141: Get The Most Out Of The Plugins You Have (Challenge)


We've said it before on the show and we'll say it again:

It’s not about the tools you have, it’s about your ability to get the most out of them.


Book a free feedback call with Benedikt, the host of the show!

Here's a very common mistake we see DIY-producers make over and over again:

Many people buy a new plugin (or other tool) in hopes that it will solve the problems with their sound, when they don’t even know how to use what they already have!

Or they go through their plugin folders, try 10 different options without really knowing what exactly to reach for and just hope that one of them will work.

There is a better way that will lead to better mixes, a faster workflow and faster progress when it comes to improving your skills.

That's why today, we have a challenge for you (and ourselves). Inspired by two of the greatest mixers of all time.

We think it is a fantastic idea and we can't wait to see who's going to take us up on this and report their results!

Episode artwork photo taken from PureMix and the "Andrew Talks To Awesome People" podcast, because this episode was inspired by that show.

Mentioned On The Episode:

Andrew Scheps

Michael Brauer

Malcolm Gladwell (This is the video we were talking about at the end)

Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy (click for full transcript)

TSRB 141 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Benedikt: don't believe any of, of, like, don't believe in these hard rules.

I think, or at least be

skeptical when you see something like that.

There's rarely a hard rule or black or white thing in this world. 

Malcom: Yeah. 

Benedikt: Hello, and welcome to the Self Recording Band podcast. I am your host, Benedictine. If you are new to the show, welcome for joining us. If you are already a listener, thank you so much for coming back. And if you got any value out of the past episodes that you've listened to, please go to your podcast app that you use. Preferably Apple Podcasts. Leave us a review. Five stars and like few nice sentences about the show. This would really help us reach more people like you. We appreciate that. So thank you for this. finally, if you need help making exciting records from your home studio or your jam space, go to the surf recording band.com/call and book a free first one-on-one coaching call with me to get personal feedback on your music recordings and mixes. Answers to your most pressing audio questions, and a plan and step by step roadmap to help you record and release exciting sounding music consistently. Now, as always, today, I'm here with my friend and co-host, Malcolm Owen Flood. Good to see you, Malcolm. Hello.

Malcom: Hey buddy. It's good to see you, man. It's been too long. We missed a week. Um, I guess listeners won't know that, but I missed you,

Benedikt: I totally missed you, . Absolutely. I missed recording this, uh, this podcast. This is such a, an important thing on a Monday, like to start the week. I don't know. 

Malcom: It's

a fixture in our life now yes, it's been an exciting time since I've seen you, man. I've like been on boats working with the Coast Guard, doing some crazy stuff up Northern bc. couple plane rides went camping. It, it's been epic

Benedikt: Yep. Sounds like it. Sounds like, so was it all, but part of it was work and part of it was not.

Malcom: Part of it was work and part of it was not. Yeah. Um, it, yeah, it was, uh, work and pleasure. and then I, yeah, I even got the mix of song in there as well, or, uh, yeah, a couple songs I think actually. So it's been very cool. 

Benedikt: So let, let me ask you, what's the ratio these days between like your, if you're new to the podcast? I need to explain Probably Malcolm does, Is it called location, sound, 

Malcom: It's called location sound production sound. Um, but essentially like the, the, the easiest way to explain it is that I do sound for television on set. so I'm on location of wherever we're filming, wherever the camera is. I'm also there getting the, getting the audio.

Benedikt: you do post for that too, or do you just capture it on

Malcom: I just capture it. Yeah. I don't do post, I leave that to, uh, the specialists. It's something I've dabbled in before, not sure it's for me, I like music post mixing, mixing and mastering. Um, and, but like for television, I like being the guy on set, so I just kind of chose to niche down and specialize in that instead.

Benedikt: And you kind of have to, I don't know if that's true, but I think you told me at some point that you are in charge of, like the audio in general on set. You have to sort of sometimes build a team or, or like handle the whole thing. It's not just holding the mic, but you, you are in charge of making sure that it's captured properly, 

whatever that takes. 

