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    Plug-in Subscriptions

    Anyone using any of these subscription “services”?

    I have a problem with plugins. I really, really love plugins. I bought the SSL Duende a couple weeks back and said “That’s IT. No more plug-ins”. Then I saw this video, After Hours with Kush Audio. That smooth talkin’ mawfucka had me on his page after 3 videos looking into their plugins. They’ve got a subscription service for like $9 a month for all their plug-ins. In the shopping cart it went.

    Then I was taking a digger the next day and saw the Slate is offering their plugins for $9 the first 6 months then $15 after. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the Slate stuff, so in the cart it went. As soon as I was done installing them, I opened up a recent project I was working on and replaced all the Waves stuff with the Slate stuff. Ho-lee shit. Big difference in sound and feel.

    I also have a subscription to EastWest, which I’ve been using for all the strings/choirs/piano stuff on my tunes. Really outstanding sounding VST and there’s a TON of instruments for it. I really love the shit they have like Silk, which is all Asian instruments from centuries ago. They’ve got a few like that for different eras/continents.

    The downside is that I’ll never own these this way. The plus side is that I can use them all as much as I want and they’ll be updated without any additional expense.

    Plug-in Alliance has a deal now that they’ll give you a $259 rebate at the end of the year or if you buy a year’s subscription ($259) up front, the catch is that you can only use it on their plug-ins and you can’t use it towards the subscription. They didn’t have anything that really struck my fancy, so I didn’t bite, but at least you can kinda rent-to-own your plug-ins with them.

    Here’s that Kush Audio vid that I really dug. If you’re foggy about the use of compression, this vid will clear a lot of it up-


    Goddamnit, what’s the new way to get the videos to load? I feel like it changed every other day on the old site. Edit- Never mind. It doesn’t load when you Preview the page, but will when you hit Save/Post.

    #2
    I do Slates' subscription. I did the math and realized the cost of buying all the plugins of his I like added up to around 10 years of the subscription, so I just went with it. And now whenever he releases a new one I get it too. I don't do any others, mostly because the Slate pack makes up 85% of every mix I do, so every other plugin I use I just buy.

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by thrashinbatman View Post
      I do Slates' subscription. I did the math and realized the cost of buying all the plugins of his I like added up to around 10 years of the subscription, so I just went with it. And now whenever he releases a new one I get it too. I don't do any others, mostly because the Slate pack makes up 85% of every mix I do, so every other plugin I use I just buy.
      I was REALLY impressed with just stuff on my master bus so I’m not doubting that a single bit! I’m excited for the next project where I’ll start with the Slate stuff first. At this point, I don’t want to trash a previous mix just to try new plugins. Kinda bummed that I put a couple Waves employees kids through college with the amount of money I’ve thrown at them in the last year, but I’ll still definitely keep using some of my favorites from them (RBass, SSLComp, Bauer Motion, SSLChannel, and a lot of the CLA stuff).

      I’m really stoked to check out the Kush Audio stuff as they seem to really focus on the “just turn the plug-in on and it gives you some color” aspect of their plugins. I’ve come to realize over the last few years I’m not a huge fan of completely transparent plug-ins on everything and I dig how things start changing as you drive them harder.

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        #4
        I have the slate monthly bundle. Otherwise, I just buy 'em. Plugin Alliance always has sales going on, so I've never spent more than $50 or so on any of their plugins. Just gotta wait for the right one to come up.
        https://www.iamtheowl.com/

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          #5
          Originally posted by metalheadpunk View Post
          I have the slate monthly bundle. Otherwise, I just buy 'em. Plugin Alliance always has sales going on, so I've never spent more than $50 or so on any of their plugins. Just gotta wait for the right one to come up.
          They’ve got a sale now for $29, but it’s excluding some plugins. I think I’m gonna take a breather and at least audition all the ones I currently have.

          Comment


            #6
            I think the idea of the subscription service is super cool, especially since you can buy it when you need to for a project, and then cancel when your done, and repeat as necessary. Unfortunately, I've spent far too much on audio gear in the last 15 years, that I have a hard time justifying this. Maybe someday, but today is not that day.

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              #7
              Originally posted by RevDrucifer View Post

              They’ve got a sale now for $29, but it’s excluding some plugins. I think I’m gonna take a breather and at least audition all the ones I currently have.
              Nice! Yeah, the only one I want from them right now is excluded
              https://www.iamtheowl.com/

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                #8
                I use a spread of stuff but have never done subscriptions, financially it makes sense but there's so much I wouldn't need, so I just get individual stuff when it's cheap. I use Slate drums for some kit elements and trigger to enhance real drums, GGD drums for OH, Toms and Rooms, I've got everything I would want from Waves and a couple of Brainworx things that do nicely. On the instrument side, STL Tonehub/Amphub is absolutely killer although I would probably use 3rd party IR's and some of the Fortin boosts by Neural are great to put in front.

