Last week I finished up a mix for a song I’ve been working on for a while.

(It’s actually the song I’m using to demonstrate everything I’m teaching to my latest round of Production Club students.)

The mix is sounding really incredible…if I do say so myself. It’s clean and full and punchy. It’s pretty much exactly what I envisioned for the mix when I first wrote the song.

But you wanna know a secret? (A secret that some people would rather I didn’t reveal?)

I didn’t use a single “fancy” plugin.

TRANSLATION: I used only the plugins that came free with Pro Tools.

I shared the mix with one of my buddies who sells music gear for a living. When I told him I only used stock plugins, he told me not to tell anyone, or they won’t buy plugin bundles from him!

(He was joking, of course.)

So, am I anti-plugins? Nah, not at all. (I own the Waves SSL and Gold bundles.)

But you know what I AM against? Putting up imaginary barriers.

Every time you say you can’t get a good mix with your “boring” plugins, you’re putting up an imaginary (and false) barrier.

And you know what? It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I can only speak from my experience, but let me encourage you with this:

You CAN get great-sounding mixes.

You can.

Even if you’ve never bought a plugin bundle in your life.

You can.

Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

To learn how to wield a “boring” EQ like a champ:


Joe Gilder