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3 Best/Worst Plugin Companies To You - 2014 Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 24th March 2014
  #121
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TinderArts's Avatar
 

BTW - I have no use for a company that wants me to use an iLok for a demo.
Old 24th March 2014
  #122
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rectifried's Avatar
never tried the UA stuff either as that is a one trick ilok
Old 25th March 2014
  #123
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Best: Cytomic, Massey, Valhalla. Ironically enough, small, almost one-man operations.
Honorable mention: most others, but including in my experience Slate and Soundtoys. They're trying, and clearly prioritise users' needs and real-world requirements.
Worst: IK Multimedia. Off in their own world. Their delivery model is a thing to behold and a lesson in what NOT to do.
Old 25th March 2014
  #124
I don't understand why some people thinking Waves is the worst company? They still playing at the top of the game with their newer plug-ins, support is some of the quickest of all companies (they are extremely quick! sometimes you get an answer and support after some minutes!).
They dropped iLok... this cloud/local devices handling makes it relatively easy to switch to another computer. Ok, they ask for a update fee (WUP) like other companies too (but they give it different name). TBH I paid more for updates of other plug-ins for 64Bit versions or stuff compared for this I paid for WUP the last years.
Old 25th March 2014
  #125
Lives for gear
Best: Kush Audio, Slate Digital, UA. Amazing stuff, amazing people.
Worst: SKNote. Promised RTAS version for years, never seen the light.
Old 25th March 2014
  #126
hez
Gear Head
 

Giving some love to Madrona Labs. The only software company where I've felt as excited after buying one of their plugins as I do when a new piece of hardware gets delivered. Aalto and Madrona are truly art in the digital realm - not just an attempt at recreating some piece of analogue gear from years gone by. Everything about the products appeals to me - the clean yet incredibly deep UI, the almost philosophically comprehensive manuals, and especially the ridiculously natural sounds possible from Kaivo, derived entirely from mathematical models and physics wizardry. It's really a beautiful culmination of scientific progress; that sounds so viscerally and naturally pleasing can be produced from what is pretty much some hardcore mathematics. A full circle of nature, if you will.
Old 25th March 2014
  #127
Best: Pure Magnetix, Sinevibes, SugarBytes, OhmForce
Worst: Focusrite for their ridiculous authorization garbage that only works for a day.
Old 25th March 2014
  #128
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hez View Post
Giving some love to Madrona Labs. The only software company where I've felt as excited after buying one of their plugins as I do when a new piece of hardware gets delivered. Aalto and Madrona are truly art in the digital realm - not just an attempt at recreating some piece of analogue gear from years gone by. Everything about the products appeals to me - the clean yet incredibly deep UI, the almost philosophically comprehensive manuals, and especially the ridiculously natural sounds possible from Kaivo, derived entirely from mathematical models and physics wizardry. It's really a beautiful culmination of scientific progress; that sounds so viscerally and naturally pleasing can be produced from what is pretty much some hardcore mathematics. A full circle of nature, if you will.
Cmon man, this is a little over the top. No? It sounds to me like you are more interested in trying to impress people with big words than you care about any plugin. ....or you ARE "them"..Either way it comes off as total cheese.
Old 25th March 2014
  #129
hez
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtbird View Post
Cmon man, this is a little over the top. No? It sounds to me like you are more interested in trying to impress people with big words than you care about any plugin. ....or you ARE "them"..Either way it comes off as total cheese.
I'm a little worried by the fact that you think my use of big words is a reason to distrust me, but I suppose I can see why a low number of posts combined with a gleaming review of just one product seems suspicious. I actually wrote a similar post on Madrona Labs forum right after I bought Kaivo though. I think my reason for liking them so much is a combination of how much I love the sound of the plugin and also the fact that I'm a small-time software developer myself and I identify with the way they go about their projects, including everything down to the method of copy protection. I'm also a big fan of Valhalla in that respect.

Would you rather I wrote them a generic audio review? That their plugins have "true analogue-like warmth" and their "mastering grade DSP techniques" are "industry standard"? I hate press releases like that, which is why I don't describe gear I like like that, which is another reason I like developers like Madrona and Valhalla etc. actually - they don't tend to rely on buzz-words to describe their products.

