How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

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kevvvvv
vvvvvvv
2481 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from skelmersdale, west lancs, uk

Post Sat May 30, 2020 4:05 pm

I went through this exercise last year. It worked out very well.

First off I only installed the Top 5 synths and Top 5 fx I use.

Immediately I was making music with the new system.

It all worked out so well, there was surprisingly little I needed to install later.

It also meant I stayed with large GUI modern design plugs

- with all the old stuff, tiny stuff (inc kontakt) 32 bit stuff getting forgotten. Don't miss any of them now.

The big payoff is I've really learned my top 5 plugs well, and produce better music for it

- instead of wasting time wading through a ton of stuff and wasting more time thinking about what to use, what to use.

Less is always more haha
Member 12, Studio One 4 soon to be 5, Avenger + 15 xps, Dune 3, XLN Audio XO, Microtonic, Pigments, Arturia 6 (barely used), Soundshaper 2, Izotope all, Valhalla, Spire, Sasquatch Kick 2, Mongoose, Panagement, Punchy Worm (turned to the right)

jzero
KVRist
224 posts since 24 Jul, 2002 from Tennessee

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Sat May 30, 2020 7:58 pm

ssl4000 wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 3:49 pm

Pff... you need quite a bit more for that magic 1176 number
True! I need to work on that... :D

ztrauq
KVRist
254 posts since 13 Dec, 2004 from USA

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Mon Jun 01, 2020 12:12 am

Arashi wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 10:50 pm
Start by only installing your favorite plugins you use all the time. When you go to open an old project (if that's something you ever do), if it complains a plugin is missing and you still care about the project, install that plugin.

If your DAW has any kind of plugin management (such as the custom folders in Logic Pro, or Ableton Live's collections), only put your favorite plugins in those folders, and only use those folders when looking for plugins in new projects. That way the old ones are out of sight, but you can still open older stuff if you want to dig an old idea out of the graveyard.
This seems like a very sensible approach. I am using Studio One, and as I've been doing some installs I've been adding the key instruments to its favorites. So for example I've got most of Komplete 12 installed as I use various NI things in a lot of older projects, but in terms of what I'm actually using now, I just have Reaktor and Kontakt favorited (and my favorite ensembles/libraries organized within that).
kevvvvv wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 4:05 pm
I went through this exercise last year. It worked out very well.

First off I only installed the Top 5 synths and Top 5 fx I use.

Immediately I was making music with the new system.

It all worked out so well, there was surprisingly little I needed to install later.

It also meant I stayed with large GUI modern design plugs

- with all the old stuff, tiny stuff (inc kontakt) 32 bit stuff getting forgotten. Don't miss any of them now.

The big payoff is I've really learned my top 5 plugs well, and produce better music for it

- instead of wasting time wading through a ton of stuff and wasting more time thinking about what to use, what to use.

Less is always more haha
Kinda the "desert island" plugin approach? I can see a certain allure to doing that (especially in terms of really getting to know instruments), but I'm not sure I could go that low. I suppose it would depend on the category? I'm pretty happy with one compressor, one clipper, one limiter, one basic channel strip... something like delay, though, I can narrow it down to... I think five that I would be perfectly happy using only those, but I wouldn't want to get rid of any individual one of those five.

So I think for me, shooting for the 50 instruments/100 effects is probably more realistic, or maybe cut a little more and have some room for trying out a few new things before reaching that threshold. I think at that level I can be familiar with what everything does and not have too much burden in terms of keeping things maintained (especially as some bundled things can update a bunch of plugins at once). That being said, I'm thinking of leaving one DAW in place on my previous music computer and maybe limiting that to only a handful of things (or maybe only the built-in DAW plugins) just to see if there's a difference in my approach...

User avatar
kevvvvv
vvvvvvv
2481 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from skelmersdale, west lancs, uk

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:45 am

ztrauq ... I see your point. 'course :tu:

But I get more better work done now than I used to, as I spent too much time worrying about plugs

- though I might think differently if I ran a live recording studio

- or was a professional mix engineer.

