In this article, you will learn about the importance of selecting good plugins as a producer.

When first starting to produce beats, you’ll be tempted with the many best free VST Plugin videos.. but you will have a very bad beatmaking experience in the long-run, if not careful.

When new to making beats, you discover there’s free plugins.. and think, “That plugin looks cool! I’m going to download it !”.

But understand..

Any serious music projects you use a plugin on is with you for life! You cannot re-open a project without that plugin, otherwise you’ll get a missing plugin error.. This is why you must decide either yes or no to a plugin to keep it around for the long-term.

This is very good advice from my years of beatmaking experience in terms of organization, workflow, saving money, and truly understanding your tools as a producer.

How to Select Plugins for Beatmaking

The Short Answer First..

Want to know the #1 secret to truly becoming a good beatmaker?

It’s really simple.

The secret is having good VST plugins, which you know in-depth.

And here’s the problem..

Learning a plugin actually takes quite a bit of time to learn.

If you have too many plugins, you don’t have enough time to learn your plugins in-depth.. meaning you’re only learning stuff at a very basic level..

To become a good producer, it’s all about finding your own sound.. and how you do that is by learning how you like to use a certain VST.. and that will make you unique, knowledgeable, and truly able to flow with your own music.

You Don’t Need EVERY Plugin!

It doesn’t matter what plugins popular producers use.. once you find your set of tools.. you’ll learn how and WHERE YOU like to use your VST plugins throughout the music production process.

When I started learning how to make beats.. I remember watching music production tutorials where the tutorialist had SO MANY PLUGINS..

Not 20 plugins.. not even 30-40 plugins..

I mean almost one-hundred VST plugins!

Being newer at the time.. I knew there was something weird about this.. you can’t possible need THAT many plugins..

And it’s true! This is why too many plugins are bad:

  • It will cost you a lot of money
  • It takes a long time to learn a plugin in-depth
  • There’s always updates to plugins (annoying to update..)
  • Updates can break or cause new bugs..

Plus you’ll never be able to learn the tools in-depth.. There’s literally not enough time to learn all your plugins, at least properly..

How to Properly Organize Plugins as a Producer:

First, you need to create a custom music folder.

This has been the BEST way to organize yourself as a producer in terms of music projects, drum kits, and VSTs…

In this music folder, you should be storing the .exe (executable) file so that you can re-install your plugins at any time.. such as if you transfer a new computer (because most times companies don’t have old versions of plugins available to download).

Finally.. never allow sounds or VST Plugins into your custom music production folder until you’ve tested them, and you like them. As soon as you use a VST Plugin on a serious project, you are stuck with it for life.

Never delete old plugins you’ve used on serious music projects, make sure to store them in an unactive folder with that .exe file and license if you ever need to work on an old project.

How to Choose the Best VST Plugins?

It really comes down to what works for you.

However.. you should be thinking about:

  • Is the VST Plugin heavy on the CPU?
  • Does the VST Plugin cause my DAW to crash sometimes?
  • Is the company reliable?
  • Do your plugins allow you to access the full frequency spectrum?

I also don’t really enjoy plugins that require you to install a “portal software” in order to use their plugin.. I really like installing an .exe file and getting a .dll or .vst3 file, which has been the music industry standard for years.. this portal software is just bloat on your computer and unnecessary.. (It’s just a way for companies to keep advertising to you within their portal).

Remember.. to become a good producer, it’s about knowing HOW to use your plugins in-depth.

If you have too many, there’s not enough time in life to learn them at an advanced level.

You will also much more management of plugin updates and a higher chance of new bugs creeping into your music projects.

All of these reasons are why it’s important to select good plugins for producing.

Example of Why the Long-Term Matters for Good Plugins..

Let’s say you found a new third-party plugin.. and without testing, you use it on a REAL PROJECT.

You think nothing of it.. it did the job fine..

But as time went on, you realize it starts crashing your DAW when you do certain tasks.. and so you decide to delete it.

Well, guess what?

These old serious projects require that plugin to open properly.

And.. if it’s 3-4 months later.. you’re going to say to yourself, “Oh yeah!! I deleted that plugin because it was buggy.. or because I didn’t like it.. or what ever reason”.

This is why it’s very important to think before using a third-party plugin.. You also need to make sure to backup that VST in case something happens.. like a company going out of business.. like the amazing CamelCrusher distortion!

Do You Really Have the Best VST Plugins?

Did this make you aware of your VST Plugin choices?

Want to test a new plugin?

Clone an existing project.. THEN open that new plugin to test out.

Do you like it?

Is it a VST plugin that you think you’ll use for the long-term?

If it is, then awesome, keep it!

But.. if you don’t like that plugin.. you saved yourself a lot of grief by never using it in a real project.

What If I Already Used A Plugin I Didn’t Like?

You don’t really have a choice now..

To open old real projects again, you need those old plugins.. and that’s why it’s REALLY important to keep your plugins backed up properly..

You can learn how I organize my music folder in this course..

What Is a Good Plugin?

The goal is having a well-rounded set of plugins which allows full control over your audio..

The general rule I try to follow is if a stock plugin does the job well, I’ll use that, as most often a stock plugin is maintained the longest, and doesn’t cost any money.

But if a third-party plugin offers a certain feature (or does that feature significantly better than a stock plugin), then look into a third-party plugin.. but making sure to test first!