Why did I choose this plug-in?
We are all influenced by the top engineers talking about their favorite plug-ins. So we run out and sometimes skip the demo and go straight to purchase. Now every mix for the next 3 to 6 months will showcase a plug-in that we barely understand. I’m not pointing the finger because I am guilty of this.
Understand plug-ins are only tools. Plug-ins do not make or break you. I’ve seen several top engineers using only stock plug-ins and obtaining a wide, punchy, and well-balanced mix. Often I get sessions with plug-ins on every channel. After bypassing them I find out the initial source sounds better and may not need anything. The great misunderstanding of YouTube tutorials, magazine articles, and Instagram post is that it’s the 10 commandments. Look at them as if you were a chef reading a recipe on fried chicken. Do you take the risk of going step-by-step to the T? No! You make it by taste. Often beginner engineers underestimate the power of the fader.
Try this! On your next mix before you put any plug-in in the insert balance your mix with the faders only. Then, from here listen and only attack what you feel needs to be enhanced. Maybe that snare do not need parallel compression just little EQ boost around 3K to make it crack, maybe your Kick drum sounds fine and it doesn’t need anything just boosting it 3db. What separates some of us from the top engineers is restraint. Understanding less is more!