Are All Your Plugins Being Used?

Audio Plugins

Let’s dig into this right away.  Be honest now, how many plugins do you have installed on your pc or mac?  I mean everything: EQ’s, compressors, reverbs, it doesn’t matter, take inventory of everything right now.  So if you have Pro Tools like me, which comes with about 70 plugins and then all the 3rd party plugins I’ve aquired, you are probably sitting pretty at about 100+ plugins.

But Seriously, How Many Are You Using?

I think the better question to ask is: Are you actually going through and using all of those plugins?  I can tell you that all I really use on my sessions are one channel strip plugin, a compressor, and EQ, some effects and maybe some analog emulation for color.  Maybe add in some autotune and some other effects but I’m only really using like 10 plugins max.

So based on the information I just provided, I’m really only using just a fraction of all my installed plugins and I keep the other ones there just in case but as we all know, just in case rarely every happens.

Picture Your Plugins as Outboard Gear

Try to envision for a second that your plugins actually didn’t exist and instead they were their hardware versions. I mean that would be racks upon racks oof outboard gear that’s just cluttering up your studio.  It definitely looks cool and I’m sure it would impress some people but when it comes to mixing, it will all just slow you down, don’t you think?

If you had to look through all your gear and then patch in different type of processeors like EQ and compression for each instnace, you would never get anywhere.  Psychologically this is what’s happening everytime we open up our plugin libraries and look for the different effects that we need.  We have to be inundated with a huge list to go through and then try and make a decisions.

To make it easy, what if we made those decisions before hand?

Weed out Your List and Work Faster

If you are like me, you are probably going to reach for the same EQ or compressor for every mix you work on.  Just be honest because really that’s all you need . Try treating your DAW like a console so you can get on with your life.

So let’s take the next smart step and try and get rid of all those plugins that take up space.  If you are using Pro Tools than you can just move all of those plugin over to the “Unused” folder which will make them disappear from your plugins list but will still be save in case you need them.

Really the only result of narrowing down your plugins is that you will work much faster. Plain and simple, if you have a limited number of decisions to make during the mixing process than essentially you will mix a lot faster.  some of these decisions will already be made for you of course and you will ironically feel more confident about those decisions.  But on the flip side, the opposite is true when you have too many plugins.  It’s the paradox of choice at it best.