We all love buying new plug-ins, right? But do you really need them to make great
mixes? And what if more plug-ins are actually making
your mixes worse? Hey, it’s Jason from Behind The Speakers. And in this video, you’ll learn three reasons
you should stop buying third-party plug-ins. But before we get started, make sure you grab
my free e-book, “35 Mixing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making” by clicking
the link above or in the description below right now. The first reason to stop buying third-party
plug-ins is because you don’t actually need them to make great mixes. The truth is, if you’re working with one
of the major DAWs out there – whether it’s ProTools or Cubase or Logic or Ableton – you
have everything you need. Just the stock plug-ins in your DAW alone
are more than enough to make really good-sounding mixes. Now just to illustrate this point, I wanted
to share with you a demo that my friend Rob Mayzes over at Musician On A Mission put together,
where he actually mixed the same song twice – one time using stock plug-ins alone, and
I think he uses Logic, so stock plug-ins in Logic, and then one time using third-party
premium plug-ins. So let’s take a listen, and I want you to
see if you can tell the difference between these two versions of the mix. ♪ ‘Cause my routine has bled into one, ♪ ♪ I’m cruel, disgusting, and fun. ♪ ♪ ‘Cause I can’t see how it’s come to be,
♪ ♪ My desire, desire, desire. ♪ So I don’t know about you, but I can’t
hear the difference between those two. They sound pretty much identical. The moral of the story here is that you don’t
actually need to go out and buy a bunch of third-party plug-ins. If your mixes don’t sound as good as you
want them to, it’s not because you don’t have the tools, it’s because there’s some
information gap. Maybe you don’t know how to use the tools
yet, or you just haven’t put in the time and practice to develop the skills needed
to make really good-sounding mixes. So the good news is that that’s stuff that
you can work on. And you don’t have to go out and spend a
bunch of money to do it. So again, tools aren’t the answer. You don’t need a bunch of third-party premium
plug-ins in order to make great mixes. You probably have everything you need right
now. The second reason you should stop buying third-party
plug-ins is that too many plug-ins cause something that I call decision fatigue. The truth is when we’re working on a mix,
there are so many decisions we have to make, so many choices of what plug-ins to use, what
processing to add. And the mix itself is just a result of thousands
of tiny little decisions. Now, the modern-day music making process is
already overwhelming enough, right? We have millions of choices, whether it’s
virtual instruments or plug-ins or track counts are higher than ever. And all of these choices make the music making
process so complicated as is. But when we start buying lots of plug-ins,
what happens is we add another layer of complexity to the music making process. So now when I’m listening to my mix and
suddenly I hear the track needs to be compressed, instead of just grabbing my go-to compressor,
I have to say okay, well I have twenty different compressor plug-ins, which one of those compressor
plug-ins am I going to need to grab, right? And so now before we even got to the actual
work of compressing, we’re already adding this other layer of decision making. And when you think about the mixing process
as a whole, that additional layer adds so much complexity because you’re thinking
about these choices. Every time you add a plug-in, every time you
add compression, every time you add EQ, you have to go through this additional process. So suddenly the mixing process becomes even
more complicated, right? And it’s already complicated enough. So what I recommend people to do is rather
than having a million different plug-ins to choose from, build a small library of plug-ins
that are workhorse tools, that are fairly flexible that you know you can adapt to a
variety of different circumstances. And that way when you’re thinking about
grabbing a compressor, you have one compressor that you can go for, or maybe two or three. You don’t have to worry about twenty different
options that you have to choose from. So by paring down your plug-in library and
really going for workhorse, flexible plug-ins – and these can be the stock plug-ins in your
DAW, they don’t have to be third-party plug-ins – but the idea here again by paring things
down, we’re removing that additional layer of decision making, and mixing becomes a lot
easier. And the third reason I think you should stop
buying third-party plug-ins is because spending more money on plug-ins actually pulls us away
from investing in the things that make a much bigger impact. When it comes to things that really make a
difference in terms of the sound of your music, plug-ins are way down at the bottom of the
list. There are so many more important things that
you could be spending your money on – acoustic treatment, education, monitoring – just to
name a few. The problem is that every dollar that we invest
into plug-ins actually gets taken away from those areas in many cases. We have a limited amount of resources. For most of us, music making is a part-time
thing, right? We’re not doing this full time and we don’t
have a million dollars in the bank that we can spend on this stuff. So what happens is we end up spending money
on plug-ins, and we don’t have that money to invest in the areas that actually are going
to make a much bigger impact in many cases. So instead of investing in plug-ins, I recommend
that you take a step back and actually think how can I maximize my investment when it comes
to my music? If I only have ten dollars or fifty dollars
a month to spend on this, where can I spend it to make it count? And chances are it’s not going to be plug-ins. So that’s the third and one of the biggest
reasons really that I recommend you don’t spend a bunch of money on third-party premium
plug-ins. So hopefully you found this video helpful,
and make sure you grab my free e-book, “35 Mixing Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re
Making” too. There’s lots of great content in there that
will help steer you away from some of these bad decisions, whether it’s buying plug-ins
or other things that will actually take you off the path in the mixing process. So you can grab that e-book again for free
by clicking the link above or in the description below. And before you go, leave a comment below this
video and let me know – do you think people should avoid buying plug-ins? Do you agree with me or disagree with me? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you, so leave your
response in the comments section below. Thanks so much for watching, and you can check
out more mixing videos and tutorials like these right here on my YouTube channel or
at BehindTheSpeakers.com.