Malcom: Yeah. Yeah. If it, it could mean putting together a team, um, it could mean many technical things that have to be figured out in advance. It, it can get pretty complicated to make it all work and make sure that the right people are hearing what they need to hear. cause not everybody needs to be listening to the same thing necessarily. Sometimes we're filming two different conversations at once, and I have to figure that out. You know,

Benedikt: Yeah, I've said it before, like this whole world is something I don't know a lot about and it, it scares the crap out of me. I stopped mixing live shows years ago because that would give me anxiety and like, would make me nervous and like the pressure and everything. But what you do on a, on a film set like that is like, Seems even worse. but to me at least, 

Malcom: it's funny cuz I, I also don't do live music for that reason. I just like nothing. No, thank you . I like my controlled environments with music.

Benedikt: yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally. Maybe it's a different thing. I don't know. But what I wanted to ask is what's the ratio these days between that and say, like mixing and music production. how much of, of each of those do you do these. 

Malcom: most of this year it has been mostly television. definitely that's been the majority, but, uh, that said, I've been mixing, mixing songs every month. Um, so the by no means has, has music mixing and mastering stopped. It's just been, uh, a lot of big television jobs that have me traveling as well. and then, but I kind of think the end of this year it TVs all the shows have kind of wrapped. So I think I'm gonna be mostly doing music for the rest of the year, which will be a kind of cool change of.

Benedikt: Yeah, totally. And I wonder if that is actually a good thing. I think it is actually a good thing that you have these completely different but some, but still somehow related things that you do because. And like most people that I know and myself included, if you work on the same thing or a music all of the time, I don't know. Sometimes you just need a break. Sometimes you need to do something else. And I, I think if you go out, do something completely different and then come back to the studio. You, I think it's, it's, you will do better work compared to someone who's like there 24 7 basically all the time. Uh, assuming that you have, of course you've reached a certain level of like experience and skill in the beginning. I think you have to just put in the hours until you get good enough. But once you're sort of there and can maintain that, and, and of course you'll still wanna grow, but you have, you've reached a certain level, I. , doing a little less but more focused and having breaks in between is actually good for your work. I was talking to, to, to Brian Mc turn on a show last, last week. I went to a show. Brian Mc Turnon is one of my favorite producers in the hardcore punk rock show world. And, uh, he was on tour in Europe with his band and I, I finally got to meet him in person. We've only talked Online before and on my podcast, my other podcast. And, um, I was talking to him about this and he says like, he's quite a bit older than me, but he says, for that reason he only produces two. He tries to only produce two records a year at this point, like full production. because he really wants to be fully present with the artists all the time, be there in pre-production and writing and the actual tracking and then mixing and all of that. And he wants to do that properly and, Like put everything he has into that. But he feels like doing more than that, plus having his own band, which is a thing in his case, feels like he's, he's, he doesn't have the creative, you know, enough creative energy or, or creativity to give for, for those big projects. And I mean, these are big bands and big projects and and stuff, but I found it interesting to hear that somebody would limit himself to. Record is a year, basically these days, and he does mixing on top of that additionally, but like the full productions where he really is involved a lot, no more than two, and I found that really remarkable.

Malcom: Yeah, I, I find that, I, I don't think it makes me quicker at mixing, taking these breaks, because you, like, you know, the muscle memory slows down a little bit and stuff like that, but the advantages that I come back really fresh and creative, having like, just not been really listening to music and. Not being in these four walls that I'm in right now, uh, for a time of period, I come back like really creative. And because of, uh, the break, I think some of my, like habits have been broken as well. So I might just, you know, reach for a different tool all of a sudden and, and try that out when that can lead to some really cool results as well. So, yeah, it's been good. as long as I keep uh, doing enough mixing, I think it's gonna work out just fine.

TSRB 141 - Automatic Episode Transcript — Please excuse any errors, not reviewed for accuracy

Benedikt: there's no need for 15 compressors or EQs and. it's way better to know your tools really, really well and be able to move fast and intuitively and know exactly how to address a certain situation and not having to, guess and like, go through 10 plugins in hopes that some something magically works. Hello and welcome to the Self Recording Band podcast. I am your host, Benedictine, and I'm here with my friend and co-host Malcolm Owen Flood. How are you, Malcolm?

Malcom: Hey, buddy. I'm good, man. How are you?

