Artist Focus: Morgan Page talks top 5 plugin picks
Morgan Page is a seminal force in electronic music. Across his dozens of hit releases, the GRAMMY-nominated producer and DJ has racked up hundreds of millions of plays, and charted multiple Billboard, Beatport, and US Dance Radio #1s.
Having broken through more than a decade ago, on the forefront of the explosion of dance music in North America, Page has built a massive live following. Touring consistently throughout the years, Page has performed at major festivals across the world, including Coachella, EDC, Electric Zoo, Burning Man, and Ultra Music Festival, as well as countless shows in the world's top hard ticket venues and clubs. He currently tours nearly year-round and holds a Las Vegas residency at Daylight, having previously held a three-year residency at Wynn Las Vegas.
Page curates and hosts a weekly radio mix show, 'In The Air', which airs on Sirius XM and is syndicated online and on radio internationally to dozens of countries. 'In The Air' has broadcast weekly uninterrupted for nearly ten years, and has surpassed episode number 500.
Morgan's Quick Tips project is his way to pass on his vast wealth of knowledge and experience to an eager audience of musicians and producers, as well as the broader creator community, helping them crack the creativity code and improve their work flow. MPQT is comprised of a series of 750+ short-form tips and 50+ blog post deep-dives available online and in physical card sets. Recently Morgan partnered up with technology leader OWC to distribute the cards and connect with creators as a brand ambassador. Read more at mpquicktips.com or follow the daily tips at Twitter.com/mpquicktips.
We caught up with Morgan to discuss some of his 'go to' tools in the studio.
The swiss army knife of compressors. Easy to use, sounds like outboard gear, and to my ears smokes most other compressors. I use it to parallel compress my busses.Morgan Page
Introduced in 1993, the Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor is revered in studios all over the world as the modern, "must-have" compressor. Versatile, super fast, and offering tons of color, the Distressor picks up where the legendary UA 1176 and Teletronix LA-2A compressors leave off — a modern tool that's equal parts utilitarian and creative, as heard on thousands of hit records.
The only authentic Distressor plug-in endorsed by Empirical Labs' founder Dave Derr, the UAD Empirical Labs EL8 Distressor is available exclusively for UAD hardware and Apollo interfaces. An exhaustive end-to-end emulation of Derr's iconic hardware, the UAD EL8 Distressor is the only faithful emulation of this true "desert island" compressor.
- Track and mix with the only authentic emulation of the EL8 Distressor — the world's most popular modern compressor.
- Radically shape guitars, drums, and vocals with nearly infinite gain reduction variations.
- Harness plug-in-only features like Dry/Wet parallel processing and Headroom for user‑customizable operating level.
- Creatively color instruments and vocals with famous "Dist 2" and "Dist 3" modes.
- Embellish, pump up, or destroy bass, synth, and room mics with custom detector filtering.
- Mix with presets from Joe Chiccarelli (The Strokes), Vance Powell (Jack White), Jacquire King (Kings of Leon), Jimmy Douglass (The Rolling Stones), and more.
Thick luscious reverb that is my go-to for adding vibe to a track, Fabfilter R is a close second.Morgan Page
Little Plate offers the lush sound of plate reverb with a modern twist.
To create their first dedicated reverb plug-in, Soundtoys collected plate reverbs from around the world, including five original EMT 140s, which are still considered the finest example of the plate reverb sound. After months of repair, tuning, and careful listening, their engineers modeled the rich and spacious sound of their favorite plate from this collection. Then some distinct and modern twists were added, including a modulation switch and infinite reverb tails.
The original EMT 140, with its mechanical and possibly asbestos-clad damping plate, could vary its reverberation decay time from 1 to 5 seconds. Little Plate offers a broader range of decay times: as short as half a second for super tight ambience effects, to truly cavernous extended decay times up to infinity for unique and creative frozen reverb sounds. When Mod is switched on, chaotic variations are used to add life and movement to the reverberation effect. The Low Cut and Mix knobs help to dial in the perfect reverb sound quickly and easily.
- Add the sound of vintage plate reverb to your tracks.
- Push beyond the limits of the hardware with extended reverb decay time.
- Create infinite reverb effects that never decay.
- Optional Modulation for natural-sounding variation in the reverb tail.
- Low Cut filter to tame low frequency build-up.
- 25 distinct presets to quickly dial in a sound.
Parallel stortion - I like to distort for more texture and ironically more clarity and presence in the mixMorgan Page
FabFilter Saturn 2 is a major update to the award-winning multiband distortion and saturation plug-in. Saturn 2 sees a top-to-bottom interface redesign for even greater ease of use and visualization, as well as a host of new features and improvements, including 12 new distortion styles, a radically overhauled and expanded modulation system, enhanced envelopes, linear phase processing, and a pristine new 'Superb' High Quality mode.
Beautiful new interface with modulation visualization
Saturn 2 looks better and flows faster than ever. The darker color scheme makes the plug-in easier to look at for extended sessions, and four interface size options and a stunning full-screen mode enable adaptation to any workspace. Modulation is now comprehensively visualized at both source and target, too, with color-coded collars and tracks on knobs and sliders animating in response to modulation input, the source flow area giving an eye-catching overview of all mod signals, and indicators on controls and bands showing which parameters are being modulated at a glance.
