Just got on special, the babyaudio smooth operator. Got on special because I’m dubious over the concept of charging more than roughly 35 bucks for a plugin, though a select few might be worth more. Now, babyaudio kinda, looks, like a gimmick plugin company but this is the second plugin I've gotten and they are both quite useful. Add to that, quick/awesome customer relations. So IMO Baby Audio is NOT a gimmick company.
At this point, for me, it's unavoidable realizing, plugins are getting advanced enough that it’s breaking the sound of instrument's natural behavior. Going passed simple adjustments and downright openly modifying deeper, more complex, fundamental characteristics. In the here and now, this is a good thing. I don’t think it’s a replacement for good engineering/mixing but it certainly makes the process faster.
In the long run though, I see this sort of thing backfiring. The more computers modify recorded sound, the father away from nature it gets and we as humans can’t remove ourselves from nature, because we ARE nature. Most people don’t realize it but we are just as much nature as the rest of the organic world. Eventually people will realize they have lost something important, throw down the daw magic and go back to simpler recording/production processes. Some of the most beloved recordings of all time, were of this sort. A band. Analog instruments. All recorded to reel to reel with only simple real time production tools.
Back in the present, personally, I find the smooth operator very useful so far. I just wish someone was smart enough to create acoustic instruments good enough not to easily "benefit" from all this processing. One might be amazed at how much you can do, purely with proper acoustic design but that's another subject for another day.
So, plugins, DAW effects processing, the future, thoughts?