You overestimate my setups - most are no more than three of four instruments, with some bindings for volume control; typically just a piano or e-piano, maybe a string or hammond layer and one or two solo sounds thrown in. But each of these three or four elements are contained in a rack, and thus re-usable; no need to re-invent my solo patches.
But yes, some of my racks themselves have a couple of plugins chained, e.g. piano->EQ->compressor->chorus or e-piano->tremolo->chorus->amp. Makes it easy to create simple, re-usable patches like “Dark piano” or “Honky Tonk Piano” which are then easily selected in a song by just pulling in the piano rack and selecting “Honky Tonk Piano” or “Supertramp Wurly”.
This actually makes my songs really simple; just a few racks instead of individual plugins.
And of course whenever I start a song, I pick one that’s already close to start with and adjust to taste. But yes, I do spend a bit of time customizing my song setups, customizing my sounds and creating individual settings for intro, verse, chorus and printing them into song states; this is part of the arrangement work I do on any song.
Partly this also has to do with the fact that I do triple duty in my band: lead singer, keyboarder and occasional guitarist. I’m far too busy to spend time twiddling knobs or switching sounds during a song - everything needs to be packaged nice and clean so I can simply step through my song parts and focus on playing and singing.
The really complex setups are for a few songs where I need multiple sounds in different combinations; Pink Floyd stuff is notorious for that. In these songs, I DO need tons of different layers and splits spread over my two keyboards, plus maybe some samples triggered by drum pads, with all this changing between intro, verse and chorus, solo, etc. This is where I really spend some serious time preparing my song file in advance…
But to each his/her own - I’m not desperate to convert you to the Dark Side - but we do have cookies here
Love, peace & rock’n roll