QOTD: Do you use plugin presets?

July 15, 2010 | 3 Comments

July 15th, 2010 – Today I worked on a quick mix for some singer-songwriter stuff I recorded a while ago. I’m sure you all know about Waves plugins. Well, what you may not know is that they have new plugins for people who don’t know what plugins to use.

For example, the CLA (Chris Lord-Alge) series has awesome 1176, LA2A and LA3A emulations, and there are also plugins available in his signature line with names like CLA Vocals and CLA Guitars. Let’s take the CLA Vocals as an example. You may not know how to use a compressor, but with the CLA Vocal plugin, there’s a fader that controls all the usual compressor parameters automagically. Want more compression? Turn up the fader.

These types of plugins are really the ultimate presets. Of course, they don’t always provide the perfect setting for every song, but all-in-all they sound surprisingly good. Many engineers would call it cheating, others just want something to quickly get the job done.

Personally, I like to flip through presets (ones offered by the manufacturer, and ones that I’ve created myself) to get a close approximation to the sound I have in my head, and then tweak it from there until it’s perfect. I find that it lets me get my ideas out faster, which is a good thing when you have a terrible memory like me.

How about you? Do you think it’s cheating to use presets?

Share Our Posts

  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Newsvine
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati


  1. Felippe Senne says: July 16, 2010

    For EQ, compressors, etc, I dont use, its too hard to use a preset on a sound that was made for another particular sound.

    I only use presets on virtual instruments.

    Nice blog, keep rocking!

    Cheers from Brazil!

  2. Cooper Fuqua says: September 16, 2010

    When it comes to presets or preset plugins like the CLA’s, I feel, it is all on how you approach it. Like you said, for those who are starting to use plugins and aren’t quite acquainted with the parameters of compressors, reverbs, etc. it’s easy to fall in the pattern of using presets. But it is a good way of learning the different sounds of the plugins and how they are used. The CLA plugins are a great example of this. For the Vocals edition, it has reverb, compression, delays, and many other effects (time based and so on). One cool thing about them is it gives you 3 different settings for those certain plugins (ex. compression – soft, ceiling, crush), and it also lets you adjust the volume of those parameters. It even lets you take those and attenuate them.

  3. Lukas says: October 8, 2010

    I don’t think presets are cheating, but I rarely find any use for them (maybe except VI’s as Felippe mentioned). They’re only starting points and 99 times out of 100 you will still need to tweak a parameter here and there to make things work, especially with eq and compression.

    To beginners, they might give a rough idea of what result they should be after on a given sound, but as their experience grow, they start to realize, they dont need presets anymore – learning curve in the making…

    Good post!


There are no trackbacks on this entry

Add a Comment