Pro Audio Files

The Most Frequent Criticism of My Tutorials

The most frequent criticism I get toward my tutorials is that I use Pro Tools and third-party plugins.

People ask me to do tutorials in Studio One or Ableton or FL Studio. People also suggest that I make tutorials using stock plugins like Ken Lewis or Graham Cochrane.

I think this criticism is absolutely valid. I imagine it’s frustrating watching a tutorial that’s being presented on a platform one doesn’t have … maybe using software one can’t afford.

On the subject of Pro Tools vs. other DAWs (Ableton, Logic, Studio One, FL, Nuendo, Cubase, Reaper etc.) … these are great programs. I wish I had them. But it’s just a DAW. It’s a platform and nothing more. There’s nothing that I do in Pro Tools that doesn’t translate just as easily to any other major DAW.

To the subject of using third-party plugins, many of which are relatively expensive. Most of what I teach is conceptual. It doesn’t really matter if you are using a stock EQ or FabFilter, the DigiDelay or EchoBoy. Because the idea of what I am doing will be the same.

However, there are differences between plugins, and I admit that can put a certain distance between what I do and the results I get, and what someone who doesn’t have the means to purchase these plugins will get. And this is where my take on things is a bit different than, say, Ken or Graham.

When I teach, I want to show people what I do. If I’m using a certain plugin, I want people to know why. FabFilter Pro-Q 2 has a linear-phase mode, and I want people to know that I might use the linear-phase mode on a parallel track for a specific reason — and I can’t demonstrate that using a stock plugin.

In other words, I am trading accessibility in terms of monetary resources for accessibility into what I actually do. I believe this provides the most comprehensive picture of the engineering process.

And that’s not to knock Graham or Ken. I love what they do. Both of them in their own ways are excellent teachers and leaders in the world of audio education.

The big benefit to teaching using stock plugins is that it distills the process and forces the teacher to focus on pure concept and technique. I’ve dabbled in it a few times myself and also discussed it in a video on getting a professional mix with stock plugins. I also did it in my Indie-Rock Mixthru tutorial. It’s a great way to teach, and those other guys do it so well that I don’t really think I have to.

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Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss

Matthew Weiss is a Grammy nominated and Spellemann Award winning audio engineer from Philadelphia. Matthew has mixed songs for Snoop, Sonny Digital, Gorilla Zoe, Uri Caine, Dizzee Rascal, Arrested Development, 9th Wonder, !llmind & more. Get in touch:

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  • Romina Jones

    I think it is apparent that the principle applies whether you have third party or stock plugins. I for one really appreciate seeing what plugins different mixers use and how they take advantage of them. Not all of us are stuck in no cash beginner mode; we learn and advance and add to our tool chest bit by bit and recognize to get pro sounds sometimes you need pro tools. I recently got Fab Filters Pro-C 2 after seeing it recur on different mix tutorials including yours. It was helpful seeing it in action beforehand and knowing it had a solid community of pro users. Doesn’t mean I buy everything I see just what looks like it solves a gap I have.

  • yohami

    Your tutorials are the best since you teach mental process and tools and a process. You stop before adding any plugin, explain the sound you’re after, then show how to get there with the tools (not secrets, not tricks). More people should teach like you do.

  • Cyril Cril

    I think the criticism isn’t that valid, you teach enough perspective that anyone watching your tutorials should be able to apply the knowledge they have acquired with any DAW and Plugin of choice, its learning its not a copy and paste thing, when I watch your tutorials I learn why and how you approach and tackle issues, the ‘why’ is so much more important, so is the what to do, then i can go on with the how in whatever environment I use.
    You have been made so much positive influence of my mixing career, Keep making those tutorials

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