Do you know what I think our collective Achilles heel is as musicians?
Let me explain…
We are hustlers. We are grinders.
I mean, if you added up the total hours we spent practicing in our bedroom, you could probably build, launch, and land the Mars Rover in the same amount of time.
We know this career isn’t easy, and we’re willing to put in the work.
I can’t tell you how many times an artist has said to me…
“I just need to get better at guitar before I can make my tracks sound great…”
…so they spend endless hours working on their guitar chops instead of simply outsourcing it to a guy who lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps guitar.
Which would then allow that artist to focus on their zone of genius.
Or how many times it’s been vocalists struggling to add an extra 4 notes onto their range, instead of just dropping the key a semitone or two.
The truth is, just because something requires more effort, doesn’t mean it’s more valuable.
Think about it like this…
Would you rather dig a pool with a bulldozer or a shovel?
Shoveling might get you those Laura Croft arms you’ve been chasing, but it adds nothing to the quality of the pool.
So today, I’m taking out all the guesswork and sharing with you the NUMBER 1 way to uplevel the quality of your productions.
It’s using third-party sounds and plugins.
And before I go any further, I want to be clear that in no way am I railing on stock plugins at all…
I have used the Logic drummer in more productions than I can count and it kicks some serious ass!
However, for the context of this convo, we’re talking about the best way to take things to the NEXT level.
I also think it’s important to identify right off the bat what I’m talking about when I say third-party sounds and plugins.
In short, this could be anything from samples from libraries like Splice, to effects plugins from companies like Waves, or digital instruments like Arcade and Native Instruments.
Essentially we’re talking about sounds and tools that were built by companies outside of your DAW.
Still with me? Aight, cool… let’s dive in.
The reality is that using this type of software can save you immeasurable time working on your productions. Just using vocal plugins like CLA Vocals, or mastering plugins like IM Pusher, will save you countless hours of tunnel vision staring at your desktop, trying to make the stock plugins do what those can do right away.
As a result, once you’ve chosen the presets you like and made some quick tweaks to your liking, your mind is free to be more creative in the DAW. Now, you can spend more time and creative energy enhancing the musicality of the piece instead of manually trying to dial everything in using the stock options available to you.
When it comes to samples, you are pulling from a pool of the best musicians in the world with the best quality gear recording these sounds. Why spend all your energy trying to get your average sounding room or instruments dialed in when you can just use what world-class musicians and engineers have created for us to use?
The same goes for effects plugins and virtual instruments! These plugin developers go to super successful producers and sound designers because they know what is going to sound great in a particular use!
Stock plugins are made to be more general in use, and while they can be made to sound great, chances are if we’re not already getting results on the level that makes people want to use our initials like CLA or JJP… we can certainly benefit from bringing their skills into our work, right?
The reality is that these companies go to these experts because they are the best around at what they do. So can we.
Anytime I speak with students who are struggling with mixing, I can almost always point it back to low-quality sounds or samples that can be replaced. Using third-party sounds, plugins and instruments takes out SO MUCH of the guesswork when it comes to mixing as, in so many cases, they have already been treated. Therefore, all you have to do is work them into your existing piece, which is AT LEAST 10X easier than starting from scratch.
Makes sense, amirite? 🧐
Want some help with that? 🆘
Welllll… I've got some good news… and I’ve got some better news.
We’re currently offering 50% off our course Beatmaking For Songwriters (BFS)!
I built BFS as a follow-up to our introductory course, “From Voice Memo 2 Demo” (which uses stock plugins only) to give students the tools they need to take their productions to the next level, and master the use of third-party sounds, samples and plugins!
Btw, if you’ve heard me talk about From Voice Memo 2 Demo, and thought it was too “kiddie pool” for you, this is the place to start. This could have easily been called “From Demo to Radio”!
And, for my From Voice Memo 2 Demo students, if you haven’t taken Beatmaking for Songwriters YET, this is the perfect next step on your way to becoming a Home Studio Boss!
This offer is only available for a limited time, so don’t you dare hit snooze on this massive discount!
Click here to learn more! 👇