I get to test and review a broad array of plug-ins here on PTE. When testing plug-ins from different developers I often discover some really quite amazing user features that I wish could be included in other plug-ins that are available in today's digital audio production world.
Some developers go to great lengths to include some really helpful features that I truly believe should be more common, if not "standard" across the board in plug-ins we use today.
I'm putting sound quality and price aside in this article. Here are my 4 "plug-in features" that I wish where included as "standard" in all third party plug-ins.
Plug-ins such as Pro-Q2 and Pro-L by FabFilter both have the option to resize and even scale to full screen. Personally I like this type of option as sometimes I come across a plug-in that I feel is too small thus making it difficult for me to physically see. Sometimes a plug-in can be unnecessarily large taking up a lot of space on my display.
I don't think this is a big ask as we all resize track heights in the edit window, audio clips and even fader widths in Pro Tools. Why then do we not have the option to change the size of our plug-ins?
Virtually Weighted Controls
KClip by Kazrog has a very subtle yet clever feel to the controls. When I click and drag with the mouse to adjust a KClip control I have to physically slide the mouse a little bit further across my desk. I believe this gives the controls a weighted feel. I find this helps me to be more accurate and less blasé when setting my values with a mouse.
I suppose this can be achieved by adjusting the tracking speed within the mouse settings in the operating system, though the problem with doing this in the OS will make the mouse feel constantly heavy in any application and control. KClip makes me feel like I have a better connection to the control within the plug-in as the weighted effect subconsciously makes me consider my choices better.
Plug-in Updates Displayed Internally
Plug-ins by Exponential Audio have this feature which I strongly believe should be standard in today's highly connected music production world. Developers should take more responsibility in informing their user base of updates. I know a vast majority of my plug-ins are out of date and I can not be bothered to go through each and every one of them to find the latest versions.
Exponential Audio have implemented this feature just right. As an example, the update message in Phoenix Verb is clear and unthreatening. Features like this remove the guess work and time wasted searching through developer websites for quietly released updates. The only thing the end user would need is an internet connection so that the plug-in can broadcast the news from the developer. Simple.
Tool tips are a very handy way of getting to know a plug-in quickly. Envolution by Sonnox incorporates tools tips very well. The tips include extremely useful bite sized pointers that are easy to understand and act upon. For me, a plug-in that includes useful tool tips gives me the impression that the developer really care a lot about:
- The product
- The end user experience
What About Your Ideas?
I am sure you all have your own ideas. What features would you like to be "standard" in all plug-ins? Please do share your thoughts below.