Same Rack Extension, different coat of paint?

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Ropay
Posts: 14
Joined: 23 Sep 2017
Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 08 Feb 2019

This may be a controversial, even rhetorical, question but why are there two different versions of the Umpf Drums RE i.e. Club Drums and Retro Drums?
These things are sold at £89 a piece yet seem to feature similar, if not the same, knobs and dials as each other but are just loaded with different sounds.

I guess the same thing could be said about those Pangea, Klang and Humana REs that came installed with Reason 10 but at least those are included with Reason.

We now have the Rack Extension version of Reason Drum Kits, along with the RE version of Electric Bass, which is fine in my opinion as ultimately everything will, and possibly should, shift to Rack Extensions in line with Reason's direction.
However, making Rack Extensions for the sake of it is clearly just becoming a cash grab when perhaps Propellerheads could rather sell the samples and even different 'skins' for the Rack Extensions but at a lower price.

I'm trying to get into making music but the price of these individual things is just too much...especially when I start thinking a few months down the line they're just going to release another, re-skinned, version of the same thing. I know we have the rent-to-own thing now but that kind of misses the point because eventually I end up paying more for the damn thing. Anyway, I digress..

I understand Propellerheads is a business and need to make money but this is becoming a bit obvious now and despite this topic being complained about before, could someone please tell me if I'm missing something? I'm sure as hell not going to pay £89 to find out!

....wait, yes, I forgot I can demo them but, ahh...nevermind.

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esselfortium
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Post 08 Feb 2019

I agree that in some cases the distinction just isn't enough to really justify the separate products both existing, like the two versions of Umpf. As with other things in the shop I don't need, though, I just don't buy them.

For Klang/Humana/Pangea, even though I'm not much of a fan of those instruments, I can see the purpose of having them as separate devices just for organization's sake (the samples they were built from came from far more than three Soundiron products, besides).
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aeox
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Post 08 Feb 2019

Yea they are cash grabs and people eat that stuff up! If it's got a nice GUI and the samples are bundled into a convenient package, that's what a lot of people like. The way I see it is, most "producers" aren't really interested in getting too technical with things and just want to load up some nice GUI instrument with a lot of presets. Having these themed devices makes sense in some ways, since I think a lot of people listen with their eyes and like to get "inspired" or in the mood, you know?

I, on the other hand don't buy these kinds of devices and prefer their synth offerings such as Europa, Complex-1, Parsec, etc. But those don't come out as frequently because they take more time to develop.

I've got no issue with the cash grabs, as long as it's helping fuel further development of everything Reason related. (the good stuff like DAW improvements)

Ropay
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Joined: 23 Sep 2017
Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 08 Feb 2019

Good Lord, how could I even forget, the whole A-List Drummer and Guitar pack for £179 and £239 respectively where the only difference between the three are literally the colour and the labels on the devices! There must be a better way to do this Props?!
Pay for the sounds and skins you want but don't just have another device you have to spend time scrolling through.

If I may so bold as to proclaim, I think Props have lost the essence of how a Rack Extension is supposed to virtualise an actual hardware device. Then again, I'm not too familiar with how it was done back in the day when these things were in fact separate devices. It was always my understanding that a piece of kit or a specific synth had a certain 'signature' sound because of its hardware.
Do you think this is being lost amongst our digital, virtual age?

Ropay
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Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 08 Feb 2019

aeox wrote:
08 Feb 2019
I, on the other hand don't buy these kinds of devices and prefer their synth offerings such as Europa, Complex-1, Parsec, etc. But those don't come out as frequently because they take more time to develop.
I wholeheartedly agree with this and am absolutely fine with the asking price of these. It's when Umpf Retro Beats is the same price as the likes of Complex-1and then I go "hang on..."

I still maintain there are better more 'ethical' ways of keeping the money coming in than just reskinning REs.
For example, being a gamer and thinking back to Little Big Planet where people would spend money on little costumes just so that their character could jump around the stages looking cool with their friends. In fact, saying that, we now have loot boxes which has taken that to another level so perhaps a bad example but you get my point.
People will pay less money but MORE FREQUENTLY for the sounds and skins they want rather than just another virtual device taking up virtual space.

scratchnsnifff
Posts: 1174
Joined: 21 Sep 2016

Post 08 Feb 2019

Even though I am admittedly in the fanboy crowd of propellerhead fans, even I can agree that the umpf series is a bit much. Maybe if they made it so you paid 75 for the first and from there you keep completing the bundle for $40 for the other releases in that little series

Iv seen free kick and synthesizer vsts woth the same amount of control.

