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OTT Plugin: Key Features, Functions & Hidden Secrets (2024)

The free OTT plugin by Xfer Records offers unparalleled dynamic control with its unique upward and downward compression capabilities. 


This is not your standard multiband compressor, it can transform lifeless tracks into epic, professional-sounding productions. 


Plus, with the use of its multiband functionality, it can help you sculpt the perfect balance in your mixes. 


So, as a music producer, it’s important to know all about this impressive OTT plugin to fully harness its potential and elevate your music production skills. 


Throughout this OTT plugin article, you’ll be learning about:


  • The basics of Xfer’s OTT plugin ✓
  • Key features, functions, and abilities ✓
  • How to use the free OTT plugin like a professional ✓
  • Upward compression & downward compression ✓
  • Multiband dynamics ✓
  • Creative effects and sound design secrets ✓
  • Advanced techniques (one is exclusive!) ✓
  • Compatibility and installation ✓
  • Much more about the renowned OTT plugin ✓


You’ll know everything about Xfer Record’s OTT plugin so you can manipulate dynamics, enhance sound textures, and produce music like a professional. 


Whether you want to add clarity to your vocals, punch to your drums, or depth to your bass lines, we’ve got yo covered.


By the end, you’ll be able to use the famous OTT plugin to its fullest potential, shaping your tracks into polished, standout compositions.


So, let’s dive in…


OTT Plugin: Breaking it Down


OTT plugin


The free OTT plugin by Xfer Records, a powerhouse in the digital music production world, is celebrated for its exceptional capability to enhance and sculpt sounds.


Standing for “Over The Top,” the OTT plugin is a free multiband compressor that puts all the others to shame. 


And, although it’s available in most formats, it was popularized as a stock device inside of Ableton that expertly manipulates both upward and downward compression across three distinct frequency bands:


  • Low band (low frequencies)
  • Mid band (mid frequencies)
  • High band (high frequencies)


This dual compression strategy ensures that quieter elements of a mix are given prominence while louder, more dominant sections are kept in check.


It helps you gain a balanced and dynamic sound when you’re making music.


For example, when applied to a synth lead in an EDM track, Xfer Record’s OTT can dramatically increase the presence and brightness.


In turn, making the lead cut through the mix more effectively. 


Similarly, on a bass line, it can add depth and definition 一 ensuring the bass is both powerful and clear, without muddying the lower frequency spectrum. 


NOTE: This free OTT plugin is particularly useful for adjusting the dynamic range of drums, where the plugin’s controls for depth, input gain, and output gain can be fine-tuned to add punch and clarity.


It does a great job at bringing professional polish to the rhythm section.


OTT’s versatility does not end with electronic music…


Its application across vocals, guitars, and other instruments in solidifies its utility as an awesome tool for dynamic control


Whether softening the harshness of high frequencies in rock guitars or bringing out the subtleties in vocal performances, OTT adapts to the demands of each sound source. 


This adaptability, combined with this compressor plugins user-friendly GUI and efficiency in processing, cements its status as an essential VST plugin with a free download.


Plus, ask any Ableton user about Xfer Records OTT plugin, and they’ll all tell you it’s an electro producers’ dream (and I certainly agree).


Now, let’s break down it’s key features so you get a deeper understanding of what OTT is capable of.


Key Features


Now that you have a general outline, let’s dive in to all of the key features and cool things that Xfer Records OTT plugin offers. It will show you why it’s so unique, innovative, and beneficial.


  • Upward Compression


Upward Compression - Unison


Upward compression, a hallmark of the OTT effect, boosts the quieter parts of a signal 一 bringing them to the forefront of your mix.


This is especially useful for adding depth to sounds that might otherwise be overshadowed by more dominant elements. 


By carefully adjusting the upward compression on the low band, you can ensure that basslines are full-bodied and present without overwhelming the track.


In the mid and high bands, upward compression works wonders for vocals and lead instruments. 


It ensures that every detail of the performance is captured and heard 一  enhancing the emotional impact of the music. 


This meticulous control over dynamics is what makes Xfer Records OTT plugin an awesome tool for electro producers looking to achieve a polished, professional sound.


  • Downward Compression


Downward Compression - Unison


Downward compression (the standard compression we all know) acts as a ceiling for louder sounds as the signal exceeds the threshold.


It prevernts them from overpowering the mix. 


This aspect of OTT is crucial for managing the dynamic range of a track, which allows for a more consistent listening experience. 


By applying downward compression to the high band, producers can tame harshness in cymbals and hi-hats.


It will ensure a smooth top-end that complements the overall mix.


Downward compression in the low and mid bands helps in controlling the energy of the track.


It makes sure that the bass and midrange elements do not become too dominant during loud passages 一 maintaining a balanced mix that allows each element to shine.


NOTE: OTT’s real strength lies in its approach to multiband dynamics. 


