Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
pinkpaint
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Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by pinkpaint » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:23 pm

Hello,

This is not a you shouldn't be wasting your money on third party vsts thread. I went through a period where I realized I was buying a lot of plug-ins but never really utilizing all of them. I got to a point where I would just have so many third party plug-ins that I wouldn't use because I was comfortable with a few.

I asked myself why am I not using these amazing plugins? It took me some time to admit to myself because I honestly had no idea what most of them were doing. An example, ohmicide. A multi band distortion/dynamics plugin. I remember using it all the time without even understanding what it is. Going through presets until it makes my synth or kick or whatever sound dope.. And thats how I went about it... there is nothing wrong with that..

However, I have become literally 10x better in the last three months by taking a step back and doing most of my work with lives native devices (besides synths, however, I will circle back to why this improved my synth sound design later). I own live 9 suite and considered max for live devices to be third party vsts as well as I didnt understand them 100% either, so they were excluded from this 3 month voyage. Anyways, I set out for 3 months of using only native devices...

Let me say the first week was easily the hardest.. As it made me feel stupid and untalented. I started to develop a procedure where I would look at third party plugins and try to recreate them with lives native devices. For example, if I wanted to make a multi band distortion/ dynamics plugin I would have to use an effect rack with 3 chains, 3 different EQs on each of these chains to create the band separation, one high pass, one bandpass, and one lowpass. From there I would place an ableton saturator on each channel. This is where things get crazy because with ableton saturator you have so many distortion types. My favorites are the default setting and wave shaper. Anways, you distort each band to desire and you have a compressor on each chain at the end as well, and you can squash each chain.. to top it throw a glue compressor on after the audio effect rack to glue everything together.

Anyways, I have honestly found that I can create MOST of these sounds with native devices for these special fx. I have created my own sausage fattener, ohmicide, cooper time cube, 5 and 8 band compressors *overkill as hell btw lol*, Ice Frozen Reverbs, honestly too many to list.

What am I trying to say? I learned how to make any sound I want and I could achieve it with mostly native devices. I went from feeling like an absolute idiot about sound design and fx processing and signal flow to feeling pretty ahead of the curve in just 3 months by doing this. I had only one crash over these 3 months as well, benefit of using mostly native devices. I recommend this process to anyone. Wether you are a complete beginner or expert or anything inbetween. A lot of people have echoed this on this forum in the past, but master your current tool set. Skill comes out and will defeat all gear/software power that your competition has.

As I understood more about creating amazing fx with native devices, I started to understand more about sound design at the core, and I would be able to retain so much more if I were to watch a tutorial on building a certain sound patch, and be able to create it without reference after just watching it. In the past I understood envelopes and LFOs and stuff, but idk, I can sort of visualize how the sound is supposed to be made in my head now, something I was not able to do before.

Learn those native devices! Again, Im not saying that third party plugins are to be ignored. I have gone back to using certain 3rd party vsts to just achieve a quicker result. But I understand these 3rd party fx 10x more now because if learning the native devices. I dont have to search 3rd party vsts to get the result I want, I actually am comfortable enough to just open a third party plugin and just make it sound my own. I think I may force myself to do a 3rd party cleansing once a year and just use native devices for a month to refresh everything for me.

Happy musiking, I hope my experience can help yours.

beats me
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by beats me » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:34 pm

Always good advice.

I offer this thread as a counter

viewtopic.php?f=40&t=214711&start=0

jbw
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by jbw » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:33 pm

This is cool, and I have considered it, but there are just too many great things that third party developers have built that I would never even come close to building.

One thing I did do is limit myself to just a few developers, to try and contain the madness.

Plus I still like the whole "hey what's this button do?" approach. :mrgreen:

Valiumdupeuple
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by Valiumdupeuple » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:51 pm

I've restricted myself to Live's native devices + M4L a few years ago. That's already a LOT of everything one needs.
The only 3rd party plugins I use are Amplitube, and Tonebooster Tb FLX.
The only one I miss is Absynth.

mrgrim3
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by mrgrim3 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:36 am

hey i also use stock synths and plugins only

my reasoning is why buy new stuff i am not good at using , if i cant make decent sounds with stock synths and stock audio plugins

i would be wasting my money and time then

maybe after a while of getting good at sound design i would buy 3rd party plugins

the only 3rd party stuff is what came with midi controllers honestly and i barely use them

i own cubase 8 pro and ableton 9 suite btw and will run in rewire to use ableton synths in cubase and its more than enough i think to make "professional quality" tracks with just either daw without rewiring also
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morgo
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by morgo » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:56 am

funny I was just thinking about this today. over the years I have definately gone through phases of collecting plugins and deleting them. I'm feeling like I've unnecessarily accumulated a heap that I'm not using so ill be deleting in the next few days. One question though: do you not find there are certain plugins which you cant adequately recreate with native / free max for live devices? One example being the NI Passive EQ, I mean there just isnt an EQ in live that will let you abuse a sound as much as that and still sound so musical. Also Soundtoys Echo Boy - I mean it makes freely available delay options in Live look like kids toys!

