Lessons Learned- Relying on Presets

No track you record or mix will ever be the same.  Even the same instrument on the same song with have slight differences that need different treatment.  This is why presets that come built into plugins can't be a fix all for every situation.  They may be a good starting point for certain tasks, but as I have found out, they can hurt you more than you think.

 The waves SSL G Compressor

The waves SSL G Compressor

Recently I was finishing up a 5 song EP for a client and there were a few songs that just weren't sounding right.  I can't explain what I didn't like, but they didn't breathe right.  After trying various things, I found that I had used a preset on my master buss compressor, that had set the release to "Auto".  The truth is, I don't really know how "Auto" works.  I thought I had liked this preset before, so I made the mistake of trusting it.  As soon as I changed the release to a shorter time, suddenly the song came together.  It just worked.  If I had used what I had learned before, and always set my release to breathe with the pulse of the song, I wouldn't have wasted time trying to get it right later.

I admit that I have been trusting presets too much, instead of being intentional and using my ears to get the right processing.  I am going to commit to learn my tools better, and stop relying on presets.  This might slow me down a bit, but it can only make my mixes better.