best mastering plugins for music production

Best Mastering Plugins in 2021 for Music Producers & Audio Engineers

The final steps to deliver an end product are one of the most important things in music production. Balance the low-, mid-, and high end, gain-stage the total mix, mid/side treatments, and adjust the overall volume to get the most out of your production. This stage of music production is called mastering and is normally done by a professional mastering engineer as they are specially trained for this stage. Curious what kind of tools these mastering engineers are using? Here are the best mastering VST plugins in 2021 for music producers.

Best Mastering VST Plugins in 2021

 

  1. iZotope Ozone 9
  2. Mastering The Mix Reference 2
  3. SSL G-Master Buss Compressor 
  4. FabFilter Pro-L 2
  5. S1 Stereo Imager
  6. FabFilter Pro-MB
  7. Melda Productions MDynamics MB
  8. Eventide Elevate Mastering Bundle
  9. iZotope Tonal Balance Control 2
  10. Mastering The Mix Expose

 

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1.iZotope Ozone 9

Grammy award-winning engineers and producers for Nirvana and U2 are participants and supporters of Izotope’s Ozone 9 mastering plugin. Use the built-in EQs, maximizers, exciters, match EQ, low-end focus, and many more features to take your track to the next level. Ozone 9 claims the #1 spot in our Best Mastering Plugins Charts.

 

 

2. Mastering The Mix Reference 2

Referencing tracks is a mastering technique that helps you in making your tracks sound professional by comparing them to other tracks. Reference 2 allows you to compare your track with up to 12 reference tracks. The VST plugin will analyze your track and will highlight the difference in volume, frequency spectrum & stereo width with the reference tracks supplied. Priced at an affordable value of £49.00, Reference 2 is a great plugin for music producers & mastering engineers.

 

 

 

 

3.SSL G-Master Buss Compressor 

This digital vst version of the renowned master buss compressor, SSL 4000 G console, is well known in the music industry for its ability to glue tracks together. Use it on piano’s to treat the dynamics, add punch to your drums, or use it on entire mixes to make your track more powerful. Check out this mastering vst plugin in action down below.

 

 

4.FabFilter Pro-L 2

Limiters form an integral part of the mastering process and FabFilter’s Pro-L 2 VST plugin is one of the best in the industry. Pro-L 2 has been utilised by many big artists like Skrillex, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, and David Guetta at the end of master chains, mixes, or individual sounds. Its waveform visualizer shows you every detail of the incoming signal and offers you the most important features to deliver a professional end product.

 

 

5.S1 Stereo Imager

This stereo enhancing plugin of Waves lets you treat the stereo field of any sound. Through its clear visualizer, you can put your sub easily to mono, spread your pads to the side, or add mid/side imaging. You can adjust the incoming gain, width, frequency, and outgoing gain. You can utilize this vst plugin for a variety of purposes including mastering. Check out S1 Stereo Imager in action down below.

 

 

6.FabFilter Pro-MB

This multi-band compressor of FabFilter contains a threshold, range, attack, release, output, ratio, knee, lookahead, and more features to adjust every single band in different ways. Treat your sounds more natural, broader, or more detailed. Multiband compressor vst plugins in your mastering chain can make ton of a difference if used appropriately.

 

 

7. Melda Productions MDynamics MB 

This compressor from Melda Productions is quite versatile and dynamic in approach. With up to 6 frequency bands you get complete control over each frequency range. Be it expansion, compression, or gating, MDynamics does a satisfying job in every aspect. The features in the plugin include automatic release modes, peak hold, RMS length, look-ahead, psycho-acoustic pre-filtering, custom attack and release shapes, spectral smoothing and much more. Check out the mastering vst in action down below.

 

8. Eventide Elevate Mastering Bundle 

Elevate Mastering Bundle consists of 4 plugins to control every single detail of the mastering process. Included with our:

  • Limiter
  • Graphic EQ
  • Transient Modulator
  • Spectral Clipper + Saturation

The bundle uses artificial intelligence to analyze your track and alters gain, speed & transients. With low latency of the plugin, it allows for smooth real-time editing. Check out more about the bundle down below.

 

9. Tonal Balance Control 2 

Another mastering plugin by iZotope that makes it to our list. Tonal Balance also utilizes referencing tracks as its underlying technique. Included within are 12 target curves representing popular music genres. You also get the option to load your own audio file to create a custom curve. One unique feature of Tonal Balance is the Crest Factor. The Crest Factor meter shows information about the low-end dynamic range of your track. If the meter is to the left, it means your mix is ‘too dynamic’ in the low end. When weighted to the right, it indicates that your mix is ‘too compressed’ in the low end.

 

10. Mastering the Mix Expose 

If you have ever released music on digital platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, etc. you might have noticed that your song behaves differently on different platforms in some cases. This is because the track has some technical issues and since all these platforms deploy different compression values, your track doesn’t sound the same as you originally created. Expose by Mastering The Mix is quite a handy tool to overcome this issue. Just drag and drop your track on the plugin and it will highlight all the issues related to loudness, peaks, stereo/phase information, and the dynamic range of your audio. Once, you have analyzed your track in Expose and made the required changes you can be fearless and upload your music on digital platforms without worrying about the audio quality.

 

 

 

Read the next article: Best Chorus VST Plugins in 2021 for Music Producers 

Image Credit: Waves

 

 

- DJ/Producer from the Netherlands. - Graduated from the Conservatory in Amsterdam. - Currently working as the technical writer at We Rave You

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