More distortion types
Saturn 2 almost doubles the number of distortion styles on board from 16 to 28. 'Subtle' versions of the Tape, Tube and Saturation styles provide low-intensity warming, while four new British (Rock, Pop) and American (Tweed, Plexi) Amp styles perfectly model well-known guitar amplifiers, three Transformer styles (Subtle, Gentle, Warm) open up abrasive new possibilities, and the Foldback and Breakdown FX styles reshape and mutate sounds beyond recognition, the latter combining down-pitching with heavy distortion.
Big modulation changes
With virtually no limit placed on the combination of 16-step XLFOs, Envelope Generators, Envelope Followers, XY Controllers and MIDI sources that can be used in a preset, Saturn has always been serious about creative modulation, and Saturn 2 takes the whole system to the next level. Curve the Envelope Generator's Attack, Decay and Release stages for a smoother or more aggressive response, activate the Envelope Follower's new Transient detection mode to tightly track drums and percussion, and route discrete band inputs to both Envelope sources as triggering signals - pulverize hi-hats to the rhythm of the kick drum, for example. The XY Controller's new Slider mode, meanwhile, slims it down to vertical-only operation, and the XLFO benefits from legato MIDI triggering and targeting of the Frequency Offset and Balance parameters for modulation. And with custom naming of individual mod sources now possible, users can customize their Saturn 2 presets for effortless navigation.
Mastering grade saturation
The new 'Subtle' saturation types make Saturn 2 the mastering engineer's secret weapon, bringing enlivening presence and fizz to final mixes. In order to meet the exacting demands of such mission-critical application, the band crossovers now offer a choice of 6, 12, 24, 36 and 48 dB/octave roll-off slopes, the new 'Superb' High Quality mode switches the plug-in to 32x oversampling for almost total elimination of aliasing, and the Linear Phase option ensures maximum coherence for the crossovers and High Quality modes.
- 28 diverse distortion styles, from warming tube and tape saturation to screaming American and British guitar amps, Transformers, bit crushing, smearing, rectification and more.
- Up to six separate processing bands, with variable crossover slopes: 6, 12, 24, 36 and 48 dB/octave.
- Independent Drive, Mix, Feedback, Dynamics, Tone and Level controls for every band.
- Two High Quality modes for 8x and 32x oversampling.
- Regular stereo and mid/side processing.
- Intuitive interactive multiband display.
- Powerful, flexible modulation system: drag and drop as many 16-step XLFOs, XY Controllers, Envelope Generators, Envelope Followers, Sliders and MIDI Sources as needed.
- Full visual feedback of modulation via parameter animation and 'source flow'.
- Linear phase mode for mastering applications.
- Four interface size options and full-screen mode.
- Carefully curated factory preset library for amp modeling, coloration, lo-fi degradation and FX.
- All the usual FabFilter features you have come to expect: perfectly fine-tuned knobs and controllers, interactive MIDI Learn, undo/redo and A/B switch, Smart Parameter Interpolation for smooth parameter transitions, an extensive help file with interactive help hints, sample accurate automation, SSE optimization, and more.
Melodyne - I use it mainly to tighten up live instrument timing and tuning, and Autotune for vocals.Morgan Page
Melodyne is a software application for OS X or Windows with which you can edit audio in a more musical way than was ever thought possible. In Melodyne, you work with notes – and not with a meaningless wave form. You don't just see where the music gets louder or quieter but also where notes begin and end and at what pitch they lie.
You can modify each note and thereby influence directly the intonation, phrasing and dynamics – and do this not only with vocals and monophonic instruments but with polyphonic instruments such as pianos and guitars as well.
Working with Melodyne is like being able to say to a vocalist "sing this note a bit longer" or to a pianist "give slightly less weight to the third in this chord" – hours, weeks, even years after the recording session.
The fantastic editing possibilities, the outstanding sound quality and the intuitive and musical operation make Melodyne an incomparable tool without which it would be hard to imagine modern music production.
The Sound Editor: access to the overtones
With the Sound Editor, the new Melodyne 4 studio offers a totally new approach to sound design, its possibilities ranging from the subtlest of optimizations and enhancement of the tone color to drastic, hitherto unknown, manipulation of the sound. The user has direct access to the overtones of the audio material, making individual harmonics louder or quieter, reshaping the spectrum with macro parameters and envelopes, or transferring the sound characteristics of one track to another. This makes it possible to create totally new sounds and turns Melodyne into a kind of audio-track-based synthesizer.
DNA Direct Note Access: now on an as many tracks as you like
Melodyne 4 studio finally makes Celemony's patented DNA Direct Note Access technology available in a multi-track context. And thanks to Multitrack Note Editing, it is even possible to display simultaneously in the Note Editor any selection of tracks you like and edit the notes with the same freedom as if they were all on the same track. This is convenient and efficient and makes an entirely new production workflow possible.
