It’s Almost Black Friday. Do You Really Need Another 1176 Plugin?

It’s almost Black Friday. And if you’re like me, you’re eagerly awaiting sales announcements from your favorite plugin developers. But before you settle on this year’s picks, I’d like to share some thoughts that might help.

Though I grew up in the digital age, I’m still floored by the quality, flexibility, and variety of today’s plugins. Opening up my own plugin folder feels like taking a walk through a candy shop. In fact, I don’t think there’s ever been a better time to be a mixer.

But yet, every time I sign on to Gearslutz, I see another “shootout” thread comparing fifteen different versions of an 1176. All of them based on a big hunk of metal released 50 years ago.

I’m not saying the 1176 isn’t a great compressor. There’s a reason why it’s become ubiquitous. But is it really still the best we’ve got?

If you talk to the people who built such classics like the 1176, they’ll tell you that their creations were full of imperfections. Yes, we’ve come to appreciate these warts. In many cases, they’ve helped define our expectations of what records should sound like. But we need to stop thinking these tools are the best available options.

Nowhere else do we romanticize yesterday’s solutions to such a massive degree. Nobody sits around talking about how great the Gutenberg printing press is. Sure, it was innovative for its time. But now we have the internet.

In our quest to perfectly recreate the past, we’re missing an opportunity to move forward. We’re passing on new solutions to age-old problems. We’re missing out on tools that are more flexible, sound better, and are easier to use. Many of these tools are already out there. And many more will likely be created…if we start demanding them.

So as you’re searching for new plugins this Black Friday, ask yourself:

Are you looking for the best plugins available today, or simply trying to recreate what worked yesterday?

Share your thoughts in the comment section below…