3 Reasons To Stop Buying Plugins Now – BehindTheSpeakers.com
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43 thoughts on “3 Reasons To Stop Buying Plugins Now – BehindTheSpeakers.com

  • February 16, 2019 at 8:46 am
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    Do you think people should avoid buying plug-ins?

    Reply
  • February 28, 2019 at 11:36 pm
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    Stocks sounds slightly warmer to me I’m down with your points I really do believe we don’t need them

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  • February 28, 2019 at 11:41 pm
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    great advice!

    Reply
  • February 28, 2019 at 11:43 pm
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    I have hundreds of plug-ins i got for free online. I still usually stick to 6 main ones, 5 of which came with the program.

    Honestly it's fun to experiment with them when I'm bored or with friends, but they hardly get used.

    Reply
  • February 28, 2019 at 11:53 pm
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    Slate plugins $15/month
    Best deal ever.

    Reply
  • February 28, 2019 at 11:56 pm
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    I agree and disagree with you.
    People that just started need to use stock plugins and get a great mix first.
    Slowly as they improve they can invest in one or two plugins here and there ..to add that analog vibe.
    But yes keep want to buy plugins is wrong because your focus changes from mixing to constantly upgrade your plugins while that person still did not learn how to mix properly.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 12:30 am
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    Please can you make a video about the glue compression

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  • March 1, 2019 at 12:48 am
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    I recently climbed out of the plugin vortex when I realised that they were not actually helping me at all. Out of all the different plugs I bought I realised that I really only use a couple of them because they were actually useful for sound design and effect for me. I have stopped my binge now…

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 12:57 am
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    So true – but I still buy them. I tend to get motivated to sit down and create music when I have a new plugin 🙂

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 1:14 am
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    Sound like good advice.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 2:13 am
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    You are completely right. It's compulsive accumulation, we do not need all these plugins but it reassures us in our practice.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 5:51 am
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    I started with the stock Mixcraft plugins, but eventually gathered a carefully selected bundle of freebies which became my go-to's for a long time…

    Recently, though, I put together a bundle of Waves plugins, and supplemented them with a few from smaller developers like Klanghelm and Auburn Sounds…luckily, careful shopping made it so I never paid more than 30.00 for any single plugin…no question that there is a noticeable difference in my mixes now from before…

    I agree that amassing a huge library is counter-intuitive, but I also feel that having a small library of premium plugins has been nothing but beneficial to me…

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 7:24 am
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    I am Sorry but if you try Universal Audio plug-ins you will see a lot of deference..

