6. Plug-in Benefits & Drawbacks
One of the biggest attractions of plug-ins is the ability to use multiple instances on different tracks, each with their own settings, whereas with hardware devices you would need to own several identical units to be able to achieve the same results. Another great pro is having total recall of all parameters. Storing them either as user presets or automatically within song files means that you dont have the tedious job of making notes of all the settings, and likewise dont have to spend time setting them up again when returning to a project. Of course you can go further still and automate your plug-ins parameters for some really creative effects.
Perhaps the biggest downside of plug-ins is the lack of tactile experience. Its not uncommon to want to adjust two controls simultaneously which just isnt possible with a mouse, and even if you do use an external hardware controller, it will never give you quite the same feeling as being surrounded by a room of knob-laden equipment! Although most plug-ins are accurate and sound great, aficionados will always find differences in sound between plug-ins and their hardware equivalents, although whether these perceptions would always survive double-blind listening tests is another matter... Reliability and compatibility issues have improved substantially since the early days, but they can still cause problems from time to time, although most bugs are quickly solved by downloading and installing the latest updates.