I’m gonna begin prefacing all of my writing with stating I do not proofread any of this stuff. I don’t have time. Just FYI.
First of all, let’s dive into what is super on point about third party plugins.
They’re made by people that only make plugins. Right off the bat this makes them way better than the stuff that comes with your DAW.
Most plugins these days, at least EQ/Compression plugins, are typically modeled after some type of vintage/classic analog gear that is iconic and has a certain sound that has been used in recordings and mixes for decades.
Companies like Waves, UAD and Slate Audio METICULOUSLY “profile” these pieces of gear to replicate every little detail of how that gear works. YouTube is FULL of A/B double blind shootouts illustrating just how close these guys are getting to the original hardware. And it’s close. You can explore that on your own time if you’d like.
Now…you may be at the “shut up and take my money” point already, but let’s continue with some other realities of third party plugins, and really any software at all.
Compatibility – you’re gonna be playing the compatibility game from now until you die.
Is it compatible with the newest version of my DAW? What about that fancy new operating system I want NOW!?
There’s a number of rabbit holes to dive off into that aren’t worth your time or mine. Just know that it is something you got to think about – I feel confident I can say that all you DON’T have to think about is a software like Logic Pro is for sure going to be compatible with Big Sur (sp?) because, well, they are both made by Apple.
Beyond a situation like that, it’s best to wait a year to upgrade OS. That’s what I do. It isn’t worth the gamble.
Now let’s talk about the stock stuff that comes with your DAW.
Guys, they’re not bad. Seriously. Not bad at all.
As both a content creator and producer/mixer/engineer, I have to live suspended between two realities here – I love gear, software, all that fancy stuff, because it is involved with what I do, and not only do I enjoy it, as a working audio professional it is incumbent upon me to stay on top of what the coolest, latest, best stuff is.
I also am fully and IMPRESSIVELY aware of how good stock stuff is. DAWs like Studio One and Cubase are really doing some impressive stuff. Maybe even more so than the big dawgs. These guys that haven’t had a name and “this is just what I have used for years” going for them obviously have absolutely no choice but to just innovate and be super impressive – and they are doing it for sure.
I mean, Cubase has tube saturation. WHAT!?
ALSO. And I’ve already stated this. But you don’t have to worry about installing and authorizing multiple softwares when you want to get to mixing and making music. Just buy the DAW and go.
I’m a logic user. Longtime. Like since 2008. Some of you may have not been born then. Lol. But yeah. I’ll probably always use that because I’m old and set in my ways. And Logic to me is still hands down the best all around value ON ALL FRONTS of what a DAW could be used for. But that doesn’t make it the only one. Same for Pro Tools. We’re an Avid dealer and I don’t wanna get in trouble here, but I could say some things. Lol.
For real though, and this is always gonna be what I say – use what you got, and remember that you can get good results with anything. Don’t drink the “I gotta have THAT certain one” koolaid. Just grab something and get to work!