3 Essential Plugins That Didn’t Come With Your Daw

You can lock me in a room with a band, my rig, and stock plugins. I really wouldn’t mind at first. (It would be almost exactly the same a my current life) The stock plugin packages that come with DAW systems have been getting better. So much better that I use them instead of plugins I’ve spent money on. But, I still lean on a few key plug-ins that aren’t stock. (And I like them so much that I’d eventually claw my way out of that room to get them) The DAW I use is Pro Tools, but this list should work across most DAWs.

  1. Drumagog

This plugin will use your individual drum tracks to trigger sounds. This can be put on a kick drum track and set to trigger a sampled kick drum every time the wave crosses the sensitivity threshold. It can sample dynamically and loads several samples per drum. So there are separate kicks triggered for different volumes (if you use a truth drum set kick within the program and the kick drum was hit lightly in the audio you captured it will be replaced by a lighter sample of that same truth kick drum. Same thing goes for louder hits and inbetween dynamics). You can even use a bus to print your Drumagog sample to a new track. That way you can have the original captured sound and the sample play back at the same time. This makes it very easy to adjust the balance using your DAWs faders. The features are in-depth, and the demo is free for 14 days! Follow this link to test drive Drumagog 5:


  1. Melodyne Studio 3

Melodyne is a vocal correction software that gives you manual control over an artists vocal performance. Adjust the singers pitch, vibrato, even make harmonies by duplicating and changing the pitch of the main vocal. I prefer to use this standalone studio rather than a plugin. The demo of Melodyne Studio 3 gives you access to all of its features. Unfortunately, the demo will not let you export any audio from Melodyne. Try out the Melodyne Studio demo (as well as the other versions if you’d like) by following this link:


  1. Vocalign Project

Vocalign was originally developed to aid our friends in the film sound industry. It’s meant to be used to synch audio recorded in a studio to audio recorded on-set, so that actors can re-take lines that didn’t come out clearly. The focus was making the lines said on in the studio match the lip movement of the actor on set. It turns out that this is PERFECT for getting your doubled vocals tight. I’ve even used it to tighten gang vocals. I suggest the project version of this plugin. It’s cheaper and does a great job for those of use working on short parts of songs. You can get a demo version here:


Try out these demos and let me know what you think. Your recordings will get significantly better the moment you start using them properly. So lock yourself in a room with your rig and test everything about these plugins before your trial periods run out.


2 thoughts on “3 Essential Plugins That Didn’t Come With Your Daw

    • I think it’s a bit of a personal choice. I prefer to separate my workflow. I think it helps me focus in and think about only vocals.

      I like to edit everything about them. I even create some nice sounding background vocals using the duplicating tool. Then, when I take it into Pro Tools and start mixing, I have a lot of great options.

      Do you prefer to create on the fly?

Leave a Comment