Does anyone else dislike the process of demoing plugins?

Does anyone else dislike the process of demoing plugins?


I’m all for having options to demo a plugin, but does anyone else here find the process of having to uninstall them when you decide to pass on one rather annoying?


I’ve only demo’d a few plugins (maybe 4 or 5-ish). That was almost a year ago. Still haven’t uninstalled them…,but thanks for the reminder. I like that we have the option to demo plugins. Usually these companies give you a week or two to decide if you like them, but I often need even more time than that to know for sure if I like something…unless it’s a plugin that makes an obvious, immediate improvement in my sound. There’s so many free plugins to choose from that I am a bit reluctant to put my money into buying yet another plugin. Usually you can find something that is pretty good for no money at all. I’m not much of a consumer.


I’ve only demoed plugins a few times. I think they were all from Waves, which was fairly easy to get rid of if I remember. I mostly don’t trust myself to know if a plugin is good or not haha. It takes me a long time to get a feel for something–longer than a week or so–so I go based on reviews and whatnot.


It depends. If it’s just a .dll to drop in a folder (i.e. many of the free/shareware ones) it’s easy enough to get rid of. Yes, going through the uninstall wizard takes a minute or two, but that’s not too laborious. I guess the way I look at it, grabbing a demo involves a time commitment that you’re either willing to make or you’re not. That way you don’t have to beat yourself up at the end. :wink:

Another way to look at it is “do I really need this (if I like it)” thinking. What is your strategy for your toolkit? That can drive decisions about plugins and demos. If you’re keen to try out lots of things (i.e. “stimulus junkie” :smirk:) then just realize that’s what you’re doing. Pushing the envelope means you’re invoking the success/failure ratio. If you have a 51% success rate … you’re winning. :grin:


gaaaaaaah. Yes. I hate it. Actually, I only hate it with plugins that use iLok. Every time I do a rescan on my plugins I have to wade through about 20 “this is not activated on iLok” messages. It’s pretty rare that I’m in the mood to go uninstall stuff when I’m scanning my plugins, so I always just end up clicking through the messages hoping that one day I’ll get around to having the time to uninstall them.

No other plugins require this when scanning. Just iLok. And it sends me into a murderous rage ever time I have to rescan plugins (a rage that I completely forget about 5 minutes later, hence the reason they never get uninstalled)


Strategy? Mine has really just been to keep trying new things until something better comes along.

I rely really heavily on reviews too. And also on hype. Hype can be misleading, but if an unusually large group of people are paying attention to something like the Brainworx console channel or the Valhalla reverb (for example), then sometimes there’s something really unique and usable about it. Maybe hype isn’t the right term, but like… stuff that’s getting a lot of buzz or simply word of mouth advertising.

I think I’m the opposite of you when it comes to feeling out new tools. I tend to make hasty decisions and not taking ENOUGH time to get to know something.

Yup. Or ‘demo’ has expired flashes on the scan screen right as you walk away, return an hour later, expect your DAW update to have rescanned everything only to find a ‘demo expired’ screen is holding everything else up.

The other thing I hate is when you manually trash the AAX and AU component then the VST demos come back to pester you later when you open Ableton or S1 - or any DAW that uses both.


I’ve stopped watching the YouTube videos about plugins (except for yours @bozmillar! - I just bought the Pan Knob) because I think it’s too easy to get caught up in the “wow - you can do xyz with this plugin” effect. The number of times I’ve watched those videos and reached for the credit card, and then realised I’ve got 5 plugins that can exactly the same job. But recently I demoed the Kuassa Caliburn and the Scheps Omni. My lord, those two have made me so happy. Didn’t watch any videos, I just read an article about the Omni which basically said “buy this plugin now or you’re an idiot” (paraphrased of course). I got the demo, used it and fell in love there and then. Then waited 3 months for a blessed $29 deal to turn up.

The Caliburn again was an email I received from Kuassa with an introductory price and I demoed it and just knew it had to be part of my amp sims.

Uninstalling on a Mac is relatively easy, until you use an iLok demo. I hate iLok with a passion. I’ve had it crash Logic, freeze up my computer and take all the bandwidth of my computer while contacting it’s servers.

The other part of demoing plugins I hate is when that 5 seconds of white noise is inserted randomly while in demo mode. I’m all for protection of earnings, but white noise in the middle of a vocal or guitar part can really get irritating when you’re critically analysing a plugin for purchase.


Oh yes, you use a bunch of different DAWs, right? I can see how that could complicate things. How many DAWs are you actually using on a regular basis now? I found it hard enough using Pro Tools and learning Reaper at the same time, for the eventual switch to pretty much just Reaper. Luckily, the keyboard shortcuts aren’t radically different, but there are still lots of differences I had to learn. Not to mention Reaper’s incredible flexibility and customization, which I found to be wonderful in theory but challenging in implementation after being used to Pro Tools’ rigidity. I finally got used to it, but it was quite an adjustment.

I guess my point/question is what is a workable balance between a solid toolkit and infinitely expandable options? How many DAWs do you need? How many plugins? How many customizations? Just questions. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, it’s counter-productive and annoying. They should do a visual flash or pop-up or something that doesn’t affect the sound, at least with that frequency, and if they need to disable sound do it less often, like 1 minute or something. Visual annoyances should be enough to help prevent demo abuse.


How many do I need? Probably just Pro Tools and Nuendo. How many DAWs is it beneficial to have on a practical level? I guess most of them… I mean I’m not sitting around learning them just to say I did. I don’t use Reason anymore. I have a good reason to use FL studio either. I just have a lot of clients that still use Logic, Ableton, Reaper, and an increasing number of them on Studio One. Using a lot less plugins these days. What really did this was UAD. Once I bought out that library, I stopped using a ton of other stuff. And now I know exactly which Waves plugs I need and which ones I don’t. It really helped clarify things.


How about figuring out where the darn thing lives and a more ‘standard’ method of installing plugins? Some get their own folder. Some in a ‘community’ folder. Some let you choose the folder. Some put them in one place only… some in another. It’s highly annoying and I always feel that my plugins are in a rather messy state. I want to specify where the darn thing gets installed so I know exactly where it is when I want to get rid of it. :slight_smile:


This issue is far more prevalent on windows than it is on mac. Mac’s plugin folders are predefined. Windows you can set it wherever you want. There is a registry setting that specifies where your default vst folder is, but I’ve noticed that very few installers actually look at that setting. Mine are spread out across a whole bunch of folders, and it drives me nuts.