                To be honest though, since I upgraded to Cubase Pro, I'm finding a lot of the native Steinberg plug-ins are awesome. My regular go-tos are Frequency (the dynamic EQ stuff is killer), Magneto and Imager.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Lozek View Post
                  I use a spread of stuff but have never done subscriptions, financially it makes sense but there's so much I wouldn't need, so I just get individual stuff when it's cheap. I use Slate drums for some kit elements and trigger to enhance real drums, GGD drums for OH, Toms and Rooms, I've got everything I would want from Waves and a couple of Brainworx things that do nicely. On the instrument side, STL Tonehub/Amphub is absolutely killer although I would probably use 3rd party IR's and some of the Fortin boosts by Neural are great to put in front.

                  To be honest though, since I upgraded to Cubase Pro, I'm finding a lot of the native Steinberg plug-ins are awesome. My regular go-tos are Frequency (the dynamic EQ stuff is killer), Magneto and Imager.
                  There’s something to be said for most stock plugins these days. Most of them are pretty great.

                  My main DAWs have always been Pro Tools or Reaper, depending on the project, and....yea. Although Reapers EQ and Compressor are bad ass, but it’s lacking otherwise.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Logic's stock plug-ins are pretty slick as well. The stereo delay is one of my favorite delays of all time and it's not that it's unique, it's just that you can load it up and it sounds perfect right away. I mean, I've got an AxeFX and could easily slap on whatever delay I want, but I'll still often times just add in Logic's because I love it so much. The Channel EQ is pretty slick as well.

                    I think the more I get into mixing, the more I'm picking up on the subtle differences between plug-ins, especially when it comes to compressors and EQ's.

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                      #11
                      I have a couple of subscriptions. McDSP and Plug-in Alliance. For the McDSP I tracked what I actually used and found that I could buy them on sale for $100 and cancel the subscription. For the Plug-in Alliance, they add new plugs almost every month. Their SSL and API are the best I’ve used (and I’ve used a bunch). BxCleansweep gets used on nearly every track. So I’m keeping the PA subscription.

                      For effects stuff I have the sound toys suite and some eventide plugs, which is more or less all I need.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Überschall View Post
                        I have a couple of subscriptions. McDSP and Plug-in Alliance. For the McDSP I tracked what I actually used and found that I could buy them on sale for $100 and cancel the subscription. For the Plug-in Alliance, they add new plugs almost every month. Their SSL and API are the best I’ve used (and I’ve used a bunch). BxCleansweep gets used on nearly every track. So I’m keeping the PA subscription.

                        For effects stuff I have the sound toys suite and some eventide plugs, which is more or less all I need.
                        That’s not helping my plug-in addiction!

                        Actually, while doing some recording yesterday I went through almost all the new plug-ins I got and may end up cancelling the Kush Audio subscription. They’re really cool and if I were doing something more along the lines of classic rock they’d be outstanding.

                        I think I’m covered with SSL emulations, but the API stuff has me interested. API and Neve are the two I’m really paying attention to now. I think I’ve got a good enough idea of SSL’s ‘sound’ and want to hear the variation of other brands.

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                          #13
                          Brainworx shit rules. As several have mentioned here.

                          Leasing or renting sucks. Even if they call it "subscriptions".

                          There are some that aren't bad deals and can actually work out in the favor of consumers, some are actually surprisingly good, but in general, the more whacky promotional stuff a brand does the less I like them.

                          Brands are never going to offer you something that is a remarkably good deal at their expense. That's just not how it works. The "oh (chortle chortle) you the consumer have really got the better of me with your clever negotiating abilities you clever bastard you" thing elicits eye rolls every time.

                          Depending on a number of circumstances specific to the user there are limited situations where it can work out. But whenever I hear the used car salesman pitch of "I really shouldn't be offering this to you, because it's a deal heavily in your advantage that is actually bad for us, but did you know that for the low low price of...." I just tune everything out.

                          I prefer the Valhalla DSPs guy's business model of "$50 up front, no Black Friday sales, no subscriptions, no bullshit".

                          Even the Black Friday shit has gotten out of hand. It's at the point where someone needs to say, "Hey, guys, you know they would be better keeping it at one flat rate, to do the heavy impressive cuts for Black Friday they actually make it more expensive other non Black Friday parts of the year".

