Best Mastering Plugins: The Ultimate Guide For 2020

Last updated on March 11, 2020
by Jay Von K

Are you READY to start mastering your productions yourself?

Best Mastering VST Plugins

Are you sure?

Mastering Plugins in 2019 has made it SUPER easy to begin understanding the process.

Is mastering that important?

Well, as a final step in audio post-production it adds color to the sonic spectrum.

By balancing or polishing various sonic elements, mastering enhances the level of cohesion in a mix, track big time.

Guess what..?

That’s where reliable mastering plugins come into the picture.

If you are looking for one or two reliable picks for in-the-box mastering needs, below are the Best Mastering Plugins worth a spot in your production toolkit.

13 Best Mastering Plugins

01. Fabfilter Mastering Bundle

Fabfilter Mastering bundle


Starting our list of options, the Mastering Bundle comprises of FabFilter's essential mastering plugins.

Pro-MB Mastering Plugin

To begin with, the Pro-MB comes as an intuitive yet powerful tool that revolutionizes the ever-present difficulty of setting up and controlling multi-band dynamics processing.

Ideally, it shines on a new approach- a unique dynamic processing mode that allows direct creation of a new band at the frequency range of interest.

So, yes!

Instead of splitting the whole spectrum with crossovers, you get to deal with bands. 

Fabfilter Pro L2

Next, the Pro L2 opens the door to top-class metering.

As true peak limiter, it is loud, transparent, and comes equipped with comprehensive metering capabilities.

Among its leading attractions is the real-time level display that grants the user all the information necessary to attain desirable results.


If that isn’t enough, the Pro Q3 will calm your nerves with features tuned to help actualize unrivaled sound and workflow. 

With it, you get to enjoy premium sound quality with features housed in an innovative and easy to use interface.

Topping the list of Pro Q3's offerings are linear phase operation, zero latency, intelligent solo functionality, natural phase modes, variable placement of EQ bands, and more.

Fabfilter Pro L2

Finally, the bundle offers the Pro C-2, another cutting-edge compressor plugin.

Here, imagine subtle mastering compression, upfront lead vocal, magic drum glue, or even EDM pumping, with the Pro C-2 all that is literally a walk in the park.

And with up to eight distinct program-relying compression styles, classic compressor controls, intelligent auto-gain, and auto-release, and more, there is little else to ask.

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02. Waves – Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain

Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain


Moving right along, here comes the Waves-Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain.

In the simplest terms, it is a modular mastering plugin that emulates the EMI TG12410 Transfer Console.

At its core are five distinct processors arranged in modules as follows; the TG12411 Input, TG12312 Tone (EQ), TG12414 compressor/limiter, TG112414 filter, and TF12416 VAL (stereo spread).

In principle, all the modules are re-arrangeable and can be used independently, especially during mixing.

TG Mastering Chain

Now, as a unit, it delivers classic hardware sound just like the machine it takes after.

However, it features extra options beyond what the analog model offers.

As such, it opens the way to unparalleled functionality.

So, yes!

If you need vintage quality sound with modern touches, the TG Mastering Chain won’t disappoint.

Discover more about: Waves Plugins

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03. Izotope Ozone 8 Mastering Suite

iZotope Ozone 8


Another comprehensive suite, the Ozone 8 by iZotope is worth checking out for many reasons.

First off, its popularity rests on a new intelligent signal processing, spectral shaping, and efficient tonal balance control features.  

Secondly, as the smartest version of Ozone ever, it features twelve essential mastering processors.

So, you can seamlessly analyze and optimize audio to achieve the desired quality.

Ozone 8 Mastering Suite

Similarly, Ozone 8 features a reliable spectral shaper for taming problematic frequencies.

Better yet, it has a master assistant that makes use of user's audio sonic profile to get them to the most suitable starting point.

And what’s more?

With its intelligent Track A/B referencing you can cite your tracks quickly and hassle-free.

In all, you can think of this plugin as a one-stop station for creating tonally balanced audio.

