Plug-In Madness: The Most Powerful Plugin - Audio Design Desk
Winner: Plug-In Madness

Plug-In Madness: The Most Powerful Plugin

Audio Design Desk Team
Thursday March 31, 2022

Plug-In Madness

2022 March Madness is underway and we thought we’d get into the spirit with our own bracket pitting our favorite plug-in and virtual instrument creators against each other! After an in depth ranking process from our team, we left the votes up to all of you and the results are in. But before we spoil the winner let’s start with a recap of the plug-in madness tournament to find the most powerful plug-in.

Sound Design Plug In Bracket

Round 1: Plug-In Madness

In the first round of the north-west side of the bracket we have Soundtoys vs Kilohearts. While Kilohearts is one of our favorites for sound design, the fans opted for the incredibly powerful music production tools of Soundtoys. Moving down we have the first matchup between two big virtual instrument creators, UVI and Spitfire. A much tighter race, Spitfire pulled it off due to its realistic orchestral samples.

In the south-west of the bracket we have our #1 seed in the west, iZotope, vs Waves Audio. Another close match but iZotope was able to best as it’s one of the most universally used plug-in suites across all creative fields. At the bottom we have Universal Audio vs Softube. We considered this to be the first upset of the match as Universal Audio gets the win against Softube’s powerful and intuitive plug-ins but we understand why.

Moving to the north-east side of the bracket we have Slate Digital vs Waves Factory. Not a good tournament year to have “Waves” in your name as Slate Digital was able to pull away a close win. Below them we had our #1 seed in the East, Native Instruments, vs Spectrasonics. If you marked this one up for an upset you were wrong as Native Instruments dominated the first round.


Now we’re to the south-east and the competition is just as strong. Another match-up between primarily virtual instrument companies, Output and Arturia went head to head. A very close battle but Arturia was able to best Output. Both have beautiful sounding instruments but Arturia’s V Collection was able to carry them to victory. And finally at the bottom of the east we have Glitchmachines vs Brainworx. More of our favorite sound design plug-ins, our projected favorite Glitchmachines wasn’t able to hold off the fine German engineering of Brainworx.

Round 2: Elite Eight

Plug in Madness Bracket Round Two

The Elite 8 has been decided and the competition only gets more fierce from here on out. In the north-west Soundtoys goes off on Spitfire. As we mentioned Spitfire is great with virtual instruments but the fans wanted more of the Soundtoys plug-ins in this tournament.

In the south-west we have iZotope vs Universal Audio. Universal Audio had a good run in the tournament, even pulling out an upset in the first round. But their journey ends here as the #1 iZotope easily bests them. 

To the north-west we have Slate Digital vs Native Instruments. Slate put up everything they had but Native Instruments showed exactly why they’re the #1 seed in the east as they went on to win in a landslide.

Finally to the south-west of the Elite 8 we have Arturia vs Brainworx. A European showdown, France vs Germany. The fans voted and Arturia was still the best even against the fine German engineering. 

Round 3: Final Four

Plug In Madness Bracket round 3


The Final 4 is set and it couldn’t be more exciting! In the west we have Soundtoys vs iZotope. What was probably our closest match-up being decided by just a couple of points, iZotope was able to get the win. Both companies have developed some of the most powerful plug-ins but the universal use of iZotope is what got the win here and we’ll be looking for in the finals.

To the east we have Arturia vs Native Instruments. Another very close decision but the fans agreed on Native Instruments. Arturia has amazing virtual instruments as we stated earlier but Native Instruments has a massive catalog that makes it hard to compete with.

Round 4: Championship

We’ve made it to The Finals!! It’s been an awesome journey so far but we have one last match-up between our two #1 seeds, iZotope and Native Instruments. After the tight Final 4 match-ups we thought this one would be just as close. But the fans voted and iZotope was easily able to secure the win. Congratulations to iZotope.

Wrap Up: The Most Powerful Plug-In

We guessed iZotope might have won the tournament from the start. With virtual instruments, synths, and music production plug-ins, it’s their industry leading audio repair plug-in suite and mastering tools suite that propelled iZotope to the top! When we say industry leading we mean it. Whether it’s audio for film, music, or streaming, iZotope’s RX will make it sound clean and ready to use no matter the original quality of the recording. This has led to iZotope’s more universal use that we’ve been talking about all tournament. A company that makes plug-ins not just for music but filmmakers as well. Once again congratulations to iZotope and if you haven’t checked out any of their powerful plug-ins we highly recommend you look into them!


Check out our review on Meteor by UVI:

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