We all like buying new plugins during Black Friday, but we often forget the main benefits, and issues, of always buying new plugins. Even if you didn’t purchase anything, there’s still a few things to consider:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Enjoy the motivation boost you’ll get from new toys and develop your skills. The best thing about buying new plugins is that they often motivate us to produce more and use what we’ve just purchased, which is often needed, especially when you’re feeling unmotivated with your music. Therefore, for the next few days, enjoy the boost you’ll have to work more and use it to your advantage. You don’t need to use these new purchases the whole time, but use them as a trigger to start a new song, to enhance a mix you were doing, or to finish songs you were dwelling on for a long time. Sometimes, even the things that you’ve been postponing learning can suddenly become interesting when you make a new purchase. For example, when I bought Serum in 2015, it motivated me to learn Sound Design, something that I had been postponing for years and likely would have not learned if it wasn’t for purchasing Serum. So, make sure to use that motivation to develop more songs or develop skills that you were avoiding.
2. Learn everything you bought inside out. Whether it’s a VST, Sample Pack, or Preset pack, it’s time to sit down and use it A LOT until you know it inside out. Understand how it fits your workflow, watch tutorials and learn how to use what you purchased and, most importantly, when you need to add them to your tracks. As with any new plugin, we tend to force-use these new purchases to ‘prove to ourselves that the purchase was worth it, but that often leads us to overuse, sometimes to CPU overload when you buy lots of new plugins and, consequently, mess up the songs that we’re working on or even make us feel tired/bored of them. And that will not make you finish more songs, which is the reason why you bought them in the first place, right? Therefore, take a moment to understand your new gadgets and remember that it’s not because you bought them you should use them in every channel. New tools are supposed to enhance our workflow, but not completely change it.
3. Start to develop Go-to Plugins for each category (EQ, Reverb, etc) to avoid always buying more plugins. We can always have more plugins, but that will not lead our songs to be better and can often lead you to be frozen by so many plugin choices. When you develop go-to plugins, however, you develop a sense of mastery in that plugin that can enhance your mixing and sound design skills, which then leads you to better songs. In addition, since you get so good at this ‘go-to plugin’, you also start to avoid purchasing similar plugins that do not enhance your workflow or skills significantly because, after all, they will take longer to learn and, therefore, not justify the purchase. For this to happen, make sure to start selecting one main plugin for each task in your music production and use them every time. For example, when choosing a plugin to develop a sound from scratch, always select the same one, and this will give you the skills you need to eventually start developing your own unique sound, and highly question buying other synths since you’re so used to that one. The same can be said for Sample Packs and Preset Packs. Once you find a pack that has all you need, why would you buy another one?
4. Understand that, in the long term, plugins will not be what will make or break your songs. When you’re starting to produce, we think that plugins are the solution for all our problems because we’ve seen someone online using them, so we buy everything we can. However, you’re MUCH better off investing your time and money in courses that will develop your skills rather than more plugins. Knowledge will be the key element that will make your music develop and, over time, you’ll figure out that it doesn’t matter if you’re using a stock EQ or Fabfilter Pro-Q. These are just tools, and indeed some are sometimes better, but if you don’t know what to do with them, they are as good as stock ones. Not only this, but it won’t matter if it’s a stock EQ or a paid EQ as you’ll learn to adapt until you’ve reached what you want with it, and that only comes with knowledge. Therefore, enjoy your new plugins, but also invest in what will make them be worth it, your knowledge and your skills.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
How else can you make the most out of your purchases?
1. If you bought Sample Packs and Preset Packs, go through all sounds and add the sounds you liked the most, or loops you’ve made with these sounds, to your Custom Sample Library. The less you have to search next time, the faster you find the sounds you want.
2. If you bought plugins for mixing and mastering, test them in your old mixes and see how they compare with what you have previously used. This way you’ll know how you can make your mixes better the next time.
3. If you bought new synths, commit to making a preset or following a tutorial with it every day. Only this kind of repetition and commitment will lead you to master a synth and, therefore, find your own sound