                          The companies also know perfectly well that most people do actually want to own shit, and if there is something in their subscription they like they will outright buy it, so it's an excellent way to get consumers to pay for the privelege of being advertised to. The "oh, look, you get all this other shit you didn't know you wanted either to try out, that's not like, really effective advertising for us or anything".

                          I tried Adobe's "Creative Cloud" subscription thing. Not Audio DSP, but the same business model. Sucks. I'd rather they ask a fair price up front than try to sell you on the idea of a company offering a model that is actually going to be less profitable for them in the long run.

                          People can say that's a win/win for both the consumer and the company, but to tell you the truth, to make things like subscriptions and Black Friday sales look really good and "clearly in the favor of the consumer", they inflate the prices for outright buying it. I would rather they dropped it and didn't inflate the prices to make it look like an obviously superior alternative. For example

                          Valhalla DSP - Plugin is easily worth $50, $50 year round flat and up front, no bullshit

                          Other companies - Plugin is obviously worth $50. Goes for $35-45 during black friday, part of a subscription package, $299 to buy outright most non heavy sales promotion times of the year

                          It's just a play on one of the most common consumer culture fallacies. That no one considers when they see the "heavily slashed obvious deal of the century" price up front that they might have artificially inflated the price beforehand to make the cuts look like a once in a lifetime deal. Billy Mays, "NORMALLY WE WOULD CHARGE $600 FOR THIS VALUE PACKED PACKAGE, BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE" shit.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            yeah some plugin prices are just absurd, and you know they cost that much just so they can be slashed for sales. as much as i love Plugin Alliance and Brainworx, they do that shit all the time. people complain about how much their stuff costs, but if you buy anything of theirs at full price you're a damn fool. just wait and it'll eventually be put on sale for like $30, in which case it's absurdly good for the price.

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                              #15
                              The guys who don't do all the whacky promotional shit take a ton of flack for being "greedy", but they are 100% right. It's actually fairer. Preferable and more honest business practice in my book.

                              The ones that are like, "weekly flash sale, it's 10% of what we normally ask these next 24 hours" who honestly expect you to believe that "what they normally ask" didn't have to be massively inflated to make something like that sort of promotion even possible without them going out of business are ridiculous.

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                                #16
                                Yep, I would never pay full price for any of the PA stuff, personally. Waves either, for that matter.
                                https://www.iamtheowl.com/

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Greg McCoy View Post
                                  The guys who don't do all the whacky promotional shit take a ton of flack for being "greedy", but they are 100% right. It's actually fairer. Preferable and more honest business practice in my book.

                                  The ones that are like, "weekly flash sale, it's 10% of what we normally ask these next 24 hours" who honestly expect you to believe that "what they normally ask" didn't have to be massively inflated to make something like that sort of promotion even possible without them going out of business are ridiculous.
                                  Unrelated to your post, but I know you were using some VST’s for all the orchestra stuff you were doing, what were you using?

                                  I’ve been using EastWest’s Play for all my string/brass stuff and I dig it quite a bit.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    The worst part about plugin pricing was there was already a massive (in some cases multiplicative) premium to offset piracy.

                                    Which was 100% justified in the days that people were still cracking plugins, but what people don't realize is it's not that easy to actually crack them, there were only like 2-3 really skilled hacker collectives overseas (in areas where they were legally insulated) doing it, and they are all now defunct for whatever reason. Legal threats, just lost interest, died, whatever. Most hacker collectives wisely realized in the modern era that the skill it takes to actually crack the stuff is better put to use just going legit. It was getting ridiculous. The irony of the warez situation is that some of most prolific crackz dudes are more talented at programming than the dudes who did the stuff they are cracking.

                                    So they kept the massive premiums to offset piracy, which, once again, were once absolutely justified, but haven't been needed since like 2014-2016 at the latest since the halycon days of EDM kids being like "I'll just go on usenet and get the exact same current version for free" are a thing of the distant past, and on top of that they added multiplicative premiums to sell you on subscription models and the whole Black Friday sale culture.

                                    So to the newcomer it can be very confusing. Vallhalla reverbs are one of the obvious examples. Lots of people are getting into the idea of buying one and are like, "How can the $50 vst be considered on par with the $600 one? TELL ME HOW."

                                    The $600 ones aren't actually $600 of value. That's why everyone tells you to wait for Black Friday.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by RevDrucifer View Post

                                      Unrelated to your post, but I know you were using some VST’s for all the orchestra stuff you were doing, what were you using?

                                      I’ve been using EastWest’s Play for all my string/brass stuff and I dig it quite a bit.
                                      Do you have proper Kontakt already? Not just the Kontakt player. Only game in town obviously. There are a bunch of good studios doing stuff.

