There’s a well-known syndrome in audio circles called GAS, stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. As over the years we almost completely moved from analogue to digital, many hoped that this syndrome will simply disappear, leaving our bank accounts more happy, and ourselves less addicted. How blind we were… At first there was only a few plugins worth considering, but after a while clever and creative software developers produced a huge number of unbelievably powerful tools which can do things we never imagined we’d be able to do. As a result, we might lost one addiction, but rather, that syndrome only transformed into a very similar one, now in the digital world. We can call it PAS, Plugin Acquisition Syndrome.
As I see it, it’s even more dangerous. The iLok can hold several hundred licenses, we have some boutique shops on the net that offers really great deals on virtually every plugin, and to be honest, it’s very convenient to try everything under the sun. Just download it, install and fire up the DAW of your choice, ready to test the newcomer. No need to rent and deliver it, no need to find space in the studio, few clicks and you’re ready to test. This, of course made the syndrome much worse. No real effort needed to get what we wish, no need to even get up from your comfy chair in the studio.
As I see it, this trend made us less picky about our tools. What we like to a degree, or find it remotely useful, we simply buy it. Then it’s just sitting in our plugin folder waiting for its turn, but honestly these instant impulse purchases very rarely turn out to be useful ones. Most of the times at the end of the year we just staring at our long list of plugins, maybe have no idea why we bought some of them in the first place. That’s why I developed a very rigorous testing method and only buy the ones that pass my test 100%. This way I can keep my list smaller and buy only the best ones.
New kids on the block
Lately I haven’t had much time for testing things, but I’d like to try a few new ones that grabbed my attention.
McDSP Dialog processor. At first it seems like a multi-band deesser, but as I understand it is much more than that. I’ve heard some examples which surely made me want to test it. Without any prejudice, my only fear is that it’s too limited, meaning I cannot change certain parameters like the frequencies.
The other is iZotope’s final mix. The marketing of this plugin is a complete train-wreck. But the concept is very good and to be honest I’m really interested in a good dynamic EQ. My only problem is the price. Although it seems to offer a lot for your money, I bet most of us already has a great true-peak limiter and we cannot buy this thing as a stand-alone dynamic EQ. Surround support is very tempting though.
This is the reason I still love some forums. You discover new things, new companies. For me, the new discovery is Meldaproduction. It seems they’re a small company who are truly passionate about the plugin world. Innovative features, very friendly pricing. If the sound of their products is stellar, I think they’re facing a very shinny future in the plugin industry. From what I’ve read and saw, their dynamic EQ can superior to the iZotope’s one with more features and still half the price.
Plugin Alliance. Well, I must say I’m a bit biased. I love their business model, how they operate and how correctly they deal with support issues. And frankly they have some utterly amazing plugins in their arsenal. I already use some of it, but now I really want to test more. Even their brand new channel strip, yes, the Neve one. I have some vibey plugins already, but none of them are AAX DSP, and the Eucon implementation is poor, yes, I’m looking at Slate in this case.
If their new Neve thing is on par with the best in the industry, I’ll surely buy it. Even their new technology called Tolerance Modelling Technology is intriguing.
So this is it for now, but I already know that we’re going to see very interesting things soon as there are plenty of very dedicated and creative developers out there. Of course, if you have deep experiences about some of the above-mentioned plugins then don’t hesitate to tell me via the comments or email. Thank you.