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 9:59 am
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    Just an excellent channel.
    Thanks Jason.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 11:56 am
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    It's subtle, but the premium plugins have a little less muddiness and a little more clarity than the stock plugins version. However, this may be nothing to do with the plugins and everything to do with his mixing decision since there are a lot of variables there in his subjective experience each individual time mixing. Listened on DT 1990's that I am very used to. On speakers I suspect I wouldn't be able to tell the difference but, alas, I don't own any because the walls are thin and I'm a respectful neighbour.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 12:18 pm
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    Please can you make a video about "Why buy expensive monitor speakers? "

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 1:35 pm
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    Heavily disagree, in the first comparison, the premium mix had much nicer highs and more clarity in the mix. There are 3 areas that stock plugins lack in, and that is in 1. Transparency in EQ 2. Saturation/distortion algorithms 3. Clarity and tonal balance in compressors. The difference between a mid tier mix and an amazing one usually lies in how clear all components stand and the warmth from a high quality algorithm saturation plugin. Don't even get me started on complex plugins, like maximizers, multiband maximizers, multiband compressors, multiband imagers and multiband exciters. No doubt, learning your tools first is very important, but don't think that the big dogs use external gear for no reason.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm
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    I totally agree with you Jason. We are constantly flooded by plugins marketing saying that if we want to have sound like the top mixing masters, we have to buy these plugins because it will add "this legendary analog vibe". It is just marketing non sense ! The only 3rd party plugins I bought are just those I found the more practical to use on a daily basis and because I like how they sound and the way they are designed. Not because they sound exactly like a famous vintage compressor, EQ or tape machine. So yeah, find the few tools you like to use and stick with them.

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 3:26 pm
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    Stock plugins are usually designed to give you the best results with minimum CPU load. Most 3rd party plugins are really CPU intensive and you end up getting that crackling playback

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 4:16 pm
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    Jason, thanks for this useful video. I completely agree with you, especially about "decision fatigue". Options-overload often kills my creativity…

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 4:38 pm
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    I agree with you but . . . . . . . its too late (for me! Save yourselves while you still can – ok, back to cataloging my Tuned percussion. Now what on earth is a Gankogui?)

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 6:46 pm
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    What bout fl

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 9:35 pm
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    Jason: nothing personal I love your tutorials but, it makes me laugh that different videos of pros who teach to mix claim to not buy third-party plugins, to use the stock plugins, then when you see their tutorials guess what ? they are full of expensive and famous plugins…..

    Reply
  • March 1, 2019 at 9:53 pm
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    I have just tried stock compressor on drum bus. Kramer Pie was a lot better 😀

    Reply
  • March 2, 2019 at 1:10 am
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    You are so right. Great video.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2019 at 2:19 am
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    Hi Jason, great information. I've come to the same decision. It was nice to hear Devin Townsend also say he wasn't a fan of choices. All these things just get in the way of just making music. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  • March 2, 2019 at 5:18 am
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    'option paralysis'

    Reply
  • March 2, 2019 at 12:04 pm
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    I see your point and I like the advice that the stock plugins can get the job done right and to not waste your money on a wanna-B quick fix by spending $100s more on third party toys.
    This is true and I agree…

    However, it’s true if you don’t specifically know what you are doing or if you are looking for that QUICK FIX.

    The mix demo you showed did not have a $1000 sounding difference but the cost difference of the plugins could have been even more than $1000.
    If my mixing engineer had 3 final mixes of my song and charged me:

    $500 for a perfect stock plugin mix.

    $1000 for a perfect in-the-box mix using every plugin know to man.

    $2000 using all of the above and top outboard gear.

    I would probably end up getting the $500 mix using my money.
    The $1000 mix using my family & supporters and gig cash to pay.
    The $2000 mix I would use my signed label deal money.

    At the end of the day:
    Why buy a NASCAR if a fully loaded Camaro is still a female and male “chick magnet”, too?