Benedikt: I'm doing good too. let's dive into today's episode Right away. And at this time it's a little different, uh, because we often do these like deep dives and explain all like the, a lot of detailed stuff and like a lot of actionable how to sort of stuff. this time it's something that I just wanna discuss and I have also have a challenge for you, uh, listeners if you're listening to this, because recently. I was listening to, uh, a podcast. I love the whole show. It's, it's great. It's, uh, Andrew Shep's and, he's doing the podcast I think for Pure Mix. They, they're, uh, the online education platform mixing education platform, and the podcast is called Andrew Talks to Awesome. And he just interviews. Ceps is a, if you don't know, if you're not familiar with him, he's one of the most successful, like most famous mixing engineers on this planet. Um, he's worked for all kinds of major artists and he does this podcast. He's a very cool dude to listen to, too. He's like, uh, got a, at least I think so he's got a great sense of humor and a great way of explaining things. He's, to me, he's, he's does much of a scientist as he is a, a mixer. And I just love hearing him explain, uh, concepts. And in this show he interviews other mixers, engineers, people from the audio industry, and I just love these episodes. They are not edited. They're super long in depth conversations. And I was listening to that not long ago, and the guest on the show was Michael Brower and Michael Brower. Just as famous and successful as Andrew. Shes, he's worked with like Coldplay and I don't know, you look up his credit, it's one of the biggest mixers ever and those two giants sort of had this conversation and there was a lot of interesting stuff in there of course. But the one thing that, the one concept that I want to talk about today is they were talking about what you can do to. Learn the tools you have available already and why that is important. So what they were talking about is that a lot of people have so many plug-ins available and uh, even if it's just free ones, but we all have like folders full with plugins and we have the stock plugins in our dos and then we buy stuff and there's free stuff. So we have all these things and most of us only ever use a couple of them, or like most of us only know a couple of them really well, if any, And what we often do, When we have a problem in the mix, we either go and search for a new tool and buy one in hopes that this will solve a problem. instead of like, looking for one that, that we already have to solve the problem or we go through our plugin folders with all those plugins and we try 10 different options in hope that one of them will work. And sometimes we're lucky and sometimes not so much. And I'm totally guilty of that too, where I, I try to be intentional in that I think I know a bunch of tools, but oftentimes I just go through plugin after plugin after plugin searching for the right one. Or I just look for a different solution or I see something and think that will solve my problems. They were talking about how there's a better way to do this, and they're, I think they're totally right, that will lead to better mixes, a faster workflow, and also faster, um, progress when it comes to improving your skills. And that is, they said, instead of going through all your plugins and using every single one of them once a year, Try to commit to, like, say on your next, and, and that we have to come up with a clear challenge here. But he, what, what Andrew Shep says was, On your next three mixes, pick five plugins or so, or pick one plugin, maybe even, start with one plugin and not, do not just use that one plugin, but pick one plugin that you're gonna use on every single track, like, and he's talking about EQ and compression and things that you wanna use on most of your


Malcom: not a flanger 

Benedikt: And try. Yeah. Yeah. Not exactly useful stuff. and then try to get the sound you want out of that one plugin. Try as hard as you can. Do whatever you can to make that one plugin work. And only if you really can't get it to work, then go to the next one. But just commit to, in the next couple of songs, Pick one plugin that you really wanna learn and use that across all of your tracks. Even tracks that it's not like supposed to work on or something, you know? And just try and see what the limits of this plugin are, how far you can push it, when it breaks up, when it like craps out, how much you can compress or how much you can boost, how the boosting and cutting sounds if it's an EQ. Use it on every single source and do that for a couple of songs until you really know what that tool sounds like. And then you move on to a different one and then learn that. And when you've done that with like five plugins or so, you'll know those so well that next time a problem comes up, you'll know, oh, I know if I use this plugin with this setting here, this will totally solve this problem because I know what that sounds like. And, um, I need to do this more often. I need. Pick a bunch. Like I have so many plugins and a lot of them are very interesting and I've always wanted to use them, but I kind of shy away of using them because I don't really know him really well. and I think it's a really cool exercise to just grab one of those, put it on across all your channels and see what you can do with it and, and really, really learn it instead of. Constantly throwing new things at your problems instead of learning the ones you already have. I hope. I hope that makes sense. And they both talked about that for a while and, and totally agreed, on that. And, uh, Michael Brower was talking specifically about, he did that with the. Black box saturation plugin by plugin lines where this tool can saturate, but also saturation is just like a form of compression. So it also controls the dynamics. And it's also kind of an EQ because you can saturate certain bands instead of the whole thing. So he just used that single thing like on all of his tracks, and he used it for different things. He used it to make a vocal brighter. He used it to distort things. He used it to make the bass tighter. He all these things, you know, And after. Doing that on like five songs. He really knew what the thing was doing and now he can use it very intentionally and do cool things with 

Malcom: Yeah. that's a fascinating idea. Especially if it something like a Saturater. He is just like not a tool you. Usually grab to cover all those bases. That's . You know, that's a, that's a lot of versatility that most people wouldn't think it would. Most people would say that's a one trick pony plugin. Really. And not, maybe not a one trick pony. It's a great plugin, but, uh, like it's, you know, it's for saturating, not for compression, not for eq. but , it totally is if, if you use it that way. That's, that's a great point.

