Best Music Gear of 2013: Top 10 Plug-Ins

The number of music VST, Audio Unit and AAX Plug-Ins is on the rise. To help you sort through the vast array competing for your attention, here's our roundup of the top 10 plug-ins of 2013.  

2013 has been a massive year for new & innovative music software releases. Native Instruments released the latest and greatest version of Komplete  and if you’re looking to complete your studio with effects and instruments, you won’t get better than that! But, there are other individual effect and instrument plug-ins that really stood out for us here at AskAudioMag.com... And here are 10 of the best plug-ins that passed by our review labs this year (in no order).

If you have other plug-ins you feel deserve to be in this list, let us know in the comments below, or on our FaceBook page.


WaveDNA Liquid Rhythm

Every once in a while something comes along that changes the way we approach making music. WaveDNA's Liquid Rhythm falls into the "unique" bracket with ease and takes the prize as the most innovative and cool rhythmic generator yet. It integrates smoothly into Ableton Live 9 and can also be used as a plug-in with other DAWs.

Liquid Rhythm by WaveDNA

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FabFilter Pro-MB

Hollin Jones found FabFilter's Pro-MB to be "the most intuitive and powerful multiband compressor [he has] ever used." There are plenty of superlatives we can throw at FabFilter's pretty plug-in... Find out for yourself what makes this compressor plug-in shine in our review.

FabFilter Pro-MB Compressor plug-in

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U-He Satin

In the continuing quest for a more "analogue" sound, U-He released Satin, a tape machine from the Golden Age for all us software-heads! Hollin Jones discovers it has multi-faceted uses.

U-he Satin Analog tape machine style plug-in

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UVI Sparkverb

With dozens of good software reverb units available for digital musicians, a new reverb plug-in would need to be plenty special to make us sit up and take notice. Take notice is exactly what we did when testing out UVI's latest reverb plug-in. Find out what effect Sparkverb has had on Mo Volans...

UVI Sparkverb reverb plug-in

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FXpansion BFD3

FXpansion's BFD3 arrived after much anticipation! BFD2 was much loved and used for drum production in studio worldwide... so we were curious whether BFD 3 would take the crown for best acoustic drum instrument in a plug-in? Read our review to find out more how it does that and more.

FXpansion BFD3

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iZotope RX3

Three years since the release of RX2, iZotope upgraded their acclaimed & unique audio suite with more speed and capabilities. Matthew Loel. T Hepworth dives in to see just how good RX3 & RX3 Advanced really are, and whether they would still be the kings of audio restoration.

iZotope RX3 & RX3 Advanced

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AIR Music tech Loom

Loom, an additive virtual synth from AIR Music Technology, has turned a lot of heads  including Noah Pred's. It turns out this 64-bit synth sounds as good as it looks. But exactly how and why is explained in our in-depth review.

Air Music Tech Loom

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Output REV

If you've ever tried reversing sounds and have found it enjoyable... (who hasn't??) you've got some satisfying sonic fun coming your way! We put the beautifully crafted REV Kontakt sample instrument by Output to the test.

Output REV for Kontakt

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Pianoteq 4

What makes a piano software instrument stand out from the crowd? Pro user endorsees like Guy Sigsworth? An authentic sound? A realistic and natural response? Toby Pitman discovers that not only do all three apply, but this instrument is set to be the future for piano instruments.

PianoTeq 4

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Rob Papen SubBoomBass

Looking for an instrument to give you that satisfying low-end your tracks are begging for? Rob Papen has fast become a household name for producers and synthesists and with good reason! We put SubBoomBass to the test and got more than we bargained for.

Rob Papen SubBoomBass

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Stay tuned 

We'll continue to publish more reviews of the best music hardware & software through 2014 and beyond as we aim to become the #1 online resource for musicians, producers and DJs. So, please visit us daily and tell your friends and colleagues. We appreciate your support!



Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & the macProVideo Hub. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic (and a self-confessed Mac fanatic) he's taught teachers, professional musicians and hobbyists how to get the best out of Apple's creative software. He has been a visiting lecturer at Bath Spa University's Teacher training pro... Read More

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