I love plugins! I have quite a few. In fact, at last count, I had over 200 plugins from everyone from Universal Audio to Plug&Mix, Slate, Eiosis, Lexicon, Metric Halo, SoundToys, Eventide, Nomad Factory, fxpansion, Boz Digital Labs, Native Instruments and more. This is JUST the effects plugins! I’m not even talking about virtual instruments that I happen to own. Some people have way more than this!
But I do have G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) bad enough!
My point wasn’t to brag about how many plugins I have. Quite the contrary! I actually want to talk about options; and having too many of them. The fact is…I have so many options that I sometimes find myself scrolling through all my plugins, wasting time in the process, just to figure out what I want to use on a certain track. This can really kill the creative buzz. It can also waste precious time (that you may not actually have enough of in the first place). I, personally, have very little creative time.
Life is very busy and hectic these days and most people divide their lives between family, day jobs, school…whatever. My point is…most of us don’t have time to be scrolling through tons of plugins and presets trying to decide what to use on a project.
The best thing I did recently was reduce my plugin collection to the ones I use most. The rest are in an “Unused Plugins” folder (which I have moved to my Drop Box account)…just in case I need them later. I’ve gone through and determined which reverbs, EQ’s, compressors, delays, choruses, and instruments I use the most. Then, I moved everything else out of sight. This does two things for me. First, it has freed up some of my hard drive space. That’s always a plus! Next, it keeps me from spending so much time trying to decide what tool to use. If I have 6 screwdrivers, I really only need one or two for almost every project. If I have 6 compressors, I really only need a couple for most projects. Yes, I could use tons of them, but the reality is that using the same EQ or compressor on all your tracks can sometimes give you a more cohesive sound. That was the way it was "back in the day" on large consoles. You used the EQs and compressor(s) built into the console and only used minimal outboard gear…and it sounded great!
So….trim the fat! Move and hide (or even get rid of) all the excess plugins that you just don’t use (or need) and only use those that you REALLY do. You’ll find that your computer (and DAW) runs faster…and you won’t take nearly as much time choosing your tools. THAT equals more time for the important stuff…like actually making music.