For the most part I completely agree with you however - good post!

tedlogan
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by tedlogan » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:07 am

I also like the idea of limiting one's devices overall. While I agree on most of what you said, I don't want to live without Zebra and Bazille. I have bought Hive also, but this was mainly for its excellent enjoyable workflow , something which Live's synths lack (way too much tabbing - hate it).

Those are the only plugins I own. Oh, Satin too, but I can live without it. Them combined with Sampler, Drumracks, Instrument Racks, Granulator 2, Corpus, Collision (although Zebra does a better job of this I still use it) and I've got more than I'll ever need.

Even Tension, which to me often sounds pretty crap on its own, can sound great with layers, Convolution reverb, Corpus and so on. Some designer(s) brought out a pack recently, I think Entangled Species, which sounds fantastic.

You are right - many people expect more plugins to fix their musical woes instead of practice & time with using the tools they already have.

Focus on a select group of devices/instruments, and try to become REAL good at using them.
Last edited by tedlogan on Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:25 am, edited 2 times in total.

chapelier fou
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by chapelier fou » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:22 am

Valiumdupeuple wrote:I've restricted myself to Live's native devices + M4L a few years ago. That's already a LOT of everything one needs.
The only 3rd party plugins I use are Amplitube, and Tonebooster Tb FLX.
The only one I miss is Absynth.
Same here. Only Guitar Rig.
Well, when it comes to sound design, and movie scores, Absynth and Kontakt as well.
MacBook Pro 13" Retina i7 2.8 GHz OS 10.13, L10.0.1, M4L.
iMac 27" Retina i5 3,2 GHz OS 10.11.3 L10.0.1 M4L.

BoddAH
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by BoddAH » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:32 am

I enjoy using Push and working inside the box more and more.

Musicians and composers have been making incredible music using a single, often very limited, or at most a couple instrument for centuries.

Even the "King" of musical instruments, the Grand Piano, is the real-life equivalent of a single PRESET (not even a full, tweakable VSTi) when you think about it, yet the musical possibilities are already almost limitless.

A minimalistic approach focusing on mastering what you have instead of adding more stuff all the time is probably a good thing for every producer but it's especially true when you are using Push and Ableton which IS designed for intuitive Live use. Live 9 Suite has more than enough features and native devices to have infinite options when it comes to making professional quality music. It's all about knowing how to use the devices. Adding to it only distracts from actually making music (by reading reviews, constantly updating and troubleshooting, learning new plug-ins all the time, etc.) and ruins the straighforward and quick workflow that Live is famous for.

Mixing skills, music theory and sound design are universal. Expensive plug-ins are just countless reiterations of the same, basic old principles that are simply marketet as "revolutionary" and "game changing" every time for obvious reasons. 8)

I'm not a great producer, artist, or composer but I have long ago decided to consider Push+Ableton as a walled-garden production environment. It's more rewarding, less expensive, more stable, less complicated, more hands-on and ultimatively more fun. 8)

re:dream
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by re:dream » Fri Jul 03, 2015 11:19 am

Thanks for a very inspiring thread! Very impressive.

dna598
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by dna598 » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:53 pm

get to know operator! it is pretty much the only synth i use. So much tone in those dials!
ctrl + left/right = select transient

ctrl + shift + left/right = select between transients

ctrl + space = play selection

Tarekith
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jul 03, 2015 1:04 pm

I'm more or less the same way for my own music making, I tend to just stick with what comes with the app these days in terms of effects and usually synths too. As someone else mentioned, if you're using Push then it's more or less a given that it's easier to focus on the Live plug ins anyway. And these days I almost always use Push with Live.

For my mastering and mixdown business I still rely on a short list of third party plug ins, but very very few these days compared to in the past.

stringtapper
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by stringtapper » Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:56 pm

I was fortunate to have come to this decision before I got in too deep with a hoard of 3rd party plugs. The only stuff I've consistently used is U-he, mostly Zebra 2 and Uhbik.

Although like Tarekith mentioned I have begun to rack up a few for mastering and now that I just got a UAD Apollo I might get even more :oops:
Unsound Designer

Tarekith
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by Tarekith » Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:28 pm

UAD = crack

ImNotDedYet
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Re: Why I stopped using most third party plug-ins

Post by ImNotDedYet » Fri Jul 03, 2015 7:01 pm

This is a good point, and I agree to an extent. My philosophy differs however. I've bought a number of plugins over time, many because they were on sale and provided functionality that I didn't currently have in a single compressor. I've found now there are really only a few that I go to and I get to know those well and how to use them.

While I agree you can accomplish quite a bit with Live's native plugs, there are some plugs out there that would require three or four different live plugs. There are some plugs out there whose UI just makes it far more intuitive for me and actually increases my productivity.

And at the end of the day, I pseudo agree with you...limiting your plugs and really getting to know them and how to use them is the best approach. I just choose to do so with a number of plugs that aren't native to Live.

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