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Thread: How do I pick a plugin that will last for years?

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    How do I pick a plugin that will last for years?

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    Hi all- I'm looking to get into some more serious effects plugins like reverb because the GarageBand ones aren't real pretty it seems. But last time I bought a plugin (Drumkit from Hell 2) the company got sold or bankrupted, and the installer stopped working after a couple years (the license server shut down). That stuff is not cheap for a guy like me so I was really burned pretty bad on it and I want to make sure I'm buying software that lasts. If it's possible.

    Is there a tech that can guarantee the plugins I paid hundreds of dollars for will still work 10-15 years from now? I hear a lot about this iLok thing, will that make sure I can install the software even if the company that made the plugin shuts down? Your opinions are greatly appreciated as always!

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    There are no guarantees in life. If you;'re just starting out, explore free plugs. There are a lot of them that are adequate to great. Try a few and see what sounds good to you. There's no guarantee that music in 15 years will even be using reverb or EQ. It's likely, but who knows?
    AFA iLok and similar devices, Propellerhead has their own proprietary unit that is actually going the way of the dodo already. You no longer have to have it to use it. Sony, Propellerhead (and a lot of others) keep record on your account of everything you pay for so that you can download them at any time, but for instance, my SoundForge 8 is useless to download as it is no longer supported by Win 7/8/10. That is usually the rub. You don't lose your software because of the loss of iLok or ability to download your software, but due to computer OS changes that manufacturers no longer support.
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    Waves uses their own licensing app, and you have the option to move the license to your hard drive (so no license server required). Just make sure to keep an image of your hard drive!
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    I'm okay with software being compatible with only certain setups, I have a computer running Vista for 7 years now. That's a fair amount of time if a plugin lasts that long, and longer if I can keep the computer going. But to have a plugin vaporize overnight because the publisher failed, that is not cool.

    Thanks for the tip Pinky! I will definitely check out Waves products first.

    Anybody know any solid (old) companies with good support? If I have to go with an online licensing scheme. . .

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    Toontrack, Waves, Lexicon are all pretty solid as far as I know. Toontrack and Waves use their own licensing schemes, and Lexicon uses iLok. Slate seems relatively entrenched, but their removal of forums from their website isn't really a good sign. Some Slate plugins use iLok, some use other licensing.

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    I also have a bunch of Toontrack products, very easy licensing. They do keep track of installs though, but it sounds like you don't get a lot of crash/rebuilds so having only 5 installations shouldn't be a problem.
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    Or you can just go for some free plug-ins.
    There's a ton of them out there, you might find some you like.
    VST Warehouse | Over 500 Free VST plugins
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    I did find a couple good freebies, it's just hard to find ones that are really useable. Softube is great, I found that watching Warren Huart's Youtube series.

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    Other than a few Waves plugs, I haven't spent a penny on plug-ins, ever. I can't justify spending money on almost any plug, considering how many good free ones there are out there. Maybe my ears just aren't that good (actually, I know they're not great), but I can think of about 20 reasons why my recordings don't sound professional, and free plug-ins aren't even on that list.

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    This a serious issue, really. You could easily spend thousands on high-end plugin suites that might or might not survive the next OS release. That makes it an iffy proposition for me. Hardware can break down too, of course.

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