Benedikt: Yeah. Have you ever done that Where you, you got a new plugin and then you'd really spent the time really learning it? Because I have to admit, I rarely do this. Like, I think I know my way around a certain new plugin pretty quickly, and then I, I kind of know what it's doing and then, You know, I start using it, but it's not that I spend a lot of time like, you know, really learning it and using it on everything for a week or so, and I think, I think I should do that more often. 

Malcom: Yeah, I think, it's a great idea. 

Benedikt: and I think I should use tools on the things that I typically don't use 'em on, because I have so many go-tos and I'm so obsessed with like workflow and having my templates ready and all these things that I, oftentimes. Use the same things over and over again just because I know in those cases it works, but using them differently on different sources and stuff, I think I should really do that just to change things up a little bit, to come up with new approaches and to learn a couple of tools really well. And so I don't know about you, but do you go through like an intense learning process with a new tool?

Malcom: I would say only recently, like I know I've mentioned the Plex tape delay plugin that I really love. That is something I've gone really deep in. I, you know, I use it as a saturation plugin, not a delay Sometimes, experimenting with it as a mono pluggin versus a stereo plugin is like, it might may as well be an entirely different plugin. It's so, such a different effect you get, and seeing how far you can push it, like, On a mix I'm working on right now, it literally just creates feedback. It, it doesn't sound like a vocal delay at all, or a vocal at all. It sounds like an amp feeding back, like that, like weird wine. Uh, and, and like that's, I didn't know I could make that out of a plugin period before that. Um, so that's really, really cool. so I've just been pushing that plugin specifically just to the limits. and maybe like, Uh, what is it called? I think it's called the Townhouse Compressor by Plugin Alliance. I really know that plugin inside out and like what happens if you push each of the ratio modes and, and, yeah. I, I, I use every parameter of that plugin. Constantly and, and, and just know what it can do and, and how different those different, uh, settings can be, on different materials as well. Right? Uh, like, you know, it of course slams on drums, but it can be so smooth on, on vocals if you want it to be as well.

Benedikt: That's a great example actually, because I've thought about that with my hardware. Um, bus comp and, and bus coms in general is a great example where, A lot of people buy a bus compressor because they want a bus compressor and they put it on the mixed bus. They pick some common setting that a lot of people use it, that they've seen somebody use online, and then that's it. They all, that's all they ever do with it. but like an ssl style bus compressor can be or is a very versatile compressor. It's. You can use that on, on anything basically. But people oftentimes just find one setting and that's all they ever do with it. And they buy another one if they need a different tool when they actually have a great compressor already that they can use then and they learn so much about it. Also, what it can do in the mix bus, by doing that, because you learn the ins and outs of the, of the plugin, you, you learn how it saturates when it breaks up, like how much compression you can actually apply to things. I think you can only really make a good decision to switch to a different plugin when you know where the limits are. Like how do you know, You know, like you have to test the limits. You have to test how, how extreme you can go with things and when things actually start to sound weird and then you can be like, okay, this doesn't work. I know this other thing has more head room or whatever. So it's interesting. It's like something I need to do more. I have some pieces. I feel like I've done that and I really know them very well. Like you said with the townhouse. I have some of these, but the more work I did, the less I did that because things just had to be efficient and I had my go-tos, which is fine and works and I still get what I want. but. Yeah, it doesn't hurt to switch things up a little bit. And I think if you're just starting out and you have the stock plugins available and maybe a couple of things that you've bought or free plugins, then this alone can be, a lot of that can be really overwhelming because just what comes with a doll is like a lot. You have a lot of plugins and I think focusing on like one eq, one compressor, one reverb, like the basic tools that you use on most mix. And like really testing them and really trying, as you said, all the ratios on the compressor. different combinations of ratio and threshold settings. if there's different compression modes or saturation or whatever. Just really trying all of that, like pushing all the buttons, reading the manual, testing the thing. It will get you so far, you'll find, you probably find that you don't need as many other plugins as you thought you.

