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Top Five Pro Tools Plug Ins

Pro Tools plug-ins create instruments such as drums in a virtual environment.
Pro Tools plug-ins create instruments such as drums in a virtual environment.
Image courtesy of Digidesign

Pro Tools plug-ins are small, third-party software programs that run within the Pro Tools environment, the standard for mixing and recording audio. Each plug-in has a specific function that expands on the recording, editing, mixing and effects capabilities of the native Pro Tools software.

For example, there are plug-ins for tweaking the reverb on a percussion track, plug-ins for adding thicker distortion to a guitar track and even plug-ins for fixing the tone-deaf wailing of your lead singer.

There are literally thousands of plug-ins available for Pro Tools, but the following five are some of the most useful.

1. Digidesign Virtual Instrument Box Set

This new release from the makers of Pro Tools is a combination of five powerful and versatile virtual instrument plug-ins. A plug-in called Velvet gives you access to dozens of emulators of classic 1970s analog keyboards. The emulators come with on-screen replicas of the original instruments, complete with all of the knobs and faders for customizing your sound.

Another plug-in in the box set is called Structure, a sampling workstation that comes with five DVDs of sound files to play with. Strike is a virtual drum machine that's preloaded with five high-definition drum kits with 12 instruments per kit and 300 different samples on each instrument.

2. Auto-Tune 4

Not every lead singer is blessed with perfect pitch. This incredible tool helps correct vocal imperfections by automatically adjusting the vocal track to the intended notes. If automatic mode isn't for you, you can also dive in and tweak notes one by one with a virtual keyboard. There's even a graphical interface that allows you to visualize the vocal track and bump notes up and down in a way that isn't disruptive or obvious to the listener.

3. Sonic NoNOISE

This is a must for anyone who wants to create clean digital remasters of old analog recordings. Sonic NoNOISE uses complex algorithms to detect any hisses, clicks and crackles that aren't part of the intended recording. You can either let the software remove the extraneous noise for you or use the program's many waveform and frequency analysis tools to de-snap, de-crackle and de-pop your own tracks.

4. GRM Tools Classic RTAS Bundle

This is another great tool that's actually a combo of eight separate plug-ins for adding insane effects to any recorded sound. Using graphical interfaces, knobs and faders, you can create mesmerizing sound shadows and Doppler effects to create noises that seem to whiz around the listener's head. The tool is excellent for DJs and sound designers looking for truly original effects.

5. Digidesign DV Toolkit 2

The creators of Pro Tools have assembled this essential plug-in package for film and video sound editors. The software allows for 48 simultaneous stereo or mono tracks and includes useful tools for realistically emulating the reverb of filmed environments, eliminating unwanted background noise, time code synchronization and tools for precisely matching audio to video.

For lots more information about Pro Tools and related topics, check out the links on the next page.