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 3:15 am
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    What about if i use Native Instruments Maschine? Do i have all the Plug-Ins i need?

    Reply
  • March 4, 2019 at 8:12 am
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    Only for actual sound selection if you don't know how to sound design.

    Reply
  • March 5, 2019 at 12:23 pm
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    I think grabbing a plugin once in a while can be a great way to reinvigorate some of that passion and creativity that might have toned down a bit. But generally yes, while they're a lot of fun, it can be very tempting to go overboard

    Reply
  • March 6, 2019 at 11:55 pm
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    I agree with this mostly, but felt it important to buy some specific EQ plug-ins- especially some with AI built in. Other than that, I try to stay away from buying too many plug-ins as well.

    Reply
  • March 7, 2019 at 3:02 am
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    Decision fatigue is real!

    Reply
  • March 8, 2019 at 2:15 am
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    I just bought Harrison Mixbus that this is THE sound (for me). It's a DAW that emulates the routing, EQ, compression, tape saturation and the "something extra" idiosyncrasies/chaos that you get from these elements interacting and combining inside of a console. There's no digital harshness when you clip the meters and you can drive the channels/faders like actual analog gear. Simply put, it sounds incredible without all of the extra bussing and 3rd party plugins. I won't ditch all 3rd party plugins because I love my reverbs and tape machines but there's really not a lot of need for other EQs and compressors.

    Reply
  • March 8, 2019 at 10:08 pm
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    I have been using the minimum plugins folder technique for years, but still find, I have to try new plugins, especially with VST3 ones, being great on CPU usage: in a nutshell my 'Favourites' keeps changing; so I have folders with 'Favourites Used' & 'VST2 only'(which means check for updates to VST3). I do agree with the unnecessary time consumed and the priority points and thank you for your video, reminding us of this, as an 'FX addict' I need to be kept in check, constantly and therefore have kept this video at top of my go-to 'Making Music' folder.

    Reply
  • March 12, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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    Absolutely spot on, I’ve been working with a cut down list for years!

    Reply
  • April 15, 2019 at 7:01 am
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    What about VST instruments, though? Not effect modules, but soft synths (for electronica) that generate specific sounds in a specific way? Or at least save hours of time when looking for new sounds?

    Reply
  • September 9, 2019 at 12:00 am
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    Agree with that, but I honestly think there are exceptions. For example, the Trident A-range EQ (Softube/UAD, about 100$) is incredible easy to use and it sounds very musical, so you can shape the sound in seconds without taking away the soul of performance and timbre. Then you can set a stock EQ (after or before) just to do the surgical job, let's say, roll ups, cuts, etc. SO, I think there are a collection of third party plugins that have character and add color to certain sounds in the mix. And many experienced mixers do use them. Decapitator, Echoboy, Fairchild, Pultec, Studer A-800, just to name a few. They are like exotic spices for the soup, and they can achieve fantastic results. It's true that more than 50 years have passed since they were created (the analog machines I mean). But we have some sort of "recorded music heritage", and the simple act of let the sound pass through an "UA 610-B Tube Preamp and EQ" Plug-In changes the sound and add some noticeable warmth in a very musical way. Do you agree?
    P.S. Sonnox Oxford Dynamics was created in 2004 (15 years ago)…Is that retro enough? :-)))))))

    Jason, a thousand Thanks for your awesome tutorials and PDFs. I am learning a lot from you.

    Reply
  • October 30, 2019 at 5:39 pm
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    Spot on. I agree 100%! I have vowed to stop buying plugins, maybe even downloading free plugins, and taking the time to truly learn to use what I already have.

    Reply
  • December 8, 2019 at 10:07 pm
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    So True!!

    Reply
  • December 18, 2019 at 2:48 pm
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    100% agree

    Reply
  • December 26, 2019 at 10:09 am
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    You nailed it! It's the same way I think. I'm sick of going to studios and meeting owners of home studios where folks do too much talking about plugin wankery.

    Reply

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