What are some ways you guys 'mis-use' your plugins? Lets break some rules! :)

Anyone have a few unconventional ways to apply plugins that are worth sharing?

I have a mix infront of me where I’m going spend all day doing everything wrong lol. I don’t get ones that I have total creative freedom to jack around with very often, so I may as well take advantage of this thing today and experiment.

  • I like running vocals through guitar amps sims lol. Then blending the grimed up signal in parallel with the dry vocal. Adds a nice over-the-top thickening effect :slight_smile:

  • I used the Brainworx ‘shred-spread’ (intended for a guitar bus) on a piano. I’m careful when I set up imaging plugins. I check my mono mix religiously to make sure it doesn’t fall apart when it collapses to mono. This thing has an automatic compensation algorithm firing under the hood to help preserve the mono image as the stereo image is widened. Really cool.

  • Distorting an equalizer - A trick I learned from watching Eric Valentine was adding 15db of 1k to guitars. I don’t know why this just occurred to me today, but distorting the EQ section of a Neve 1073 is not the same as adding 1073 saturation then boosting 1k with a digital EQ. The way an equalizer distorts when non-linearities are modeled is also different than if you take a multi-band distortion unit like the FF Saturn or Izotope vinyl and turn up a single distorted band. So when you distort some equalizers they just clip. Others create distortion, then handle the distortion within the circuit emulation in a specific way. The UAD 1073 gives me a very interesting type of digital distortion I don’t know how to get out of any other plugin.

  • Using saturation to control frequencies instead of EQ. You have to know what you’re doing to pull this off, but I’ve started saturation more often to tame sibilance and harshness. At the end of the day, there’s no substitute for good EQ technique, but I’ve started to reach for plugins like the Waves One Knob Driver, Vitamin and Saphira, Vertigo VSC3, UAD Fatso, and BX refinement to manage EQ.

Just some ideas… I’d love to hear some of your guy’s unconventional ways of getting plugins to do things they weren’t designed to.

This intrigues me.

I use Vocal rider to level drums sometimes.
I use transient designers on guitars, pianos and to tame delays.
I don’t think I am that unconventional with plugins. I mangle things in the analog world:)

Can’t really think of anything crazy, but then I don’t think I really use any plugins designed to only do one job - they’re all just tools, to be used or not.

Does using a De-esser on Distorted guitar count? Gets rid of some ear-piercing resonances around 3kHz quite well.


And I use Drum Leveler to level up vocals (!)

(and bass).

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  • I hardly ever use Guitar Rig for guitars - mostly whacky ambience and special FX.
  • I use Scuffam S-Gear for reverb (I switch out the amp, cab & FX modules and use the reverb only).
  • I use samples of clicks in Slate’s Trigger to trigger the sidechain gate of kick and snare mics for super-accurate gating.
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