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Starship Krupa

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

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7 hours ago, sarine said:

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.

Seems like the free A|A|S Player might suit your needs. Unless you get under the hood with the A|A|S synths, the soundpack sounds can all be used in Player. I almost pulled the trigger on Chromaphone, mostly because I wanted to be able to turn off the reverb that so many soundpack sounds are drenched with.

9 hours ago, jude77 said:

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

Or at least one of those paperback business success books. "When pricing your product, the goal is to get it just under your target market's price-point to pain threshold."

1 hour ago, PavlovsCat said:

Izotope's Elements libraries

Ah, how could I forget iZotope. I've got so many paid iZotope licenses, and that started with the iZotope Mastering Essentials plug-in that came with Mixcraft. It got me to buy Ozone Elements, maybe the first plug-in I ever spent money on (partly due to Mixcraft coming bundled with a plethora of decent plug-ins).

It's good to see so many positive responses in this topic, because I believe in "give 'em a taste for free" marketing and it's nice to see that it works. Demos and trials are essential, but it's not the same as having a full license for something that can make it into tight rotation.

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I got the free version of Voltage Modular and after one day I found it was so "intuitive" given my early modular synth experiences of several decades ago that I upgraded to  a paid version.

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I need to classify my answer in several categories of "upsell"

The top of my list is Magix Music Maker. It is free in its basic edition. I got a few "enhanced" editions for free bundled with other products, multiple times, and ignored it for years, then one day I started playing around with it and... now I have upgraded to the full premium edition, expanded with more than 200 soundpools

Other entries in the "free to full" category are Native Instruments, from the various players to Komplete, and Plugin Alliance from a few freebies to... (I'd rather not look at the numbers)

For the category "free with DAW" and "free with Hardware" I have: The Melodyne Assistant that came with Cakewalk ended up in a full Melodyne Studio, the XLN Addictive Drums that also came with Cakewalk started me on the path to a nearly complete AD2 setup, and the same happened with AAS, from a couple of "session" versions to full versions of all the instruments plus many expansion packs. The Air plugins that came with Pro Tools got me into AIEP3. The various iZotope plugins included with SoundForge ended up in Music Production Suite. The SONiVOX EightyEight that came with a midi controller ended up in the complete SONiVOX colection. Sibelius First (that I don't remember what hardware it came with) ended up a full Sibelius license

The next category are the "free with magazine" (Computer Music): DDMF plugins, Xils Virtual Instruments, Audiothing MiniBit, Rob Papen RG, Hornet plugins, Synthmaster, u-he plugins and Virtual Instruments

I have reserved for the end the "did-what-no-other-has-done" category: Cakewalk. The really early versions that I saw I don't remember if they were actually shareware or they were "friend-shared-wares". I then got several versions in the "free with hardware" category (with sound blaster cards), until I upgraded to full versions  of Sonar. The unique twist came when it was "upgraded back to free"

 

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7 hours ago, Starship Krupa said:

Seems like the free A|A|S Player might suit your needs. Unless you get under the hood with the A|A|S synths, the soundpack sounds can all be used in Player. I almost pulled the trigger on Chromaphone, mostly because I wanted to be able to turn off the reverb that so many soundpack sounds are drenched with.

When it comes to synthesis I prefer to build my own sounds (if I had the time, space and money, I would probably do the same with samples). Defining the/an initial state in physically modeled synthesis is problematic (and ultimately impractical and undesirable), so I just made my own "init" presets to start from sounds that are by themselves uninteresting, i.e. clean.

I despise over-processed samples. Give the sound to me dry and let me be the artist, instead of using them to demonstrate just how fake you can make it sound. I'm never impressed unless the processing serves a specific purpose that is clearly stated or implied - e.g. "here's our finely polished viola that fits perfectly into the mix with the rest of our finely polished chamber orchestra and gels reasonably well with our Hollywood-style thumpty-thump epic drum set with its 24 variations on three different sounds (and will destroy any other sounds whose fundamental frequency falls within the same sixth of the entire audible spectrum, that it wasn't engineered for)" - and even when I'm impressed I probably still don't want it, although I can at least see some value in it.

I really dig Sonic Reality's stuff and their samples end up on vast majority of my projects.

I might get some weird looks from this one, but; I really like SONiVOX Strings/Brass/Woodwinds. I have SampleTank 4 SE, HALion 6 + HALion Symphonic Orchestra, Avenger and a handful others that could fill the same needs, but the SONiVOX almost always seem to make the effect I actually want. Maybe they've been shaved down to cut through a dense mix or something, but they always sound clean and unbusy.

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Melda, Klanghelm, all of AAS, almost all products that came with CW, such as Overloud, Boz, IK, and others. 

So many others that I just can't remember. 

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Melda, TH3 ( which I then upgraded to TH-U ) & Melodyne (upgraded to Editor for polyphonic editing).

I did upgrade AAS Strum to the full version too, but don't use it that much.  To my ears it doesn't sound realistic enough to use as a guitar, and sounds too realistic to pass off as anything but something trying to sound like a guitar!

