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3 Best/Worst Plugin Companies To You - 2014 Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 12th March 2014
  #1
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M2E's Avatar
 

3 Best/Worst Plugin Companies To You - 2014

Hello Slutz,

Just wanted to see what your thoughts were on the best/worst Plugin Companies that actually listen or don't listen to customers here or at other forums.
This means with updates, fixes, GUI issues, and overall customer support problems via phone and/or email/forums.
Also, please say why you feel this way. Hopefully, most of them (Plugin Companies) can come here to either say thanks or comment to dispute and/or defend/apologize as to why.
Of course, customer support is the most basic but most important tool to be successful in any business.

Let them here from you!!!

Best:

1. Slate Digital - Since day 1, seems like they not only listen to customers and keep a presents here but add features that are key to customers. Their selection of what to emulate or produce is keys as well.

2. T-Racks - I have to say that they have hugely stepped up on this. Seems like Peter has been a huge help at this with being on this forum, making customers aware of updates and why they have updated because of what was said here or/and on other forums.

3. Cytomic - Though I haven't used the Glue as much now a days, I have to say I read and follow this company in seeing how he handles customer issues and updates and I must say, they are extremely fast and it seems like he listens as well.

Worst:

1. SSL - Not only have they totally dropped the ball on the Codemeter issue but, to have the issue go on for so long, at some point, I would think a company would rethink after 2 years but, for some reason, they decided to defend instead and I think that hurt them in the long run. I do see that they are now, getting ready to use iLok (Yeah) but, I guess my question at this point, how long is too long before they start to listen.

2. Motu - This company is almost laughable. I'll start with the MachFive. In my experience, trying to get that fixed and working correctly never happened then, they fixed all the issue but they released it in Version 2. So, I bought version 2. Then that started having deleting issues with samples plus other issues. They helped me for a little then I never heard back.
They never updated until a year later but then, it didn't fix the issue's I was having. Then it look like they fixed the issues in Version 3. I said forget. It now sits in the unused plugin folder.
I thought I learned my lesson but, I bought the BPM as I didn't own the MPC Ren yet, and this had some of the same issues. They promised to be on top of these updates as they were getting horrible feedback from customers as to why they don't update their products but after the first 2 updates, they again dropped the ball. At this point, I just told myself, no more Motu plugins/products - ever.

3. TC Electronics - The reason they are on my list is because, the fact that they make one of the best sounding Reverb plugins (VSS3 & DVR2) and an incredible Mastering Compressor/EQ (MD3)
and for them too make and support it for TDM was a dream.
Though it was extremely expensive, it is extremely well worth it. I use their plugins on every mix. Now, for them to say, we are not doing any future updates for AAX/AAX64 for any of their plugins when they clearly have a huge consumer base in Pro Tools is crazy and extremely upsetting. I don't want to move to PT 11 HD because of it (or one of the reasons).
Then they bring out their Radar plugins on AAX. WTF!!! Sorry but, never again will I buy another TC Plugin/product.

Honorable mention for both:

Best -

4. DMG - They are somewhat of a new company but man, are they on the right track. Not only is their Equilibrium EQ one of the best EQ plugins but, their customer support for it is outstanding and extremely fast!
Biggups to Dave!

5. Antares - Auto Tune has not only worked throughout the years for me and other (since 1999) but, they have been A+ in getting out extremely fast updates/fixes since day 1. Their personable email support is incredible as well! Thanks Tammy!

6. Valhalla - Great plugin (VV) fast updates and fixes and fast upgrades that are free and incredible. Not to mention that their plugin is only $50 to start.

Worst -

4. Slate Digital - Only for their lack of getting promised updates and fixes out within a period of time. It really takes them a long time and I see that it is really upsetting a lot of people here when you continue to bring out new products and not fix the stuff thats already out.
I know that it is different teams that works on new and older plugins but, at the end of the day, to customers, that doesn't matter and in time, it will be felt more than heard. I hope they understand that before it's too late.

5. Waves - WUP has been long talked about and hated and/or loved. So, if a plugin does not work right and they don't fix it until a later release, you mean to tell me that I have to pay for you to fix what doesn't work? Why/What did I pay for then. At a point, you feel like your really just paying for fixes. Which what WUP really is and for future updates for Mercury users that I'm not.
Of course, I haven't updated mine for a while as they still work great. I think what gets me is when they add a plugin to a bundle or a fix that they find out later or an updated GUI.
It does get annoying but, as long as it works, I'm OK.

