How Many Plugins Are You Really Using?

I’m going to ask you a serious question: how many plugins are currently installed on your computer? You know, EQ’s, compressor, delays etc. You are probably starting out with a bunch of stock plugins in your DAW just like me. I mean the newest version of Pro Tools has something like 70 plugins but please correct me if I’m wrong. Add all the other plugins I’ve purchased and I’m sitting at over 100 different plugins right at my finger tips.

So How Many Plugins Are You Actually Using?

I think that the better question is probably: how many are used in your sessions? I’ll be the first to admit that not many are being used. I mean I use one channel strip, a couple of compressor, maybe a dealy and reverb and that’s about it. Maybe throw in a couple of odds and ends and I’m probably looking at 10-20 plugins at max.

So in my case, I’m really only using about 10-20% of the plugin that are actually installed on my system. My plugin menu is filled with all these unused plugins because I feel that I “may” use them someday.

Think of Plugins Like Gear

Try to picture that software plugins weren’t invented and computers actually didn’t exist at all. You’d see racks and racks of 19” gear literally cluttering up your studio. Sure it looks pretty cool and will definitely creation but when it comes time for you to mix, don’t you think it will just slow you down?

You just couldn’t get any work done if you had to go through all your gear to patch in a new compressor or EQ every time. This is basically the same thing that’s happening when we open up our plugin menu and look for plugins. We now are confused at the long list of plugins we have to choose from and we become paralyzed by choice.

We can make our lives easier by making those decisions ahead of time…

Slim and Trim is the Way to Go

On 99% of your projects, you know you are only going to use the same EQ and compressor. You need to just admit to that fact so that you can move on and start mixing.

You can now take the next best step and hide all those plugins you aren’t going to use. In Pro Tools you can simply just move the ones you don’t need into the “unused” folder. They will be removed from your DAW (say bye bye) but will still be there incase you need them.

The only real consequence to slimming down your plugins folder is that you will mix faster. If you have fewer options during mix down, than you’ll make much quicker decisions, some of which have already been made. A funny thing starts to happen; you’ll become much more confident about the decision that you are making. On the flipside, the opposite is true when you have too much choice.

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