Who needs to real the manual?
This has basically been my operating attitude ever since I began working with music software in 2005. Sure, if I run into a problem that I can't figure out on my own, I'll open the manual or do a quick google search on the subject... but only if I'm really stumped.
I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that I'm not the only software user who operates this way.
Now these days a lot of software is pretty intuitive and self-explanatory, so this approach actually works OK a lot of the time. And hey, I don't want a lot of long, wordy manuals or lengthy walk-through videos to slow me up from ACTUALLY COMPOSING MUSIC, which is what I really want to do and don't seem to have enough time to do already.
But this does mean running the risk of missing out on a lot of features, which means that our ability to make great music is limited by something that it does not have to be limited by. In general, music software tools work BEST when they are used in the way they are intended to be used. And who knows how the instruments work best? The guys who made them.
This last week I spend some time researching the latest version of Cubase (10), which was on sale. In the process of watching a handful of videos for find out more about the latest version of Cubase, I inadvertently learned a BUNCH of little workflow improvements that are going to save me a lot of time. For example: I saw a short video about Cubase by Blakus on the Steinberg site and discovered a feature called "disable track" which had been under my nose in Cubase for a while that I had no idea existed! I have been doing various things over the years to manage my large orchestral templates (like sample purging in kontakt) but this is a game-changer for me. How did I miss it? I dunno. I had no idea that I would discover that feature when I watched the video, but isn't that how learning works? You just don't know what you don't know... until you know about it.
Further, even if you have had a piece of software for a while, it may be a good idea to go back and watch some earlier feature videos--even if you did so upon release. This is because learning that is not implemented in actual practice is not retained super well. You might have heard about a feature two years ago when you bought your software but had no idea what the practical ramifications of the feature are, so it goes over your head or gets lost in the overwhelm of learning everything else that seems more relevant. But after you have been using the software for a while and hear about the feature again, it may SUDDENLY click with you because you have the experiential knowledge to know exactly WHY and HOW this feature will help you get real-life-results.
So I would recommend that most composers (this includes you, Ben!) spend less time and money acquiring new software and sample libraries, and invest some extra time learning to use the ones you have. New Sample Library Addiction (NSLA) is real.