To make great recordings mixing is not enough. You need to take your mixes to the next level with mastering. And it can be a challenging task to accomplish.
But if you have the right mastering plugins, then it’s much easier. And channel strip plugins are the best tools for mastering.
These types of plugins merge compressors, EQs, limiters, and other mastering tools in one plugin. And it makes it easier to master your mixes and make them ready for publishing.
In this post, you will find the ten best channel strip plugins you can get.
1. Solid State Logic Channel Strip 2
Solid State Logic Channel Strip 2 is an amazing mastering tool. The interface is slick, the layout is very intuitive, and the features this plugin offers are just great. This channel strip plugin is a great tool for those who love the analog sound.
The plugin is divided into three sections. It has an advanced EQ section, a dynamic section that includes a compressor and gate/expander module, and also a section for input and output levels. What I like about Channel Strip 2 other than the sound quality is the features and how easy it is to use.
It has few knobs but you can dig deep and make very surgical tweaking. With the EQ you can add pass filters, shelves, and EQ bells. Also, a sidechain setting can be applied. And the dynamics section is really cool too.
The compressor has a great analog sound emulation. But the thing I like is that it has a gate section which makes mastering much easier. You can control range, threshold, release, and hold.
2. Arturia Pre TridA
Arturia Pre TridA is a very interesting and beautiful-looking plugin. If you like analog sound then this channel strip tool is for you. In my opinion, this is one of the best mastering EQ plugins. It’s a very musical-sounding plugin.
The EQ section is very advanced and it allows you to dive deep into the sound and tweak it. And I like the twin EQ layout. It makes it very easy to use it. Has dedicated switches for EQ pass filters and also you can create EQ shelves for different frequencies.
Pre TridA allows you to control input and output signals and also includes a phase switch. It features two VU meters which adds the analog flavor. This plugin is not very expensive and can be a great tool for a home recording.
3. Brainworx BX Console N
Brainworx BX Console N offers true analog sound for your mixes. It emulates the Neve VXS analog mixing console and includes different TMT channels. A great channel strip plugin for mastering with great features and a beautiful interface.
You can go very deep and tweak every detail of your mix. It has pass filters, you can control bandwidth, engage gate, and more. Has a really cool VU level meter and other features such as stereo mode, pre dynamics, hi-Q, etc.
Also, the interface is very beautiful and intuitive. Although it has many knobs and switches, the layout is great and it’s easy to use. And the sound is very good. It adds analog flavor to the tracks and if you like analog sound then it’s for you.
4. Century Tube Channel Strip
Century Tube Channel Strip is an awesome mastering tool from UA Audio. It’s beautiful, powerful, and very easy to use. This plugin can enhance the sound and make mixes sound more professional.
The plugin is divided into four sections. The first section is a tube preamp section where you can control the gain amount, engage low cut, and has a phase switch. The second one is for EQ and offers an interesting layout. Has a dedicated knob for 10kHz and you can control the amount of boost or cut.
Then it has a section where you can control the 300Hz-7.2kHz range. And also there is a 110Hz control. So, you are able to control low and high frequencies separately and mid-range too.
The third and fourth sections are for compression and output level. Each has a single knob and you control the amount. Also, both have beautiful VU meters to see the impact of your settings.
5. Scheps Omni Channel
Scheps Omni Channel is one of the most interesting and full mastering channel strip plugins. It’s designed by a famous mixer Andrew Scheps and offers amazing features. It’s hard to list all the goodies it offers but I will try to make a list of every benefit.
First of all, it’s a huge plugin and is separated into six sections. This plugin includes EQ, saturation, compression, gate, and beautiful output leveling tools. You can do anything with this plugin. Add EQ pass filters, add saturation, tweak EQ, enable gate, and so on.
And each section has multiple controls. This plugin can go very surgical and tweak every section of your mixes. I love the EQ section which allows me to choose any setting I want and tweak my sound.
The output section allows you to listen in stereo, left and right channels, or listen and mix in mono. It’s a great feature to have when you master your songs. Also, it works as a limiter and features two VU meter screens.
6. Softube Summit Audio Grand Channel
Summit Audio Grand Channel is one of my favorite plugins for mastering. The interface is beautiful and it’s a combination of the analog and the digital world. If you want a great EQ and compressor in one plugin then this is the one. Grand Channel si great for mixing too.
The equalizer section is huge and has some amazing features. It is divided into two sections. The first one is for low to mid frequencies and the second one is for mid to high frequencies. Also, there are separate controls for HPF and LPF. The EQ section has two VU meters which makes it easy to EQ your tracks.
The compression section is simpler with a couple of switches and knobs. But it’s very powerful and sounds very good. You can control attack, release, gain, and gain reduction. Also, has a sidechain option where you can choose between internal or external and features a VU meter.
And the features I like are that you can add saturation, mix dry and wet signals and choose the hierarchy. This means that you can use EQ before the compressor or vice versa. Not many plugins offer this cool option.
7. TBProAudio CS 5501
TBProAudio CS 5501 is a great small plugin for mastering. This is a fully-featured channel strip plugin in a small box. Divided into seven different sections offers amazing features. And the layout makes it easier to use this mastering plugin.
The plugin includes EQ, compressor, effects, VU meters, clip protection, and other cool features. With the faders and VU meter, it’s very easy to balance input and output signals.
CS 5501 mastering plugin can do many things. It features a compressor, filters, gate, and expander. A deesser is not included in many plugins but this one has it. Also, you can choose oversampling and clip stage.
Also, you can use saturation, limiter, sidechain options, and much more. And one of my favorite features is the routing which allows you to route different effects as you like them to be.
Channel strip plugins are the best tool for mastering. They make it easy to enhance your mixing sound and make professional-sounding songs. Instead of using separate plugins channel strips allow you to use only one plugin that includes every tool you need to master your mixes. Also, even though they are primary mastering tools they can be used for mixing too.