It seems we can now have all the things we we want in our studios, cheap hardware, powerful native processing and an endless flow of cheap and even free plug-ins means we have virtually any tool at our disposal. At a recent press event I was shown an entire band recorded with great sounding microphones which cost than one vintage U87, and I’m not talking cheap crappy mics either.
However, with all these endless choices and options it may actually hinder rather than help to create great work. Let’s be honest, how many plug-ins do we actually need? For that matter how many tracks do we actually need, I’ve gone on record as saying that the two things I do when I’m sent tracks to mix is first remove all the plug-ins and second see how many tracks I need to mute. You might think that’s brutal but I’ve not had one complaint yet, in fact in one case I was sent a mix and I simply deleted all the plug-ins balanced the tracks and then sent it back - the client loved it.
Of course there are situations where hundreds of tracks are required for scoring, but I’m talking about your average song - which doesn’t need a million guitar overdubs… really.
And then of course there’s the gear, the Pro Tools Expert team are self-confessed GAS members, we love our gear, James has a seriously huge microphone collection, Neil has a small pro audio shop and I have a lot of gear too.
However there is something to be said for limiting your choices, from point of view of the hardware, the track count and the plug-ins. Otherwise we end up spending more time curating our gear and less time making something meaningful with it.