Stock plugins are the built-in audio effects and instruments that come bundled with digital audio workstations (DAWs) such as Logic Pro, Ableton Live, and FL Studio. While many producers and engineers invest in third-party plugins for their productions, stock plugins can also be incredibly powerful tools when used effectively. In this article, we’ll explore how professionals use stock plugins to create memorable hits in 2023.
Compression is one of the most commonly used audio effects in modern music production, and many DAWs come with a stock compressor plugin. Compression can be used to even out the dynamics of a performance, making the loud parts quieter and the quiet parts louder. This can help to make a mix sound more polished and professional.
But compression can also be used creatively. For example, many producers will use an extreme amount of compression on a drum loop to make it sound more aggressive and punchy. By adjusting the attack and release settings, you can change the way the compressor reacts to the audio, which can have a big impact on the final sound.
EQ (equalization) is another essential tool in music production, and most DAWs come with a stock EQ plugin. EQ can be used to boost or cut specific frequencies in a sound, allowing you to shape its tonal balance. For example, if a vocal sounds too muddy, you can use EQ to reduce the low frequencies and make it sound clearer.
But EQ can also be used to create interesting tonal effects. For example, many producers will use a high-pass filter to remove the low frequencies from a sound, giving it a thin, radio-like sound. Similarly, a low-pass filter can be used to remove the high frequencies, creating a muffled or distant sound.
Reverb is an effect that simulates the sound of a space, adding a sense of depth and dimension to a recording. Most DAWs come with a stock reverb plugin, which can be used to create anything from a subtle room sound to a massive, cathedral-like reverb.
Reverb can be used creatively to create interesting soundscapes. For example, many producers will use a long, dense reverb to create an atmospheric pad sound. By adjusting the decay time, you can change the length of the reverb tail, which can have a big impact on the final sound.
Delay is an effect that creates a copy of the audio signal and plays it back a short time later. This can be used to create a variety of effects, from simple slapback echoes to complex, rhythmic patterns. Most DAWs come with a stock delay plugin, which can be used to create a wide range of delay effects.
Like reverb, delay can be used creatively to create interesting textures and rhythms. For example, many producers will use a dotted eighth-note delay to create a rhythmic pattern that interacts with the beat. By adjusting the feedback and filtering settings, you can create anything from a subtle echo to a chaotic, self-oscillating effect.
Saturation is an effect that adds harmonic distortion to a sound, simulating the warm, analog sound of vintage recording equipment. Many DAWs come with a stock saturation plugin, which can be used to add warmth and character to a recording.
But saturation can also be used creatively to create interesting tonal effects. For example, many producers will use a heavy saturation effect on a bass sound to make it sound more aggressive and powerful. By adjusting the drive and tone settings, you can shape the way the saturation affects the sound.
In conclusion, stock plugins can be incredibly powerful tools when used effectively. By understanding the creative possibilities of these plugins and experimenting with different settings, you can create unique and memorable sounds that