Are Plug-Ins Like Pokemon?

Ok, so there's a crazy phenomenon going on right now where "full grown adults" are running around in public chasing Virtual/Augmented Reality Pokemon to gain points and status amongst their peers and fellow players. My personal view on that is to do whatever pleases you, whatever age you are and whatever it may be, as long as it is not to the detriment of anyone else. This got me thinking about us audio folks and our Pokemon by another name -


Years ago before plug-ins, we would buy pieces of studio hardware to aid in our sound sculpting and manipulation, these were expensive boxes to produce and so expensive for us to buy you'd generally have a small set of dedicated tools, maybe one for each different kind of task and you'd learn them inside out because they were a big investment and you needed to get your monies worth.
When Plug-ins hit the scene in the late 1990's they were expensive too but way cheaper than many pieces of hardware. Generally, they were still quite a financial investment and there were not that many to chose from so the same kind of thought process was used as above except you could have multiple instances of the same plugins running at once depending on the power of your rig, great idea for economising with your investments!
As time has moved on and plug-ins have gotten better and with more variety it seems like we are hitting a saturation point where choice is in abundance even from the same kind of products (how many 1176 compressor variants are out there for example?) and competition between developers is fierce and tighter than ever, As a knock on effect prices are hitting rock bottom in crazy low priced deals it certainly is "a buyers market" but how much of this stuff do we really need?

It seems that not a day goes by where we are being offered "No Brainer" deals we "Cannot Miss" whether is be a Neve-based EQ for just $29 or a massive bundle of must-have studio processors for $99 (normally $599)

  • How many of you jump on those opportunities because they are seemingly too good to pass up at the time but never really use what you bought and just end up with a huge plug-in list in your DAW or maybe you never install them at all?
  • How often do you succumb to these deals rather than save for the one special thing you really want?
  • Once you have bought into one platform or bundle do you feel compelled to buy more to complete the set even if you are not sure when you might use them?
  • Once you own these plug-ins do you pay continued charges to keep them up to date and usable with your setup?
  • In the long run, do you think you spend more on these weekly deals than you would on a major purchase less often?
  • Is Pokemon, plug-in collecting or any other collecting just a drug by another name....

I think this is a pretty good discussion starter and it would be interesting to see whether this new way of "carrot dangling" marketing at rock bottom prices employed by many developers is working or giving the customer what they want or are we all just chasing Pokemon for status rights with our peers ?

Its not just plugins thoug, think of 500 series racks, do you buy a rack and then think about how quickly you can fill it?

There's the term G.A.S. (Gear Aquisition Syndrome) that fits this mentality perfectly and i think we are all victims of that now and again.

I'm sure there will be some comments stating this to be the most ridiculous blog post ever, maybe it is, and I freely admitIi have no desires for a career in journalism but I just felt like writing it down and that's what blogs are for. At the very least I enjoyed creating the graphics for this post which of course contain images copyright: The Pokémon Company International and are used in a purely demonstrative non commercial manner.

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