Now, before we get into what the different plugins do and how you can use them in your music production, there are a few key mixing principles and mixing mistakes we have to address.
Never add on plugins on your tracks and sounds without a solid reason. Forget every single plugin preset, forget all about special mixing tools and master effects - start by listening and then react to your mix.
Primum non nocere - First, do no harm.
More than not, beginner music producers add on plugins that don't help them at all, but rather hurt their music.
So - remember that! I even have a very successful composer friend who rarely even uses anything other than the most basic plugins, and very lightly, and writes really beautiful and well sounding music on the computer. It's all because he listens to the mix, he references the mix with other tracks that he likes, and he adjusts accordingly!
I wrote an article on the Evenant website, where you can check out 9 of the most common beginner mixing mistakes. I highly recommend you check it out:
Mixing is about making your music sound good, and adjusting it to that end. Pushing up the volume here, taking it down a notch there, panning something more to the left or right, adding on some more reverb on the vocals to make them more lush - and so on.
But even so - you shouldn't be discouraged from trying out the different plugins and their processes. This is encouraged! Push them to their limits, see what they do to your sound and learn from it.
Now, enough of the boring talk of caution - let's get into the basic mixing processes!