Black Friday offers a huge amount of temptation each year. Musicians, with their affliction of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), are therefore tempted with even more toys of gear, plugins, and sample libraries.

My two favourite purchases below, as you will see, show that I went large and splashed the cash this year. It’s really satisfying not to have spent a lot of money on something I love using.

Brainworx bx_digital V3 $299 $99

Brainworx bx_digital V3 M/S EQ

The bx_digital V3 was a joy to use straight off with very little learning curve first time when mastering a track. A lovely sounding M/S EQ with an intuitive GUI.

I love how it is arranged with mono (centre) controls on the left, and stereo (side) on the right. Also, the convenience that each setting can be linked quickly with the link buttons. The Stereo Width setting, in the middle of the top section, is very pleasing for some subtle enhancement.

The Dynamic EQs in the middle unit are quick and easy to set with a nice result. The Mono-Maker can also be very handy for phase issues in the bass by making everything below the chosen frequency.

Plug & Mix VIP Bundle $249 $49

Plug & Mix VIP Bundle

What a fantastic collection of little toys!

There are some real gems in the Plug & Mix VIP Bundle of 50 plugins and, like using SoundToys for mixing, I know I’m going to have my favourites that will be used time and time again.

I love how quick the result can be by chucking one or more of these effects onto a track, tweak a bit, and you’re done. They look great too and use the similar UI layout throughout the range.

Ones that I’ve used and liked so far are Analoger, British Tone, California Tone, Degradiator, Dimension 3D, Lo-Fi and Multi-Tap Delay.

What did you buy this Black Friday and how much do you like it? Did you break the bank or go “cost effective”?

I was doing some mixing over the weekend and, due to seeing one of Waves’s often sales, I thought I’d give the Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter a shot at it’s bargain price. (I may have also bought a couple of more toys in the sale!).

Here’s the Waves blurb about the AVA Exciter

When it was originally introduced in the mid-1970s, the Aphex Aural Exciter® brought its distinctive sound to select sessions by leading recording artists, traveling from studio to studio as an exclusive (and expensive) rental unit.

A true groundbreaker, the original Aural Exciter was highly regarded for its ability to increase and enhance presence, brightness, and detail on vocal tracks and masters alike. It was even credited as a “session player” on popular albums by the likes of Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt, and James Taylor.

Modeled on one of only a few tube-powered units ever made, the new Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter plugin delivers all the unique character of the rare original hardware unit, with all the advantages of software.

Out of 38 tracks in the mix I was working on I used the Exciter on 5 as an insert on each track. I really love the simplicity of throwing an effect like this into play and, after a few tweaks, create a sound that I’m happy with.

You can add a little sparkle to the part or completely change the sonic character and crafting the sound to fit best in the mix.

I definitely would recommend this plugin to add some polish and character to your mixes.

I’m also liking the Waves Licence Centre that authorises the plugins on your computer. My studio Mac Pro is running Waves Mercury on an iLok (which I’ve never had an issue with) but I like that I don’t need an iLok on my Macbook Pro.

Once you’ve bought, downloaded and installed the plugin(s) you open up the WLC and say which computer to authorise et voila!