The 10 Plugin Mix Challenge

Can you mix a song with only 10 plugins?

How about 10 FREE plugins?

Pick 10 and make your own video. :wink:

But seriously, I hadn’t watched the video before I posted it. I’m sure Graham is more interested in the concept of 10 plugins than he is of the specific plugins.

Yeah, I think he’s just trying to teach “minimalism” so you can see what is possible with the bare essentials. Kind of stripping it down to get a new perspective.

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Some people may find it hard to believe there were great recordings made in Mono, then Stereo, then 4 track where you may have had a reverb tank and bass and treble on the board, and that was it. 10 plugins would be like an alien invasion to those engineers.

It’s a fair point, but I would qualify it by saying that those ‘great’ recordings were great for their time. The vast majority of them would not stand up to today’s standards.

I would challenge that. I think as much as the production, the songs themselves were great. Take some of those older songs and level the outputs and I am thinking there are plenty that are as good as anything out there now.

To the point of the post, I think I stay pretty close to that number of plugins on a regular basis (assuming the specific plugin can be used more than once). Some stuff just works on a bunch of sources. LA2A and Elysia Alpha compressors, Sonalksis CQ1 and DQ1, Redline and EMT 140 reverbs. That covers most everything except frequency repair (BX Digital V4 and BX refinement) and saturation (HG-2) all by Plugin Alliance.

The equipment could not compete, so the really good engineers and producers spent all their time capturing instead of modifying. There was no saving it through production tricks. You are right, though, today if you have all the elements you can do whatever needs to be done to the recording.

Right. Exactly. They didn’t polish turds to to a high modern gloss back then like people do now. Hell, people don’t even polish turds anymore. There is no turd to polish. Just keep cycling though those sims and samples and emulations…:disappointed:

Anyway, I could easily do a mix with 10 or fewer plug ins. I do it all the time. Well, 10 or fewer different plug-ins, not 10 total for the whole project.

Graham makes it clear in the video that he means a maximum of ten items plugged in. FWIW seven of his are compression of some sort. The mix he starts with sounds great anyway, without any plugins. I fully understand (and subscribe to) the concept of getting as much right as possible at the source, but for a mix to sound that good I’m assuming he used a lot of processing on the way in, which defeats the object of this particular exercise.

If the rules were that you can use as many instances as you like of ten different plugins, I don’t think it would be much of a challenge. I could do it with three, although if meters (SA and LUFS) count as plugins it would have to be five.