The general trend I've seen here since KVR Day 1 is "get more to be more"

- which I think is a myth propagated by a sort of greed.

We all feel it, sometimes every day (every hour :lol: )

I think for some members here the greed outweighs the music.

(leaving myself wide open here but ... :D :lol: :))
Member 12, Studio One 4 soon to be 5, Avenger + 15 xps, Dune 3, XLN Audio XO, Microtonic, Pigments, Arturia 6 (barely used), Soundshaper 2, Izotope all, Valhalla, Spire, Sasquatch Kick 2, Mongoose, Panagement, Punchy Worm (turned to the right)

User avatar
kevvvvv
vvvvvvv
2481 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from skelmersdale, west lancs, uk

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:52 am

btw I'm still celebrating that I unloaded Kontakt :D

Maybe I'll put it back one day, though I've gone over a year without going near it

Is Kontakt supposed to be indispensable?
Member 12, Studio One 4 soon to be 5, Avenger + 15 xps, Dune 3, XLN Audio XO, Microtonic, Pigments, Arturia 6 (barely used), Soundshaper 2, Izotope all, Valhalla, Spire, Sasquatch Kick 2, Mongoose, Panagement, Punchy Worm (turned to the right)

Winstontaneous
KVRAF
1850 posts since 15 Feb, 2006 from Berkeley, CA

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:35 am

kevvvvv wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:52 am
btw I'm still celebrating that I unloaded Kontakt :D

Maybe I'll put it back one day, though I've gone over a year without going near it

Is Kontakt supposed to be indispensable?
Debatable - I had to clear up some space on my SSD last week and discovered Kontakt libraries were the main culprit. Got rid of about 80GBs and don't miss anything yet! I use the DAW's samples more most of the time anyway.

User avatar
Michael L
KVRAF
3185 posts since 25 Jan, 2014 from The End of The World as We Knowit

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:50 pm

kevvvvv wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:45 am
The general trend I've seen here since KVR Day 1 is "get more to be more" - which I think is a myth propagated by a sort of greed.
It's nothing new -- just consumerism applied to music, by triggering feelings of inadequacy, fear, uncertainty, curiosity, desire for technical knowlege, instant gratification, excitement, novelty, addiction, the list goes on. You can see the myth actively promoted in the product development and marketing that kvr distributes.
MuLab goes with The Flow...

vitocorleone123
KVRian
620 posts since 30 Jun, 2014 from Pacific NW

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Mon Jun 01, 2020 2:20 pm

kevvvvv wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:52 am
btw I'm still celebrating that I unloaded Kontakt :D

Maybe I'll put it back one day, though I've gone over a year without going near it

Is Kontakt supposed to be indispensable?
I chose to make it that way for me. But it doesn’t have to be for everyone. The same applies for Kontakt as plugins: be very careful.

I have most Kontakt libraries uninstalled. Only keep the ones I reach for regularly (or at least somewhat) on the hard drive.

F8L8
KVRer
6 posts since 1 Apr, 2020

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Tue Jun 02, 2020 3:25 am

I have to say that I like Mushy Mushys diagram.
It was only over the course of past year or so I ditched almost all free plugins, either because I now have way better paid options that are actually supported and, more stable and often have clearer interfaces. There are good deals to be had either new or second hand.

-contrary to the OP, I did keep plugins that require copy protection/registration, eg. AIR stuff (Vacuum and Hybrid for me) allow I think 2 or 3 authorizations, but you can de-authorize and then install on different machine. Also they are often on sale via various outlets and I think i've seen them on sale here as well.

I do try to avoid said "one trick" plugins same as I don't need 6 different reverbs etc.
One of my friends is here, I think you called him a plugin hoarder within few of his first posts, I used to be exactly that as well.