Malcom: Totally. Yeah. case in point with that SSL compressor, but like a bus compressor 


is we usually throw that on to either a drum bus or a mixed bus because of how it glues in our kick in our snare. Really? Um, you know, like that's like the most noticeable thing I. So why don't we just throw it right on a kick or a snare as a compressor for that instrument itself. It works fantastically. It sounds huge. and, and it's a huge superpower we have with digital workstations, where before you used to have only one of those SSL compressors built into your mixing console if you were lucky to have one , you know, so you, you had to use it on the mix cuz they only had one. Now we have unlimited . You can run it on whatever you want. Uh, so take advantage of that. It's, it's, you know, that, that tool is so powerful in those situ.

Benedikt: Yes, absolutely. And, I think they taught on, on this podcast, they talked about real quick, like, I think Michael Brower said something about Andy Wallace where he says, at some point you're gonna need a different EQ or a different compressor and you're gonna learn different things because. One thing will not always do the trick unless you are Andy Wallace and like you are, you can just use the, the, the ss l a with no outboard and make the best mixes ever. Because like . Andy Wallace has been known for just using as you, like you said, the built in compressors on the channel strips and the built in EQ and barely any output, uh, outboard. and he, he. It just works for him, and that's because he knows that thing so well. But for most of us, we need like two or three different tools. But then we need to really know these tools so that we can make a good decision on when to use this CQ over this cq. but we don't need all of them. We need a couple of them that we know really well, and that's much better than having all the plugins in the world. I think if you have a great channel strip and let's say some cleany queue, like a fab filter. And if you have like two different compressors or something, and maybe any queue option, like a pull tech or you know, something like that where you have like two or three different EQs, two or three different compressors. If you know these really, really well in and out, then you can do almost everything with it. Like there's no need for 15 compressors or EQs and. so as much as that is fun, I really think that it's, it's way better to know your tools really, really well and be able to move fast and intuitively and know exactly how to address a certain situation and not having to, to guess and like, go through 10 plugins in hopes that some something magically works.

Malcom: yeah, totally. Just, uh, dig in, learn. It's, it's really that simple. You, you, you already have so many more tools than you need, and again, Benny and I are so guilty of this. We are probably the most guilty. We probably own more plugins than anybody listening to this

Benedikt: Yeah.

Malcom: So speaking from experience here,

Benedikt: Yeah, totally. So to the challenge, I would say I will do, because that was really something I wanted, I wanted to try and, and just learn more. And it's also fun. I, I, I, I think exploring a tool, really in depth is like something that, that sounds fun to me. So what I will do is I will do this with my hardware because I, as I said, I often reamp things or rerecord things that's been sent to me, uh, just to give it. Some extra vibe before I start to mix. I will do this with my hardware, but I will also do this with a few plugins. So I will do on the next, let's say for the next two weeks or so, I will commit to picking one piece of hardware and one piece of software. Um, I'll see how fast I can through go through it, but I will commit to. Using, trying that on every single, that will take a little bit of time and will be a little slower than I'm usually working, but it's gonna be worth it. And I will commit to trying that on every single source until I really think it, it doesn't work. Like I will use it on every single session, on every single source. That, that it makes sense and, uh, I will report back. I will report my findings. Maybe I have a new go-to, maybe I've discovered something that I wish I had known earlier. Uh, I will just do that. I will pick one plugin and I will pick one piece of hardware and I will try it on everything. And who knows, maybe I will change something about my template after that.

Malcom: Okay. I've got two ideas. I'm, I'm interested in. Going, trying to only use pawn shop comp too, which is a corn F audio compressor that I really love. But it's got like, you know, some EQ saturation stuff available in it too. So I could feel like that could be a really good thing to deep dive on. but I would also love to try doing an entire mix only using like a module based all in one thing, like ozone or neutron or something like that, where you just only, it's like a one plugin. Situation for everything. And that's, so I just have that on the first insert of every track and that's all I'm allowed to use. That'd be fascinating too.