Your post implies that if I truly loved these plugins I would use smaller words to describe them, which I'm afraid comes across as a bit bizarre to me. Music reviews tend to be quite experimental pieces of writing because music is (can be) quite an evocative, emotional, imaginative thing. Why shouldn't we approach the way we talk about the tools we use to make music in the same way?

I do respect the fact that it looks like I'm a paid shill or something thanks to my join date and post count, but there's not much I can do about that. I've lurked gearslutz for years but only recently felt that I had enough knowledge or experience to contribute anything.
Old 25th March 2014
  #130
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtbird View Post
soundtoys wants a street address, a telephone number, and other personal info for a freeware plugin....sorry but that puts them closer to the bad side to me...because they do things like that.
Ummm why are you bothering to enter factual info? Just enter a valid email and use this: Generate a Random Name - Fake Name Generator
Old 25th March 2014
  #131
Here for the gear
 

I have no idea why any developer thinks iLok registration is a good idea. 2min of forum research and they'd know what their potential customer base thinks of it. Having said that, when I see a developer listen to their customer base and make a change (i.e. Waves) I respect their willingness to adapt.

There are too many good plugin companies to mention (we're very fortunate compared to 10yrs ago), but none on my list have anything to do with iLok.
Old 25th March 2014
  #132
Gear Nut
 

Best: ValhallaDSP, Klanghelm, Cytomic, FabFilter, Slate Digital
Old 25th March 2014
  #133
Tui
Gear Guru
 
Tui's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breaks Dude View Post
Ummm why are you bothering to enter factual info? Just enter a valid email and use this: Generate a Random Name - Fake Name Generator
Yeah, many people know about this option - including tech companies that have wised up and sniff out fake customer IDs and subsequently block them. This sort of thing comes uncomfortably close to cyber-warfare, IMO.

Why should we even have to consider such a cop out. The real question is: Why do so many companies nowadays feel entitled to collect personal data from customers, when it is not required for legal or delivery purposes? It is akin to MD or BK asking you for your ID, before you are permitted to order a hamburger.

Whatever happened to our sense of integrity and privacy?
Old 25th March 2014
  #134
Lives for gear
1) MusicLab - Most playable guitar VSTs IMO. Top Notch service too. I missed their winter sale by one day bc their website wouldn't allow me to purchase on the final day. (It left me in a loop saying that I needed an account to buy, but I couldn't get an account without already having one of their products). They responded the next day (after their sale was over) and gave me a slightly better deal, letting me buy 2 and get the 3rd free.. which worked out to be better than the original deal. Good stuff.
2) Jbridge - this guy will go to the ends of the Earth to troubleshoot and help you get your system working with his plugin. There is no software company or person on Earth better at customer service than Joao. Point blank.


Worst

1) Native Instruments. - Kontakt 5 is buggy. I have to use JBridge to keep the CPU very low. Maschine has a bug in their 64bit version... the plugin does not like being outside of it's default installation path. Great sounds and Maschine is dope... but I put them here b/c their software writing skills aren't all that awesome. Also they discontinued Kore 2. Like... what the hell.
2) Stillwell - Great guy, small company. But still doesn't have workable 64bit versions that don't crash. I'm sure it's more a matter of just not having the time to complete it, so I have sympathy. But.. gotta mention it. I've had to move on, despite his 1073 being one of my favorite EQs of all time, when it worked once upon a time.


I don't have a #3 for either. Everyone else does a great job in general. The ones I listened are above and beyond in either direction.
Old 26th March 2014
  #135
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 4damind View Post
I don't understand why some people thinking Waves is the worst company? They still playing at the top of the game with their newer plug-ins, support is some of the quickest of all companies (they are extremely quick! sometimes you get an answer and support after some minutes!).
They dropped iLok... this cloud/local devices handling makes it relatively easy to switch to another computer. Ok, they ask for a update fee (WUP) like other companies too (but they give it different name). TBH I paid more for updates of other plug-ins for 64Bit versions or stuff compared for this I paid for WUP the last years.
Waves have some good plugins, I'm not crazy about their emulations. Not at all! Their Signature Series are actually great IMHO.
Old 26th March 2014
  #136
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k, my next Best/Worst 3...

Best:

1. Amplesound - Their guitars are incredible. I had a huge time learning the strumming feature. I emailed them and called them out on GS to make some type of video explaining it. They did and now I understand the method. That's customer service. Please, other companies take note!

