Some plug-ins seem to be made to impress. The more spectacular, the better: The Beat Repeat! The Glue Compressor! “Oh my, I can’t live without my Convolution Reverb Pro!”
But sometimes, the simplest plug-ins are the ones that really mark the difference. Like Ableton Live’s Utility. Many producers don’t know it yet, but Utility is the plug-in that can save your ass.
Ass-saving situation #1:
Our track features a pad with an over the top phaser, an autopan and a monstrous reverb. Sure it sounds great, but if you take a look at it through a goniometer, you’ll see that there’s a problem with phase correlation. This can led us to a critical situation if we want our music to be released on vinyl, specially with low end frequencies. But do not worry: Utility can solve it. It is as easy as turning the Width adjustment down until it gets into the “safety zone” (between 0 and +1).
Ass-saving situation #2:
You have drawn several pan and/or volume automations in your track, and you want to move them. Sure, you can select the whole curve and move it. But it’s far more simple and fast if you insert Utility and turn the Panorama and/or Gain adjustments.
Ass-saving situation #3:
When you are dealing with a lot of tracks, grouping them can simplify our set substantially. It is as simple as selecting the tracks you want to group (shift + click) and then cmd/ctrl + G. You can have your synths group, your drums group, your vocals group… But what if, when our project is almost finished, the signal is displaced in the Master meters? No need to panic: insert one Utility in any group and select Swap to, well, swap the left and right channels. Yes: Utility has done it again!
If you have any suggestions or your own tips & tricks, comment!