In the digital world we’ve got access to so many plugins. Which I think is great. I’m sure that in your DAW you’ve got an arsenal of compressors, EQ’s, reverbs, delays etc.
But my question is: how do you use them? Do you know exactly what you’re doing? (Please don’t feel offended if you’re an experienced engineer. Some of my readers are at the start of their careers.) Do you know the theory behind a compressor? Do you know what a threshold is and what it does etc? Or do u just start tweaking without actually knowing what you’re doing?
If the latter is the case I would definitely encourage you to do some self study (Google is your best friend), so at least you’ll get a sense of what you’re doing. But do keep experimenting, because that’s how you create your own unique techniques. In this post, I’ll cover more of a philosophy than actual techniques (I do have a few examples tho).
I love to use plugins in a way they’re not intended to be used. Guitar effects are my favorites! I use guitar effects on everything; I run vocals thru amps, pianos thru guitar chorus effects, put guitar distortion on synths etc.
Limiters and maximizers that were originally made for Master busses can also work on individual tracks–I especially like them on lead vocals.
Sometimes it can also be cool to run effects thru effects and then thru more effects to create weird original sounding effects and sounds. I’m also a huge fan automating effects! For example: run some background vocals thru a guitar chorus, put a huge reverb on it and then put a high cut filter on that on which you automate the cutoff frequency.
Like I said just keep experimenting! Keep pushing boundaries and break every rule you know!