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Plugins used by Mike Dean

Mike Dean Plugins

Renowned as a pioneer in the music industry, Michael George Dean, affectionately known as Mike Dean, hails from the musical tapestry of Angleton, Texas. His journey started in 1983, laying the foundation for a career that would leave an indelible mark on the landscape of hip-hop.

In the vibrant era of the ’90s, Mike Dean carved a niche for himself as the architect behind the influential Dirty South sound. Collaborating with icons such as Scarface, Do or Die, Nate Dogg, Outlawz, and the legendary 2Pac, Dean’s sonic innovations resonated across the hip-hop scene, defining an era.

The scope of Mike Dean’s influence reached new heights with collaborations that spanned generations. From the evocative tones of Kanye West to the lyrical mastery of Jay-Z, and the innovative stylings of Travis Scott, Frank Ocean, and Desiigner, Dean’s musical alchemy has left an indelible impact on the modern soundscape.

In this article, we unveil the plugins that compose the sonic tapestry of Mike Dean’s creative genius. Discover the tools behind the magic, gleaned from the maestro’s streams.

Table of Contents

List of Plugins Used by Mike Dean

Arturia V Collection 6

Arturia V Collection 6 emerged as a frontrunner in the emulation scene. This collection replicated the lush analog sounds that defined classics like the Yamaha CS-80, Minimoogs, ARPs, Prophets, Rolands, and Korgs.

Arturia V Collection 6 is no longer around, but there’s good news – meet V Collection X. It’s the upgraded version with new cool sounds for today’s music producers.

iZotope Nectar 3

iZotope Nectar is a comprehensive vocal mixing tool that is designed for simplicity, offering an array of features for mixing, producing, and crafting vocals to professional-quality standards.

Mike Dean himself tweeted to express his thoughts about Nectar 3, stating it is vocal simplicity.

While Nectar 3 is no longer available, its successor, Nectar 4 Standard, elevates vocal mixing to new heights. With features like Audiolens compatibility for tone-matching, the Voices Module for easy layering, an AI-powered Backer Module for background singers, and a Vocal Assistant for user-friendly decisions, Nectar 4 is a comprehensive vocal toolkit.

FabFilter Pro-Q3

As an essential tool for engineers, Pro-Q 3 delivers top-quality linear phase operation, zero latency, and Natural Phase modes. Its dynamic EQ, per-band mid/side processing, full surround support, intelligent solo feature, optional Auto Gain, and customizable spectrum analyzer cater to the most demanding needs.

Crafting your sound becomes a breeze with Pro-Q 3’s large interactive EQ display, allowing you to create, enable dynamic EQ, and edit multiple bands effortlessly. Unique features like Spectrum Grab, Full Screen mode, and EQ Match enhance your workflow.

Pultec EQP-1a

Apogee’s Pultec EQP-1A Program Equalizer is a meticulously crafted emulation of the iconic Pultec hardware. In collaboration with Steve Jackson of Pulse Techniques, the current manufacturer of Pultec hardware, Apogee embarked on a quest to capture the essence of the revered EQP-1A.

This plugin precisely replicates the unique characteristics of the Pultec EQP-1A, offering broad EQ curves that delicately yet powerfully shape your sounds while preserving their authenticity.

Brainworx bx_digital V3

Brainworx’s bx_digital V3 is a groundbreaking Mid/Side equalizer that redefines control in mixing and mastering. This 11-band EQ, available in stereo, multi-mono, and M/S modes, provides remarkable features such as a stereo widener, mid/side decoder, and “Mono Maker” summing tool.

With tools like Spectrum Grab and Auto-Solo, bx_digital V3 simplifies the intricacies of EQ adjustments, making it an indispensable asset for both mixing and mastering.

Brainworx bx_2098 EQ

Another EQ gem by Brainworx, the bx_2098 EQ, stands as a pristine model of the legendary Amek 9098 EQ. Crafted to replicate the Neve-designed hardware, this plugin lets you infuse your mixes with the iconic British EQ tone.

Featuring patented Tolerance Modeling Technology (TMT), the bx_2098 EQ allows up to 20 uniquely varied instances across your mix, delivering a touch of analog warmth to each channel. Full M/S control empowers you to manipulate the Mid and Side information independently, adding width and punch to your audio.