Unlike traditional compressors that treat the signal as a whole, OTT divides it into three bands, applying targeted compression to each. 


This multiband approach allows for a level of control and flexibility unmatched by single-band compressors.


  • Frequency Bands & Visual Display


Ableton OTT e1708116502832 - Unison

Ableton’s OTT


When it comes to handling frequency bands, this multiband compressor is truly unmatched and unique from most other VST plugins.


By dividing the audio signal into low, mid, and high bands (giving full control to adjust the crossover frequencies), it offers you granular control over your sound. 


This multiband approach is essential for tweaking the dynamic response of each frequency range, which allows for detailed sculpting of the audio’s tonal balance. 


For instance, increasing the upward compression on the low band can bring warmth and fullness to bass-heavy tracks without muddying the mix as you apply some downward compression to the mid band.


The visual display feature of the Xfer Records OTT plugin further enhances its usability by providing real-time feedback on how compression is applied across these bands. 


This visual feedback is key for understanding the impact of each adjustment, which helps electro producers to achieve the desired sound with razor precision. 


Watching the gain reduction in action, especially, offers insights into the dynamic interplay between the bands.


It can help you make decisions about compression settings for innovative sound design.


  • Depth Control & Output Control


Depth Knob - Unison


Depth control in the free OTT plugin allows users to adjust the intensity of the compression effect.


It blends the processed signal with the unprocessed one to achieve the perfect balance. 


This feature is particularly useful when aiming for subtle dynamic enhancements without overcompressing the sound. 


NOTE: It’s like a mix knob in other processors.


For example, setting a lower depth with the depth knob (not time knob controls) can add just enough punch to drums or clarity to vocals without losing their natural character.


Output control, meanwhile, ensures the overall output level remains consistent, regardless of the compression applied. 


This is vital for maintaining volume levels across different sections of a track or project


Managing output effectively prevents unwanted clipping and ensures the final mix has a consistent loudness, crucial for both streaming platforms and distribution services.


  • Compression Controls (When to Use Upward vs Downward Compression)


Downward Compression vs Upward Compression e1708115669859 - Unison

The decision between upward and downward compression within this free OTT plugin all depends on the desired outcome for the sound or mix. 


Upward compression is best employed to elevate quieter elements in the mix, enhancing detail and presence without introducing noise


For instance, applying upward compression to ambient pads can reveal intricate textures 一 making them more prominent in the mix.


Downward compression, on the other hand, is essential for reigning in peaks and managing overall loudness.


NOTE: This makes it a go-to for tracks with wide dynamic ranges. 


This is especially useful for taming transient-heavy elements like percussion, where spikes in volume can detract from the mix’s balance.


  • Pro Tip: Using Upward/Downward Compression Simultaneously


UpwardDownward - Unison


Combining upward compression and downward compression with this free OTT plugin offers a unique advantage in dynamic range control. 


It provides a unique, nuanced approach to shaping your sound. 


This technique allows for an intricate balance between: 


  • Bringing the quieter details to the forefront while.
  • Reeling in the louder, more dominant elements of a mix. 


The simultaneous use of both methods (upward/downward compression) can create a sound that is both powerful and detailed.


This makes it particularly useful for genres that demand clarity and punch, such as electronic dance music or dynamic pop.


Implementing this dual-compression strategy effectively requires a super keen ear and a deep understanding of the material you’re working with. 


For instance, let’s say you’re working on a dense mix that contains a wide range of dynamic content (like an orchestral piece or EDM track)…


Applying both upward and downwards compression can help maintain the natural character of the sound while still achieving the desired level of intensity/presence. 


This approach can lead to a more cohesive and balanced output. 


NOTE: Just ensure you always pay close attention to the attack and release times in Ableton Live, as its one of the most finicky parameters within the compressor setting.


It ensures that every element, from the subtlest background texture to the most forceful leads/riffs, is heard clearly and blends well within the overall mix.


Creative Effects, Uses & Sound Design Secrets


Ableton OTT 1 - Unison


OTT is more than a mixing and mastering tool; it’s a musical playground for sound design and audio manipulation. 


By aggressively using upward and downward compression, sound designers can discover textures and details in sounds that would otherwise remain hidden. 


For instance, applying OTT to ambient pads can accentuate the movement within the sound, bringing out a swirling effect that adds depth to the audio landscape. 


Similarly, when used on percussive elements, OTT can exaggerate the attack 一 making each hit more pronounced and adding a punchy character to drum loops


This technique is especially beloved by electronic music producers for creating those crisp, in-your-face drum sounds that define genres like dubstep.


Another innovative use of OTT is in the creation of vocal effects


By applying extreme settings, voices can be transformed to sound otherworldly.


It adds an ethereal quality to background vocals or achieving that popular hyper-compressed lead vocal sound heard in many modern pop tracks. 


The key is to experiment with the mix and depth controls, finding the sweet spot where the effect enhances the sound without overwhelming it.


