Why would I want a preamp emulation on a vocal? Perhaps I have one of those microphone systems that are software/hardware hybrid, like the Slate Digital Virtual Microphone System (VMS), or the Kush Audio Omega preamp series. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want a tape emulation on a vocal? Perhaps I like the sound of recording to tape more than the sound of recording to digital, but don’t want to be restricted by the impracticalities of using a real tape machine. Tape adds a particular flavour, a charm, a smoothing, a softening. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want a console emulation on a vocal? Perhaps I’m specifically going for a Neve or SSL sound - those sounds are popular for good reason, subjectively they add 3D depth and thickness to a mix. Top engineers agree that most of the greatest recordings of all time have ‘that sound’ imprinted on them. Again, for reasons of practicality, a plugin is more convenient than the real thing. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want a compressor on a vocal? This seems like a noob question, honestly. It’s quite standard practise to control a vocal’s level with a compressor, at least in part. It can add punch, level out the dynamics, increase intelligibility. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want formant shifting or tuning effects on a vocal? Well maybe just for fun - I think you’d struggle to find a modern pop/dance/RnB record that doesn’t have at least a little autotune or melodyne or whatever. It’s almost expected as an aesthetic/creative choice to young years. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want a limiter on a vocal? Because vocals sometimes have much higher peak level than RMS level - surely you knew that? Optimising headroom is a reasonable endeavour in today’s music climate, I think. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want to do some funky automation effects with reverb? Perhaps to tightly control the sense of size/perspective across the mix. When it’s done right it sounds modern, exciting, spacious, dynamic… Especially when compressed along with the dry signal (note: requires additional stage of compression). Am I not allowed to be creative, according to you? Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want to do some funky automation effects with a flanger/phaser/frequency shifter/bitcrusher/distortion/delay/etc? Well I might not, but I’m hearing all that kind of stuff all over modern music to the point where in my artistic opinion vocals can sound a bit drab and lifeless without such effects. It takes a lot of skill and attention to get these effects working well and they’re not for every record - I’d at least like the option to be open to me. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want a de-esser on a vocal? Isn’t that what they’re for? Over-sibilant vocals sounds really nasty to me. I might even want de-essers at multiple stages in the chain just to be able to get to the problematic areas without turning the vocalth into a lithpy meth. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want spare slots to compare different plugins against each other on a vocal? Because when you’re a professional/advanced user, those nuances between plugins count. I might want to audition three different reverb plugins with very different algorithms against each other to see which works best in my chain. Same with compression, same with any plugin, really. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want to use special purpose EQs on a vocal? Voxengo’s CurveEQ bundled with Cubase does an excellent surgical tilt that’s very useful. It also does spectrum-matching which is useful for a plethora of advanced mixing techniques/situations. If I’ve used that plugin, I’d also like the option to use an EQ that has other strengths. For example, I might want to use a surgical EQ like Frequency or Pro-Q 2 to deal with specific resonances (this is not an uncommon consideration among top mixing engineers). In addition I might want to use a Pultec emulation (it has a specific, highly sought-after character), or some other EQ that saturates in a particular way. I might want to use an EQ with a special shelf quality like the Kush Audio ClariphonicDSP, Eiosis AirEQ, Maag EQ 4, or whatever… because they can brighten up a signal in a much more pleasing way than the average EQ - their use makes a huge difference to the quality of the mix overall. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want to use dynamic EQ on a vocal? Because vocals tend to be fairly broad-frequency and highly dynamic. A dynamic EQ can help to combat unwanted shifting of tonality to help you sit the vocal tightly into a mix. OR maybe I’ve boosted the vocal for body, but I only want that boost to kick in when that vocal is lacking in that region. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why would I want 3rd party utility plugins such as oscilloscopes, stereo analysers, spectrographs, etc., between plugins on a vocal? Simply it’s so that I can analyse what’s going on at each stage - not necessary, but definitely highly desirable in many cases. This helps in learning about processors, learning about sound, understanding the correlation between what you’re hearing and what’s actually happening to the sound at each stage. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
Why might I want an additional compressor for sidechain action? Perhaps because that’s a stylistic/artistic trend that makes sense for this particular record. Is there something wrong with that? Is it crap?
These are all just examples, of course. I’m the biggest advocate of getting a great recording and using a minimal amount of processing in order to reach your goal. Sometimes (not always) the minimum amount is actually a lot more than 8 insert plugins.
Which of the plugins I’ve mentioned here are mediocre? Answer: none of them.
I actually agree with this sentiment for the most part, although I think the net effect is often more positive than it is negative - and I don’t think you or I have the right to deny someone else the option to use those kinds of plugins in their mix.
Raphie, could you just quit with the arrogant, condescending, narrow-minded crusade? There’s absolutely no need for it here. Nobody has been disrespectful to you. The argument that nobody needs >8 inserts is intellectually bankrupt.