Most overrated and underrated VST developers (can list specific VSTs too)

Discuss VST stuff here!
WarStar
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Joined: 17 Oct 2018

Post 11 Jul 2021

Just out of curiosity I'd like to see what peoples opinions might be. Plus maybe get some suggestions that might be helpful for the forum..

The minimal experience I have I feel that Waves is kinda overated but like I said I don't have a ton of experience with VSTs in general...

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MrFigg
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Post 11 Jul 2021

I had to read the title again. Glad it’s VSTs and not REs. Wouldn’t like to have seen any hate directed towards our devs.
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dvdrtldg
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Post 11 Jul 2021

I kinda feel like with Waves, their strong suit is standard meat & potatoes plugins, and those are really, really good. F6 EQ, Abbey Road Plates, L2 Maximiser, H-Delay, Renaissance Compressor, TG 12345 channel strip, a bunch of others. They're "industry standard" for a reason, rock solid reliable and easy to use and they just sound great and they always will. And if you're patient you can pick them up for $29, it's awesome

But plugin companies have to keep attracting people with shiny new things, and for a lot of those companies, the answer to that problem is to get deep into creative sound design tools. Waves don't seem to want to do that, so they just keep wringing the sponge harder & harder with stock production tools - signature series plugins, modelled-on-legendary-studio-desk-[X] plugins - with what seem to me like diminishing returns in terms of the "Oh shit, I really need to get this" factor. They might be good, but when I already have like eight Waves compressors, do I really need their latest one, even if it's got some big-ticket engineer's name on it, or comes with some story about how it faithfully recreates the sound of the compressor used on Revolver or whatever?

Anyway that's my 0.02c on Waves: solid plugins, not overrated, in fact the older ones with the terrible 90s-looking GUIs are probably highly underrated. But I feel like I've got all the Waves plugins I'll ever need, and it's been a while since I got excited about anything new of theirs (the most recent one was Abbey Road Saturator, which is worth getting excited about). And their business model absolutely sucks, but that's another story

Overrated:

Glitchmachines. Everyone raves about their freaky sound design capabilities, but it takes a LOT of work with those tiny little fiddly knobs to get anything useable out of them. Mostly they just create shitty-sounding mayhem, and the UIs are among the worst you'll find anywhere

kiloHearts Faturator (I know it's an RE but I'm talking about the VST version, so there). People always include this in their lists of favourite distortion plugins, but to me it just makes everything sound like duck farts. The stereo widener is useful, but nothing game-changing

Underrated:

Klanghelm. Their DC8C3 and MJUC compressors are pretty much all the compressor you'll ever need. And for saturation their SDRR2 is all quality, one of the very best out there. Plus their prices are amazingly reasonable, and they offer stripped-back free versions of some of their plugins that sound fantastic

Audio Thing. A smallish suite of really beautiful sounding plugins, leaning in the direction of older analogue style FX but also with one or two brilliant sound design tools (Frostbite, Fog Convolver). And Wires - their take on an old 1970s Soviet wire recorder - is just amazing & totally unique

Acustica Audio's Celestial series. They're slightly problematic in that they either introduce a lot of latency, or if you use the zero latency versions they can really eat your CPU. But holy shit, do they sound good. There's a mix version, a bus version and a mastering version, a lot of blather about "psychoacoustic" modelling, "analog warmth" etc etc but basically they're a channel strip with saturator --> EQ --> filters --> compressor --> stereo image processor and they are AWESOME. The mastering version in particular is just so good for bringing just the right amount of thump and sparkle and "lift" to a mix. They were free at one point, not sure if that's still the case. Well worth checking out

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bitley
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Post 11 Jul 2021

Well quite frankly Access Virus TI is a seriously overrated & underpowered series of synths but they can sound quite decent. Recording them however should be done via audio / midi cables and the whole USB / TI concept can - and should - be ignored completely. I guess a Virus C should do just fine. Nowadays I'd gladly & wholeheartedly recommend the Deepmind 12 instead. (The DM6 has too little polyphony though imho.)

