I've only done a (relatively) limited amount of recording. On the other
hand, I have studied many recordings, and have read a lot about the
subject... I'm slowly learning what works in practice.
In general, these are the steps which I would try to follow:
1. Try to make the raw acoustic sound as good as possible, thinking
about the acoustics of the room, and the creation of the sound itself.
2. Pay a lot of attention to microphone choice, placement, and technique.
3. Try to make sure no other sounds on the recording interfere with the
frequencies of the vocal. Apply parametric EQ where necessary, to cut
appropriate frequencies. I did have a nice reference table of typical
frequency ranges for a list of instruments, but I have mislaid it. The
same information is probably freely available online. Play with the EQ
4. Maybe apply a little reverb, remembering that it often helps to apply
the same reverb to all the sounds, as it lends a certain coherence to
the mix. It is natural for all of the instruments to be performed in the
same room in real life, I think.
5. That's about it I think.
Lots of people would also use some compression. This might help smooth
out uneven dynamics, and possibly make the recording more polished.
Personally, I just try to get the original performance to be good. In my
opinion, a decent musician should be able to control the dynamics of his
playing. Dynamics are an integral part of music.
Just keep playing with plugins, and I expect you'll find what you want!
I find it interesting to bypass all my plugins at some point - and
listen to the raw sound again. I often find that I prefer it. Maybe
that's just because I'm not experienced enough to use them yet!