The reason why I created this thread is probably because I feel that there is an invisible spectrum that I cannot hear, but that trained ears are able to perceive and those would end up judging it. It doesn’t make any sense as I don’t release anything and make it purely for myself…So the reason I tend to lean more to effects units or established VST’s is because the pro’s recommend and so I get a sense of security. Perhaps I am the victim of a psychological marketing strategy. Or it’s just my inner perfectionism.
Effects, such as chorus, phaser, flanger etc. are all about sound creation, less about sound engineering. With that in mind, their “quality” doesn really matter if you like the results that you get. For example I use the built-in distortion quite often and I believe that despite it’s simplicity, it does it’s job. On the other hand, if I want an overdrive-type effect that sounds more like a real guitar amp - I look elsewhere.
As for the EQs and compressors, that’s another matter entirely. For whatever reason I was never really happy with the built-in EQ. If only for the lack of neat interface, but also because of some superficial sound quality. I recommend checking out Vladg’s Nova 67P, as a great freeware parametric EQ, but if the built-in one works for you, it’s not like your audience will write angry e-mails about your usage of the built-in EQ, or compressor.
On the other hand, there’s no reason to limit yourself to the built-in stuff, unless you’re really concerned with exchangability. These days there are many amazing plugins available out there, even the free ones. Check out Vladg’s Molot compressor, or the wonderful Nova 67P EQ. The old Kjaerhus Classic plugins are still useful, and I adore their delay, chorus and phaser. MeldaProductions offers a large set of extremely useful plugins aswell. Try them out! There’s no reason not to.
Still, some power-users, such as Keith303, are able to create some skull-crackingly amazing songs with just samples and built-in Renoise effects. It’s a neat challenge in it’s own right, if only because of the built-in DSP’s inherent simplicity.
Long story short - use EVERYTHING you can lay your hands on.