When to use what? (Different A++ rated plugins!)

OK, so now the question is; there are lots of each type of plug in. Whether it be channel strips, analog EQ etc. How do I know when to use each ‘flavour’ or is it just about finding the ‘flavour’ I like and using that? Then, depending on the answer, should I be matching the plugins I buy to the style of music I produce. So, is there an ‘ultimate channel strip for [Trance]’ for example.

Then, on a channel strip (API vision say) I have compressor, eq etc. So is this similar, in that you use them if you like the flavour they add, but if not, bypass and use a separate plugin?

I can’t wait to get to the end of the course. I am a perfectionist with a slight impatience trait, so you can only imagine what it’s like now I have just had a new world opened and feel completely lost most of the time. I took an old mix and have been using Mixing Foundations techniques on it. It is now warmer and better EQ but it is taking me hours. Is that normal for this stage?

We have mixing week this week and I feel like I need to take the week off work!!

Thanks in advance guys. I really appreciate the help

Oh and finally… there is a neve sale at UAD until the 31st. I am waiting for next months sale for ssl buss compressor thanks to Paul’s tip on another post, but should I dive in and get the 31102 now while it is on 60% off in light of all the above? I have the slate subscription if that affects the reply…

Yes! To picking the 31102 up in the 60% sale, it has a warm and smooth tone, it will sound amazing on trance vocals!

For tonal characteristics of individual plug-ins, I could provide you with my interpretations of them but I recommend experimenting with them all and finding your own. You will then just automatically know when hearing a sound what flavour will work best for said sound.

To get you started…
SSL has a bright, tight and punchy sound that has a crunchy mid-range, this would be my first choice for trance music; however, the brightness can be overpowering in some cases.
The Neve 88RS has a warm and smooth like vintage Neve but with a nice high-frequency scheen, I really like the sound of this console; however, the low-frequency response is not tight like the SSL and may be undesirable in some cases.
API has a tight and bright sound with an aggressive character, I think the API sounds punchy with plenty of clarity, great for drums.

A great post about console colours by Danny:

Console Colours

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Thanks as always Paul, this is what I really needed. There is so much to take in when you first move from ‘experimenting with buttons and presets’ to really trying to understand what the hell you are doing! I think I can feel some progress, so one day (and hopefully not too distant) I will be able to help more and ask less!