Benedikt: That would be fascinating too. Yeah. okay. Yeah, you can do that too. If you wanna limit yourself to one thing, you can do that too. I think. I'm not gonna limit myself to one thing. I'm just gonna commit to. Trying one thing on everything. I'm, yeah, trying it first. Uh, so I'm gonna use one thing in every session on every source and try see if what I can get out of it. but the limiting thing is also cool, like you can, I was, I've been saying for a while that I want to do a mixed, just using the stock plugins, which is not really a limitation these days, but I haven't done it in years. So, and so that's, that's one another thing you could do too. But yeah, the one plugging concept is fascinating too. I bet you could just use. If you give me like a plugin, one of the can be waves too, but I, I always use the Plugin Alliance once. If you give me one of the good, SSL channel strips, I think I could do like, um, excluding reverb and that sort of stuff. I think I could do a complete mix with those two. With the compressor there, it has two different options, even with the for compressor sometimes, you know, the EQ is pretty flexible and you have the saturation. You know, could do it. But I will just use, I will pick one piece of gear, probably my channel strip here, my two channel strip, my, my Thermian culture, one that I have in front of me, and then I will, because that is really versatile. But I haven't, have only used it on a couple of things actually, that I really love it on and not on other things. So I will use that and, and then I will, um, pick a plugin and I'll probably pick. the arou because I already love it and I, but I still, despite it being like my favorite compressor in the box and so great. I only ever use it on vocals base and parallel kick and snare, which is kind of a lot, but that's the stuff that I always use my stressor for, but it can do so much more. And it's so versatile and there's so much to learn and so many parameters that I haven't even really touched yet, although I have, I've been using it for one and a half years, so I'm gonna be using the arou and I'm gonna be using this channel script that I have, and I'm gonna use it on everything and I'll see what 

Malcom: All right. Yeah. we'll, report back with our findings. sorry, this is off topic a little bit. I mean, other than it's what you're gonna be using, but what is your therm culture? Uh, what do you got? I, I didn't know you 

Benedikt: Uh, the rooster, it's called the Rooster.

Malcom: Rooster, 

Benedikt: This is not home recording territory really, because this is a

Malcom: Very high end piece of gear. 

Benedikt: this is a $2,500 tubes channel strip. Uh, but 

Malcom: Oh, there it is. Yeah, I'm 

looking it up right now. 

Benedikt: I'm, I'm, I'm recording this podcast through it now. , right now

Malcom: That's outrageous.

Benedikt: Just because I can, but yet, No, I. I've had this thing for nine years now, I think, and I just, I love it. It has an, I mean, if there's a piece of gear that goes to 11 and also has an actual attitudes, which 

you just gotta buy it, 

Malcom: Can't beat that. 

An attitude switch. Yeah. Their, their culture vulture is like the thing that I would love to own, but it's so unnecessary to own

Benedikt: Totally. And you know, the distortion in mind, like the, the saturation circuit, the attitude circuit in mind is actually the one in the culture, culture world. Just, a limited version of that, like a

Malcom: Right. 

Benedikt: part of that. But it's, it's really, really amazing and it's so great in a, I have this thing for nine years now, and when I was recording I used it a lot. I haven't really, you know, in the recording situation, you go, you don't go that far into, usually you just boost a little bit. You cut a little bit and you set, but you careful sort of most of the time. but now when I rerecord things through it, you can, you might mean this thing is so powerful, you can do so many things, but I still use it very conservatively and I wanna really mangle things with it and, and to learn what it can do.

Malcom: Awesome, . 

Benedikt: Anyway, you can do that with any stock thing. There's, you know, there's one thing in Cubase actually, if you're a Cubase user, I'm actually gonna add this to my list after the two I'm gonna use, that's the next one I'm gonna explore. There's one, or actually two stock plugins that I've been wanting to try for so long, but haven't. Really there is one that's called the Quadra Fuzz. It's a stock Cubase plugin. It's a multi-band saturation tool that I've used with success on a couple of things. But like it's, I had, it took me a while to figure out how to actually do it, but I was so impressed by what it can do. It's like a multi-band Yeah. Saturater that I wanna explore more because every time I got it to work, it sounded so cool. And then the other one is the multi-tap delay in Cubase that is actually. It's very similar to like what Ebo does. Um, has a couple of additional things that Ebo actually doesn't do. So those two are so powerful and when I use them, I love them, but I never really use them because I don't know 'em enough. So those two are two that I want to explore also. So it doesn't have to be the super expensive stuff. There's plenty of stock options to explore that most people probably have never really

Malcom: Yeah, we, It should be stock. We should, Yeah. You can't take this ticket. No. Buying gear for this challenge. You have to use something you already own. It doesn't matter if you bought it previously, you can use that. But no buying new stuff.