                                      The EastWest stuff is a really well regarded standardized baseline kind of library. It's also more or less a legit scoring thing. Garritan is another big one. Miroslav is well regarded, but is kind of tweaked pads.

                                      Other ones are better for more specialized situations but a lot of them aren't actually like, a traditional scoring library, it's sort of like "String section pad" sounds. They can sound really good, but they are limited in many ways.

                                      So there's a big divide there. Some of the really good sounding stuff is new agey type pads that are more textural, their ability for traditional orchestra like scoring is limited.

                                      Bestservice is one of the big frameworks. Mostly european. The *ERA stuff and Eduardos libraries are also great.



                                      Strezov is my favorite, but they are smaller and don't have everything. For vocal sounds and frame drums they fucking rule though.

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        For what it's worth, Spitfire Audio has the BBC Orchestra Discover plugin, which is $50 if you want to buy it right now, or free if you're willing to wait something like 2 weeks after you sign up. Honestly, for free or $50, it's solid: https://www.spitfireaudio.com/shop/a...stra-discover/

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                                          #21
                                          I don't. I bought Waves plugins out right and then they stopped supporting them in later versions of my OS and said that the only way to use them was to get a subscription. Ableton, NI, and other brands I bought outright are still supported and reworked when new versions of mac OS are released. I also bought Pro Tools outright a few years ago and now it's not supported and I'm forced to have to pay for a subscription for it.

                                          Comment


                                            #22
                                            edit: nvm, you can still buy Pro Tools outright. you just have to pay out the nose for support which is so incredibly asinine

                                            Comment


                                              #23
                                              Originally posted by Greg McCoy View Post
                                              I tried Adobe's "Creative Cloud" subscription thing. Not Audio DSP, but the same business model. Sucks. I'd rather they ask a fair price up front than try to sell you on the idea of a company offering a model that is actually going to be less profitable for them in the long run.
                                              Adobe was always overpriced, but their subscription prices are ridiculous. All I ever really needed was Illustrator to make the occasional crappy album cover, and I'd probably enjoy mucking around with Photoshop occasionally. No way I'm paying $80 a month for that. There are cheap alternatives to the Adobe CS apps now. Adobe makes sense if you're in the graphics business, obviously.

                                              Comment


                                                #24
                                                Originally posted by jacksonplayer View Post

                                                Adobe was always overpriced, but their subscription prices are ridiculous. All I ever really needed was Illustrator to make the occasional crappy album cover, and I'd probably enjoy mucking around with Photoshop occasionally. No way I'm paying $80 a month for that. There are cheap alternatives to the Adobe CS apps now. Adobe makes sense if you're in the graphics business, obviously.
                                                Photoshop is way overrated, I use GIMP.

                                                I think a lot of people get it for After Effects or....

                                                Comment


                                                  #25
                                                  Originally posted by Greg McCoy View Post

                                                  Do you have proper Kontakt already? Not just the Kontakt player. Only game in town obviously. There are a bunch of good studios doing stuff.

                                                  The EastWest stuff is a really well regarded standardized baseline kind of library. It's also more or less a legit scoring thing. Garritan is another big one. Miroslav is well regarded, but is kind of tweaked pads.

                                                  Other ones are better for more specialized situations but a lot of them aren't actually like, a traditional scoring library, it's sort of like "String section pad" sounds. They can sound really good, but they are limited in many ways.

                                                  So there's a big divide there. Some of the really good sounding stuff is new agey type pads that are more textural, their ability for traditional orchestra like scoring is limited.

                                                  Bestservice is one of the big frameworks. Mostly european. The *ERA stuff and Eduardos libraries are also great.



                                                  Strezov is my favorite, but they are smaller and don't have everything. For vocal sounds and frame drums they fucking rule though.
                                                  Ugh, I wasn’t a fan of Kontakt, but I was only using the free version of it. Half the time shit wouldn’t load right and I could never get the multi-outs to sync properly in Logic. It might be worth just buying the full version of it. I’m content with EastWest right now, but I see what you’re saying in regards to some limitations. Whether or not I’m close to hitting those limitations is a different story.

                                                  My wife and I are putting a little side business together and scoring will be a part of it. She’s been raking in cash doing voiceovers and a lot of times the customer is asking for music and is willing to pay extra for it. It’s been a lot of meditation videos, which is pretty much what it sounds like in my studio whenever I get baked and open EW’s Play. I was originally using the strings from a Korg Triton rack, then got the VST and they sounded better, but they greatly improved with Play.

                                                  We’ll see how things go over the next couple months. Once I go down the Kontakt road, it’ll be hard not turning VST’s into my new addiction.

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