2. Sample Magic - I purchased the A/B plugin and it was not working correctly in Pro Tools HD. Can't remember the exact issue but, after talking to their tech support via email, he couldn't figure it out. He offered me my money back and apologized saying that he can not figure it out. I said, if you keep trying to figure out the fix, I'll keep helping try you solve the issue. Well, he found the fix after a few tries and now it's working great. That's great tech support and patience.

3. Eventide - I bought one of their plugins (Omnipressor) and loved it.
I then wanted to purchase all their plugins via the Anthology II bundle but, didn't want to hold on to the Omnipressor plugin as that was in the bundle and didn't want to waste money by selling it for pennies so,
I called Eventide myself and they worked out a deal that I couldn't refuse for the TDM bundle that is even lower than it is now. Great plugins and a great company!

Worst:

1. Audiofile - They had a meter style plugin coming out that looked incredible. I was very excited about them and after emailing them and talking to them via post on GS/other sites, they announced that they would do an RTAS version for Pro Tools users. I told them that I would buy the plugin to support that movement towards RTAS and I patiently waited about 3 years. During that 3 years, I would email them asking when should I expect a demo for RTAS and they would say, be looking out for it shortly, it's coming. They even signed me up to be a beta tester. After 3 years, many emails back and forth, they finally told me that they dropped RTAS support. To use AUNet and route it through Soundflower etc...Well, that doesn't work with Pro Tools HD. I was pissed but, what can you do. Never will I ever buy from them again.

2. Sonnox - Any company that makes you pay them to sell the plugins that you've already paid for and no longer use is shameful and money hungry.
I was going to sell the Transient Mod to someone that would probably use it and make good use of it but, was told that I had to pay them blah blah blah before I could sell it. Also, I had to get permission? Huh? Permission to sell a plugin that I've already bought and paid for? I'm sorry, that is stupid and shows no class.

3. Lennar Digital - Only reason that they are on the worst is because, it is taking them forever to migrate to 64bit. I absolutely love this plugin. One of the best if not thee best Synth plugins but, can't use it because it's not 64bit. (Logic Pro X - For Music Only)
I refuse to buy a bridge or 3rd party plugin to make it work. I'm patient as I love the plugin but, wow, didn't they see this like 5 years ago that we all would be moving to 64bit at some point?

Keep it going guys.

Call out the companies that do great customer support, stand by their product and give you their best!

Also, call out the ones that leave you hanging, poor customer support and/or take forever to fix issues.

It's important that all digital plugin companies see this. For the ones that have acknowledged themselves here and has openly said thanks already, we appreciate you!!!

Keep supporting great companies that support you! I will keep buying great products!

Marc
Old 26th March 2014
  #137
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HamHat's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CPhoenix View Post
1)
2) Stillwell - Great guy, small company. But still doesn't have workable 64bit versions that don't crash. I'm sure it's more a matter of just not having the time to complete it, so I have sympathy. But.. gotta mention it. I've had to move on, despite his 1073 being one of my favorite EQs of all time, when it worked once upon a time.
Great company and great tools, but yes they do need to release the x64 bomb. Rumor has it tho they are very close to finishing
Old 26th March 2014
  #138
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lachrimae View Post
I have no idea why any developer thinks iLok registration is a good idea. 2min of forum research and they'd know what their potential customer base thinks of it.
You speak for the customer base?

Happy iLok user here, and work amongst/with plenty of other happy iLok users as well.

Would take a company that uses iLok every time over a company that doesn't.
Old 26th March 2014
  #139
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feck's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bing81 View Post
You speak for the customer base?

Happy iLok user here, and work amongst/with plenty of other happy iLok users as well.
Same here. iLok has worked very well for me.
Old 26th March 2014
  #140
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tomdarude's Avatar
BEST:
1) Metric Halo
2) U-HE
3) Valhalla DSP / UBK / Softube (okay okay, I just can´t decide...love them all! I think these have you covered)

Worst:
1) Waves
2) AbbeyRoad
3) Lexicon
Old 11th April 2014
  #141
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Sonivox must rate as one of the worst. I have dozens of VST and VSTIs on my DAW, all free and almost all easy to install. Got a $49.95 Sonivox product and it's been nothing but a headache.

