Plugged In

I’ve gotten the impression there remains some confusion amongst engineers, so let me try and help clarify something.

This is a plug-in:

Cla 76 compressor limiter blacky
Waves CLA-76

This is also a plug-in:

1176ln front hq
Universal Audio 1176

Here’s another plug-in:

IMG 2977
Lexicon 480

Even more plug-ins:

IMG 3619
Garth Brooks FOH

Still more plug-ins:

IMG 2974
Church on the Move FOH

But did you know these are plug-ins, too?

Ssl aws900 eq dual

They’re actually built in to this:


So these are plug-in’s, too:

Cl5 eq
Venue dshow

You see, every time you process audio, you’re using a “plug-in”. This is because everything we use to process audio is “plugged in” to the signal path somewhere.

Take this console for example:

IMG 5441
Soundcraft SM-20

Every single one of its chanelstrips literally plugs in to the console.

So it doesn’t matter if you use one of these:

IMG 2973

Or one of these:

IMG 4690

Or if you use one of these:

1176ln front hq
Universal Audio 1176

Or one of these:

Cla 76 compressor limiter blacky

They’re all “plug-in’s.”

What you should be concerned about is what comes out of these:


Or these:


Or these:

WOF: Vertecs

And how it sounds here:

Or here:

Or here:

IMG 4722

In the end, what we hear is what matters.

Plug-ins are simply the tools we use. They’re hardware and software. They’re built-in and external.

Choose the right tools to do your best work and use them. Nobody in the seats is going to care what they are.

David Stagl

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Plugged In