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Which freebies (and near-freebies) encouraged you to buy a paid product?

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Good thread idea from @Eusebio Rufian-Zilbermann: we all snap up freebies from companies who put them out there to encourage people to check out their paid license products; sometimes these freebies are payware that is being given away for a short time as a promotion. Which ones have worked on you (this excludes trialware/demos)?

For me, the most obvious would be the Meldaproduction FreeFX Bundle. Meldaproduction were relatively early in the "pro quality" loss leader plug-ins game, not the first to ever do it, but before the recent ongoing tidal wave of freebies. MCompressor is the plug-in I used when I had my "I know kung fu" breakthrough in understanding how compressors work.

Once I paid to register that bundle, since there were more panels and things to open up and see I started digging more deeply into them and concluded that the guy was a crazy talented programmer, and that his normally-licensed stuff would likely be of top quality. Since then I've spent hundreds on Meldaproduction licenses (always during sales of some sort) and recommended them far and wide.

After that, Unfiltered Audio G8 CM (a near-freebie, CM plug-ins are loss leaders) was my first taste of that company, since then I've acquired all but about 3 of their FX (the synth, the compressor and the bit crusher). A|A|S Swatches and freebie soundpacks got me to jump on a Humble Bundle of their stuff. Bark of Dog was my first Boz plug-in, I now have several more. Glitchmachines' Fracture and Hysteresis are so off the hook that I knew to buy everything they had when it went on sale for $5-10. I'm nowhere close to figuring out how to control them, but they make sounds that I like anyway. Definitely for people who are into "turn this knob and see what it does."

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Tokyo Dawn plugins. Loved the free versions and collected them on sale when I found them. Got a few of them for $9.99 each. That almost count as freebies at that price!

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Melda, Tokyo Dawn, SoundToys, Kilohearts...  Kuassa.  IK Multimedia.  Izotope...  Valhala and Klanghelm.  Excellent freebies and giveaways over the years - I'm pretty much "all in" on these Devs too.   HOFA and Blue Cat have great freebies, but their paid plugins have never really broken through my price-point to pain threshold enough to draw me in, so I've pretty much moved on.

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Phoenix ,Izotope,Voxengo,PA,  BOZ ,N.I,

Melda,Izotope

 

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I feel I shouldn't answer this, as I my adventures through LimeWire back in the day definitely introduced me to some companies I still use (legimately) today. But that's probably not what you meant.

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21 minutes ago, Carl Ewing said:

my adventures through LimeWire back in the day definitely introduced me to some companies I still use (legimately) today

You're not the first I've heard this from. The ad hoc "educational discount." It could be that the recognition of this helped clue companies into the value of getting lite versions out there for nothing or next to it. I'm going to hazard a guess that Ableton's piracy dropped when they came out with Live! Lite.

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Any Izotope Elements.  Softube Time and Tone bundle; even though not “free” as it required a hardware purchase, it was added for free.  Then I opened my wallet to them.

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2 hours ago, mibby said:

but their paid plugins have never really broken through my price-point to pain threshold enough to draw me in.

"Price-point to pain threshold".   That term will end up in psychology text books one day!

Edited by jude77
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I guess if you go back far enough, having Triangle II primed me to buy a copy of Pentagon I (a few years before Cakewalk bought rgc:Audio and included it in Sonar)

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Izotope nectar elements.  I jumped on the upgrade offer. I now find myself using suite

Sonar lite edition( forgot exact name). It was bundled with an emu interface long ago.

Studio one prime. It was an easy choice to upgrade. 

MPC Beats- the free version is very usable, particularly for subgenres like Boombap and lo-fi.  When I discovered how Akai seems to have the swing function mastered better than most drum programs (at least for making hip-hop) , it was an easy decision. 

Quiet Classical Guitar lite- the free one is quite usable and full version was only $8 during sale. Well worth it

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For near freebies, many lite versions that came with Cakewalk over the years. I bought the nomad factory plugins, I upgraded TH-2 and went to TH-3 and TH-U, I upgraded breverb and rematrix. I've upgraded melodyne. Some HW I bought came with ableton live lite and I upgraded that and it's current.

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The only case I recall is AAS. I believe I got the gimped versions of some of their instruments as a PluginBoutique freebie. I don't think I ever installed them, but it grabbed my attention and I ended up buying the full versions of String Studio VS-3, Strum GS-2 and eventually Ultra Analog VA-3.

I put VS-3 and GS-2 up for sale at one point because I needed money for something else. Somebody bought VS-3 and it's one of the few things I regret selling and intend to re-acquire at some point.

Strum GS-2 is so-so when I weigh it against some ancient SampleTank pack that just has that raw & dirty brilliance. I tend to choose the samples for the primary sound, whereas GS-2 currently sees most use as an enhancer for sampled instruments or other synths. Right now it's in the category of "I wish I could sell this, but probably shouldn't."

Same goes for VA-3, really. I use it sparingly, but there are places where it seems irreplaceable. I wish I didn't need it, but apparently I do just enough that I can't toss it.

I expect Chromaphone to be much like GS-2, i.e. it could potentially end up in my collection if my needs change, but currently I have a clear preference for sampled instruments over synthesized when it comes to the territory covered by Chromaphone.

Then again, VS-3 taught me to love synthetic strings, and was freakin' satisfying on its own. Image-Line's Sakura is currently substituting it, but I will most certainly buy VS-3 again.

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One of Izotope's Elements libraries that they gave away for free or super cheap for a limited time led to me becoming a paying customer. A free Softube freebie plugin led to me being a customer of theirs. A Production Voices free piano library led to me being a paying customer. Xperimenta's freebie libraries led to me being a customer of theirs. Fluffy Audio's freebie libraries led to my being a paying customer. A Waverunner freebie library led to me being a paid customer of theirs. I'm sure there are dozens of other examples I can't recall at the moment. Giving sample and plugin users a free taste of their offerings can be a great way a sample/plugin developer can bring new customers aboard. 

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