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Best Saturation plugin?

JEPA

Senior Member
Hello everybody,

i am about to buy a plugin for Audio Saturation (harmonics -> to overdrive). What are the best options? I am aware of these:
  • U-he Satin
  • Waves Tape
  • Elevate Bundle Saturation plugin
  • Mixbus Bus channel strip
  • Beatzkills Goliath
  • PSP Vintage Warmer
  • Softube Saturation Knob
  • Softube Tape
  • Kush Omega
  • Fabfilter Saturn
  • Soundtoys Decapitator
  • iZotope Neutron, Ozone saturation function
  • ToneBoosters Reel and Ferox
  • Audio Assault HeadCrusher
what is the best saturator at the market?

(i will be editing the list)
 
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JEPA

JEPA

Senior Member
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will add Soundtoys Decapitator on the list..
 
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JEPA

JEPA

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thanks guys, but what plugin is the most accurate of all? the best one? or at least the nearest to analog devices? or the most organic one? I mean i won't buy a gear for this...
 
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Anders Bru

Active Member
I actually use the Softube Saturation Knob (which is free) surprisingly often. Not sure which one on the list best represent an "analog" saturation, but my go-to's are Decapitator and Saturn. Fantastic plugins!
 

Divico

Senior Member
most accurate of all? the best one? or at least the nearest to analog devices?
There is none. This is mostly a matter of taste. Each saturation unit sounds different.
Nearest to analog, depents to which hardware you are comparing.
Are you opting for a certain sound or do you want a versatile workhorse?
Tube/ Tape/ A specific unit?

For the workhorse.
Take into consideration parameters you can adjust. Tone shaping, oversampling, multiband saturation -> fabfilter has this for example.

If you are not shure what you want. Maybe a freebie is enough for you?
Saturation Knob, The free version of Headcrusher, IVGI by Klanghelm, MSaturate by Melda, Ferric TDS by Variety of Sound (for gentle tape saturation.). I use all of them and like them.
 
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storyteller

Senior Member
I think satin sounds the best when it is directly compared to other saturation plugs. But I’ve found waves j37 (usually) and Kramer tape (often) to sound the best in a mix. Wave Arts’ Tube Saturator Vintage is now a freebie and sounds great! Grab that one. IK’s SaturatorX is also a great one to add to the mix. It really depends on what you are trying to go for in the use of the plug. Never particularly liked Decapitator, though it gets great reviews. Oh - and I grabbed Hornet Tape earlier this year and think that one sounds phenomenal when dialed in properly. Neutron and Ozone’s saturation section is nice too for subtle touches, but it is probably not what you are looking for based on the plugins you originally listed.
 

aaronventure

Senior Member
Neutron and Ozone saturation is great. Saturn for certain situations, it's much more expansive than the rest because of all the modulators (did you know you can create a transient shaper from Saturn?) and options.

Slate VTMis my favorite tape, though. It's subtle but nothing else sounds as juicy (30 IPS, FG9).
 

Living Fossil

Senior Member
Tape emulations do additional things outside of the aspect you're interested in.

For pure saturation, for me it's usually either Ozone's exciter, Soundtoys Decapitator and Softube's saturation knob, which btw is free. (You should grab it in any case).
 

Quasar

Senior Member
I love the free version of this one: https://klanghelm.com/contents/products/SDRR/SDRR.php
klanghelms plugins are really good and cheap.
I use Headcrusher from audio assault. They do 5$ deals from time to time, thats how I got it.
I got Head Crusher on the same $5 deal, and think it's a really cool plugin, but IMHO it's better for more over-the-top sound mangling - as the name implies - than it is for subtle warmth. At any rate, a little goes a long way with it.

Has anyone shouted out ToneBoosters Ferox and ReelBus? They're both great, and TB's plugs are more than reasonably priced.
 
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JEPA

JEPA

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great comments. Thank you all very much! Yes, there are to fields where i want to use saturation~drive:

  • by the Mix: Vocals (satin harmonics), Drums, Strings, Guitars, Bass-Guitars
  • Sound Design
Yes, there are different types and the field is wide. Tube, Tape, Solid-state Transistor...

Wave Arts’ Tube Saturator Vintage
i have this one. Very good but Hugh CPU depredator...

klanghelms plugins are really good and cheap.
oh yeah, i've heard of these, good reviews! thank you!

Softube Saturation Knob
yeah, i have these one. Nice uses, but not so flexible.

Has anyone shouted out ToneBoosters Ferox and ReelBus?
not tested already...

in a scale, what are the 3 best?

Saturn
Decapitator
Ozone
????????
 

will_m

Active Member
I'm quite fond of the Slate Tube and also Virtual Tape series. More on the subtle side but I've found using multiple instances across a mix help glue it together.
 

Henu

Senior Member
As said, Slate is subtle, but cumulative. I want my saturation to be "felt" instead of being heard, so I like their sound and approach when mixing.

Kush Audio has also some wonderful analog- sounding saturating plugins (note, not "saturators" per se) like their preamps and the Novatron compressor.
 
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