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04. Eventide Elevate Mastering Bundle

Elevate Mastering Bundle by Eventide


Simply put, the Eventide Elevate is one the most advanced mastering plugins you can ever come across today.

As a unique and powerful multi-band limiter, human-ear EQ, and audio maximizer, it is designed to enhance the loudness of mixes and also make the dynamic perception much better.

Wondering what makes it tick?

Well, at the core of its operation is an intelligent and adaptive technology that affords it real-time response capability.

Again, it can analyze up to twenty-six frequency bands modeled after the human ear while altering the gain, speed, and transient all at the same time.

Beyond that, the Elevate Mastering Bundle makes use of linear auditory filters, a spectral clipper, and up to six different types of metering to deliver perfect tonal control.

Remember! It keeps the subtle dynamics intact all the while.

The outcome is a transparent natural sound you can ever get.

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05. IK Multimedia T-Racks One



Looking for an all-in-one mastering and mixing processor?

The T-Racks one could all you need to incorporate final masters or even shape the sound of lone tracks/mixes. 

So what exactly makes it worth including in your production toolkit?

To begin with, it is simple to use yet quite effective on the job. 

But that is just but the surface.

Explore a little, and you'll appreciate that it comprises of an EQ, compressor, harmonic exciter, low-end enhancer and limiter.

Then again, it has flexible controls optimized to allow quick sound sculpting with fantastic results.

With controls such as AIR, you can regulate the boost/cut of High Frequencies.

The same way with FOCUS, you can adjust the intelligibility of the mids.

Others such as BODY lets you work on fine-tuning low frequencies without ruining overall frequency balance.

We could go on and on…


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06. Audified MixChecker Pro

Audified MixChecker Pro Mix


Now, when it comes to double-checking a mix, very few plugins come close to Audified MixChecker Pro.

Why do we say so?

MixChecker Pro comes with exceptional features for precise simulation of the environment and devices used by listeners.

That way, producers can make mixes that match individual tastes of everyone.

Talk about device distortion, background noise, and auto-advance function. It caters for it all. 

The best part is that it presents all the controls in a simple and user-friendly interface.

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07. Expose by Mastering the Mix

Expose by Mastering the Mix


Ever doubted if your tracks are ready for release?

If this is one of the questions that continually pops up at the tail end of your productions, here comes the perfect answer- Expose by Mastering the Mix.

So, what is it all about?

Quite simply, this mastering tool is designed to help audio producers confirm whether their creations will provide top-notch listening experience.

In use, it makes it easy to make sense of all the technical details and identifies problems in a matter of seconds.

Again, it allows users to preview audio to enable polishing of problematic elements.

Even better, it has useful presets that helps optimize productions for various platforms such as YouTube, Soundcloud, and more.

To top it all, it features tool tips to help guide users when ironing out problems within a mix.

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08. Toneboosters BARRICADE 4

Toneboosters Barricade


By and large, the Barricade 4 is a pro-grade compression and versatile true-peak limiting tool.

Leading its range of impressive features are automatic and adaptive signal modes that epitomizes the outcomes without necessarily exposing the user to hours of manipulation. 

Nonetheless, it also features manual modes so you can shape your sound the manual way.

And it gets better because Barricade 4 supports up to 16 channels.

Think of multi-channel formats such as 5.1, 7.1, A-format, B-format, 2nd, and 3rd order ambisonics for VR and gaming.

When it gets to true peak performance, it supports perceptual noise shaping and dithering for a transparent bit-depth detection.

Other features worth highlighting include integrated loudness management, dedicated input modeller for incorporating analog power, and ultrasonic sampling rate.

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09. Izotope Nectar 3

iZotope Nectar 3


Get this!

With iZotope’s Nectar 3 you have an easy route to great sounding vocal tracks.

As iZotope’s designated vocal processing plugin, it comes ready with all it takes to manage and enhance vocal performances.

Think about application of creative and corrective processing as well as turning vocals from a raw to a finished product.