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guitfnky
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Post 11 Jul 2021

I think Waves stuff is super solid, but I only have mostly older stuff, and their modeled plugins are great. there’s a reason they’re so widely used, even in professional circles.

overrated, I’d have to say Oeksound’s Soothe. it’s okay, but really doesn’t sound as amazing as people make it out to be. and Fabfilter, TBH, mostly because of the price. I don’t get why people would shell out almost $200 for an EQ just because it has lots of features and a great workflow. there are plenty of comparable EQs for a fraction of that, some of which have workflows almost as good.

underrated, I’d have to go with Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar 2—or maybe it’s less underrated, and more underused. fantastic way to get some keyboard parts recorded if you play guitar and not keyboard. Native Instruments’ Passive EQ is also amazing on a master bus.
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latest release—The Lake Door:
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MrFigg
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Post 12 Jul 2021

guitfnky wrote:
11 Jul 2021

underrated, I’d have to go with Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar 2—or maybe it’s less underrated, and more underused. fantastic way to get some keyboard parts recorded if you play guitar and not keyboard. Native Instruments’ Passive EQ is also amazing on a master bus.
I didn’t even know about that Plugin. Just webbed it and it looks pretty useful. Would result in me advancing my keyboard skills maybe but who cares when there’s and AM 60s Orig Fender JM on the way. Two questions…does it really work well and does it ever go on sale? I saw they’ve got a deal on for $149 which gets you midiguitar2 and midibass with a free upgrade to midiguitar3 and midibass2.
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dvdrtldg
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Post 12 Jul 2021

guitfnky wrote:
11 Jul 2021
overrated, I’d have to say Oeksound’s Soothe. it’s okay, but really doesn’t sound as amazing as people make it out to be.
Really? I use Soothe all day every day and it's one of my favourite plugins. Not so much for making things sound great, but for fixing things that don't. It's a massive time saver

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guitfnky
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Post 12 Jul 2021

MrFigg wrote:
12 Jul 2021
guitfnky wrote:
11 Jul 2021

underrated, I’d have to go with Jam Origin’s MIDI Guitar 2—or maybe it’s less underrated, and more underused. fantastic way to get some keyboard parts recorded if you play guitar and not keyboard. Native Instruments’ Passive EQ is also amazing on a master bus.
I didn’t even know about that Plugin. Just webbed it and it looks pretty useful. Would result in me advancing my keyboard skills maybe but who cares when there’s and AM 60s Orig Fender JM on the way. Two questions…does it really work well and does it ever go on sale? I saw they’ve got a deal on for $149 which gets you midiguitar2 and midibass with a free upgrade to midiguitar3 and midibass2.
the tracking is really impressive, but like any guitar to MIDI, you have to play well, and certain things that are a normal part of guitar playing don't translate well (strumming muted strings for percussive effect, for example). I'm far from a great player, so I usually have to do a little cleanup after recording, but of course, YMMV.

I trialed it and within a minute my mind was made up to buy. I don't know if they put it on sale often--in my case I was happy to pay the $100 price, because I'd been looking at much more expensive traditional MIDI pickups/converters. this saved me a few hundred from what I'd expected to have to spend.

caveat though...using it with Reason requires a little bit of extra setup, with a MIDI loopback, but it's pretty easy and their website has good instructions on how to do it. supposedly it's slightly more taxing on the CPU to set up that way, but I never had a problem with it.
I write bad music for good people

latest release—The Lake Door:
bit.ly/TheLakeDoor-Soundcloud
https://slowrobot.bandcamp.com/track/the-lake-door

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guitfnky
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Post 12 Jul 2021

dvdrtldg wrote:
12 Jul 2021
guitfnky wrote:
11 Jul 2021
overrated, I’d have to say Oeksound’s Soothe. it’s okay, but really doesn’t sound as amazing as people make it out to be.
Really? I use Soothe all day every day and it's one of my favourite plugins. Not so much for making things sound great, but for fixing things that don't. It's a massive time saver
I trialed it to try and tame some sibilance in my voice because people were raving about it but it just made everything sound unnatural for that. I tried it on some other sources (to de-harsh some guitars, for example), and it works fine for that sort of thing, but not noticeably better than using an EQ--certainly not $200 worth of better, in my view.
I write bad music for good people

latest release—The Lake Door:
bit.ly/TheLakeDoor-Soundcloud
https://slowrobot.bandcamp.com/track/the-lake-door

EdGrip
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Post 12 Jul 2021

Overrated - Waves, of course
Underrated - TDR
Correctly rated - Valhalla ;)

Popey
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Joined: 04 Jul 2018

Post 12 Jul 2021

Just my personal opinion

Overrated: Some of the P.A plugins
Underrated: tone2 synths

Must admit to liking soothe2, appreciate it is expensive but saves me a lot of time and for the same reason gullfoss which I use on individual tracks and master.

