Admit it! You've used presets before.
We all have, and the matter of the fact is as much as people shun using presets, they have a lot to offer us concerning workflow and learning, which we seem to take for granted.
Now before I proceed, this in no way condones a set and forget attitude, as Audio engineers and practitioners we have a duty of care and service to uphold. It is our responsibility to ensure that everything that leaves our studio is of the highest pedigree and our ability
I want to acknowledge some of the benefits of having "go-to" presets and templates.
The first benefit is a streamlined workflow. Earlier last year, I spent a few weeks creating mix templates. These mix templates contained my most commonly used; routeing, effects bussing, instrument groupings and "go-to" effect chains. Now every time I start a mix I import my stems onto the corresponding channels, of the template. I don't have to spend any set-up time routeing effects, setting up effect busses and grouping instruments. I can start my sessions, just listening to the music and jumping straight into the mix.
The next benefit is learning. We should always be aware that no matter how proficient we are at creating great sounding records, is that we are always learning, and should be seeking to learn. One example is of this is my Waves Renaissance Reverb plug-in, which is my personal go-to on reverb buses; the presets are rarely the perfect fit, but they're an excellent opportunity to learn how pre-delay, decay, diffusion and other settings affect and manipulate the sound of different presets. This style of analysis and learning can be applied to all types of audio processor presets.
I encourage you not to be afraid to explore your presets, create some of your own and just appreciate how much they do have to offer. This isn't a licence to set and forget, but a licence to expand your vocabulary, improve your workflow and further yourself as a mixing engineer.