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Chapter 1 Establishing a Baseline > So What Are Plug-Ins, Anyway?

So What Are Plug-Ins, Anyway?

It doesn’t really make sense to start this exploration of plug-ins until we have at least some general sense of what plug-ins really are. We refer to them as tools and switch them on and off as they are needed. But why aren’t they simply set up to run all the time? Why can’t Pro Tools manage this stuff on its own? Why are there limitations on how and where we can use plug-ins? This should help make some sense of these things.

The Basic Concept

On its own, Pro Tools is a very powerful software platform for recording, editing, and processing audio. However, there are situations when special tools are required to manipulate audio in a very specific way. These might include something as simple as changing the overall volume level of a piece or audio. Or it might be as complicated as calculating all of the reverberant reflections of various frequencies reflecting from different surfaces in a simulated acoustic space. But whatever the particular task is for any plug-in, it is a smaller program that runs within the larger Pro Tools platform (Figure 1.2).


  

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