How to get that analog sound in your DAW

For some reason, everyone always boasts about the glory days of the multitrack tapes and analogue consoles. They always attest that these consoles simply made everything sound so much better and that the coloration and character created by these beasts were unmatched. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. Ever since the digital era though, everything has changed. Gone are the days of owning a million-dollar studio to reach stardom and fame. A simple laptop, if used correctly, can create the next movement in music. There are truly no rules anymore when it comes to recording.

With that being said, there is something to be said about recreating that analogue sound in your DAW that is so pleasing to the ear. That subtle harmonic distortion an analogue console can add can be pleasing to the ear and can take your recordings the next level. The analog summing that was once done by a 64 Channel Neve Console can now be done in your DAW with select plugins. Below are a few plugins that can help capture that analogue sound in your DAW.

Waves SSL E Channel Strip

This is a go-to plugin for so many studios around the world. Modeled after the world-famous SSL console desk, you are truly working with history with this plugin. Best part is, not only do you get that vintage SSL preamp coloration; you get EQ and compression all in the same plugin. It’s no wonder I, as well as thousands of studio owners, across the world reach for this amazing plugin in every session we work with.

Waves NLS-Non Linear Summer

I often struggled when I first began recording achieving that open, wide stereo sound that my favorite artist’s albums always achieved. After discovering the power of EQ’ing properly, I strived for even more clarity and wider mixes. Not having the budget to invest in a large console mixer, I purchased the Waves NLS-Non Linear Summer. Man was surprised how impressive this plugin was. From widening my mixes to dialing in that analog harmonic distortion and saturation, I was a true believer in Waves. I now bounce all my mixes using this plugin to further achieve that analog sound that so many crave.

Waves Kramer Master Tape

If you’re looking to warm up your individual tracks with that tape saturation that is difficult to recreate in the digital domain, then look no further. From adding those subtle harmonics to a voice that will really push it to the forefront of your mix or to adding it on a bass track to give it that grit and crunch to drive the song, you’ll find a use for this plugin on pretty much every track.

Steven Slate Virtual Console Collection


These are just a few of the many analog modeled plugins on the market that do a great job of modeling their time-honored predecessors. Capturing that vintage sound is not really that hard nowadays. Users from any budget can now have access to recreations of the same tools used by our former greats in the recording industry for a fraction of the cost. Take advantage of this glorious time!