 

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59 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

I did upgrade AAS Strum to the full version too, but don't use it that much.  To my ears it doesn't sound realistic enough to use as a guitar, and sounds too realistic to pass off as anything but something trying to sound like a guitar!

I used to feel the same way about certain sounds, such as electric organs, electric pianos and string machines. It was by chance that I realized - while using VS-3 in a new project - that this was neither a real string instrument nor an emulation of one, but rather its own thing. Had I replaced it with any of those things or a more "conventional" synth, it would just not be the same. I then learned to appreciate the synthetic sounds produced by VS-3 and GS-2 and embrace their artificiality. A lot is up to the listener's expectations and how you set them up, i.e. don't be shy about and try to cover up the fakeness, but instead make it a point and do it with grace, saying "I bet your real guitar can't do this."  

I think when you're authentic and interesting your audience will not be driven to analysis ("Is this in the category of a synthesizer or an acoustic instrument? Is it pretentious or misplaced? If so, what is its intended function?") to find their enjoyment, they'll appreciate it for what it is because the whole validates its constituents.

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13 minutes ago, sarine said:

I used to feel the same way about certain sounds, such as electric organs, electric pianos and string machines. It was by chance that I realized - while using VS-3 in a new project - that this was neither a real string instrument nor an emulation of one, but rather its own thing. Had I replaced it with any of those things or a more "conventional" synth, it would just not be the same. I then learned to appreciate the synthetic sounds produced by VS-3 and GS-2 and embrace their artificiality. A lot is up to the listener's expectations and how you set them up, i.e. don't be shy about and try to cover up the fakeness, but instead make it a point and do it with grace, saying "I bet your real guitar can't do this."  

I think when you're authentic and interesting your audience will not be driven to analysis ("Is this in the category of a synthesizer or an acoustic instrument? Is it pretentious or misplaced? If so, what is its intended function?") to find their enjoyment, they'll appreciate it for what it is because the whole validates its constituents.

I do get what you're saying.  In the past I've used a Roland D110 guitar sound, which was obviously a synthesised guitar, but gave an interesting quality - especially when I then repeated the phrase immediately afterwards with a real guitar. The contrast worked really well.

For me though, there are very few situations where the AAS Strum does it for me - unless it's pretty far back in the mix.

Where it does hold its own is the mode where you hold a chord down in one hand, and trigger the individual strings in another. This is really useful for coming up with picking patterns I wouldn't normally have come up with on a real guitar (mainly down to habit).  For me it's a useful writing tool, but for a sound source, not so much.

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Nembrini - I picked up their lo-fi vintage clipper plugin for free when they launched the site. Trying to register it via ilok was a nightmare at first and I more or less abandoned them after that experience. Then a lot later I went back to it and it's now one of my favourite plugins for adding a bit of grit to my mixes (current list price €79). I've since picked up all their free plugins and a few paid ones (echo delay is especially nice) and I use them on a regular basis.  Well worth it.

I also agree about Melda. Solid, simple and effective.

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38 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

For me though, there are very few situations where the AAS Strum does it for me - unless it's pretty far back in the mix.
 

Totally agree. I'd even go as far as saying AAS Strum is useless as a production plugin. It just sounds artificial, like Christmas card music. 

I agree it can be useful for writing, or just mucking about, but I'd never use it in a mix, unless it was deeply buried under distortion and effects.

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35 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

For me though, there are very few situations where the AAS Strum does it for me - unless it's pretty far back in the mix.

I mostly use it to color and support sampled sounds. But I'm sure it will eventually see some more up-front role in my projects.

 

35 minutes ago, msmcleod said:

Where it does hold its own is the mode where you hold a chord down in one hand, and trigger the individual strings in another. This is really useful for coming up with picking patterns I wouldn't normally have come up with on a real guitar (mainly down to habit).

Sugar Bytes Guitarist is pretty fun for this kind of thing too. The sounds aren't spectacular but you can also use it as a MIDI controller. I rarely use it though as I don't use chord/pattern triggers (including arpeggiators) as I prefer to put every note down by hand. There's a "pattern generator" in my head from having listened to and played classical music on piano (and having listened to most other kinds of music, but I mainly attribute this to extended exposure to classical).

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58 minutes ago, Philip G Hunt said:

Nembrini - I picked up their lo-fi vintage clipper plugin for free when they launched the site.

Yes! This one and Kush's Omega TWK are my favorite grit/distortion plugins at the moment. They're both so easy to dial in and see if they'll work or not.  I also picked up Nembrini's Boss Distortion when it came out, so the FREEBIE definitely put Nembrini on my radar.  That, and he's the dev for most of the PA amp sims, so there's that too.  His Blackice bass amp is on my list but waaaaay too $$ without a crazy deal.

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53 minutes ago, mibby said:

 Nembrini's Boss Distortion.

I used to own the actual pedal back in the 90s. It was a really nice solid piece of kit. I used it on stage at the once mighty Old Trout pub in Windsor, which used to be the warm up venue for bands playing Reading music festival. Saw band near the beginning of their careers such as Pavement, Swervedriver and Mudhoney there. Even Nirvana played a secret gig under a pseudonym. Oh happy memories. 😌

Edited by Philip G Hunt
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Ample Sounds acoustic guitar.

