Most people would agree that plugins are better than ever before. Most plugins don’t age like a fine scotch, rather they come across as rather nasty sounding compared to the new breed. Some have stood the test of time however, here are some of them… The closest thing you will come to “vintage plugins”.
McDSP Analog Channel
Analog Channel (pictured at the top) is actually two plugins, AC1 and AC2 (or AC101 and AC202 if you have the newer versions) that most will use to simulate tape and console. While I personally prefer the Universal Audio tape emulations and the Slate Digital Virtual Console Collection for those purposes, Analog Channel still holds its own. I like to crank the AC1 to make vocals aggressive and the AC2 is really cool on a drum bus. Old, but still good.
Metric Halo ChannelStrip
While I have to admit that the release of AAX versions of Metric Halo’s plugins is my first encounter with their ChannelStrip, it must be considered a classic. For years Metric Halo customers have been swearing by it, claiming it’s their go-to EQ and dynamics.
Sonnox Oxford EQ
The Sonnox Oxford EQ, or Sony Oxford EQ when it was released, was long considered one of the best EQ’s out there. For many Pro Tools users the release of EQ3 meant a switch – I believe not so much because it sounded better but rather because it was bundled with Pro Tools. Still, lots of folks stick to their Oxford EQ, and for good reasons, it’s still a perfectly fine EQ.
Dave Hill’s plugin baby Phoenix was more recently (well, relatively recently) released in a Native version with AAX but TDM users have been using it for years. It’s not uncommon to see Phoenix on more or less every channel in some projects!
Native Instruments Massive
Softsynths are better today than a few years ago, WAY better! Fxpansion DCAM and Spectrasonics Omnisphere kicks the bejeebus out of most older softsynths. Massive, which has some 6-7 years on it, does however still show up in many folks productions. Plenty of new preset packs are still made for it and since it’s now bundled with Maschine you can expect Massive to live on much longer.
You must realize that “vintage plugins” is said with tongue-in-cheek, and is not to be confused with vintage analog hardware. It’s basically just my way of saying that they’ve stood the test of time. Probably because plugins are still in their infancy, newer is often better, but not always. If you can’t make a great production with these plugins – don’t blame the tools.