Benedikt: Yes. And if you haven't used the basic stuff fully yet, like if you, if you still have to explore like whatever the fat filter EQ or your stock EQ in your daughter, so start with that. Like you don't go for the most crazy tool right away. I feel like I could confidently say I, I really know that the SSL channel strip really well, that I often use, I really know the fat filter stuff and I really, I have my go-tos that I really, really know. So I go into other plugins now that I wanna explore more, but if you're just starting out, like start with those things first, before you go for 

Malcom: totally, Totally. This could actually save you money. You know, You might find that you've got everything you need.

Benedikt: Yeah, if you got, like say you got the fat filter bundle and at some point and you have the proceed like their compressor, I almost never used that thing, but it's so versatile. Like it has different modes of different compressor styles and all the, like, what you can do with that thing is crazy. I just haven't spent the time to really learn it, but I bet if I did, I could get away with just that as my compressor, so,

Malcom: Yeah, probably. Actually positively it. Yeah, totally. Versatile enough. I'm sure.

Benedikt: Yeah. Anyway, enough about that. That's just something I wanted to bring up and encourage people to really do that because I know that most of you listening now don't really know your tools because I don't too. And then, so let's just get, learn them

Malcom: Absolutely. Last thing recently recorded a vocal, uh, with the talented, or actually no mixed a vocal for, uh, a talented lady and, Came out a little dirtier than she was hoping for, and we narrowed it down to her preamp just being recorded too hot. Um, and it just saturates as you push that preamp. so like, Knowing just one knob on your interface, what , how that can change, uh, is interesting. Like, like that right there makes a difference. and, and like got her to record it just a little, you know, more conservatively and it's cleaned up and we're not clipping. It's just that this preamp can't really handle being pushed. so it's fascinating. Just one thing like that. Know you gotta know your whole chain.

Benedikt: It's such a good thing you brought it up there because. That's one thing that I actually teach in a module in the academy, in our flagship online course and also in the coaching program that I have, where I tell people to try and experiment just with their input gain knob on the mic preamp on the interface for that reason. Because you'd think it's just clean gain, but I swear it sounds differently like whether you, if you crank it or you don't, you're not cranking it and it´s noise changes. So that's one thing. Noise floor changes drastically if you go past a certain point, but also it's a different sound like having, going in with little gain and then bringing it up digitally later sounds different than recording it hot. Even if you're not clipping, it's different and you have to do it. You have to try both. Bring it into your DAW, level match the two and listen for the difference. And then you have learned something. So absolutely glad you brought that up. That's that's absolutely true. And I always tell people to, to really do that.

Malcom: I think it especially important on cheaper interfaces too. Um, it it, it makes difference on expensive ones too, for sure. But I think the, the difference is more important on cheap ones because one versus other might be quite unpleasant. comparatively, so

Benedikt: Yeah. One more thing. I know it's always one more thing, but I have one more question for you, Malcolm, just because of that topic, kind of off topic, but also not, I've seen someone online, post recently where they, they gave tips and like, uh, quick tips for people. And one of, and that person is someone who knows what they're doing. Uh, I'm not gonna say who it was, but one of the tips was record. A di with like, as, as hot of a signal as you can record it. Just don't clip it. Like go with, when you recorded the eye guitar into an interface, go as hot as you can. Just don't clip it, but record as as as hot as you can, as loud as you can. And I was reading that, wondering why that would be, because I never do that. I mean, I don't go in super quietly, but I just, same as with the, especially if I go directly into an interface, I, it's sort of the same as I, as we just described with the mic gain. I'm still doing conservative. And I've never found, I've never found it to sound better if I record hot. So, And have you, do you have any thoughts on this? 

Malcom: I do, Yes, I actually agree. Um, I even clipping

Benedikt: Yeah. I agree with the clipping too, but just that getting it as hot, as hot as possible, but not clipping it. That's

Malcom: No, no, I'm saying that even clipping it is fine.

Benedikt: yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally, totally. I get that part. I intentionally clips sometimes, but like going close to clipping but not clipping it. I can't, I couldn't. Why that would be 

Because I would just bring it up later. 

