The Minimal Plugins Mindset [Video]

| Mixing, Plugins, Pro Tools, Tips, Video

Lately I’ve been adopting a more minimalistic approach to plugin usage in my mixes. Part of it is I want to be very intentional about every single thing I do to a mix so that nothing is arbitrary. I also believe there’s something to what Michael Fitzpatrick is saying about tweaking less and less with EQ and effects to achieve a more organic and natural sound. Today I want to demonstrate one example of what I call the minimal plugins mindset. Enjoy!


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16 Responses to “The Minimal Plugins Mindset [Video]”

  1. JV

    LOVE this philosophy, Graham. LOVE it! We humans so enjoy fiddling with any kind of technology we can invent, and we lose site of the fact that just because we CAN do something does not mean we SHOULD.

  2. Larry Green

    This actually sounds backwards to me, rather like mastering before mixing. Adding plugins to the mix buss is going to to affect all the tracks and may color the sound prematurely. I can see it on track groups (drums. guitars, vocals and etc.)but I like some things not compressed or distorted at all. This approach might limit you mix. Just my opinion. Thanks Graham!

    • Graham

      Larry, Mix Buss processing is something I always do, but only for general sound enhancement on the whole mix. I don’t ever actually mix buss process just for the drums like in this example. I just simplified the tutorial and focused on only on drums. Hope that helps!

      • Riri

        Hi everybody, hi Graham, thanks for your great website.
        I agree with you Larry Green on this point.
        When I process my mix buss before mixing my tracks, I often become stuck because as I process the tracks individually, the effect of the compressor (i.e) on the master track changes too.
        Then I find myself tweaking the mix buss again. So I usually prefer doing that at the last moment, but I can hear that your advice works well so I’m wondering if I do something wrong (although I know there is no gold rule).
        Sorry for my english, I’m not sure I’m being clear..
        And thank you again! 🙂

  3. Colin

    Would you consider doing a review on McDSP’s project studio bundle? It seems like an ideal plugin bundle for home studio owners who are on a budget, but would like to expand their mixing options. I am definitely considering it myself! Do you use any of the other plugins besides the tape saturation?

    • Graham

      I might have to do that. Yes, I use AC2 and Compressor Bank a lot these days. Also use the ML4000 some times. Great plugins.

  4. Jordan

    This is what I like about the TapeMachine and Console EMU plugins I use. On some tracks, they’re the ONLY plugins I use, because compression is taken care of from the dynamic saturation, and a lot of EQ work is taken care of fromthe console side of things, and plus they glue all the tracks together much better.

    It’s funny how this modern obsession with plugins came after the tape days, partly because of how the art changed, but I think also partly because of how good you can get things to sound by themselves going an analog route, that you didnt NEED 3 instances of EQ on a track, or 2 compressors in succession, things like that. Not saying people didnt do it, but it seems like it was just less necessary to make things work back then.

  5. Simon Adams

    Graham, thanks for your amazing generosity. Really appreciated! Do you use the LE version of the analog channel?If so, is the lack of a release time time a big deal for you sometimes? I read the full version has that and some other extras. Also.. DUELING MIXING ROCKS!

  6. Jake

    I’ve been looking for a good tape plugin for a long time. I want one that’s simple and not too processor intensive (unlike Slate’s Virtual Tape Machine and Kramer Master Tape), but it seems like all other choices are Protools only and I’m using Logic.

    I’ve tried downloading some free ones but I couldn’t get Logic to open them.

    Anyone have a good recommendation?

      • Jake

        Yep I like into it but after looking around McDSP’s website I found out that their plugins are Pro Tools only.

          • Jake

            Oh now that I’m looking at their site again more closely it says its available as Audio Unit for other DAWs. Cool I’ll check it out.

            Thanks Jason and thanks Graham!



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