Please, don't just put a companies name here and not say why. Be fair and let them know.
Hopefully they will read these and comments and give their side of view be it bad or good.

Thanks,

Marc
Old 13th March 2014
  #2
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blackcom's Avatar
 

Best: slate, dmg, plugin-alliance
Worst: waves, uad, avid

I also like softube, izotope, Duende and IK Multimedia for their products.

TC STILL updates their PoCo drivers, thats really cool.

Id also like to point out how much EastWest have worked to improve their PLAY sampler with recent updates, service, product improvement, new website/logo etc. They used to suck hard but have really stepped up.

Worst company of the year related to audio: Apple.
Old 13th March 2014
  #3
Gear Nut
 

Universal audio gets my vote for best. Rock solid, reference quality and just inspiring stuff.
Valhalladsp I like as well. Amazing quality and low prices.

Though they're from my own country, Audioease would be in the worst category. I bought their complete bundle 3 years ago and now I would have to pay hundreds of dollars for updates just to keep using them in Logic X! Totally unfair, and such a shame as Altiverb sounds great.
Old 13th March 2014
  #4
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kuasalogam's Avatar
Best : Slate, Fabfilter, Softube.
Worst: izotope, T-Racks, SSL
Old 13th March 2014
  #5
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HamHat's Avatar
 

Best: Stillwell (Once they complete there x64 line), Plug-In Alliance (Great tools, no Dongle), Sonimus (Solid tools, need to work on there demos tho)
Worst: Waves (WUP is a joke), Avid, Sonivox (subpar products imo)

Honorable mentions: XFER (Solid tools, great customer service) & Overtone DSP (Still a little buggy, but good stuff when it works)
Dishonorable mentions: Ableton (Not where I would expect a DAW to be after 9 releases) & IK Multimedia (CS Shop is really annoying, yet they don't care)
Old 13th March 2014
  #6
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHat View Post
Dishonorable mentions: Ableton (Not where I would expect a DAW to be after 9 releases) & IK Multimedia (CS Shop is really annoying, yet they don't care)
I believe the thread specified "Plugin companies"?? I know you can't help yourself.

You are actually making me look forward to Bitwigs release and I'm not even considering buying it.
Old 13th March 2014
  #7
Registered User
I think most of the smaller independent companies mentioned here like Cytomic and Valhalla definitely come out on top with their attention to detail and customer focus that goes in hand with excellent and reasonably priced products.

As for the downside, i'd agree with Waves. WUP really does suck and it's why I'll only ever own 2 of their plugs. Some of their plugs are great though.
Old 13th March 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 

The best - kush audio,
acoustica (personal reasons- they really helped me out with a few things - actually same with kush - outstanding),
Andy from cytomic - incredible plugins and great presence with his customers.
Hopefully spectra sonics as I've damaged my installer DVDs (well one) and apparently they replace them for free - if so they're in my top!
Worst - ableton (not sure if they count - their dev cycle is crap)
fxpansion - they charge you to sell a plugin - dint update their plugins but create another and then charge a cross grade - I bought dcam - not one update, guru the same thing then I got Geist - now the same with Geist, etch - no further developement. Thing is I loooove their stuff just hate their business model and how they treat customers
Slate - their marketing is stickingly overblown and their plugins are hit and miss. Plus this virtual mic thing - c'mon....
Old 13th March 2014
  #9
Gear Nut
 

I am wondering about the value of this thread? Plugins is one area where you are able to test the product before buying to ensure that it is what you want and that it works correctly. That is the whole point of demoing the plugin.

I am fortunate that I use Cubase which supports the VST platform so I do not have the problem of needing plugin developers to work on new interfaces such as the AAX 64 bit. I understand people's frustrations but the majority of plugin developers are small or one man band businesses. As with all small businesses the level of support will vary depending on that businesses' availability or commitments. For them, working on things such as AAX is time consuming but does not produce instant revenue as an upgrade would.

I do not have a worst plugin developer. I am constantly surprised by the speed of response I get from these small businesses. It shows that their dedication and enthusiasm for their product is second to none. I will single out Exponential, UAD and IK as particularly excellent but that is because I chose well in the first place and paid attention to forums such as GS.
Old 13th March 2014
  #10
Lives for gear
 

No I think this thread does have value - your opinion matters I'm just saying I have another. Nowadays this is the way plugin, sw and hw devs should stay in contact with their customers and where others can leave feedback - as long it doesn't turn into a thread where anyone calls anyone else's choices out. Then it will be a disaster
Old 13th March 2014
  #11
Lives for gear
 

Great - so it has begun.
Seriously just let people make their decisions without arguing - it's useless
Old 13th March 2014
  #12
Gear Head
 

Worst - UAD the price they charge for plugins changes more than Bitcoin. They have the most unstable prices in the business.
Old 13th March 2014
  #13
Gear Addict
 
Dan Eriksson's Avatar
Did somebody say Duy
Old 13th March 2014
  #14
Gear Head
 

I don't have negative experiences with any plugin/company so far this year. What I have works as advertised.
I am officially in love with Tone2 and AAS now. And I hope for a pleasant surprise from FXpansion.

