I have a confession to make.
Although I do mostly follow my own advice, using the 5 most important plug-in you need for a great mix, I still have this massive guilty pleasure.
It’s the CLA Signature Series plug-ins from Waves.
Even after I EQ, compress, add analog summing or saturation, and route my mix to my reverbs and delays it’s always nice to have a one-stop-shop solution in case you need something a little extra.
The Appeal of Limitations
There’s actually something appealing about the lack of control you have inside those plug-ins.
You have very little control over the EQ spectrum. It has three preset sounds you can either cut or boost in both the lows and the highs.
So if you need to get surgical it’s better to do that with a proper EQ, and actually knowing where to look in the frequency spectrum.
The same goes for the compression, reverbs and delays. Not a lot of options. but for cosmetic tweaks to make your tracks sound cooler, I constantly come back to them.
The funny thing is, I also have the Maserati signature series and I hardly ever use it. There’s just something about the simplicity of the CLA series that gets me.
Downside of the Reverb
The lack of customization does have its downsides, though. The biggest one I’ve found is in their built-in reverbs. I’ve especially noticed this when I use the Guitar or Unplugged plug-in on acoustic guitar.
As far as I can tell, the reverbs aren’t EQ’d. Or even if they are you can’t customize the EQ if you need to filter out more highs or lows.
So a strummy acoustic guitar will add a lot of high-frequency reverb to the mix, which is not something you’d always want. At that point, I’m better off turning the reverb off and using a dedicated reverb that I can EQ the way I see fit.
Effects is My Favorite
That said, the Effects plug-in of the series is my favorite. It’s really fun to use if you want to automate in weird sounds or noises, add telephone like effects or effed up distortion to a part of the song.
When I want to get weird it’s nice to have the Effects plug-in on hand because it’s just more efficient to use one plug-in instead of slapping on a distortion, a filter, some reverb, a weird delay and a modulation effect.
Instant weirdness is all there in one plug-in.
What’s Your Vice?
What mixing vice do you constantly come back to?
Is there anything you know you maybe shouldn’t always do, but do anyway?
Let me know!