DIY Music Blog #10 – Peak Plug-in?

It seems it’s DIY Music blog o’clock once more. Yes. Here we go. Today I’m writing about reaching ‘peak plug-in’, a term I made up recently, interviewing people who know much more about stuff than I do, the holiday season, and a bunch of other things. So please, do read on if that interests you… 

‘Peak Plugin’

Well… Black Friday happened, didn’t it. And then Cyber Monday… All those sales! Yes, I know Waves always has sales, but these were different. Bigger sales. And as always I was suckered in by those discounts. But something strange happened on Cyber Monday… I had ctrl-c’d my $30 discount code and was browsing through the discounts of the day when I realised… there were no plug-ins I actually wanted. I had reached peak plug-in.


Okay, so I had already grabbed the L2 Ultramaximizer at a neat $99, and the Kazrog KClip, a surprising good clipper, for half the regular price (not much at all). But I had actually needed to add a decent limiter to my mastering chain for a while.  After that, there was nothing I felt I could justify spending even a reduced amount of money on. This felt a bit wrong. It’s a sale. You have to buy something. But I really couldn’t find anything. I believe this has marked a turning point in my DIY Music journey.

I may have got to a point where I have everything I need to make great music. This is both exciting and a bit scary because now I need to actually make great music. So I think it’s time to start working on getting good at using what I’ve got. The number one way to do that is to practice.

I may have got to a point where I have everything I need to make great music. This is both exciting and a bit scary because now I need to actually make great music.

So now I’m very seriously considering signing up to Joe Gilder and Graham Cochrane’s Duelling Mixes. If you don’t already know it, Duelling Mixes is something you subscribe to and get to mix a new song every month (I think). You are provided with all the raw tracks to mix and also get to see the results of Joe and Graham’s work on the same songs. On top of that I think there’s a forum for members to discuss and share their attempts so they can all learn from and help each other.

It does, however, cost a monthly fee. So I’m not sure just yet. I’m already a VIP member at Joe’s Home Studio Corner so maybe I’ll have to cancel that and sign up for this. Or maybe you know another way to get extra mixing practice? Have you reached peak plugin? What happens next?

Apart from all that…

I’ve had a fair few things going on since last I wrote. One thing I’m working on is getting more interviews on the site. Interviews are great because I can ask questions of people who are far more experienced and talented than me so that you lot and myself can learn from them. Most recently I’ve spoke to Adam Matza from Magic Ears Mastering all about his thoughts on mastering and I’ve had a really insightful chat with Aled Jenkins about the recording of the latest Smokey B*stard album. Both interviews taught me a few things which I’ll definitely be applying to my own work.

I’ve very nearly finished the next Humjunkie track. This one has involved lots of fun experimentation with synths and effects. One great discovery has been running a lead synth through an amp sim to give it a fatter, more analogue feel. I’ve also getting more into the process of freezing tracks and mixing as a separate stage to creating. Though I’m still jumping back and forth a bit.

Meanwhile, in the rest of the world…

Yup, it’s not all about me. There’s a few things going on out there you might be interested in. Firstly, I should mention that Magic Ears Mastering are still offering to master your first song for free. Which is a great opportunity to see how much of an improvement mastering will make to your final mix, whilst also giving you a chance to see how good Adam’s mastering skills are.

Definitely worth mentioning is the SoundToys, Give a Little. Get a Little. campaign. This is a sales campaign with a very lovely and thoughtful twist. Each week, for an unspecified amount of time, you can name your price for a specific ‘little’ plugins and 100% of what you pay goes to charity. Check the link for more details. Needless to say, I snapped up the current offer for a modest contribution.

Finally The Pro Audio Files, one of my five essential DIY music websites, has also now set up a subscription service. This gives you unlimited HD streaming of all their mixing tutorials from David Glenn and Matthew Weiss for an introductory price of $9.99 and $29.99 a month after that… Which is a bit more than I’m looking to spend right now but if you were after a vast amount of quality audio education I think it’s a pretty good deal.

I’ll leave it there for now.  As always, I appreciate any feedback so please comment below, or via the contact form or find me on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you and, until next time, good bye!

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