Sausage Fattener is a great saturation plugin and excels at both subtle and more extreme saturation, working like a musical compressor, similar to the LA-2a, when added subtly. Pushing it, will drop you into a world of crazy distortion, perfect for crushing single audio tracks, or instrument buses.
Dada Life’s Sausage Fattener is as much, one of the most popular VST plugins ever made, as it is a meme. Overused to all hell, and made fun of ceaselessly, Sausage Fattener is like Smash Mouth’s – All Star for VST Plugins.
That being said, some peoples hate towards Sausage Fattener can be quite unjustified, which is why we’re hear to clear the air once and for all.
Is Sausage Fattener a good plugin, and should you use it?
What Is A Saturator?
To start with, we need to know what saturation is…
Originally, saturation was just a side-effect of over-cranking your studio hardware.
Pushing the convertors and gain pots to their limits would add warmth and fuzz, as well as distortion to your signal.
While distortion in your signal can be annoying, producers and engineers started to use this signal saturation as an effect, to add harmonic content and interest to dull audio.
Before long, saturators and signal compressors were starting to appear as standalone devices, and in the modern era of music production, VST Plugins.
Saturation is awesome because it can be used both subtly and extremely, for different purposes.
Slight saturation on your master bus, can excite your masters just that little bit extra.
If you push your saturators harder though, they will start distorting in many interesting ways, adding harmonics, crunch and texture to your audio. The main thing you want from a good Saturation plugin is the quality of the saturation.
While a lot of saturators nowadays come with tons of features, knobs and switches to customise your signal the way you want it, the best saturators in our opinion, stick with the simpler controls. Our favorite saturators are definitely Soundtoys’ Decapitator and Waves’ OneKnob saturators, but there are tons of awesome ones out there, both free and paid.
What Is Sausage Fattener
Sausage Fattener is the brainchild of the production duo Dada Life and the plugin developer Tailored Noise.
A humorous take on the saturation and dynamics processor, Sausage Fattener has a lot of what you want from a good saturation plugin.
The go-to for a lot of top producers, such as Tiesto, Zedd, Diplo and more, sausage fattener is every bit as useful, as it is funny.
With just 3 controls, Sausage Fattener is super easy to use.
- Fatness adds body and oomph to your signal, making it sound larger and more energetic.
- The Color adds brightness and some distortion edge to your signal, letting you customize the timbre of your saturator.
- Lastly, a small gain knob lets you compensate for the added gain coming from the saturation.
Sausage Fattener excels at both subtle and more extreme saturation, working like a musical compressor, similar to the LA-2a, when added subtly. Pushing it more, will drop you into a world of crazy distortion, perfect for crushing audio tracks, or even instrument buses.
Sausage Fattener’s UI is probably what draws most of it’s users in. The more Fatness you add, the more the sausage will start to react and change.
A welcome change from overwhelming studio VST plugins, with 50 knobs and 8 arpeggiators:
Sausage Fattener is simple, fun, versatile, and it sounds really good.
There are plenty of positives to talk about, but when it comes to negatives, we draw a blank. There’s just nothing we’d really change about Sausage Fattener.
How To Use Sausage Fattener
Sausage Fattener can be used anywhere, just like any other saturation plugin. That being said, there are some things it excels at, such as Drums and Bass.
- Put Sausage Fattener directly on your drum track, and play around with the fatness dial. This can add some awesome extra energy to your drums.
- Use Sausage Fattener on a bus with parallel processing & compression. If you know how to do parallel compression, then using Sausage Fattener in the same way is perfect for this. It adds crunch but retains your original signal, and saturation can quickly destroy a signal.
- Try Sausage Fattener individually on your Kick/Snare. This is great for thumpy EDM kicks or whiplash snares/claps. Give it a go!
- Don’t overdo it! Overdoing this, will start to decrease the punchiness of your drums because of too much compression, so play it by ear.
Here’s an example of how it can instantly beef up your drums:
Sausage Fattener on Bass is one of the quickest ways to get your Bass sound sitting exactly where you want it. Perfect for thickening your subs and adding character, saturating your bass is almost a necessity.
Turning up the Fatness dial will start to make your bass sound more massive.
Add in some color, which will add richness and depth to your sound, and you already have an awesome bass timbre. With that in mind, Sausage Fattener can add a lot of mud in your bass, so we suggest adding an EQ, or using Soothe 2 after Sausage Fattener, to remove some of the unnecessary frequencies.
One of Dada Life’s techniques with Sausage Fattener, is using it on synth chords.
To do this, start with a bare-bones sawtooth synth and start to increase the Fatness knob, until you hear your synth starting to distort.
After this, play around with the Color setting, to brighten up your synth.
Lastly, using the synth’s built in filters, you can further refine your chord sound. You can build an entire track around this technique, and it will create some super unique sounds, you might not have been able to achieve otherwise.
Last but not least, Sausage Fattener can also be an awesome mastering saturation effect.
Adding subtle Fatness to your Mix bus will excite the mix, adding energy and character to the entire track.
Try not to go above 10%, or you will start to distort your mix, which is not the point, when saturating your mix. As long as you do it subtly, you’ll be amazed at what a difference you’ll notice.
Sausage Fattener Alternatives
If you have been using Sausage Fattener for a while, you might want to experiment with some new saturators. Luckily, there are awesome options for both Paid and Free VST saturation plugins.
Here are some of our favorites:
Easily our favorite saturation unit, Soundtoys’ Decapitator is a behemoth of saturation, offering 5 different saturation modes, from tube to transistor, as well as quality distortion for days!
FabFilter Saturn 2
One of the most interesting options on the market, Saturn 2 is a multiband distortion and saturation unit, that lets you distort and saturate different freqency bands of your audio individually.
Saturn 2 is easily one of the most unique saturators we know of!
Szechuan Saturator (FREE)
If you love the humor of Sausage Fattener, but don’t want to spend any money on a saturation plugin, check out Szechuan Saturator. It’s arguably an even funnier plugin, with references to Rick and Morty, as well as a very unique, and great sounding saturation engine.
Should You Use Sausage Fattener?
So the question at hand, is Sausage Fattener really a meme, is it as horrible as some Redditors seem to think? No, of course not!
Sausage Fattener is an awesome plugin, designed for quick and easy saturation, with a lot of character, and it accomplishes what it sets out to, perfectly.
On top of sounding awesome, Sausage Fattener is also quite efficient, and you will barely feel it on your CPU.
That being said, where does the stigma come from? It’s hard to say for sure, but professionals always prefer professional stuff. Producers tend to look at Sausage Fattener as a joke, mainly because of it’s frankly ridiculous interface. That being said, there’s another issue with the plugin.
It’s overused to all hell! If you started producing in the last decade, there’s quite a big chance you had a phase where Sausage Fattener was on every audio track in your mix.
That is the biggest issue with the plugin that we can think of. When so many beginner producers use a plugin so ubiquitously, it’s bound to get associated as a beginner plugin.
When you get your bearings more, you tend to try an escape from the things that could label you as a beginner. This is where a lot of the stigma comes from – Sausage Fattener on everything.
So to answer the question at hand, Yes, you should definitely use Sausage Fattener, it’s awesome, and a whole lot of fun to use. That being said, don’t get carried away with it, and remember that a little can go a long way.
Whether you’re in the love or the hate camp for Sausage Fattener, you can’t deny that it’s a quirky little effect. A lot of criticism towards the plugin is unjustified, so don’t be scared to use it.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the music, if your song sounds awesome, who cares if your drums were saturated by an expensive hardware unit, or by a sausage with a funny face.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out some of our other great tutorials, reviews and lists!