(Logic X was a great update for me this year. Not a plugin, but deserves a mention).

Quote:
Motu - This company is almost laughable. I'll start with the MachFive.
I find MachFive 3 rock solid on a Mac. It replaced all my other samplers and noise shapers.
Not so much under Windows - crashes constantly. If you use Windows I can understand your frustrations.
Old 13th March 2014
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Best:
FabFilter - Great plugins, AAX compatible very soon after PT11, but for some reason, their plugins use a lot of CPU on Cubase 7 on Mac (work fine on other hosts). They have no answer to that though.
Softube - Love the designs, sound amazing, AAX compatible
UAD - I wasn't a believer, but then I tried them...and they are insanely good. And who would've thought - I really appreciate having the extra processing power (even on my Mac Pro). Just a great company churning out some awesome tools. FANTASTIC customer service, probably the best I've ever seen.

Worst:
Sonnox - Sound amazing, but ridiculous re-sale fees.
FXpansion - Same thing - super high re-sale fees. No real updates to Geist in forever. No AAX (finally in Beta).
Waves - Not sure I want to WUP...might as well pour that money into the UAD ones. Most of their plugins are really old too with no updates.
Honorable mentions: Kush Audio, Slate, Cytomic - sound great, but where in the world is AAX? Or in SoundToys case, OS X 64-bit VST?
Old 13th March 2014
  #16
Lives for gear
It's hard to sort out the question here

I might really like a companies plugins but dislike the company. Slate , for example. I generally really like the plugins, but they are egregiouisly slow on updates and they depend on the dreaded ilok. I liked the Stillwell plugins, I liked the copy protection scheme, but they've have 64 bit versions in beta since 2010 and still not out. I've got several hundred dollars worth of useless Stillwell plugins. That's a bad company, IMHO. But good plugins.

On the other hand, I LOVE 2C Audio reverbs, don't know why they don't get more love here on Gearslutz. Great plugins, but I've had little or no interaction with the company. How do I rate that?

So if I had to strike a balance between really good plugins, that I use all the time, and a really good customer experience, I'd go with

DMG Audio. Great plugs, great customer support
U-He--Great plugins, very responsive, listens to customers
NI. Plugins are effective, well designed, reasonable copy protection scheme, good support
Old 13th March 2014
  #17
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sam c's Avatar
 

Fab Filter and UAD get my vote for best product and support.

Don't have a worst.
Old 13th March 2014
  #18
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baronluigi View Post
Worst - UAD the price they charge for plugins changes more than Bitcoin. They have the most unstable prices in the business.
How one can completely contradict themselves in two sentences is beyond me. First you talk about how high the prices are then you go on to how much they fluctuate...or go down

In all honesty your post comes off like you are disgruntled about not being able to get the UAD plugins you want.



Best - UAD - Sound Quality - generosity
Slate - Sound Quality - customer/public relations - generosity
Waves - Sound Quality - GUI - value

Worst - Anything Plugin Alliance
Old 13th March 2014
  #19
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Peter - IK's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by HamHat View Post
IK Multimedia (CS Shop is really annoying, yet they don't care)
We just made changes to Custom Shop based on user input. The 7x increase in trial time and ability to purchase single models with currency were definitely things that were asked for. I hope you might give it another chance some time. I know things aren't perfect with it for everybody yet but we can get as close as possible with continued input and moving forward. Look for more improvements in general coming soon (some may already notice some but I'll post more in a more appropriate thread in due time) and I am thankful that we have this open forum to hear you all and I apologize for sidetracking the thread a bit.

I also appreciate the kind words about me specifically and IK in general in the original post.
Old 13th March 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
 

I will say - IK's community involvement / response to feedback / tone / Peter is SO MUCH better than say...EastWest (in all respects). Kudos IK.
Old 13th March 2014
  #21
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M2E's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clonkified View Post
I will say - IK's community involvement / response to feedback / tone / Peter is SO MUCH better than say...EastWest (in all respects). Kudos IK.
To me, this is key for plugin companies.
Peter, Steven, Andy etc, they all are on here to see what consumers like and dislike about their products. I assume to make them better and more efficient
to the consumer. That's a great thing. Sometimes they get good responses and sometime they have to maintain composure as someone/s has issue and are being a dick about it. They have to stay cool and handle the situation.
I applaud any body that can stand up at the GS and stay in the belly of the beast and still be cool about it!