Specifically, it consists of a pitch editor, compressor, de-esser, delay, dimension module, EQ, gate, harmony engine, reverb, and a saturator.

Besides that, you’ll appreciate the exceptional selection of presets that covers general vocal cleanup, dialogue, and processing for various genres of music.

And with a vocal assistant tool, you can never get stuck creating custom materials for the vocals in your mix.

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10. Izotope Neutron 3

iZotope Neutron 3


 A modern way to transform mixes, Neutron 3 combines fluid interactive visuals, assistive audio technology, and strikingly quicker performance.

The first thing to note, it features a Mix Assistant that provides for automatic sculpting of tracks and balancing of levels, essentially allowing flowing creativity.

In use, the Mix Assistant listens through a complete session and suggests the right levels in a mix.

Moreover, it boasts of Neutron’s signature Track Enhance feature for flawless detection and adjustment of instrument sounds.

You can promptly dive into the analysis, which has been made easier with controls tailored to be intuitive for a mixing experience like no other.

What else?

Neutron 3 affords you the ability to communicate across your session.

Most of all, it avails a better Masking Meter so you can find and fix competing elements of your mix to carve out space for instruments.

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11. Leapwing DynOne II

Leapwing Dynone II Mastering plugin


If you’ve ever doubted whether you need a multi-band compression tool, Leapwig DynOne will give you reasons to think otherwise.

Going through it, you notice it is quite impressive with the design optimized to allow seamless use.

Unlike many multi-band compressors that are quite demanding to set and manipulate, here you’ll have a field day.

For one, it comes equipped with fixed bands so you can go ahead and mix in the compressed signal.

Again, it has min-max values for attack and release and applies variable timing in line with the nature of the signal.

As a parallel linear phase multi-band processor, it has five bands with fixed crossovers- all custom designed to interact harmoniously.

Beyond that, DynOne provides enhanced control for mastering and mixing alike.

From variable RMS vs peak detection to stereo linking percentages as well as smart variable controls, it covers it all.

And guess what?

It also features the highest possible quality FIR filtering ideal for running on a contemporary CPU.

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12. Rob Papen MasterMagic

MasterMagic by Rob Papen


 Well, there are some random situations when you wish things can just happen.

With Rob Papen MasterMagic, you can't enjoy such a reality without the slightest hesitation.

As the name suggests, the MasterMagic by Rob Papen holds a touch of magic that can quickly transform your mastering and mixing game.

In the first place, you don’t need pro-grade experience to find your way around it.

But make no mistake, behind the plain appearance lies some smart algorithms that help complete the job done in no time.

Granted, it features a few basic controls offering simple yet effective tweaking possibilities.

Other key takeaways include the Silky AIR module and the Mono/Stereo module.

In the end, whatever music you’re crafting MasterMagic can tighten all the loose ends.

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13. UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor

UAD Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor


Perhaps the best for last, the Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor is workhorse worth a spot in your production toolkit.

It comes as an accurate modeling of a high-end hardware optimized for taming the dynamics with overwhelming tone and precision control. 

So why should anyone consider it?

Coming with serial two-stage dynamics control and switchable transformer matrix, it grants the power to mix and master with all the power of the revered Shadow Hills Compressor.

Likewise, it allows users to control various transformer output types, namely Nickel, Iron, and Steel, thus allowing access to wide-ranging distortion characteristics and transient limiting.

Other than the above, it enables the use of distinct Optical and Discrete dynamic sections for a trouble-free two-stage serial dynamics control.

Another key takeaway lies in the ability to utilise 90Hz sidechain filtering for sonic compression of low-frequency material.

All in all, you can expect so much more from this supreme tycoon of compression.

Now, over to you!

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Final Thoughts:

With seemingly limitless quality mastering plugins, choosing the most suitable can be overwhelming.

A simple search and you’ll already be spoilt for choice.

Our list highlights some stand-out options that could get you started.

Of course, we haven’t included everything the market has to offer, but the few inclusions are pretty impressive.

Now, over to you!

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