Not strictly a vst but would say the tc finalizer app is underrated too.

ortxedys
Posts: 44
Joined: 02 Nov 2018

Post 12 Jul 2021

Overrated: iZotope. The Ozone auto mixing stuff. Not my cup of tea. Also dont love how sluggish some of izotopes other plugins are. Even on a pretty souped up computer.

Underrated: Aberrant DSP. They only have 2 plugins. But theyre a steal and great for more lofi/coloring stuff. I'm a fan of abstract ways to color sounds.

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esselfortium
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Post 12 Jul 2021

ortxedys wrote:
12 Jul 2021
Overrated: iZotope. The Ozone auto mixing stuff. Not my cup of tea. Also dont love how sluggish some of izotopes other plugins are. Even on a pretty souped up computer.
Sluggish in what way? I haven't encountered that... I agree that the auto mixing features are generally not worth using, but I do like iZotope's plugins quite a bit otherwise.

ortxedys
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Post 12 Jul 2021

esselfortium wrote:
12 Jul 2021
ortxedys wrote:
12 Jul 2021
Overrated: iZotope. The Ozone auto mixing stuff. Not my cup of tea. Also dont love how sluggish some of izotopes other plugins are. Even on a pretty souped up computer.
Sluggish in what way? I haven't encountered that... I agree that the auto mixing features are generally not worth using, but I do like iZotope's plugins quite a bit otherwise.
I had a bad experience with their iris 2 plugin. Even in other DAWs, the responsiveness of it just seemed maybe not fully "optimized" (slow opening and closing of gui, among other quirks.) There's definite value there. But overall, for my sound, there's simpler and smoother tools that I go to.

WarStar
Posts: 202
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Post 12 Jul 2021

dvdrtldg wrote:
11 Jul 2021

Klanghelm. Their DC8C3 and MJUC compressors are pretty much all the compressor you'll ever need. And for saturation their SDRR2 is all quality, one of the very best out there. Plus their prices are amazingly reasonable, and they offer stripped-back free versions of some of their plugins that sound fantastic
Thanks for the suggestion! Gonna grab the free ones and eventually buy the others.. stellar GUI..!!! Read his "about" info, love his perspective on vst development

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guitfnky
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Post 12 Jul 2021

MJUC is great—I agree that’s an under appreciated gem.
I write bad music for good people

latest release—The Lake Door:
bit.ly/TheLakeDoor-Soundcloud
https://slowrobot.bandcamp.com/track/the-lake-door

WarStar
Posts: 202
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Post 12 Jul 2021

ortxedys wrote:
12 Jul 2021
esselfortium wrote:
12 Jul 2021


Sluggish in what way? I haven't encountered that... I agree that the auto mixing features are generally not worth using, but I do like iZotope's plugins quite a bit otherwise.
I had a bad experience with their iris 2 plugin. Even in other DAWs, the responsiveness of it just seemed maybe not fully "optimized" (slow opening and closing of gui, among other quirks.) There's definite value there. But overall, for my sound, there's simpler and smoother tools that I go to.
I'm kinda on the fence with the Iris and Trash 2.. I like their features and trash is pretty awesome but they pull some CPU so kinda discourages me from using them as much as I'd like, particularly trash.. I'd have to mix it down right away to save CPU

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huggermugger
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Post 17 Jul 2021

Over-rated? You'll get no hate from me. But under-rated, Klanghelm (SERIOUSLY underrated), AudioThing (innovative and inspiring) and AudioDamage (little bits of perfection).
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Kalm
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Post 17 Jul 2021

Overrated - 80% of Waves catalog
Underrated - AA
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PhillipOrdonez
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Location: Norway

Post 17 Jul 2021

I do like izotope's ozone and neutron suites. Very usable tools for mixing and mastering, I use several is the plugins included on the advanced versions on every track.

Now to the topic:
I don't think they are underrated cause they are very well regarded, however they aren't as well known as others, and the products are amazing: Goodhertz.

And I have no idea what brand is overrated... I've found good things from waves and P.A. and izotope as already mentioned so 🤷‍♂️

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avasopht
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Post 18 Jul 2021

Highly underrated: MuTools

In 2001 they had a fantastic live clip system in their DAW called Muzys. However, he sold the rights around 2004 to the application to an unnamed company he can't name due to NDA.

I should still have a copy somewhere in my backups.

It was off the hook.

Even the cut-down version that came free with Computer Music in 2002 had a built-in slicer, sampler, VST support, an insanely innovative loop-based sequencer and live clip environment.

