The New UAD 1176 and the Excessive Cost Of Plugins
by, 04-28-2012 at 11:30 AM (3391 Views)
I want to point out that in my situation I have a pretty "mature" collection of gear and plugins. This is an issue of having more than enough food in the fridge and then still deciding to go out to eat. I don't NEED any new toys.
UAD released it's new and improved 1176s http://www.uaudio.com/store/compress...ollection.html. I had no intention of even trying them but I succumb to the temptation. They are better. How much? Well, I can tell you for sure that the weakest link in the last 20 mixes wouldn't place the UAD 1176 (the one I already own) in the top 1,000 of problems I need to solve/improve. If I posted an Audio Skeptics Society post with both compressors in a totally blind test, no one would care about the difference. No client would go YES!!!.
New shoelaces would probably make a greater impact on my life in the big picture even if focusing on the microcosm that is A/B ing 1176 plugins pleases those having "Hear The Difference" contests. It is possible that extra little chracter MAY give a track that one thing it's missing. In those cases, that extra 1% is hard to put a price tag on. That's they way they sell these things, I guess. (I have 200 plugins that all give you that extra 1%. When does my recording quality double? )
I was deeply affected by paul999's post a year or two ago about his view that plugins were more expensive than hardware. It's a slightly crazy point of view. How can a $300 plugin that you can use on 100 channels in your mix cost more than a $1,200 (used) hardware compressor that you can use one 1 channel?
The difference is there are 6 F*CKING $300 plugins that come out every F*CKING month all claiming to be some freakin' holy grail...or at least implying it. Even if you bought into the hype only once a month, that's a $3,600 /yr plugin bill. Ouch!
The thing that sucks about this is you won't be finished at the end of the year. Going down this path you will NEVER be satisfied because they will always half the distance between the plugins and the hardware. A hot new MUST HAVE thing WILL come out in the next 4 days. I guarantee it!
A person doesn't have to necessarily spend $3,600 per year on plugins, but at some point they will have to abandon this "subscription service" and simply stick with their tools with the inferiority implication. The marketing machine will continue. For some this will be easy. They never played the rat race to begin with. For others who are willing to bleed a little bit for that extra 1% it's HARD to stay disciplined.
Waves, UAD, Slate Digital and a dozen other tip top companies have new stuff coming out every week.
Example: UAD Studer A800 was all the rage about a year ago. Waves now has their tape machine emulator. UAD adds the Ampex (which people are all talking up now and seem have kinda forgotten about the Studer). The Slate Digital tape emulator comes out soon. Then what? What do I do with that $300 UAD Studer A800? I can't sell it, really. Not for any real money.
Example2: UAD makes a big splash with the EMT 250 Plate. It's a hell of a reverb. I'll give 'em that. It's a "must have" according to the marketing. Then their Lexicon 224 comes out. It's now a "must have". It never really ends. There will be a new "must have" reverb soon. I'm positive of it.
So anyway, I was wondering what it would cost to buy 10 1176s used. I figure if I'm a smart shopper I can pick up 10 of them for $14,000. Expensive? YES! That means I simply need to avoid 46 months of the $300/month plugin subscription. If I can manage that, at the end of the 4 years I will have $14k in hardware that I can sell for $14k.
I'm not sure if I'll do this. Hardware is a pain in the ass when you need to tweak it a lot. (An Eventide H3000 makes sense...at least til the VST version comes out). One thing is for sure. Buying "hot", "new" plugins every 10 minutes is a pain in the wallet and I'm not sure if it's really all that easier on the ears.