iZotope Trash 2, $249
Trash 2 is an all-in-one multiband distortion toolkit, housing tons of drive algorithms, pre/post filters, custom waveshaping, visualisation and plenty more besides. It can be subtle, but we love its nasty side - which can always be reined in with the wet/dry mix.
Slate Digital Virtual Tape Machines, $149
Slate Digital claims that its VTM plugin is “the most advanced, dynamic, true-to-life analogue tape emulation ever achieved” - a bold claim that's hard to argue with. Strap this throughout your mixes and reap the benefits of classic tape saturation, without the inconveniences of a physical machine.
112dB Redline Preamp, $129
Redline Preamp combines harmonic excitement, multiband saturation, soft clipping and mid/side processing, so you can apply customisable warmth and drive without overpowering your source signal. A great tool for smoothly sitting separate elements together in a mix.
FabFilter Saturn, £109
This red devil heats and crunches your audio signals in all manner of ways. Several drive modes are on offer, from tape, tube and amp distortion through to more unusual creative stages. Multiple bands can be created, and plenty of modulation routings can be assigned.
SPL TwinTube, $199
This plugin combines two independent tube drive processes. The Saturation control pushes the input signal into its virtual tube drive stage, and the Harmonics parameter sets the amount of overtone processing. It’s well worth checking out, and is available either natively or on the UAD platform.
SoundToys Decapitator, $179
Its name might imply head-separating distortion, but this flexible tool can produce a huge variety of analogue-style saturation and drive tones. Five expertly-modelled circuit modes, tone controls, dry/wet mix, auto-levelling and the famous Punish button make this a firm favourite.