Soundtoys Decapitator

Explore analog richness with Soundtoys’ Decapitator – an Analog Saturation Modeler, cherished by top mix engineers. From subtle warmth to intense distortion, Decapitator epitomizes analog saturation, capturing the essence of tubes and transistors pushed to their limits.

With five distinct models, it transforms every track in your mix. The modelled tone control shapes saturation, and the mix knob facilitates parallel processing without complexity.


Loudness matters, and with VisLM, taking it seriously is both intuitive and efficient. This industry-standard tool seamlessly integrates into your workflow, providing instant insights and historical data for precise loudness control. VisLM ensures you hit your targets every time, offering confidence and peace of mind.

Featuring True Peak level meters, Timecode-locked ReMEM technology, and comprehensive loudness metrics, VisLM is compliant with ITU-R BS.1770, EBU R128, and CALM standards.

The reliability of VisLM lies in its clear interface, resizable design, and the revolutionary ReMEM technology that remembers loudness data, eliminating the need for exhaustive re-measurements. The True Peak metering system prevents potential downstream distortion, while the logging and time-code functions allow for compliance reporting and postmortem analysis.

Output Exhale

EXHALE, the groundbreaking Modern Vocal Engine by Output, redefines vocal instruments for today’s music producers. Developed by top producers recording real singers and a choir, and refined by 25 sound designers using analog gear, tape machines, and vocoders, EXHALE is crafted with a keen focus on musicality.

Discover more about EXHALE and other top Kontakt libraries in our dedicated article about the best Kontakt libraries.

Renaissance Vox

Waves’ Renaissance Vox, celebrated by industry professionals including Drake’s producer Noah “40” Shebib, stands as a pivotal vocal compressor, earning acclaim for its role in shaping vocal performances for artists like Beyoncé and Billie Eilish. Offering an efficient interface with three controls—Gate, Compression, and Output Gain—R-Vox is praised for its swift setup, making it the shortcut to achieving a legendary vocal sound.

L1 Ultramaximizer

Waves’ L1 Ultramaximizer, an iconic and pioneering limiter, has solidified its status as a favorite among audio engineers. Whether controlling peaks, shaping instrument dynamics, or crafting louder masters, L1 has been a go-to tool for its transparent and punchy characteristics.

SSL G-Master Buss Compressor

The SSL G-Master Buss Compressor by Waves stands as the ultimate glue for groups and mixes, offering colorful compression that enhances the cohesion and richness of your audio projects. Originally a fixture on SSL console master buses, this compressor has been an integral part of countless hit productions.


Doubler by Waves is a versatile vocal doubling tool. Beyond traditional vocal doubling, Doubler excels in thickening voices, widening mono instruments, adding dimension to mixes, embellishing background vocals, enriching acoustic guitar parts, and pushing the boundaries of sound design.

Waves DeEsser

Waves DeEsser stands as a versatile and powerful solution for effortlessly managing and reducing harsh vocal “s” sounds. Inspired by vintage gear known for precision de-essing and high-frequency limiting, this plugin addresses common challenges encountered in vocal recordings, narration, podcasts, and beyond.

Slate Digital FG-X Virtual Mastering Pro

This powerhouse is fueled by two standout modules: FG-Comp and FG-Level. The FG-Comp preserves your mix’s original punch and transients, ensuring a dynamic sound. Meanwhile, the FG-Level intelligently assesses your track’s frequency content, deciding whether to apply saturation or limiting.

FG-X 2 boasts four modes, offering a spectrum from transparent limiting to vibrant, colorful saturation. The plugin provides two views: Easy, for a quick and loud result, and Advanced, unlocking additional parameters for seasoned users.

Gainstation 2

Gainstation 2 is a collaborative creation with Studio DMI and Mike Dean himself, representing the pinnacle of distortion plugins and a dynamic tool for shaping creative soundscapes.

Gainstation 2 stands as the ultimate solution for those seeking to sculpt their audio with precision, efficiency, and the distinctive sonic character synonymous with Mike Dean’s signature sound.

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About the author:
Kobe Cooper
Kobe Cooper
I'm Kobe and I'm addicted to the art of music production. I started KnowsAudio because I wanted to help music producers with their musical journey. My favorite place is my studio where you probably find me most of the time playing with some new plugins 🙂
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