There is a range of virtual studio technology (VST) audio plug-ins available to producers to download and use in digital audio workstations (DAWs). Companies such as HOFA offer VST audio plug-ins that help to perform various tasks including mixing, mastering, and premastering.
Based in Germany, HOFA is a top audio software company who produces high-quality tools for music production. But what exactly are VST plug-ins and how do they enhance music production?
Producing music has never been so accessible as before. Virtual studio technology allows musicians to create smash hits from pretty much anywhere with just the use of a computer. All that’s really needed is a DAW and VST instruments, utilities and effects – many VST plug-ins are also free. Find out more about and download a bunch in our guide to the best FREE VST plug-ins.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at and review of some of HOFA’s audio plug-ins…
This is one of the best freeware Tilt EQ plug-ins out there. This audio plugin allows you to optimise the balance between bass and treble with one simple control at the highest audio level. With an analogue feel of handling and sound, the 4U+ DynamicTiltEQ also has an intuitive workflow and many new creative expressions.
The freeware version includes the following:
One of HOFA’s most popular freeware DAW plug-ins, HOFA Systems offers producers 29 high-quality plug-ins in 5 suites and includes more than 150 HOFA presets, that can be edited to a limited extent. In addition to plug-in presets, HOFA System can save entire processing chains. These chains can be used and edited, as long as the presets use parameters that are available in the freeware version.
Top features include the following:
This plugin is great for helping you decide which tools work best inside your DAW. We sometimes unconsciously often compare the expectations we have of a product (based on how it looks or the brand image), rather than the actual sound character. The 4U+ BlindTest allows you to compare objectively equipment such as plugins through a reliable blind test. You will be able to concentrate on what matters most, the sound, thus ensuring you end up with great sounding music.
Looking for a tool for editing harsh sibilance in vocals or in an entire mix? The HOFA IQ-Series DeEsser is the best tool for processing high-frequency content allowing you to receive great results with simple operation. HOFA IQ-Series DeEsser, which is fuelled by voice recognition, also has very natural vocal sound, even with heavy gain reduction, ensuring your mixes turn out great!
Top features include the following
If you are having trouble finding overlaps or similar problems in audio tracks, the HOFA IQ-Series Analyser is the perfect plug-in. It’s a great tool to compare the frequency ranges of different audio tracks. This analyser shows the frequency spectrum as peak, hold, RMS and energy curve to give producers a more sophisticated sound analysis process.
Top features (V2.0.19) include the following:
Do you have a vinyl record you need to remaster or want to transfer the format of older music? The CD-Burn.DDP.Master makes it super easy to prepare your music for vinyl distribution.
Designed to make mastering and pre-mastering a breeze, the HOFA CD-Burn.DDP.Master enables musicians to Import audio files to edit them, set fade-ins and fade-outs and apply crossfades. The plug-in also includes a Tag Editor to add track titles, artist, and album information. Professional ISRC and EAN codes are supported.
HOFA CD-Burn.DDP.Master Features:
HOFA CD-Burn.DDP.Master PRO Features:
The HOFA IQ-Series Comp is the world’s only compressor that can link the gain reduction to the integrated tone control. Whether you’re processing vocals, drums or other instruments, the HOFA IQ-Series Comp continuously adjusts relevant settings automatically according to the material. Based on your initial settings, you’ll get the best sounding compression ever.
This intelligent colour compressor will help you achieve “warm”, “colourful” or new and experimental compression sounds easily.
Top features (V2.5.8) include the following:
“I know quite a lot of great EQ plugins but the HOFA IQ-Series EQ is the best for me because of the precision and accurate sound…”
– Multiple Grammy Award Winner Norberto Islas
This plug-in has the potential to replace all of your EQs and compressors. The HOFA IQ-Series EQ V3 is a powerful equalizer with dynamics and analyser. This plugin will let you produce top-level mixes and enables innovative sound-shaping due to simultaneous dynamics and frequency editing.
Top features (V3.7.18) include the following:
Looking for the (mastering) limiter, that makes your productions as loud as possible? Look no further. With a clear design, the IQ-Series Limiter plugin is reminiscent of an exclamation mark. This plug-in will give you excellent sounding results with very simple operation. If you need any more convincing about the sound intensity of this tool, this plugin has also received “Best of Equipment”, “Editor’s Choice” and “Reader Awards”.
Top features (V 1.0.11) include the following:
The IQ-Series Reverb VST plug-in includes excellent sounding reverbs and clever editing tools like positioner, modulation and vintage gate that make depth processing in the mix easier than ever before. The included impulse response (IR) library contains hardware reverb devices, real rooms and new, layered reverb combinations.
The IQ-Series Reverb’s centrepiece is the intuitive 3D display. All reverb processing steps are displayed here. You can change the length of the IRs, adjust the envelope curve and even process the different frequency ranges of the reverb differently
Top features include the following:
All of these plug-ins can easily be downloaded from PlugIn Boutique or HOFA-plugins. (You can find links to each of these HOFA downloads above). Most plug-ins created by HOFA can be integrated into most DAWs or be used on their own. HOFA continually carry out tests on their audio Plug-ins using a range of DAWs to ensure their software is compatible with most programmes.
The plug-ins work great with the following DAWs; Ableton Live, Logic (Pro) X, Avid Pro Tools, Bitwig, Cocko’s Reaper, Image Line’s FL Studio, Magix Samplitude/Sequoia, Presonus Studio One, Steinberg Cubase/Nuendo/Wavelab. To find out more about the best DAWs, read our guide on what a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is and how to choose the right one for you.
Downloading the plug-ins mentioned throughout this blog will give you unique features that will no doubt make mixing and mastering much easier.
Although having a range of plug-ins allows you to get really creative and even produce an entire new sound of music, some plug-ins are more geared towards certain types of music. Ensure what you download is relevant to your sound. For example, plug-ins that are used to optimise bass and treble suit pop and hip-hop productions more.
If you have downloaded multiple plug-ins that ultimately perform the same task, you should also consider keeping the one that works best. No need to have plug-ins you won’t use in your DAW. Thankfully HOFA has designed a product that helps you do just that!
Finally, remember these plug-ins have been designed to help the creative process not hinder it. Don’t get bogged down with numerous plug-ins that will make your DAW more complex than it needs to be. There are many VST plugins out there that are overly complicated. Luckily, HOFAs plug-ins are very straightforward. However, if you do find yourself running into difficulties after downloading these plug-ins, HOFA offers many demos and virtual help on their website to get you back to music in no time!
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