Currently I use Cubase and I really like it's EQ, rarely use anything else lately, must give go to it's channel strip as well. I am not looking for color or emulation of something, I make dance music after all and in most cases there will be chorus, distortion etc. in the signal chain which in the end will probably completely overshadow said color or character.

If you make synth heavy music, most of the character is often due to FX anyway.

peteredd
KVRer
13 posts since 2 Mar, 2020

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:09 am

I joined this forum simply b/c I have an addiction to buying plugins that I don't use. Good to see I am not alone and you have my sympathies. Have you had success selling off plugs on the marketplace here?

User avatar
consordini
KVRist
353 posts since 6 May, 2020

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Wed Jun 03, 2020 12:28 am

kevvvvv wrote:
Sat May 30, 2020 4:05 pm
I went through this exercise last year. It worked out very well.
First off I only installed the Top 5 synths and Top 5 fx I use.
Immediately I was making music with the new system.
It all worked out so well, there was surprisingly little I needed to install later.
That sounds like a decent way of keeping things fresh and streamlined. But I also wonder, what plugins did you end up installing later? Was It more synths or fx?
Take care :wink:

FapFilter
KVRist
404 posts since 29 Oct, 2015 from Jupiter 8

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Wed Jun 03, 2020 1:46 am

I'm not Kevvvvv, but i still have only 4 synths as before

but i stocked up my effects a bit again. I now even have 4 compressors at my disposal, even though i only need two at best. the third is more a saturation box for me and the forth is part of a channel strip which i only use for it's EQ 99% of the time.

So now as it stands:

- 4 instruments: one VA, one Wavetable, one sampler, one drum machine
- 2 EQs: one surgical, one broad tone shaping
- 3 (+1) compressors: clean (DAW stock), mojo and slam, + the channel strip goodie
- 1 limiter
- 2 reverbs: one algorithmic, one convolution
- 3 delays: one clean, one “relaxed“, one more upfront character
- 2 modulation plugs: one chorus, one MFX
- 3 saturators: one general purpose, two tape emulations
- 3 distortion plugs: one general purpose, one tube amp, one multiband digital mayhem
- 2 filters: one for actually doing filter duties, one mainly for volume shaping
- 1 stutter effect
- 2 pitch shifters (both stock DAW)
- 3 utility plugs: one track utility (gain staging, metering, monoizing), one visualizer, one track delay utility

Which is actually more than enough for me.
I could pare down again, especially on the compressor front, but i don't feel they are a burden for me because of too many options.
Though if at least one of my two synths actually got audio in support, i would drop the two dedicated filter plugs and the chorus.
For some it is Reaper, for others it is the shittiest looking DAW in the world

User avatar
dangayle
KVRian
1185 posts since 30 Mar, 2014

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:21 am

I've gone through this phase. For me, it often comes down to developer rather than function. Once I have one or two plugins from a developer I trust, I have no problems buying into their ecosystem. Part of the reason for this is that on a Mac I use Audio Units, even in Ableton, so I can't really organize plugins in any other manner. Check out Auganizer if you want to be able to re-org things however you want, but I don't really use it.

- U-he, FabFilter, Unfiltered Audio, Valhalla, etc. all get the green light
- Smaller, newer developers will get demoed and can graduate up, like Soundtheory or Klevgrand.
- Waves, IK, and other developers with PITA installation processes or janky software don't come near my machine

If I'm using a plugin that I'm not sure about or that I've only used once or twice, I'll freeze and flatten the track so I'm not stuck in dependency hell, in case I decide to move on from the plugin.

ztrauq
KVRist
254 posts since 13 Dec, 2004 from USA

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Wed Jun 03, 2020 11:32 pm

kevvvvv wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:45 am

The general trend I've seen here since KVR Day 1 is "get more to be more"

- which I think is a myth propagated by a sort of greed.

We all feel it, sometimes every day (every hour :lol: )

I think for some members here the greed outweighs the music.

