library > Racks > Mixing & Mastering, and I always try couple of these as well as they are pre-configured and have macro variations preset, but again after trying some of them and their variations I put a simple FF chain with the 4 monsters and it instantly sounds better to me.

also, the FF plugins come with oversampling, true peak, linear phase capabilities which are great and most of stock plugins don’t go that deep. and Pro-Q3, man, that thing is just a work of art. the built in analyzer that can read from another instance and point on clashes, the dynamic gain, it’s just another level workflow… but I’ll still use EQ8 for simple things like cutting/shelving lows/highs…


I was going to say exactly this.

Fabfilter is worth it’s weight in gold.

I’d happily not have the Arturia set.

The Baby Audio and Soundtoys is not needed, but fun and inspiring.

I use stock Bitwig plugs more and more for speed and interactivity.


Cool. This is interesting because I’ve been playing with the Hybrid reverb in a similar way. I found that in a direct test vs Valhalla - the Hybrid is pretty amazing and when you spend a few minutes with it, it gets close, pretty quickly. It also has a shimmer mode and a vintage button which means you can do a heck of a lot in one plugin. That said, the process for getting a nice reverb out of VintageVerb seems to be, erm… switch it on?! So I guess (and this goes for any plugin) if the interface gives you a workflow or creative possibilities, that is definitley something worth investing in, and the same would probably go for anything that speeds up workflow. Sounds like these FF plugins smash it out of the park in that regard. Based on these comments if I was targeting an expensive bundle in future, it would be this one.

Ah yeah I found this button which is very strangely named in the original reverb. I wish that part of the plugin part of Ableton was a bit more transparent so idiots like me can find stuff.

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This. Or sometimes instead:
Saturn > Pro MB > Pro Q3 > L2


I "foolishly?’ tried to save money, and bought all the fabfilter stuff for ipad. And I usually use my MBP to finish up my tracks and post on soundcloud.

That one extra step of trying to go into the ipad to master is enough to not have used any of it yet, and I just use izotope for now.

I figure, when I get into Aum and Drambo, then the fabfilter stuff can shine.

I only have the Valhalla Supermassive, I want to buy their reverb and delay just to support the company, I love their plugins…

But I do compare the Hybrid > Pro R, they are completely different imo… in general I don’t think I ever found similar reverbs from different companies, they all different, and imo sound of reverb it’s either you like it or you don’t, there’s no better/worse, it’s just what character you like better.
personally I love the Hybrid’s convolution thing, but I don’t like the algo reverb so much, so sometimes I combine Hybrid 100% convolution and the stock Reverb or Pro-R… it’s just so different…
and sometimes you just put a SuperMassive and it’s like you are all of a sudden in space and you can’t use any other reverb after that lol…

right-click everything! synths, audio effects, EVERYTHING! lot’s of hidden features are in right clicks and the triangle buttons…
like, did u know that Wavetable comes with HQ? :open_mouth:

also Saturator!
and the Phaser has 2 lfos for the nodes movements… crazy stuff!


Yeah right click everything. Turn on Hi-Q and save as default preset and its on always.

Oh jeez… Nope. Well this thread just took a turn for the educational. I did hear about the reverb & saturator but not the synths!

Agreed, I just love how simple and focussed the sounds are. And when you have an indie who doesn’t play games and has a simple/clear pricing that is accessible I just love that. Similarly I really rate Soundghost as an indie focussed samples, instruments boutique etc (mostly for lofi sounds). I’m all for buying a few bits off these folks, of course with the intent of using them, but also with the idea of supporting what they do outside the big plugin/sample alliances.

As a non-buyer I can’t speak to this yet - but I kinda like the vibe of the Baby Audio one, partly because it seems like they’ve gone for the “more is less” approach. I assume like the others it will accumulate extras over time. But I do like the focus of it, and dang those interfaces look like a joy to use…

I’m curious about the Arturia thing. I thought it was interesting that the marketing line on the website is “effects you’ll actually use” and yet loads of people have said they bought it (admittedly for next to nothing) and don’t actually use it, or that it’s kinda OK but they didn’t gel with it much.

For me some of it’s the combination of the skuomorphic design with the focus on modelling vintage hardware.

With Arturia I have 5 different compressors and apparently it’s the “unique sound of the classic ABC123 compressor as used by Fred Bloggs in 1968”, but I’m not a retro studio nerd so I don’t know what that is or why I should use it and the knobs are all esoteric and don’t explain why you need to set them and offer no visual feedback of what it’s doing.

Compare it to C-2 and you just get a brilliant compressor that you understand exactly what it’s doing. Also I’m coming to the conclusion that the Arturia stuff including the synths are good, but suffer from sluggish UI, high CPU and the sound quality is not best in class.

I also don’t like that they will have 3 delay plugins and 3 reverb plugins rather than Timeless and Pro-R which just do all the Delays and Reverbs you might want.

Given the crazy offers the bundles go in then they are still and excellent deal and there are things like the Juno and Dimension Chorus, Flanger and Fragments that I use a lot.

I bought V Collection and FX Collection in the sale because I thought it would be all I’d ever need, but if I was starting again I’d get the Fabfilter plugins and a couple of the Soundtoys (Decapitator, Panman, Devil Loc, Alter Boy, Crystallizer) and Baby Audio (TAIP, Smooth Operator, Crystalline, Super VHS) and leave it there.


this idea really resonates with me. thank you.


Talking reverbs, another I find myself using a lot is NI Raum. (Which I got free as an NI Christmas gift a couple years back). It uses a feedback delay network in a couple of its algorithms that doesn’t sound like any other verb I’ve got, and it shows up in a good bit of my stuff since then.


After a similar thread on another forum, I took a dive into the Arturia stuff that I also don’t use.

I’m actually going to start using the Pre’s on every track in mixes. Their built-in tutorials are great especially if you don’t have clue about why these were modeled in the first place.

I don’t have a need for their delays or reverbs. It’s nothing to do with quality and more that I have my go-tos for hardware and software already sorted.

I might use their comps and saturators, but I definitely don’t need to.

yeah that’s kinda my point, once you like something in a reverb you tend to use it not because it’s better or worse but because you like the character and what is doing for you.
some people doing wonders with stock ones, some don’t like them, nothing to do with quality but mostly character

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