If you’ve ever been made curious or confused by a plugin, you’re not alone.
At one point or another, we’ve all looked at a plugin and not known what the settings or functions meant, or what they did.
Although some functions are the same from plugin to plugin (i.e. ratios on compressors, or bands on equalizers), some are completely tied to just one plugin’s design.
No matter how seasoned of an engineer you may be, there are still some settings that cannot be known instantly. That’s why having access to detailed information about your software is always valuable.
Sometimes searching online leads to answers, but this can be time consuming. The information provided is often too general to answer specific questions. Fortunately, most plugins include an icon that when clicked, instantly finds and pulls up that plugin’s manual.
The fastest way to know everything about your plugin is to open the plugin in you DAW and then click the question-mark icon. This will open the owners manual showing you all the information you need to understand and use the plugin effectively.
For all Waves plugins, the easiest way to access this information is the ‘?’ icon in the top right corner.
The "Mode" section offers 4 options. None of which are completely self explanatory.
In this example, the “modes” section of the Aphex Exciter would be difficult to understand without an explanation. By clicking the ‘?’ icon, and skimming the manual, you can quickly find a signal flow chart that explains how each mode option works.
PDF Manuals offer a cohesive description of your software.
To access the Izotope manual click the ‘?’ icon in the middle low portion of the plugin. This will pull up the full manual for their Ozone line.
Izotope offers extensive information on their Ozone line.
If you need an even quicker description of a particular function simply hover over the function.
Fortunately FabFilter offers really detailed descriptions simply by hovering over the function. Unfortunately their manuals are not as readily available as Waves or Izotope.
This description of the lookahead function is both comprehensive and helpful
Whereas Waves and Izotope instantly download the plugin manual with the installation of the software, FabFilter requires visiting their website for this information.
Even more information can be found by accessing the FabFilter website.
There is however, a direct link to the website in the plugin by clicking on the ‘Help’ button in the upper right corner.
Although there is no immediate way to know everything about your plugin, at least the information is more readily available than it’s ever been.
With instant pop-up manuals, online tutorials, and a slew of people wanting to answer questions about certain plugins, there truly is no excuse for not knowing the ins and outs of your software.
Put in the extra mile when researching your software, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll become a better engineer for it.
How do you learn more about your plugins?