(leaving myself wide open here but ... :D :lol: :))
As a hobbyist who likes making strange noises and is under no illusion of mainstream success, I think it's less of that and more FOMO - "what if that plugin can do something new and cool?" Which is why I'm working harder to know exactly what I have, so I can go, "well, maybe it's slightly new and cool, but I have a plugin/reaktor ensemble that can do 95% of it that I already like"
Winstontaneous wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 11:35 am
kevvvvv wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:52 am
btw I'm still celebrating that I unloaded Kontakt :D

Maybe I'll put it back one day, though I've gone over a year without going near it

Is Kontakt supposed to be indispensable?
Debatable - I had to clear up some space on my SSD last week and discovered Kontakt libraries were the main culprit. Got rid of about 80GBs and don't miss anything yet! I use the DAW's samples more most of the time anyway.
I think I have... roughly a terabyte of Kontakt instruments? I essentially have a moratorium on any new Kontakt stuff at this point. Mind you a lot of that is free/super on sale stuff accumulated over the years, but still, in terms of what actually gets used regularly, I can probably count them on my fingers with a couple to spare. Still, disk space is cheap, and once you have Kontakt installed you can just leave the instruments sitting there without a lot of maintenance.

Is it essential? Dunno, but I actually have a lot of smaller stuff that is more based on the MIDI scripting and sequencing, where Kontakt can do a lot of crazy stuff...
Michael L wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 1:50 pm
kevvvvv wrote:
Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:45 am
The general trend I've seen here since KVR Day 1 is "get more to be more" - which I think is a myth propagated by a sort of greed.
It's nothing new -- just consumerism applied to music, by triggering feelings of inadequacy, fear, uncertainty, curiosity, desire for technical knowlege, instant gratification, excitement, novelty, addiction, the list goes on. You can see the myth actively promoted in the product development and marketing that kvr distributes.
I'd say curiosity, excitement and novelty are the ones that usually get me... :hihi:
dangayle wrote:
Wed Jun 03, 2020 10:21 am
I've gone through this phase. For me, it often comes down to developer rather than function. Once I have one or two plugins from a developer I trust, I have no problems buying into their ecosystem. Part of the reason for this is that on a Mac I use Audio Units, even in Ableton, so I can't really organize plugins in any other manner. Check out Auganizer if you want to be able to re-org things however you want, but I don't really use it.

- U-he, FabFilter, Unfiltered Audio, Valhalla, etc. all get the green light
- Smaller, newer developers will get demoed and can graduate up, like Soundtheory or Klevgrand.
- Waves, IK, and other developers with PITA installation processes or janky software don't come near my machine

If I'm using a plugin that I'm not sure about or that I've only used once or twice, I'll freeze and flatten the track so I'm not stuck in dependency hell, in case I decide to move on from the plugin.
I am doing this in part, I think, as in my list of core plugins I have a section for individual instruments, individual effects, and "entire bundles/everything I own from this particular developer." Not a whole lot in this category, but there are some developers where I really do love and use just about everything they make.

I especially like the idea of going back and freezing tracks for plugins that are rare or occasional use. Definitely a better approach than having to either abandon a project or track down a bunch of esoteric installs only to delete them again once you've finished doing what you need to on the old project.

I do agree with the installation hassle being one of the things to consider. I think I'm only willing to put up with much hassle for things that I really do use a lot. That being said, going through and doing reinstalls actually a lot of what I have been using has been fairly painless to set up. Honestly, the ones I love the most are the ones that just unzip to a VST and a presets folder and you can just copy it to a folder, no stepping through an installer necessary...

clipnotic
KVRist
350 posts since 19 Sep, 2007 from Germany

Re: How to pare down an overgrown plugin collection?

Post Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:02 pm

I have really many VSTs and I sold a few, but the most I have to keep and install on every new system, because I used them in tracks and I have over 400 tracks ... :D
VST developers need more motivation and best motivation is hardcore criticism! :D
My english is terrible, feel free to correct me! :wink:

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