Plug ins- Free to financially debilitating- what's going on?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by jm2, Nov 10, 2008.

  1. jm2

    jm2 Active Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    I am in the process of adding plug ins to my Cubase LE4. There seems to be an ocean of plug ins out there ranging from free to very expensive, and one could spend a lifetime trying to learn about them all. I am confused about a few things.

    1. Why are there so many companies, and is the market really big enough to sustain so many?

    2. Why do some provide completely free plug ins? Why would anyone spend time to develop a product and then just give it away? How do these people make money (at least the ones that seem to not have any product for sale, which the free plug in would serve as a lost leader)?

    To sort through the vast ocean of information, I would be grateful if someone would list say the top five companies selling multi purpose plug ins, that are well regarded. Conversely, are there any that are overrated at their price point?
  2. jm2

    jm2 Active Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Well, I just got a partial answer to question #2.

    I tried downloading a free Bootsy plug in form Rekkerd, as found in the Digital audio forum sticky "free plug in links". In spite of downloading it (some RAR file?), I could not get it to work, or appear in my list of plug ins, unlike other plug in demos, that will cost money. The ease of which a plug in can be implemeted is important, especially to someone like me who is not very computer saavy.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    Why would somebody create a piece of software and give it away for free?

    Well let's see? I got this piece of software in 1996 for free called Cool Edit. It wasn't ProTools but that cost big bucks. It was so fabulous! Well he was taking donations? Three tiers! $25 with a thank you to freely use this crippled software. Or $50 with a serial number that unlocks all of its features simultaneously. And if you were so inclined, $100 and lifetime updates for the product. So I sent him $100 because I thought this was a fully professional product. But people kept on telling me it was shareware, it's not professional..... Right, sure. Then he sold the company to Adobe & retired. What do I get? An inexpensive upgrade to Audition. No it wasn't free. But I think David Johnston has now retired. That's why you create a piece of software for free.

    Plug-ins. Plug-ins are sort of like being at the candy store. Along with all of the microphone candy. Computer candy. Audio interface candy. Not everybody likes all flavors of candy. In fact, most folks only use a couple of favorites. Just as our control rooms were back in the old days. You could have every gizmo unless you're crazy rich. There were those crazy rich. But most folks just have some popular favorites. You're not supposed to know about all of them. Do you know about every refrigerator made by every manufacture? Washers? Dryers? You get the idea? Don't you? If you're stupid rich guy, you can buy the most expensive plug-ins. If you're poor, you have to use the cheap stuff. You know, Ford, Chevy, VW. Those other guys, they're driving the Porsches, Ferrari's, Rolls-Royce. I don't know many folks that have those. I drive a Chevy. OK, so I also have an old rusted out Rolls-Royce or so to speak.

    This whole business is about HOW MUCH MONEY YOU GOT. Do you want to own a home or a recording studio? If you have to ask yourself that question, you can afford neither. So I have a recording studio and I'm homeless. No, really, honest. After my divorce, bankruptcy. Moved back home with mom. Good thing I still have my studio which is paid for. Especially since I'm not doing much business these days. So anybody interested in some Auditronics 501 modules? 46 available. Cheap.

    Looking for a new full-time gig
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Distinguished Member

    Feb 9, 2005
    South Florida
    Home Page:
    Are you confused or curious?

    1) So many companies? There are only a handful of "big players" in the plug-in market. There is plenty of room for competition. Some focus on platform, TDM, RTAS, VST DX while others do all types. Some focus on one thing like VSTi's (instruments) while others stick with non-instrument VST's. Some get licenses to model a particular device while others try to come up with their own version of that device. Some just create the same damn thing and try to compete with each other.

    Everybody and their brother has a computer and thinks that they are a producer. There is plenty of market to keep these guys afloat.

    2) Why does it always have to be about money? Why not make something good and give it away? Maybe they're independantly wealthy and don't need to make money from their VST's and figure it would be nice to share something with their fellow man without making him pay a price GEEZ!
    Some companies give out their less functional freebies or perhaps a never-quite-finished freebie. I'm curious, what companies do you see offering free VST's?

    From my experience, most of the freebies out there are crap. There are some gems and plenty that work well for one thing or another. However, everybody and their brother (a different everybody and brother) thinks that they are a programmer. It's relatively easy to make a VST if you have a little bit of knowledge. But it takes more than a little knowledge to make a good VST.

    Check out A great resource for VST info and if you are looking for free ones that's the place to go.

    There'e one set of freebies that I always liked... Click on "about this site" and read. You'll get an idea of where the freebies are coming from.

    1 -Many companies means many options which equals happy DAW user
    2 -Free plug-ins mean free stuff which equals happy DAW user...but do your research before trying them out. Look for audio samples, reviews or other people that have used them.
  5. jm2

    jm2 Active Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Thanks for the replies, as they provide some insight and helpful info.
  6. jm2

    jm2 Active Member

    Oct 13, 2008
    Well, after spending far too much time researching plug ins, it turns out that my first impressions were somewhat illusory. There certainly is not an endless number of companies or sources for free plug ins. And the pool dwindles as one starts to rule out some by process of elimination.

    I have made another interesting observation. Waves seems to have a good deal of redundancy in their product line. I mean why would anyone buy Mercury, which appears to come complete with no less than five maximizers, that appear very similar? Some of their other bundles also appear bloated, but I will be the first to plead ignorance seeing as I have not used them.

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