Opinions on the utility of C8 plugins?


I’ve been using C8 Pro since the beginning of the year and am happy with the mixing results I’ve been getting thus far. I deliberately decided to hold off from purchasing any third-party plugins to force myself to use/evaluate the ones that come with C8.

Lat night I noticed that iZotope is running a big sale on many of its products and was thinking about picking up their Music Production Bundle to augment the native C8 Pro plugins. But before I do that I thought I’d see if anyone had any opinions either way as to whether a suite like Ozone is really necessary, or just a fancy luxury.

Feel free to mention any other comparable software that you’ve been using – e.g. FabFilter – and either can’t live without or seldom ever use.

I realize I can d/l and demo the software (which I plan to do), but I’m just too much of a novice at this point to make this decision on my own.


The cubase plugs are pretty good these days.

I think you could do with a really good 3rd party limiter - much like you would find from izotope or the fabfilter Pro-L

A 3rd party EQ would be useful too - I’ve used wavearts trackplug 5 for years and use it on everything.


it really depends on what you want to do. SB native plugs are up to the job they need to do, but luckily other brands have other concepts that work fine and in some cases better. In other cases they don’t. So at least you should be limiting the question to a certain type or range of plugins. There are tons of these things nowadays.

kind regards,

Hi roel, I agree with the essence of what you wrote. However, I was deliberately vague because I would use all of the plugins in iZotope’s bundle (just as I currently use all of the corresponding ones in C8). And so, I didn’t want to limit my inquiry to a particular type of plugin.

What I’m hoping to hear are examples of situations where someone 1) tried to use a particular C8 plugin to do a job and was unable to achieve the desired results because it lacked certain functionality, and then 2) purchased an alternative plugin (possessing this functionality) to get the job done. Off the top of my head I cannot think of such a scenario, and so I’m reluctant to spend money on something that I may not need.

I should also mention that I compose/record/mix a wide range of music as a hobby.

I hope this clarifies things. Cheers…

Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll check them out.

The built in stuff is really good these days - the best plugins are the ones you know intricately - you know how they affect the sound and how to get to where you want to go. The difference between the stock stuff and the top-end megabucks stuff is trivial and there are some brilliant freebies - Variety of sound’s ferricTDS (purlease make a 64 bit version!) and thrillseeker LA are two plugins I wouldn’t replace at any price.

As for izotope - nectar is pretty good but nothing you can’t do in vanilla Cubase with a bit more work. Ozone 6 is a fantastic mastering suite (which I use a lot) and the EQ is superb - my “go to” EQ for surgical work - the Alloy 2 channel strip is good but again you can do 90% of what if gives you in Cubase. I use the EQ and the transient processor which is easier to use and marginally better sounding than the built in Cubase offering.

The honest truth is if you learned the Steinberg plugins inside out then your productions would still be very good - 99% of people wouldn’t tell the difference between a track produced with those and top end megabuck stuff. Music is often about workflow and the reality is some plugins are just faster to get where you want to go rather than being better sound-wise.

The bought plug in I use most are…
Ozone (for mastering and EQ)
PSP Vintage Warmer2
PSP Springbox
Guitar Rig
PSP Mixbass
NI SuperCharger GT

I have a lot of expensive plugs that I rarely use Izotope Trash 2 (Quadrafuzz v2 is 95% as good just not as intuitive) , all the NI compressors (Komplete Ultimate) but use the compressors mentioned plus another freebie, molot (creamy!), their top-end reverbs RC24 etc (I prefer cheapy Toraverb and PSP springbox) I use Cubase’s variaudio instead of Melodyne - simply because the latter is too clunky to use in Cubase and crashes a lot. (even though it’s arguably far better) - it’s all about familiarity and workflow.

I think Cubase plugins are pretty good, as everyone says. But they don’t always provide instant gratification, and they do have deficiencies if you have an experienced and critical ear. Some other manufacturers put more thought into providing plugins that pretty much provide more instant sculpting or a specific sound, e.g. vintage compressor, air EQ, characterful tape delay. And they probably iron out the deficiencies as well.

I use Cb plugins, usually EQ and the channel strip plugins, but I mostly I use UAD plugins and a few Waves. I use these at different times to get different sounds, sounds which I’ve come to think are beneficial in my mix, e.g. I’m familiar with the way the plugins work and I use a specific plugin because I know it will work in the way I want at the time for the mix. This is the case with most people I’d say, and it comes with experience of continual mixing using the plugins.

It wasn’t always like that for me of course, a long while back I was always wondering if I should buy plugins to improve my mixes… I did buy plugins, I invested in UAD mostly, and my mixes did improve! But it’s probably due as much to my general increase in experience as much as the plugin. But certainly, if I’d not invested in the plugins then I wouldn’t have got the experience either, so I’d say you should invest but expect some plugins to be not quite what you want.

