#1 It is essential for a producer to learn how to sculpt synths of varying types (FM, Additive, Subtractive, Granulizing, etc.) so you can produce more sounds you want and not spend a day trying to find THAT sound. I am not saying you cannot use presets. In fact I think you should use them in the beginning and start reverse engineering and figure out HOW they did it. I also recommend you buy some books on sculpting synths/synth drums. This way when you do reverse engineer a sound you will now know not only HOW…but WHY they made the sound that way. That is 2 totally different ways of looking at a sound and the 2nd becomes more important when you want to produce quicker and make sounds come out that you hear in your head from huge synths to watery sound fx.
#2 Vsti (Synths/Drum Synths/Emulators) presets…to use or only noobs use them? As for me I am in both categories. I have spent quiet a while researching sculpting synths and the fundamentals of building/layering synths together. I think it is very essential to know how to do this so you can grow as a producer and be able to know when you can break the rules without degrading your sounds. Then there is the times where dammit that preset sounds friggin PERFECT with your track. So use it!!! There is no harm is using a preset as long as not EVERY sound is a preset. Especially “traditional sound” vsti’s like pianos, guitars, drums, etc., the presets are made to emulate the sound as close as possible.