Plug-ins are great, and they’re a nightmare. They’re great because you have access to literally tens of thousands of virtual sound making and processing devices, from costly works of art to bizarre free toys. They’re a nightmare because the plug-ins in the latter category — the odd free plug-in you just downloaded — can crash your system, even with the plug-in validation features now in many hosts.

I’ve long suggested disabling plug-ins you don’t need, but I usually do it manually because I haven’t found a tool that manages them effectively. PlugAdmin could change my mind. First, it’s cross-platform, Mac and Windows, and the Mac release works with RTAS, AU, VST, MAS — the whole enchilada. Second, it has a whole host of cool management features, including backup. The only downside is that the Windows release doesn’t seem to cover DirectX plug-ins, probably having to do with how DLLs behave on Windows. I’ll be trying it; if you do, too, let us know how it goes or if you have a tool you prefer. US$19.99 for this software.