From trying to place the order, onward...problems. Now so far I can't get the license authorization, and of course, the plug-in doesn't work. So I have more phone calls to the company and more frustrations coming my way, no doubt. Nice to vent, thanks, haha.
Old 11th April 2014
  #142
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foxwaves View Post
Sonivox must rate as one of the worst. I have dozens of VST and VSTIs on my DAW, all free and almost all easy to install. Got a $49.95 Sonivox product and it's been nothing but a headache.

From trying to place the order, onward...problems. Now so far I can't get the license authorization, and of course, the plug-in doesn't work. So I have more phone calls to the company and more frustrations coming my way, no doubt. Nice to vent, thanks, haha.
I bought there producer pak for $199 from Guitar Center got it home no serial number in the box. So I had 5 products that I couldnnot authorize. I sent them the proof of prochase that gave me 5 serial number and are still authorizing my new machine with no problem!
Old 11th April 2014
  #143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomdarude View Post
BEST:
1) Metric Halo
2) U-HE
3) Valhalla DSP / UBK / Softube (okay okay, I just can´t decide...love them all! I think these have you covered)

Worst:
1) Waves
2) AbbeyRoad
3) Lexicon
Metric Halo is now one of my fav's. The Channelstrip plugin is incredible!
Old 11th April 2014
  #144
BEST: Valhalla, Soundtoys, Linplug, Sinevibes ... EDIT (almost forgot): U-He

WORST: 4front (True Pianos)
Old 11th April 2014
  #145
Gear Guru
Best: Harrison Mixbus usually get a reply instantly from Ben who must live on his computer
SKnote, Quinto is a joy to deal with even if his updates are quirky, great products
Soundtoys has been responsive and products are great

Have to give a shout out to Kush, I'd buy anything Greg makes his honesty and humility is great and his philosophy is inspiring. The opposite of Slate who's over the top claims are annoying when the products are great and don't need the hype! Hornet is responsive and great products. Vlad Klanghelm and Tokyo Dawn should also get a shout out for great work.

Sounds like I'm practising my Grammy acceptance speech.....

Why in the world would you bash Soundtoys for giving out free plug ins? Especially good ones! I live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane....

Last edited by ardis; 11th April 2014 at 10:29 PM.. Reason: new thought reading thread
Old 11th April 2014
  #146
Gear Guru
To ljefe- Have Sybilla, really like it non obtrusive and not "lispy" the 34eq I use all the time with Freeranger on vocals. The clean and colored work really well together. Gotta also say SDRR was one of the best purchases ever!
Old 16th April 2014
  #147
Gear Addict
 
MBishopSFX's Avatar
 

Izotope

Best here has been iZotope, especially Ozone 5 and RX-3. Extremely useful in countless situations, great sound, comprehensive tools, worthwhile and timely updates, very active beta forum, excellent customer service.
Old 26th April 2014
  #148
Lives for gear
 
foxwaves's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by classictunz View Post
I bought there producer pak for $199 from Guitar Center got it home no serial number in the box. So I had 5 products that I couldnnot authorize. I sent them the proof of prochase that gave me 5 serial number and are still authorizing my new machine with no problem!
I'm glad you had a good experience with your Sonivox software. The folks seem nice enough, but I'm still going back and forth with them trying to get my problem resolved.
Old 26th April 2014
  #149
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Valhalla is great, Waves I am fine with as well. And Arturia. Yes, I said it. No issues other than self caused.

Several Arturia products here and they all work with no problems.
Old 27th April 2014
  #150
Gear Maniac
 
nimano45's Avatar
 

My list:

Best:
-Fabfilter (great support, great and original plugins)
- ValhallaDSP (goo sound and orginal gui, great prices and support)
- Native Instruments (great selection, Komplete is wonderful)
- iZotope (one-of-a-kind plugins, great prices)
-IK Multimedia (not all plugins are great, but have great support and prices)

Worst:
- Waves (still stuck in 1995 GUI, no originality, WUI)
- FXPansion (resell fees, few updates, bad upgrade path, but good plugins)
- UAD (you need one of their soundcards for the plugins to work)
- ReFX (everything is overpriced)
- Sonnox (overpriced, severely outdated GUI, transfer fees are huge)
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