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What You'll Be Creating

If you are familiar with free effect, or mixing, plugins then you have no doubt heard about these VST software. In this tutorial, I’ll show you what they can do and how to use them properly for mixing and a bit of sound design. 

Presently, they’re only 32-bit compatible so, in 64-bit DAW programs, you'll need to use a VST wrapper such as jBridge for Windows.

You can download the plugins from the VST effects website.

For the purposes of this tutorial, I shall be using:

  • NastyVCS, a channel strip with prefiltering, saturation, EQ, compression and limiter
  • TesslaSE, a plain simple fine saturator
  • epicVerb, a reverb effect which has got both normal reverberator and a more different ambience processor
  • ThrillseekerXTC blue, a nice three band mastering EQ with saturation
  • BaxterEQ, a mastering EQ with low shelf and high shelf bands
Variety of Sound plugins rackVariety of Sound plugins rackVariety of Sound plugins rack
These are the plugins we are going to use in the tutorial / Picture by author

Project Basics

I shall use Ableton Suite for the project with a tempo of 128 BPM and a rhythm signature of 4/4.

Ableton project settingsAbleton project settingsAbleton project settings
Project with 128 BPM and 4/4 rhythm signature

About the Music

The piece is a short electronic dance music track idea featuring big pianos, several synth effects and white noise.

Instrument channelsInstrument channelsInstrument channels
Pianos and synth tracks


Before starting mixing, I froze and made flat all the tracks then copied all to the time line, in the arrangement view.


This is the basis of the dance track. It has impact, because of the volume, the saturation using NastyVCS and finally an EQ to make it more knocky.

Effects chain:

  • NastyVCS, saturation at 2
  • EQ Eight, shelving cut at 1 kHz with -9.5 dB and Q of 10.1
NastyVCS on kickNastyVCS on kickNastyVCS on kick
Saturation used with a setting of 2


An accompaniment of hi-hats and snares. I used Nasty and EQ Eight, here, as well. I reduced the high content of the loop, to make room for other sounds.

Effects chain:

  • NastyVCS, prefilter HP at 250 Hz
  • EQ Eight, low pass at 12 kHz with a Q of 0.71
NastyVCS on the loopNastyVCS on the loopNastyVCS on the loop
HP filter used on NastyVCS


I shaped the tone of the bass with TesslaSE's fine saturation then sidechained to the kick. A low pass filter removed the top end and then EQ Eight removed the subs to make room for other low end content.

Effects chain:

  • TesslaSE, saturation is at maximum, output -5.2 dB
  • Compressor, sidechained to the kick, 2:1 ratio, medium attack, auto release
  • NastyVCS, low pass filter at 850 Hz
  • EQ Eight, 4x lo cut at 45 Hz, Q at 0.71
TesslaSE pluginTesslaSE pluginTesslaSE plugin
I used the TesslaSE to increase the harmonics of the sound

Piano Lo

This is a heavily effected piano sound to accompany the other high piano. The Chorus effect gives a bit of stereoness to it.

Effects chain:

  • Chorus, feedback 49%, dry wet 71%, small amount, small rate
  • Redux, soft downsample at 4.17
Plugin chain on low pianoPlugin chain on low pianoPlugin chain on low piano
Chorus and bit reduction settings

Piano Hi

This is the main piano part. It has got a big reverb sound using epicVerb.

Effects chain: epicVerb, 3485 msecm room1 mode, reverb type, 0 predelay

epicVerb pluginepicVerb pluginepicVerb plugin
3485 msec used in reverb mode

Piano Group

This gives more volume and a bit of reductive filtering to the piano section.

Effects chain:

  • Utility, +5 dB amplification
  • NastyVCS, prefilter LP 8.5 kHz, HP 200 Hz
NastyVCS used for filteringNastyVCS used for filteringNastyVCS used for filtering
Filtering duties with NastyVCS


This is a fast and sharp synth sound. I added some air with ThrillseekerXTC and spiced with Ping Pong Delay to spread in the stereo field.

Effects chain:

  • ThrillseekerXTC, air band +8 at 5 kHz, +8.5 at output to compensate volume drop
  • Ping Pong Delay, 20% feedback 22% dry wet
  • NastyVCS, prefilter HP at 300 Hz
ThrillseekerXTC blue on lead trackThrillseekerXTC blue on lead trackThrillseekerXTC blue on lead track
To bring out the top I added a lot of air with ThrillseekerXTC blue

Synth fx1

No effects here.

Synth fx2

I added Chorus to give more stereo to it.

Effects chain:

  • Chorus, medium amount, medium rate, dry wet 34%
  • Utility, +6 dB gain to compensate Chorus effect volume drop
Effects chain on synth fx2Effects chain on synth fx2Effects chain on synth fx2
Utility used to compensate volume drop

Synth fx3

I made the dynamics more dense with the compressor part of NastyVCS.

Effects chain: NastyVCS, compressor at 12 or maximum

NastyVCS on synth fx3 trackNastyVCS on synth fx3 trackNastyVCS on synth fx3 track
Maximum compression used on synth fx3 to make a different sound

Fx Group

I used a Ping Pong Delay to widen the stereo information of the section.

Effects chain:

  • Ping Pong Delay, 41% feedback, 34% dry wet
  • Utility, +3 dB to compensate volume drop
  • NastyVCS, prefilter HP at 250 Hz
FX chain on the fx group trackFX chain on the fx group trackFX chain on the fx group track
The Ping Pong Delay widens the strereo content


This is a rhytmic whitenoise sound with reverb and made lower sounding with BaxterEQ's maximum shelving cut.

Effects chain:

  • epicVerb, reverb type at 355 msec with plate mode, 0 predelay
  • NastyVCS, prefilter HP at 250 Hz
  • BaxterEQ, high shelving cut -5 dB at 3.4 kHz on both sides
BaxterEQ on the noise trackBaxterEQ on the noise trackBaxterEQ on the noise track
I cut the top end with BaxterEQ at 3.4 kHz


I removed some of the subs with EQ Eight to make more headroom and added a Limiter to kill peaks causing distortion.

Effects chain:

  • EQ Eight, 4x times lo cut at 45 Hz with 0.71 Q
  • Limiter, default setting, 0 dB gain
Master chainMaster chainMaster chain
EQ and Limiter on the master channel

Export Settings

To make proper end result I used the following settings:

  • file type: WAV
  • sample rate: 44100 Hz
  • bit depth: 24 bits
  • dither: no dither
Export settingsExport settingsExport settings
I used 44.1 kHz sample rate and 24 bits depth


In this tutorial, I demonstrated how to mix with Variety of Sound plugins on drums, bass, piano, synths, and noise. I used Ableton stock plugins like Limiter, EQ Eight, Chorus and Utility. In some cases I decided to use NastyVCS to filter out low frequency content.

Let me know in the comments below if you have questions on how to use them for more purposes or for other instruments.

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