Started me on a collection. I've bought six instruments now.

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12 hours ago, Eusebio Rufian-Zilbermann said:

I need to classify my answer in several categories of "upsell"

The top of my list is Magix Music Maker. It is free in its basic edition. I got a few "enhanced" editions for free bundled with other products, multiple times, and ignored it for years, then one day I started playing around with it and... now I have upgraded to the full premium edition, expanded with more than 200 soundpools

Other entries in the "free to full" category are Native Instruments, from the various players to Komplete, and Plugin Alliance from a few freebies to... (I'd rather not look at the numbers)

For the category "free with DAW" and "free with Hardware" I have: The Melodyne Assistant that came with Cakewalk ended up in a full Melodyne Studio, the XLN Addictive Drums that also came with Cakewalk started me on the path to a nearly complete AD2 setup, and the same happened with AAS, from a couple of "session" versions to full versions of all the instruments plus many expansion packs. The Air plugins that came with Pro Tools got me into AIEP3. The various iZotope plugins included with SoundForge ended up in Music Production Suite. The SONiVOX EightyEight that came with a midi controller ended up in the complete SONiVOX colection. Sibelius First (that I don't remember what hardware it came with) ended up a full Sibelius license

The next category are the "free with magazine" (Computer Music): DDMF plugins, Xils Virtual Instruments, Audiothing MiniBit, Rob Papen RG, Hornet plugins, Synthmaster, u-he plugins and Virtual Instruments

I have reserved for the end the "did-what-no-other-has-done" category: Cakewalk. The really early versions that I saw I don't remember if they were actually shareware or they were "friend-shared-wares". I then got several versions in the "free with hardware" category (with sound blaster cards), until I upgraded to full versions  of Sonar. The unique twist came when it was "upgraded back to free"

 

I'm surprised by this.  I seem to have plenty of these versions and never installed them.

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15 hours ago, Eusebio Rufian-Zilbermann said:

I need to classify my answer in several categories of "upsell"

The top of my list is Magix Music Maker. It is free in its basic edition. I got a few "enhanced" editions for free bundled with other products, multiple times, and ignored it for years, then one day I started playing around with it and... now I have upgraded to the full premium edition, expanded with more than 200 soundpools

Other entries in the "free to full" category are Native Instruments, from the various players to Komplete, and Plugin Alliance from a few freebies to... (I'd rather not look at the numbers)

For the category "free with DAW" and "free with Hardware" I have: The Melodyne Assistant that came with Cakewalk ended up in a full Melodyne Studio, the XLN Addictive Drums that also came with Cakewalk started me on the path to a nearly complete AD2 setup, and the same happened with AAS, from a couple of "session" versions to full versions of all the instruments plus many expansion packs. The Air plugins that came with Pro Tools got me into AIEP3. The various iZotope plugins included with SoundForge ended up in Music Production Suite. The SONiVOX EightyEight that came with a midi controller ended up in the complete SONiVOX colection. Sibelius First (that I don't remember what hardware it came with) ended up a full Sibelius license

The next category are the "free with magazine" (Computer Music): DDMF plugins, Xils Virtual Instruments, Audiothing MiniBit, Rob Papen RG, Hornet plugins, Synthmaster, u-he plugins and Virtual Instruments

I have reserved for the end the "did-what-no-other-has-done" category: Cakewalk. The really early versions that I saw I don't remember if they were actually shareware or they were "friend-shared-wares". I then got several versions in the "free with hardware" category (with sound blaster cards), until I upgraded to full versions  of Sonar. The unique twist came when it was "upgraded back to free"

 

This is almost my story exactly. MMM is what started me down the GAS path. TBH, I have not spent much time with MMM as I quickly moved on to CW and then Tracktion Waveform because they offered a free version and I upgraded, and then Reaper and finally settled on Studio One.

The rest of your story is similar to mine as well.

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6 hours ago, Philip G Hunt said:

Totally agree. I'd even go as far as saying AAS Strum is useless as a production plugin. It just sounds artificial, like Christmas card music. 

I agree it can be useful for writing, or just mucking about, but I'd never use it in a mix, unless it was deeply buried under distortion and effects.

I respectfully disagree. I believe it is useless as an attempt to replace a real guitar. I don't think any of is believe technology is at a place where replacing a real guitar is well executed or desirable. What this plugin is good for is creating the artificial "guitar" sound design that is common in pop music I production.  Like many artificial sounds that are not even close to the instruments they are named after, this particular sound (especially when processed heavily) is present in tons of top 40 hits these days.  Using it as a straight guitar is asking for disappointment, but treating it as a synth patch for pop/EDM\Lo-fi and various other genres is another story.

 

With that said, I have never found reason to upgrade because I already have enough artificial synth sources that make similar sounds. I believe AAS's marketing flaw with this is trying to sell this as proper emulation of a guitar when it's not very good at that. I never found string studio as having any value until I stopped trying to get it to sound like a string section and started using as a way to make odd sounds that have string like characteristics unique timbres.

 

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