Just my thoughts.

PS - Your welcome Peter!!!

Marc
Old 13th March 2014
  #22
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blackcom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtbird View Post
Worst - Anything Plugin Alliance
Why? they have the most user friendly auth system and their products are some of the best and stable ones out there? Also prices are nothing like... say UAD.
Old 13th March 2014
  #23
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EvilDragon's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fix3r View Post
I find MachFive 3 rock solid on a Mac. It replaced all my other samplers and noise shapers.
Not so much under Windows - crashes constantly. If you use Windows I can understand your frustrations.
MF3 is quite solid here on W7.


Best: u-he, Valhalla, NI.

Worst: MAGIX (never managed to authorize Independence), no other negative metions from me.
Old 13th March 2014
  #24
Gear Addict
 

Is this a case of:

best = plugins I own and use

if you are going to add to this post people really need to explain why they think something is the best/Worst.

Best.
iZotope = I really think they make some of the best plugins and are not stuck trying to remake analogue hardware. The software these guys make is always original, there is nothing on the Market like Ozone or Alloy and they just sound great and are very easy to work with.
Native Instruments = I own Komplete 8u Kontakt gets used in every song I make, I love it. They make solid usable software that is easy to use and sounds great.

Companies I am least likely to use:

Wave = I Don't like there business model. Not interested in emulating "Analogue Hardware". I feel there software is bloated and is most eye candy.
UAD = I don't see any point or need for DSP hardware systems. Current generation CPU's are more than powerful enough to run plugins that do the same job and as many post on this forum show at the end of the day they sound pretty much the same.
Slate = I can't say I have ever tried any of their products but the marketing really puts me off.
Old 13th March 2014
  #25
Lives for gear
My top 3:

Slate
UAD
Waves

I don't have a bottom 3 because obviously I don't use their plugins if they are that bad.
Old 13th March 2014
  #26
Lives for gear
 

FabFilter is def top of my list, their plugins work great and usually go above and beyond what they are primarily designed for, they offer great support and licencing.

The Rob Papen is probably the only company I'm not too thrilled with, because I've found some of their stuff to be a tad glitchy and I wasn't that impressed with their customer support. But that happened a few years ago now, so for a 2014 list seems unfair. I can't really think of anyone particularly bad that I do business with these days. I'm not a fan of companies that use iloks, mainly because I'm stubborn and refuse to buy an ilok out of principle.
Old 13th March 2014
  #27
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Naugo's Avatar
 

Top 3:

UAD (can't believe anybody would put them in the bottom three, honestly shocked by that)
Native Instruments
u-he

Bottom 3

Slate (SSD4 is one big headache for me. always low memory errors even though I have 10+ gb free... support was awful, basically wasted my money on this product and got no sympathy) + (marketing ploys and having a direct representive claim its the greatest thing of all time over and over again and how revolutionary blah blah yeah yeah I want to hear an independent review not the opinion of the guy who stands to profit the most)
re-fx (Nexus, the most overpriced POS of all time)
FXpansion
Old 13th March 2014
  #28
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Leevi's Avatar
 

TOP:

Slate Digital

+ Steven Slate is handsome.

+ Great sounding and looking products. Prices are good when considering the value of hardware.

+ Customer service is good and quick(Ashley)

+ Participation on the board.

+ Slateholics(Enthusiastic fan base)

- Constant delays with the releases and updates.

FLOP:

Unique Recording Software

+ Slight hope that some day in the future there might be updates.

- Disappeared like a fart to Sahara. Still running "Sales".
Old 13th March 2014
  #29
Gear Addict
 

best:

fabfilter: these guys are geniuses at coding, I'm yet to find a bug in one of their releases, plugins available in any format, super smooth GUI, innovative workflow, no dongle, great support, reliable, good sounding, fairly priced. Professional tools with professional service, period.

DDMF: cheap yet useful plugins and great support

valhalla: sounds great at a great price

honorable mention: steinberg and NI, just because I use their stuff everyday and I love it.

No worst.
Old 13th March 2014
  #30
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donato's Avatar
Best: Valhalla, u-He, NI, XILS-Lab

Worst: IK Multimedia
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