A while back you may remember me blogging about buying a couple of new Mackie MR8 mk3 speakers that had a good mid range and smooth high end but had this very annoying 100Hz bump. I was reading how they had redesigned the port and I thought..."hey, that might be the answer!"
I stuffed the ports with plastic bags and by George it took away that obnoxious frequency bump. I have never done that before and I would not recommend it except with these particular speakers, which are now sounding better than ever before.
The moral of the story is that the result is what is important. How you get there is not important. Of course we are not talking about crime or ill gotten income, we are talking about music.
The sound of the album or song is what is important, not the fact that you spent $15,000,000 on your studio and have 15,000,000 plugins. Every day I hear music from the most expensive studios on earth, and it is still not half as good (technically or artistically) as what came out of a little room in Alabama called Muscle Shoals.
The basics of our tools are still Eq, compression, level adjustment, editing. Exotic plugins don't necessarily sound better than inexpensive plugins. The proof is in the pudding. The end result is what matters. The skill is in knowing what to do with those same basic tools.
Listening is the first step in knowing what to adjust. Listen to good music and you will learn what music is supposed to sound like. Only then can you move on to learning how to affect it with the tools available.