Presets are Like Instagram

Many plugins come with presets, these vary depending on the plugin however, they tend to be a selection of sounds and settings that the manufacturers recommend for different situations. An example would be for a synthesizer VSTi, the manufacturer may include presets for sounds that make the synth sound awesome when first tried. People argue over whether VST presets are good or bad. I'm here to say they are neither. You see, presets are like Instagram filters.

When taking a photo in Instagram, you are presented with a selection of preset filters, each which may or may not improve the quality of the photo. You pick these depending on what your photo looks like and what needs improved.

Likewise, you can actually make your own "preset" filters in Instagram should you not find what you are looking for. This gives you much more creative control over what you are doing to your photo than just selecting the stock presets.

Stock presets of ReaComp

One thing however, is you have to know what you are doing, and what you want to achieve. Regardless of the medium, be it photo, video, or audio, you need to have an end goal and a path to doing it.

If a preset matches that end goal then by all means, go with it. But if there is no preset available that suits you, you will have to make one. This is where you need a fundamental understanding of the plugin and it's process. The best way of knowing this is through practice, reading, and watching other people do it.

Every time you make a preset, whether for synth, compressor or delay, you should save it. It's not cheating to use any presets, more so, it is certainly not cheating to use ones you have made. It doesn't hurt to save your preset and, if you are developing a style, having your own presets will really contribute to your sound.

Just think how much time you'll save if you have a large bank of presets which you can just flick through, instead of having to spend 5 minutes on each sound, each time.