Lost in Tweakville

Do you ever get lost in Tweakville?

Do you ever sit yourself in the studio intending to make progress on a project, but instead spending hours playing and programming sounds or endlessly adjusting parameters? Perhaps you spent the last three hours auditioning hundreds of kick drums, before realising that the one you selected in the first three minutes was the best? Perhaps you wanted to add a synth part, but then got lost adjusting the hundreds of parameters? Maybe you wanted to add a compressor, but couldn’t choose between the 30 different plugins you’ve got in your ‘compressors’ folder?

You’ve got too much gear.

There are too many options. Somewhere along the way you decided that the best way to improve you music was to acquire more gear… this is not always true! 

There are two solutions: Use less gear and be more disciplined.

You’ll be more productive (and have a better quality output) if you reduce your gear down to the minimum that you need. A thousand kick drums are useless if you only need to choose between the ten best. Dozens of plugins will hold you back as you spend hours browsing presets. Critically examine your hardware and software, your plugins, your sample libraries, your presets etc. Ask yourself if you really need that many.

The more options you have, the more time you spend evaluating those options, and the less time you spend actually making music.

Discpline is also important. Even with the bare essentials, it’s easy to get lost in experiments. Keep yourself moving. If you can’t find the right sound in ten minutes, chances are you need to rethink what you think you’re looking for. If you find a sound that’s ‘almost there’, chances are you won’t find anything significantly better, no matter how much time you spend looking. If you get 90% of the way toward the sound you have in your head, you’re doing pretty well. The remaining 10% can be achieved through processing and mixing. Keep moving. Don’t get bogged down. Perfection is the enemy of completion. Accept that ‘good enough’ really is good enough. Stop playing and get on with making music.


  1. I’m guilty. I have a library full of sounds, a ton of plug ins like waves, blue tube, etc and it only hurts me lol. I need to master what I have before I explore more. Great post.

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