Nothing like a distressor, though, but very flexible in its own right. If you have a lead that sounds generic and very ‘preset’ like – try adding some URS saturation for analogue warmth and tonality that feels and sounds expensive. Switch the Saturation type to ‘Keep High’ and dial in the saturation knob to 30-40%. When it comes to saturation and distortion, you’ll want to save this preset. Hey there! Another freebie, but this thing is great. Camel Audio seems to have fallen off the map, but at one point, this was a free plugin, so if you do some digging you can find it somewhere on the inter-webs. This breaks a lot of production ‘rules’ but can add some extra edge and loudness to your mix. If you’re like me – this plugin most likely has fallen into the ‘I own it, I use it, but have no idea what I am doing with it’ category at some point. Its quite an annoying myth and interesting how it can be seeded. Real Mix Example: When building your Audien style super-saw stack, isolate a single note lead playing the main melody. It can produce a huge variety of analogue-style saturation tones, plus, the amazing ‘punish’ button allows you to use the saturation knob at an extra 20 DBs. No, indeed it isn't either of those. It can be anything – vocals, percussion, a lead synth, even a bus or group – throw on the Noveltech Character and turn up the character knob. Other times, it needs some extra dirt to sit right in a mix. Next time your mid-range bass needs help creating that ‘wall of sound’ style drop or full section, put the Waves GTR Amp on a send-return bus, select the preset ‘Bass Mo-Town – Below & Above’ and dial in the send to taste. At the end of the day, this plugin is great for subtle drive and weight on a master or group channel. If you’d like to learn more about saturation and distortion, here is a free recording of a live, in-depth workshop I’ve given on the topic. It can produce a huge variety of analogue-style saturation… Real Mix Example: Is there a certain setting on the Distressor you like? “Hyperbits is one of the most reliable and talented producers I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”, Top 20 Saturation & Distortion Plugins for Electronic Music, here is a free recording of a live, in-depth workshop I’ve given on the topic. So with that in mind, here are my favorite 20 saturation and distortion tools, paired with a real-mix-example which demonstrates how I might use each plugin. Instead, dial in some subtle drive (maybe 3-4), switch the style to the EMI (E) setting, set the mix between 70-80% and listen to your vocal gain new clarity, edge, and brightness as it starts to cut through the mix. Try dialing in small amounts of input gain on any of your groups. Bonus: try the Noveltech Vocal Enhancer for a slightly brighter more vocal-ready color! Very classy sounding piece. Absolutely love the bass amps in there. The Saturn has some really powerful presets emulating some crunchy amps and tape saturators. This should sound full and crunchy. Apply liberally to anything and everything. In mid 2011, a then relatively unknown music producer named Audien tweeted “Why have I never used distortion?”. First prototyped in 1994 and officially released in 1996, the Distressor was the first of several pieces of top-end studio gear to come out of Empi… Given the price, I think it offers enough versatility to cover much of the same ground as a pair of Distressors. Tweak the bands until they match a reference track both in color and energy. It can be very useful to thicken up a sound and squash it just right when used it in subtle amounts! A pacesetter in its own right, the Pro-C 2 by FabFilter is a good bet for your money … Real Mix Example: If so, what is it? Select ‘Drive – Smooth Overtones’ and turn up the drive knob liberally, up to 50%, and then turn down the mix knob to taste (I usually end up between 5-15%). Most of the plugins on this list emulate some sort of analogue gear – the Reviver doesn’t do that, and doesn’t claim to. Apply on a drum bus for ultimate punchiness. Turn up band #3, the ultimate ‘3rd Order Harmonics’ – also referred to as added ‘punch’ or ‘detail’ in a mix. SKnote releases "Vastaso" - Stereo multimode compression/distortion with sidechain. A lower used cost VCA type compressor that I personally like that has some range of use (the Distressor is known for its range of usage) is the Urei LA-10 / LA-12 / LA-22 (single channel / dual channel / dual channel with sidechain EQ filter included).