And any attempt to produce a re-creation of your favorite sound/track that utilized OTT won’t achieve that signature OTT effect without it.


So, needless to say, this free VST plugin remains a must-have for electronic music production (especially dubstep); both Mac and Windows users alike would agree.


Advanced Techniques: Xfer Records OTT Plugin


OTT parallel - Unison


Beyond its basic applications, mastering advanced techniques with this free OTT plugin can elevate your music production to new heights, unlike some other free plugins.


By using the depth control on this multiband compressor in Ableton Live you can dial-in an extremely small amount of OTT on your master bus to make your track really shine.


Side note, if you’d like to learn some other master bus tricks, we’ve got you.


It’s unique and exclusive to this particular effect (I even created my own original preset I have loaded on the master bus within every template I use, and you can create your own preset, too!).


Parallel processing also stands out as a particularly effective strategy. 


By blending an untreated signal with one processed by OTT, electro producers can gain a balance that retains the original’s dynamics while giving your mix the plugin’s characteristic: 


  • Brightness
  • Punch
  • Dynamics
  • Etc.


This technique is especially useful for mastering, where maintaining the track’s dynamic range is as important as achieving a cohesive sound.


Another advanced technique involves automating the plugins parameters over time. 


Automation can dynamically change the intensity of the OTT effect.


It allows for crescendos of compression or moments of clarity where the effect is pulled back; you’re free to download and experiment however you’d like.


This dynamic approach to using OTT can add an expressive element to the music, so you gain some intriguing moments of tension and release.


Incorporating OTT into a side-chain setup is yet another beneficial method. 


By side-chaining the OTT-compressed signal to another element in the mix (e.g., kick drum), you can create rhythmic pumping effects that breathe life into pads, basslines, and full mixes. 


This technique does a great job of creating the driving energy behind many electronic tracks, especially in the Dubstep genre.


  • Pro Tip: OTT Alternative Plugins For Electronic Music Producers


FabFilter Pro MB OTT 1 - Unison


Available in FL Studio, Maximus, a multifaceted dynamics processor offering intricate multiband compression, limiting, and noise gating is a great alternative.


Its detailed visual feedback and customizable frequency bands (low, mid band, high) allow for precise dynamic shaping, making it a great plugin.


Especially for FL Studio users seeking depth and clarity in their mixes.


Make sure to check out the following highly-renowned plugins as well: FabFilter Pro-MB and Slate Digital’s MO-TT.


These two plugins, along with these compressor plugins, are also super innovative, flexible, and perfect for all your compressor needs.


Sound Doctor: A Compression Lover’s Dream


Sound Doctor Double Shot - Unison


If you’re impressed by OTT, then Sound Doctor is going to blow your mind.


Sound Doctor emerges as the world’s first and only FX chain generator plugin that’s style-specific.


It has completely revolutionized the way music producers approach sound enhancement and compression. 


Designed to transform any sound from average to hit-worthy with just a single click, Sound Doctor is an essential tool for those looking to make their music stand out. 


With an impressive array of 25 individual world-class audio effects to choose from, it provides everything a producer needs to fix and finesse any type of beat


What sets Sound Doctor apart is its ability to generate mind-blowing FX chains in 5 styles with 8 formulas 一 offering infinite inspiration at your fingertips. 


This ensures that creative blocks become a thing of the past.


It allows for the rapid mixing of tracks to 10 times faster (thanks to 250 factory presets and endless generation possibilities).


While OTT by Xfer Records stands as a uniquely valuable plugin for its multiband compression capabilities, Sound Doctor offers a different path to achieving standout sound quality. 


By leveraging Sound Doctor’s downward compressor and cycling through its extensive signal chain of 25 world-class effects, you can achieve unparalleled sound.


One that rivals the clarity and dynamic control of OTT without ever using it directly. 


This approach not only mimics the flexibility that OTT provides but also introduces a plethora of high-quality effects with a fully adjustable signal chain. 


If you’re impressed with OTT’s versatility, Sound Doctor’s multi-FX capabilities will undoubtedly elevate your production game.


It will help push your music beyond normal limits with cutting-edge algorithms and transformative effects.


Download Sound Doctor Now


Final Thoughts


OTT is undoubtedly a game-changer in the music production landscape, offering unmatched dynamic control and sound enhancement capabilities. 


With its ability to apply both upward and downward compression across multiple frequency bands, it can sculpt sounds with precision.’


It has the unmatched ability to add depth, clarity, and punch to any track. 


Plus, its user-friendly interface and compatibility with various DAWs make it accessible to producers of all skill levels.


As you now know, OTT can also inspire creativity with its flexible controls and help you achieve professional-quality mixes in less time. 


So, go ahead and download this free plugin so you can explore its endless potential and elevate your music production to new heights. 


Whether you’re working on electronic, pop, rock, or any other genre, OTT is the secret weapon you need to refine your sound and stand out as a professional.


Until next time…



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