While I do like umpf club for the effects. They should have just put the extra modules like the tape player and what ever else, inside or umpf club drums

I also don’t like buying the same thing twice, and idk what constitutes it being an entirely different unit when the few unique features could have been added to the original :p but at the end of the day I find myself wanting them to release more synths, so a part of me says to just get the drum stuff out of the way so we can get to new features and synths :) I still use kong and it will always be my go to device for drums. Not trying to throw any shade just trying to give my take on it
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Ropay
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Joined: 23 Sep 2017
Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 08 Feb 2019

I'm sure Propellerheads reads these forums and, should they come across this Topic, I would like to think that they would heed a bit of what I (and I'm sure many other beginners) am trying to convey.
No, I am not a big spender on the Props store but Reason is my only DAW and I am trying to slowly to build up the REs that I need/want. However, I'm also starting to notice this "Fear Of Missing Out" creeping over me with all these fancy re-skinnings.

With this constant release of the same REs, it just puts me off and I end up just going back to the built in Reason 10 offerings - which are amazing indeed.

I leave you with this.., despite the fact that we have Radical Piano built in to Reason 10, it's only a matter of time before we get a RE version of Reason Pianos...for another £89...along with Radical Pianos so that now we have TWO piano instruments under the same developer (Propellerheads)!
I would love to see the sampled Reason Pianos (which many seem to prefer the sound over the Radical Piano) incorporated into Radical Piano or, hell, even doing away with Radical Piano and only having Reason Pianos but using the awesome interface and effects that Radical Piano had!

Go on Propellerheads, what do you think? :)

chaosroyale
Posts: 182
Joined: 05 Sep 2017

Post 08 Feb 2019

I think the simple answer is that different plugins/extensions/VSTs target different markets.

I think presets-in-a-box type instruments like the ones in R10, UMPF, or those "How do you do, fellow kids, my name is DOPE" abominations, are an absolute waste of space, and sound cheesy as hell.

However, there are plenty of professionals whose job is "produce some generic music for a commercial really fast" and they don't need cutting edge sound design or deep editing, they just want something that can do a reasonable impression of last years mainstream trends, and they want it out-the-box and ASAP.

If that isn't you, don't buy preset type instruments. Also don't forget that complex-1 is a pretty rad little synth and that's an RE too.

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joeyluck
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Post 08 Feb 2019

I like the separate devices. One thing I don't like about Kontakt is not having libraries as separate devices. Although I can save a VST rack device patch to my favorites and have them separated that way... But still, all of my Kontakt libraries look the same in the rack as we can't have separate screenshots... They can't be distinguished at a glance like having separate devices.

So if you keep adding libraries to the same RE, you only keep increasing the size of that one RE. Better to have them separated for their categories and smaller, yeah? And if you do combine them, and create more kits in the future, at what point then do you start a separate one? You can certainly have bundle deals as well. So keeping them separate makes sense to me.

But I can certainly understand from a sample-loading device perspective...and then just selling ReFills for the one device, such as Kong...and then include all the features in one for the folks who want the functionality to work with their own samples vs. buying them more as a package of device + library.

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QVprod
Posts: 2171
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Post 08 Feb 2019

Ropay wrote:
08 Feb 2019
No, I am not a big spender on the Props store but Reason is my only DAW and I am trying to slowly to build up the REs that I need/want. However, I'm also starting to notice this "Fear Of Missing Out" creeping over me with all these fancy re-skinnings.

With this constant release of the same REs, it just puts me off and I end up just going back to the built in Reason 10 offerings - which are amazing indeed.

I leave you with this.., despite the fact that we have Radical Piano built in to Reason 10, it's only a matter of time before we get a RE version of Reason Pianos...for another £89...along with Radical Pianos so that now we have TWO piano instruments under the same developer (Propellerheads)!
I would love to see the sampled Reason Pianos (which many seem to prefer the sound over the Radical Piano) incorporated into Radical Piano or, hell, even doing away with Radical Piano and only having Reason Pianos but using the awesome interface and effects that Radical Piano had!