Malcom: like, I've got a Vintech 10 73, in front of me right now. Um, and. If I run it hot, I saturate it. Essentially. That's what happens if I, the more the hotter I run it, not necessarily clipping. It does dirty, it does saturate, it does round off my transient in a nice way. It, um, it's like more excited, harmonic essentially,

Benedikt: we're not talking about the stock D in an interface, right? That's a different story. I mean, I do that all the time with my expensive ems, but just plugging into an interface. Would there be any benefit to just cranking that?

Malcom: No, I don't think so. 

Benedikt: Because I 

Malcom: it could, it, it, totally could. Like, like I said, this, this vocal example that was distorting mildly as you recorded hotter. So I guess in theory you're saturating your di if you're doing that, to some extent. Is it a saturation that will react well with an amp? I have no idea. so I guess really you'd have to experiment there. yeah. Hard to say.

Benedikt: I've never heard that argument. I've, you know, I know about the clipping and I totally agree with the Preem saturation and all of that, and I love, like distorting di while I'm recording them, but just the, like leaving it clean with a standard like stock di and it just bringing it up as much as I can without clipping that just. I just didn't know why I would do that, but I have 

Malcom: I mean, You might like that the level it throws into an AMPM after that point, maybe, maybe that just gets you closer, but you could just turn it up, you know? Um,

Benedikt: that that was the question though, because the question that he answered was, tips on like optimizing the DI and stuff for Reaing, and I was like, that was one of his tips. And I was like, Yeah, but you can just record it quietly and bring it up later. Like you can always adjust the level 

going into 

Malcom: good. And I think with like a cheap plugin, you're probably better off doing that. And then if you wanna saturate it with an excited or something before it hits an amim, that's probably wiser. yeah. I mean,

Benedikt: maybe there's something that I have that I don't think about. Maybe there's some impedance thing or whatever. I don't, or don't know what 

Malcom: what I could see happening is somebody records really quiet thinking it doesn't matter, and then they throw in an amp sim and it's not driving the amp sim hard enough and it sounds terrible. That's like such a silent killer where you, if you're not experienced with gain staging, uh, and, and your amps and plugin, you might have lackluster results. And it's just like, oh. It's like, it sounds weak. It's not driving this amp. Sim, you know, uh, quotation marks in the air for listeners. so like, and if you record it loud, you'd be hitting it hard already, maybe getting what you expected. So, but as long as you know to, you know, feed it what it wants with, you know, there's always an input control volume knob or something, you're gonna be fine. We're way off topic.

Benedikt: To totally, totally off topic, but I don't know, that's just something I wanted to ask you anyways, so let's just keep it in this episode. And it goes back to like, and it's kind of on topic because that just the, The fact that I can't answer this for sure just means I need to plug in a guitar and experiment with that more and then see if there's a difference and maybe I find something that I haven't thought about. So 

Malcom: Tied it back in. Covered our ass. Nice work.

Benedikt: Yeah, Exactly. All right. 

Malcom: We're like Malcolm Gladwell where it seems like we're talking about something else, but we're actually talking about the topic. . Can I compare us to Malcolm Gladwell?

Benedikt: I think nobody should ever compare himself to Malcolm 

Malcom: Hey, I've got 

Benedikt: maybe, yeah, I mean, Okay. yeah, You're close. You're close. Yeah, definitely. Oh, he's Canadian also. he Canadian?

Malcom: I think so. Okay. We gotta Google it. Now. This , there's no way to make this, uh, also on brand or on topic, but

Benedikt: I would, I would, but I would recommend, uh, reading Malcolm Glial books 

Malcom: Oh yeah. You can't go wrong with that. English born Canadian journalist there we. Close enough.

Benedikt: I think we gotta end this episode

Malcom: Yes, I think 

Benedikt: at some point. Because, Because otherwise I will start talking about how I saw this interview with Malcolm Gladwell, where he, he

Malcom: you're doing 

Benedikt: that. Malcolm, Yep. Malcolm just go, I'm not saying it. Just Google. Malcolm Gladwell on, riding a bike or bicycles or something. You will, after watching this, you will question the whole concept of a bicycle and you will probably think it's the dumbest thing that people ever invented. after hearing him talk about how stupid it is to ride a bike or how stupid the whole concept is, just Google that, 

 I'm gonna leave you with that and, uh, thank you for listening. 

Malcom: Yeah. Thanks everyone. If you're still here, is anybody out there? Hello, awesome. 

Benedikt: Bye. 

Malcom: we'll see you next week.

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