Tempo detection: record first, add the click later
Melodyne 4 detects tempos and tempo fluctuations in freely recorded music with utter reliability. So the subsequent click follows the musicians, not the other way around. A blessing for musicians and technicians alike, because the music – despite the living tempo at which it was recorded – can still be cut and edited without any difficulty.
The Tempo Editor also allows the "breathing" tempo of one live recording to be carried over to another, for it to infuse life into sterile samples, for runaway tempos to be reined in, or for the entire tempo map to be reshaped at will. Melodyne 4 makes handling tempo in a musical manner finally a simple matter.
Melodyne also offers improved algorithms, "dynamic just intonation", a clear and intuitive new interface and many improvements of detail.
Essential for sidechaining. Really useful for multiband sidechaining, and then you can get crazy stacking different modules on top of each other and re-ordering them.Morgan Page
With seven powerful Cableguys effects – TimeShaper 2, DriveShaper, CrushShaper, VolumeShaper 6, FilterShaper Core 2, PanShaper 3 & WidthShaper 2 – ShaperBox 2 creates musical, rhythmic effects and helps solve complex mix problems.
Edit with ease
Load any Shaper effect and simply draw the modulation shapes you need with Cableguys' easily editable LFOs. Or use envelope followers that react to audio. Control filtering, volume, width, panning, bitcrushing – even the flow of time.
Mix and create
Get inspired: transform loops, beats, vocals, melodies or basslines into addictive hooks to kickstart your next track. Then perfect your mix with sample-accurate sidechaining, punchy compression, stereo expansion and more.
- Get louder, tighter mixes: Gain impact and clarity, and add 'bounce' with easy multiband sidechaining in VolumeShaper.
- Expand your stereo range: Inject stereo movement just where it's needed – animate hi-hats, shuffle synths, and more.
- Make drums punch harder: Edit transients and trim flabby hits with Pens in VolumeShaper 6. Dial in hard-hitting visual compression.
- Make synths sparkle: From subtle movement to glitchy ear-candy, combine Shapers to make your synth lines dance.
- Design motion-packed riffs: Get creative. Turn single notes into crazy TimeShaper 2 melodies, add pumping filter patterns, and more.
- Generate addictive hooks: Stuck for a hook? Feed your loops into ShaperBox 2 for wild variations you'd never have thought of.
- Isolate drum hits: Extract kicks and other percussive hits with precision filtering. Then use them in your own tracks.
- Creatively twist vocals: Add time-bending stutters, pitch-warping scratches & tape-stops, real-time reverses, and more.
7 Cableguys effects
Time, Drive, Crush, Volume, Filter, Pan and Width Shapers come together in ShaperBox 2. Analogue-like zero-delay feedback filters, multiband distortion, compression based on classic British mixing consoles, sample-accurate volume modulation, mid-side expansion, lo-fi bitcrushing, and much more – all in one CPU-efficient plugin.
ShaperBox 2 uses high-quality DSP throughout, for a sound relied upon by professional producers such as David Guetta, BT, Madeon, Mick Schultz, and many more. Sample-accurate LFOs for ultimate precision. Oversampling and anti-aliasing for artifact-free FX. Linkwitz-Riley multiband crossovers for flat frequency response and zero latency. MIDI Trigger smoothing for click-free sidechains. And more.
LFOs that you design
At the heart of every Shaper is a fully editable LFO. From choppy rhythms to organic pulsations, any wave shape you can imagine is just clicks away with Cableguys' editing tools. Lock your LFOs to DAW tempo with sample accuracy, or trigger in any rhythm with MIDI notes.
Designing the ideal LFO just got even easier with three new powerful, easy-to-grasp Pens. Draw crisp lines, smooth arcs and flowing S-curves. Redraw transients in a click, rapidly build rhythmic patterns, and more. Switch back to classic single-node editing anytime.
Flexible envelope followers
Crush, Filter, Pan and Width Shapers can react automatically to the dynamics of your beats, loops, melodies – anything. Make filters open with each snare hit. Pan percussion dynamically. Widen synths as they grow louder. Trigger from other tracks in your project using sidechain routing.
With a British-inspired compressor inside VolumeShaper 6, you see compression on the same large graph as your volume edits. Get controlled punch and defined dynamics for drums, basslines, vocals and more. Still need more control? Grab a Pen and refine the gain curve till it's just right.
Shapers that do more
Use 3 filters at once – including new Phaser types – with multiband FilterShaper Core 2. Get retro tape/vinyl 'wow' with TimeShaper 2's Fine mode. Boost transients with VolumeShaper 6's Gain control. And spread sounds wide with psychoacoustic Haas panning in PanShaper 3.
Multiband made easy
Every Shaper can be split into 3 bands, for tightly focused processing. Compress the bass. Stutter the mids. Reverse the highs. New for ShaperBox 2, steep 24dB crossovers join the classic 6 and 12dB models, for even greater precision.
Packs of inspiration
Explore 1000+ pro presets, and share patches via the Cableguys Preset Cloud. Find inspiration with Packs: curated collections of the very best presets for lo-fi FX, compression, scratching, and more. Speed your workflow with 1-click Quick Presets for essentials like sidechain ducking.
Morgan Page - Live from the Verdugos