Another thing I did a while back was hang out at a studio for a while. This was invaluable for seeing many things, but in terms of plugins, I got to see many varieties, how they worked and how they can (should) be used. In fact, a lot of my musical purchases not just plugins have been made by seeing them used elsewhere and being impressed!


The newer Reverbs, all of the modulation, Rotary, the delays, the multiband envelope shaper, bass amp, quadrafuuz…

IMO these are as good as any 3rd party you could pay a lot for.

Some of the other stuff, like the compressors, fall flat. EQs are as good or bad as you choose to abuse or not.

The plugs most DAWs usually don’t compete with (by choice and development focus) are typically boutique that have ONE specific purpose (Think Sound Radix Pi or Little Labs VOG), plugins that have a distinct sonic vibe that becomes trendy and necessary for professional reference (SoundToys, Sausage Fattener), and finally, solid highly engineered recreations of actual hardware kit in digital code (UAD compressor collections, Acustica Nebula).

In most of those cases, you are asking too much for a DAW to provide a suitable alternative in a professional fast-paced situation and still maintain idealistic sonic benchmarks; in other cases, there just isn’t yet an alternative (like Waves InPhase or Sound Radix Auto-Align). However, much of the innovation that happens in the 3rd party plugin world will drive later innovations in the DAWs.

That being said, the iZotope RX 5 advanced is a very worthy investment… the utility contained in that package is absolutely flawless… it is a very mature platform with solid foundation and a very attentive development team. However, the the version 5 algos has blown me away. the new radius tempo change / pitch shifter… finally competes with Serato. The other notable is Ozone which (in the right hands) can be a DEADLY 2-track manipulation tool. I would plan on springing for Ozone 7 however before investing too much time into 6. They have added an entire arsenal of sonic abilities.

Don’t miss the SoundToys upgrade and sale… the tools are best in class and the platform is fully matured.

So many thoughtful responses and recommendations…thanks to all who responded.

I just checked these out and some of the other plugins on their site. They’re quite good. Especially given the price. :slight_smile:

Based on what you said here, and everything else I’ve read/viewed online, I think I’ll probably pick up Ozone for mastering. It seems to be fairly comprehensive. And I like that you can use it standalone.

Hanging out at a studio is not an option for me, but I have been viewing lots of how-to videos and they’ve been very helpful. Reading books and manuals is important, but there’s no substitute for seeing this stuff in action.

Yes, I agree. Particularly with your comment about the compressors. They seem somewhat ‘lifeless.’ Perhaps this was by design – i.e., maybe Steinberg made them vanilla sounding so that they could be used on a wide variety of material.

If I do buy Ozone now, I’ll wait to install it until ver 7 comes out in November (if you buy now you get a free upgrade to ver 7). I did the same thing with Cubase (bought ver 7.5 and then went straight to ver 8).


I once tried to get the voice sounding similar to that processed with Waves RVox, but using Cubase stock plugins only.

After some tweaking and constantly comparing the two tracks – one with RVox and the other with stock plugins, I managed to get very similar sound. The plugin chain I ended up with was:

  1. Studio EQ
  2. Brickwall Limiter
  3. Compressor
  4. Limiter.

But, although it sounded really close, the resulting wave still looked significantly different, particularly peaks were greatly reduced in the RVox version, and I couldn’t achieve the same without RVox.

I also tried to get the sound of T-Racks 3 MBand Limiter (which I like to put on master section) using Cubase plugins. I think I came up with 1. Studio EQ 2. Multiband Compressor chain, but T-Racks still sounded better. Maybe I should try harder.

I’m in the process of considering a cross grade to Cubase. One of the appealing things Cubase offers IS the built in channel strip, etc…

I think it’s important to be consistent and I’ve started to only go for certain plugins when I absolutely need to do so.

I’ve really got a buffet of stuff to choose from and I feel like sometimes I just pick up certain plugins with no rhyme or reason.

I suppose I’m trying to get better at mixing than choosing what plugins I should use.

Absolutely! Learn your tools. Know how they should react to any given type of audio. It takes a lot of time to learn many of them. Know each parameter and how your audio will react to their extremes.

Or you can keep buying the flavor-of-the-month and never fully understand any of them. IMO marketing has been overly successful often convincing the user to believe the grass is greener on the other side. Or if I just had this emulation…I would sound like God.

After downloading and extensively demo-ing Ozone 7, I have to say that I’m not as impressed as I thought I’d be. And I gained a new-found appreciation for C8’s native tools in the process. Sure, they’re not as fancy as Ozone’s and certainly do not provide as much visualization, but the control they afford and the sound you get is quite comparable. In fact, I heard nothing from any of Ozone’s modules – even the famed exciter and imager – that make me want to buy them.

This was a very useful exercise. :slight_smile: