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spending money on plugins
Old 20th September 2012
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
spending money on plugins

Hi,

Im wondering if someone can explain to me if and why its worth spending more money on plugins for pro tools for example compressors and reverbs etc.

Like what is the difference between pro tools ones that come with the programme and other ones that cost anywhere from $50 and up?

Why is one reverb 50 and one 500 and another 150 ? same with compressors. I need convincing that its worth parting with my money because to be honest with my untrained ears I cant hear the difference between a free one and 500$ one. Also There are so many out there and so many people including on this site going on and on about how one is better than another yet other people saying the opposite. I recently looked at universal audio reverbs only to find that in order to use theirs I would need to first spend 800 on their hardware!! Pffft is all I could think of, pffft indeed.
Old 20th September 2012
  #2
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
I think you sorta answered your own question. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but from your post I gather that you are still quite new at this. If you can't hear the difference between the plugins that came with your DAW and a $500 one, it's not time to buy the $500 one yet. There are other, much more important issues to get around first. Work with what you've got untill you've reached its limits and only upgrade then. Same with hardware or any other recording tools, for that matter.

Every pro out there will have a set of favorites (plugins, mics, hardware, monitors, everything) that they keep coming back to. These take years of experience and listening to get together to do what you would like them to do. I don't know of anyone who had "golden ears" right from the start.
Old 20th September 2012
  #3
RiF
Lives for gear
 
RiF's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I did quite some mixes using just the stock Pro Tools plugins, so I'd say that you don't NEED 3rd party plugins to do a decent mix.
You should start to use them until you feel like you've reached their limits or you want some different flavour.
If that'll happen some day, take a look at the very reasonably priced (and high quality) ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom (for reverb), Übermid (for great modulation ans more) and the Klanghelm DC8C for ultra-versatile compression.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #4
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by KillerV ➑️
I think you sorta answered your own question. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but from your post I gather that you are still quite new at this. If you can't hear the difference between the plugins that came with your DAW and a $500 one, it's not time to buy the $500 one yet. There are other, much more important issues to get around first. Work with what you've got untill you've reached its limits and only upgrade then. Same with hardware or any other recording tools, for that matter.

Every pro out there will have a set of favorites (plugins, mics, hardware, monitors, everything) that they keep coming back to. These take years of experience and listening to get together to do what you would like them to do. I don't know of anyone who had "golden ears" right from the start.
Your answer is in this post. If you cannot hear the difference then don't purchase it. If you arrive at the point where you think that you need to upgrade your reverb or your EQ then that is the time. From the looks of things it sounds like you are relatively new to things, take your time to work with the plugins you have and then if you have come across an issue that you think needs to be addressed that cannot currently be dealt with in your available plugins then upgrade.
Old 20th September 2012
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Well Im not really all that new. I have been doing stuff for over 10 years but I guess I haven't really advanced very far because I find it very difficult working alone with only the internet to guide me. I can honestly say that for example I don't think Im any better at eq'ing than I was ten years ago. I know the terminology more but still don't know how to carve sounds adequately. And no matter how much I read about stuff I just forget it if Im not doing it everyday. I am new to computer based recording though as only went over to pro tools about a year ago.

I have another question. If I cant hear the difference then the lay person isn't going to hear it so what does it matter? I mean nobody makes music to impress engineers sitting around discussing the noticeably cheap reverb of a piece.
Old 20th September 2012
  #6
More cowbell!
 
natpub's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Your ears do hear all the same things everyone does. Unless you have damage. If different comps all sound the same, you just havent learned to discern the fine details yet. But, just because you or any average listener may not pick out these details, I assure you and they hear them all and register it on some level that you interpret as either pro or not. For example, filmmakers fill a scene with thousands of tiny details. Now I dont know all those details, the acting, the set, lighting, fx, costumes, tricks, etc., and probably couldnt tell the difference between one lens and the next. But I assure you, the sum total result, I can tell a pro one from an amature one, a great looking one from a average one. I dont know why I can tell, one just looks better. Same with a record. Well crafted ones just sound better. And that difference is made up of hundreds of tiny details.

Sent from my MB855
Old 20th September 2012
  #7
Lives for gear
 
stinkyfingers's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
sometimes "upgrading" to 3rd party plug-ins isn't just about "better" sound quality, but maybe for other reasons like workflow/options/GUI...
ex...i never had any complaints about Logic's EQ's sound, but one day i needed more parameters than it offered, so i got another EQ with more options...
i also found Logic's EQ hard on my aging eyes, so the one i got i can expand to fit my whole screen and it is better colors/contrast for me...
etc...
sometimes you got to spoil yourself...
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by natpub ➑️
Your ears do hear all the same things everyone does. Unless you have damage. If different comps all sound the same, you just havent learned to discern the fine details yet. But, just because you or any average listener may not pick out these details, I assure you and they hear them all and register it on some level that you interpret as either pro or not. For example, filmmakers fill a scene with thousands of tiny details. Now I dont know all those details, the acting, the set, lighting, fx, costumes, tricks, etc., and probably couldnt tell the difference between one lens and the next. But I assure you, the sum total result, I can tell a pro one from an amature one, a great looking one from a average one. I dont know why I can tell, one just looks better. Same with a record. Well crafted ones just sound better. And that difference is made up of hundreds of tiny details.

Sent from my MB855
Yeah I get what you're saying but on the other hand you can have the most expensive tools in the known universe and still produce a turd whereas someone else may produce gold from very little. Im not sure its the cost of the tools that make really good art. Your example of film is a good one because many hollywood films are very expensive turds. Avatar for example was technically brilliant but appalling in every other way and that was made with state of the art gear.

Anyway having said that what are some good verbs under 500?

Iver looked at renaissance, psp, and altiverb so far.
What do you think of sonnox?
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slutgutz ➑️
I have another question. If I cant hear the difference then the lay person isn't going to hear it so what does it matter? I mean nobody makes music to impress engineers sitting around discussing the noticeably cheap reverb of a piece.
Chances are the persons listening to your recordings will not be listening on the same system as yourself so you have no idea what exactly they will be hearing, bar frequencies outside of our audible range. Generally you want to put the best sounding recording out then let their system take away or add to it, rather than put out a recording based on things you think they might not hear and then have their systems make a sub - par recording worse. It is for a similar reason we still check for mono compatibility, sure quite a bit of people have stereo systems but there are a few who don't so we put out the best recording that can fit both consumers and more often than not, there need not be a compromise.
Old 20th September 2012
  #10
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
So what do you all think of sonnox? Are they good quality?
Old 20th September 2012
  #11
181483
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by slutgutz ➑️
Yeah I get what you're saying but on the other hand you can have the most expensive tools in the known universe and still produce a turd whereas someone else may produce gold from very little. Im not sure its the cost of the tools that make really good art. Your example of film is a good one because many hollywood films are very expensive turds. Avatar for example was technically brilliant but appalling in every other way and that was made with state of the art gear.

Anyway having said that what are some good verbs under 500?

Iver looked at renaissance, psp, and altiverb so far.
What do you think of sonnox?
Sonnox Reverb is nice, but hard to wrap your head around. Valhalla Room blows it away, imo, and is very flexible and easy to use. I also love Valhalla Shimmer and sometimes daisy chain both. There's something magical about the Valhalla verbs when they are in the full mix. They just sit right and never get in the way. And nothing that I have tried beats V-Room for very short room reverbs.

The only other reverb that is irreplaceable for me is UAD Plate 140. It is stunning. UAD is an expensive investment initially but the plugins are totally worth it. I have 3 solo flexi cards and an Apollo Quad. The solo flexi cards are the best bargain, especially if you wait for UAD discounts and sales. I particularly love the tape emus and Dimension-D, Boss Chorus, and Cooper Time Cube. And the newly coded 1176 collection is amazing too. And the Massive Passive and Fatso. I could go on. But UAD is a luxury and by no means absolutely necessary for top quality tools.

I would recommend getting the Fabfilter Pro bundle + Saturn, the Soundtoys Native bundle, and Valhalla Room. You can do some serious work with just those. Fabfilter Pro-Q is a desert island EQ, capable of anything. It never sucks, and the mid/side capability is very powerful. It is my go-to track, buss, and mastering EQ. I especially love running reverb returns into Saturn. And Pro-L is crazy crazy good.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
G-Spot's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slutgutz ➑️
So what do you all think of sonnox? Are they good quality?
Yes they are. Have also a look at Massey, they are awesome and not expensive.
Massey Plugins Inc.

I always stayed away from hardware dependent plug-ins (like Focusrite Liquid Mix, SSL Duende, UAD, etc). The UAD plugins are awesome but the difference in quality between UAD and the other brands like Softube and Waves doesn't justify the hardware (in my opinion). UAD has some plug-ins that are not available anywhere else, but the paranoia that one has to have every possible piece of device (replica) to make a good mix is plain crazy. And as for computer resources I also prefer to buy a new computer more often than buying an extra card for plug-ins.

First get used to the stock plug-ins and buy only according to your needs and taste. And don't think that "more expensive must be better". Massey is the living proof that a very good product doesn't have to be expensive.

You can pick exactly the plug-ins you need/want from almost any plug-in developer without having to buy big bundles.

As for reverbs, I actually like prefer old hardware stuff like Dynacord VRS and stuff than plugins, but that's a different topic...
Old 20th September 2012
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I put a freeze on buying RTAS plug-ins,cause Avid is moving to AXX plugs,so Any RTAS plugs will be useless in Pro Tools 11 when it is released.
Old 20th September 2012
  #14
Lives for gear
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
yeah... aax the new format
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
bambony's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by stinkyfingers ➑️
sometimes "upgrading" to 3rd party plug-ins isn't just about "better" sound quality, but maybe for other reasons like workflow/options/GUI...
ex...i never had any complaints about Logic's EQ's sound, but one day i needed more parameters than it offered, so i got another EQ with more options...
i also found Logic's EQ hard on my aging eyes, so the one i got i can expand to fit my whole screen and it is better colors/contrast for me...
etc...
sometimes you got to spoil yourself...
As an OT aside Logic's (prefectly adequate) EQ is resizable.

Tony
Old 20th September 2012
  #16
Lives for gear
 
projektk's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiofreek ➑️
I put a freeze on buying RTAS plug-ins,cause Avid is moving to AXX plugs,so Any RTAS plugs will be useless in Pro Tools 11 when it is released.
pretty much what I am doing. though plenty of great stuff already available with the AAX format.

Sent from my LG-P925
Old 20th September 2012
  #17
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Spot ➑️
Yes they are. Have also a look at Massey, they are awesome and not expensive.
Massey Plugins Inc.

I always stayed away from hardware dependent plug-ins (like Focusrite Liquid Mix, SSL Duende, UAD, etc). The UAD plugins are awesome but the difference in quality between UAD and the other brands like Softube and Waves doesn't justify the hardware (in my opinion). UAD has some plug-ins that are not available anywhere else, but the paranoia that one has to have every possible piece of device (replica) to make a good mix is plain crazy. And as for computer resources I also prefer to buy a new computer more often than buying an extra card for plug-ins.

First get used to the stock plug-ins and buy only according to your needs and taste. And don't think that "more expensive must be better". Massey is the living proof that a very good product doesn't have to be expensive.

You can pick exactly the plug-ins you need/want from almost any plug-in developer without having to buy big bundles.

As for reverbs, I actually like prefer old hardware stuff like Dynacord VRS and stuff than plugins, but that's a different topic...
I'm having a hard time finding Plugins that beat uad Plugins.not all of them of coarse.

But the ampex 102,new 1176 bundle EMT 140 and 250,plus a few others are must have.

Sent from my PC36100
Old 20th September 2012
  #18
LX3
Lives for gear
 
LX3's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
If you're not hearing the differences between fx, maybe you need to upgrade your monitoring or your listening environment?

Something I find useful is taking a break - I mean like a month, not a couple of hours - from your own work and listening to lots of CDs on your (new?) monitors. Whatever you fancy, just dive in. Find some things that excite you to the point where you can't stop playing them. You should also be able to spot badly recorded or engineered/produced albums... not that that necessarily makes them bad albums.

Don't worry about how your mixes sound. Instead get excited about other people's.

I think that would put you in a better place to dive back in.

There's def a difference between plugins. Soloing tracks is sometimes not the best way to check them out though, as it's frequently not obvious how amazing (or not) a processor is until you hear it in the context of a mix.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #19
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by LX3 ➑️
If you're not hearing the differences between fx, maybe you need to upgrade your monitoring or your listening environment?

Something I find useful is taking a break - I mean like a month, not a couple of hours - from your own work and listening to lots of CDs on your (new?) monitors. Whatever you fancy, just dive in. Find some things that excite you to the point where you can't stop playing them.
I agree. I want to tell a lot of people this. If you don't know what sound you're looking for, you don't know why your sound isn't right... you have not developed judgement.

Listen to more music, listen more critically. Exercise the ears like a muscle. Then come back and everything will be clearer. And the bit about being stuck on the internet for information... sorry that is bull****. There are things called concerts, books, heck go out intio the wilderness and listen to the frequency of nature. I get a bit tired of ALL the excuses... on the internet. It should not be your eductional centre. It's entertainment at best.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #20
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slutgutz ➑️
Well Im not really all that new. I have been doing stuff for over 10 years but I guess I haven't really advanced very far because I find it very difficult working alone with only the internet to guide me. I can honestly say that for example I don't think Im any better at eq'ing than I was ten years ago. I know the terminology more but still don't know how to carve sounds adequately. And no matter how much I read about stuff I just forget it if Im not doing it everyday. I am new to computer based recording though as only went over to pro tools about a year ago.

I have another question. If I cant hear the difference then the lay person isn't going to hear it so what does it matter? I mean nobody makes music to impress engineers sitting around discussing the noticeably cheap reverb of a piece.
I think there are some subtleties that are lost of anyone other than engineers (even on most musicians) But I think there is a larger realm of high level art and technique in mixing/recording/mastering where a lay person perceives the difference even if they can't articulate it.

For example, my music loving but not particularly musically educated friend was listening to a mix of mine on my monitors and said, 'Man, that guitar just sounds huge, like not from reality but a dream.'

To the same part, my bass player, who is hugely educated on recording, effects etc. said, 'hey that sounds cool, what did you do, double it, putting one low in the mix with effects on it?'

My bass player was right, the part, a clean guitar part, was doubled with the second one very low, but with overdrive on it and reverb, the main track was largely unaffected.

So that example is not about the difference in effects, but I think a similar level of subtlety.

But directly to your question...

If you can't hear the difference, don't buy them.

I don't know what DAW you are using but there are some effects that I rarely use paid plugins for. If you can use VSTs, all the Reaper Cockos Plugins, which are free, do their jobs very well. If you are looking for proper compression, EQ, reverb, etc. programming, they are solid. If you want extra spicey, I'd recommend some others.

But I can't think of any I'd pay $500 for. The quality you get in the $20 to $100 range now-a-days is pretty hard to beat.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #21
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiofreek ➑️
I put a freeze on buying RTAS plug-ins,cause Avid is moving to AXX plugs,so Any RTAS plugs will be useless in Pro Tools 11 when it is released.
Are you serious??? OMFG I have spent so much money WTF! Surely they will continue to allow RTAS. Or will the companies I purchased from upgrade them?
I can't believe this. This is all happening too fast. Seriously I can't keep up with it anymore and its such a drain on the wallet.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by slutgutz ➑️
Are you serious??? OMFG I have spent so much money WTF! Surely they will continue to allow RTAS. Or will the companies I purchased from upgrade them?
I can't believe this. This is all happening too fast. Seriously I can't keep up with it anymore and its such a drain on the wallet.
haha, yeah my brother wants to get into producing music on his PC. he doesn't really believe me when I tell him, he'll be in over 10,000 deep when it's over and that'll be a start.

I think a lot of guys here are wishing they could do it all over again, and choose more wisely but you learn from your mistakes as well.

Obsolete plugins are part of it. It happens, it'll happen again. Another reason to not invest TOO much.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke ➑️
haha, yeah my brother wants to get into producing music on his PC. he doesn't really believe me when I tell him, he'll be in over 10,000 deep when it's over and that'll be a start.

I think a lot of guys here are wishing they could do it all over again, and choose more wisely but you learn from your mistakes as well.

Obsolete plugins are part of it. It happens, it'll happen again. Another reason to not invest TOO much.
Bleh. I know right? When I started, we didn't have all these quality software options, let alone free options. I got all this rack mount stuff that is not worth pulling out now. Sold some of it, but for pennies on the dollar of what it was originally.
Old 20th September 2012
  #24
Lives for gear
 
MikeInOttawa's Avatar
I have to agree with some of the posters above. The UAD effects made a profound change in the quality of my work. It's not cheap, but it is worth it if you perceive there's value in it for you.

You can also get some pretty awesome free effects. Variety of Sound has some amazing stuff, but it's VST only. A VST/RTAS wrapper is a workaround for that.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #25
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Twenty years ago you needed third party plug-ins but not today. I would be very very picky.

As for AAX, they probably could have called it 64 bit RTAS. It's really no different than Steinberg's VST 3, a new format with extra features and 64 bit compatibility.

Virtually all current RTAS plugs can be expected to be moved to 64 bit AAX. Just as with 64 bit VST, some developers may charge for the upgrade and while others won't. My guess is that any who already include 64 bit VSTs probably won't charge.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiofreek ➑️
I put a freeze on buying RTAS plug-ins,cause Avid is moving to AXX plugs,so Any RTAS plugs will be useless in Pro Tools 11 when it is released.
How do you view the shopping cart on TPB? I can't figure out how to pay for my torrents.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #27
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by recordinghopkins ➑️
How do you view the shopping cart on TPB? I can't figure out how to pay for my torrents.
?
Old 20th September 2012
  #28
Deleted User
Guest
+1 for the Fabfilter plug-ins.Also check out PSP.

I can send you a 10% Fabfilter friend discount code if you like.
pm me for details
Old 20th September 2012
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
The only plug-in I would recommend spending money on is reverb. Stock DAW reverbs don't cut it. Valhalla Room is amazing and it's only $50. As for compressors/channel strips/tape sims, you can generally recreate what's going on by employing EQ and saturation/distortion with your stock DAW compression.
Old 20th September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 
recordinghopkins's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Aristocrat ➑️
?
a joke
πŸ“ Reply

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