Go on Propellerheads, what do you think? :)
It's actually common for there to be multiple products that have slight similarities. Should they make a Reason Pianos RE (as they probably will), the functionality of it will be very different to what Radical Piano is. One is purely samples and the other is a combination of sampling and modeling, it probably wouldn't be wise to combine those. Mind you Native Instruments has several piano products and they're ALL sample based. However they are different pianos so again it makes sense for them to be separate products. Same with the A-list stuff. It's more than just a skin, the loops and pharases in each as well as the guitars as and fx are different in each. They're probably better off being separated than being this massive far more expensive product containing everything. On the other hand I would agree with you regarding the Umph REs as more samples could've been added in a refill format.

As far as missing out, you're only missing out if you feel you're missing something. You don't have to buy everything. If you're happy with Reason stock then use that.

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EnochLight
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Joined: 17 Jan 2015
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Post 09 Feb 2019

Ropay wrote:
08 Feb 2019
I understand Propellerheads is a business and need to make money
..and that's pretty much all one needs to know.
aeox wrote:
08 Feb 2019
Yea they are cash grabs
Sure, but everything any company has ever made and sold are "cash grabs". Companies are in business to make money, right? That said, Props were very transparent about the RDK Rack Extension, and frankly - it's a helluva lot nicer to work with compared to the rat's nest of Combinators you have to navigate for the old Refill IMHO. It's a fresh coat of paint, sure, but the usability improvements are pretty nice - especially for the "upgrade" price that pretty much anyone can get it for right now.

I dunno, I'm glad Props are putting the effort in to keep releasing stuff, even if the releases aren't ground breaking or so new/fresh that everyone has to have it. Successful companies like Native Instruments, Waves, and a plethora of others have been re-releasing and re-branding previous content and products for years. Props own the samples, paid a great deal of money to have them made, and should keep using them IMHO.

That said, I'm biased. I prefer customized RE interfaces over Refills these days. I'm guessing Prop's own marketing research and sales data indicates I'm not unique in that regard, hence the RE's we've seen.

Assorting musing: when was the last time Props made a sold a brand new Refill made for a specific instrument?
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aeox
Posts: 2068
Joined: 23 Feb 2017
Location: Oregon

Post 09 Feb 2019

EnochLight wrote:
09 Feb 2019
Ropay wrote:
08 Feb 2019
I understand Propellerheads is a business and need to make money
..and that's pretty much all one needs to know.
aeox wrote:
08 Feb 2019
Yea they are cash grabs
Sure, but everything any company has ever made and sold are "cash grabs". Companies are in business to make money, right? That said, Props were very transparent about the RDK Rack Extension, and frankly - it's a helluva lot nicer to work with compared to the rat's nest of Combinators you have to navigate for the old Refill IMHO. It's a fresh coat of paint, sure, but the usability improvements are pretty nice - especially for the "upgrade" price that pretty much anyone can get it for right now.

I dunno, I'm glad Props are putting the effort in to keep releasing stuff, even if the releases aren't ground breaking or so new/fresh that everyone has to have it. Successful companies like Native Instruments, Waves, and a plethora of others have been re-releasing and re-branding previous content and products for years. Props own the samples, paid a great deal of money to have them made, and should keep using them IMHO.

That said, I'm biased. I prefer customized RE interfaces over Refills these days. I'm guessing Prop's own marketing research and sales data indicates I'm not unique in that regard, hence the RE's we've seen.

Assorting musing: when was the last time Props made a sold a brand new Refill made for a specific instrument?
It makes sense for sure. I don't see anything wrong with it and I'd prefer a RE interface over a refill any day!

I just don't buy these kinds of products generally. The last samples RE I purchased was those 9 dollar mixfood ones, which I'm hoping will get used one day :D

two shoes
Posts: 173
Joined: 13 Jul 2018

Post 10 Feb 2019

i think he's mostly right - $90-100+ being the standard price for reskinned versions of ancient sample and midi libraries or slight variations of the same instrument is not treating your customers very well in my opinion. ridiculous prices for rack extensions is becoming epidemic in the shop and propellerhead themselves are leading the way.

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