Oh, and it was uber lightweight with the snappiest UI I've ever seen and was as stable as a rock.

In the 15 years since he's developed its successor MuLab, which also runs as a VST plugin, and the modular synth and effects plugin (which can load VSTs) MUX.

The UI takes a little getting used to, but its functionality is interesting. It can also create REX files!
---

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adfielding
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Post 18 Jul 2021

I think Audiospillage (and specifically Drumspillage) are super underrated. Their plug-ins are AUs and are Mac only as a result, and I've only use Drumspillage 2... but nobody ever seems to talk about it and I think that's a huge shame! It hasn't been updated in years and I've moved back to Windows since I got it, but it sounds excellent and can produce some really decent drum hits. It's at a point now where I have a macOS VM handy just so I can run Drumspillage via an incredibly laggy interface. I would be so, SO happy to see a VST port, but the last post saying DS2 was still being worked on was back in 2016 so I'm not holding my breath there.

I also want to give a mention to Newfangled Audio - I'm not sure if I'd say they're underrated as they seem to have a pretty strong critical reception, but nobody ever seems to talk about them. Their UIs are definitely an acquired taste, but their plug-ins are superb. Their first commercial synth Generate is a wonderful character synth with a bit of a mind of its own, and it's so nice to see a new synth doing something a bit different. I've been using Elevate as my go-to master limiter since it came out. It's great.

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plaamook
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Post 22 Jul 2021

WarStar wrote:
12 Jul 2021
I'm kinda on the fence with the Iris and Trash 2.. I like their features and trash is pretty awesome but they pull some CPU so kinda discourages me from using them as much as I'd like, particularly trash.. I'd have to mix it down right away to save CPU
I'm on a 2012 13" MBP and I can load almost as many instances of Trash as I like so...not sure what you're up to there.
One of the plugs I never think about.
I really wish they're overhaul the GUI though. Really hard going.
You can check out my music here.
https://m.soundcloud.com/ericholmofficial

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plaamook
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Post 22 Jul 2021

guitfnky wrote:
12 Jul 2021
dvdrtldg wrote:
12 Jul 2021
Really? I use Soothe all day every day and it's one of my favourite plugins. Not so much for making things sound great, but for fixing things that don't. It's a massive time saver
I trialed it to try and tame some sibilance in my voice because people were raving about it but it just made everything sound unnatural for that. I tried it on some other sources (to de-harsh some guitars, for example), and it works fine for that sort of thing, but not noticeably better than using an EQ--certainly not $200 worth of better, in my view.
Soothe isn't really what I think of as a sibilance tool. I guess it'll de-ess, but I never need it like that.
It's real trick is dynamic resonance taming. For me that mean's reverbed drone-scapes and hard filtering. The kind of stuff you'd be going mad chasing and automating with a standard EQ. It excels at that like nothing i've seen. And it's as transparent as you want it to be really. Soothe2 even more so.
It's possible you don't need it for what you're working with but it does it's job very well in other areas.
You can check out my music here.
https://m.soundcloud.com/ericholmofficial

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guitfnky
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Post 22 Jul 2021

plaamook wrote:
22 Jul 2021
guitfnky wrote:
12 Jul 2021


I trialed it to try and tame some sibilance in my voice because people were raving about it but it just made everything sound unnatural for that. I tried it on some other sources (to de-harsh some guitars, for example), and it works fine for that sort of thing, but not noticeably better than using an EQ--certainly not $200 worth of better, in my view.
Soothe isn't really what I think of as a sibilance tool. I guess it'll de-ess, but I never need it like that.
It's real trick is dynamic resonance taming. For me that mean's reverbed drone-scapes and hard filtering. The kind of stuff you'd be going mad chasing and automating with a standard EQ. It excels at that like nothing i've seen. And it's as transparent as you want it to be really. Soothe2 even more so.
It's possible you don't need it for what you're working with but it does it's job very well in other areas.
you’re totally right that it’s not really necessary for what I’m working on. I don’t doubt that it’s a good plugin—I just trialed it because I kept seeing people gushing over how well it de-esses, and I wanted to love it for that reason. it did a good job of taking some harshness away from some stuff, but not really anything I couldn’t get done with a standard EQ in that arena either.
I write bad music for good people

latest release—The Lake Door:
bit.ly/TheLakeDoor-Soundcloud
https://slowrobot.bandcamp.com/track/the-lake-door

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