Buying software, what makes it worth it?

What do you need to get out of a new piece of music software to make it worthwhile for you?

That’s obviously dependent on the size of your wallet. And equation is no doubt different if it makes you money.

But I’m curious, how many tracks do you need get out of say, a 50 bucks piece of software? And what if it costs a 100 bucks? Or 300? Does it scale linearly?

Or alternatively, how many hours of fun do you need to have with it before it’s worth the price of admission?


I tend to aquire tools when i reach a roadblock; either make them or buy them.
So far havent reached a real roadblock with stock Renoise.

Without a roadbock, for me, $19.99 is fair for a creative distraction.


At this point, if it costs more than renoise itself, I’m pretty hesitant to add it to the list of other plugins I’m already not using, lol. I’ve bought a number of plugs close to $200, but anymore, I just want to get the most out of the tools I already have. If there’s some functionality I feel like I need then I’ll usually pay for plug if I can’t find a serviceable free version or hacky workaround native alternative (my favorite) :slight_smile:
Honestly, I get much more excited about the latest martblek renoise tool than whatever must-have vst is about to come out


I’m in the same boat as you two. Renoise stock plugins are so great in. Especially in combination with Renoise’s modular capabilities. So most of the time I go "oh, I can do that natively " and pass on the plugin.

That said, I’m always looking at reverb plugins. I hardly ever buy one cause they tend be a lot of money. And what I’ve got is enough.

I did pick up Sonic Charge’s Permut8. A weird, lo-fi delay / sound shaping box. I’m sure you can approximate it natively. But this seems like a convenient little package for me. That’s me justifying a somewhat expensive impulse purchase. :sweat_smile:

@slujr I’m surprised you even know what vst plugins are. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:


Typically it has to do something that really can’t be done without the tools / knowledge that I have on hand. Oddly enough, aside from specific emulations and things that I normally don’t care about anyway, it’s extremely rare to look at a plugin and say, “I can’t make some kind of close-enough version of that that’ll work for me”.

Of course, my version might just be a DIY Arduino device hooked up to a Voltage Modular patch hosted by Renoise (aka pretty ridiculous and seemingly overkill), but usually improvising like this is all I need to do when FOMO strikes or I don’t have the money to grab a new tool (I never do, lol). I mentioned this in the SID chip VST thread, but 9 times out of 10 I can find some kind of workaround that will save me the $50, and right now I’m eyeballing just running a tracker on VICE or something because that’ll probably work just fine for me.

Being poor helps, too. :smiley:

50 is a tough one for me (and Renoise is a really cheap tool compared to most, so that one is hard to compare), but if it’s like $2-300 it basically needs to be a workhorse that can pump out sample packs and fuel track material for the foreseeable future and eventually pay for itself.

Fun is definitely a huge factor, too. If I can obsess over it for a few months while I learn everything I want to know about it, that’s usually pretty worthwhile in itself. Plus, if it has a scripting API, even better :smiley:. Now that I think about it a little more, I think having a reasonable amount of depth and complexity plays a huge role for me, because simply buying another softsynth (or even downloading a free one, which is kind of hilarious to say) kind of clutters up my workflow as well.

Speaking of which, I haven’t even touched scripting in Falcon or Renoise yet. What am I doing with my life?

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have you spent some time with the convolver?
there’s a lot of amazing and unusual spatial emulation possible, especially with custom IRs

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Guys, you shouldn’t compare the price of Renoise with other prices. Everybody knows Renoise is pretty cheap, but that’s not common. You cannot expect every company to be like Renoise, and there’s no relation between Renoise’s price and the price of other software.

Simple: If I want to use it all the time it’s worthwile, otherwise not.

It’s not about a number of songs or about counting the hours that I’m spending with the VST. And the price doesn’t matter as long as I’m using it all the time. But I have to say Omnisphere (400 €) is probably the upper limit of what I’m willing to spend for a VST instrument, and for THAT price I expect a high class all-purpose weapon and the best customer service on planet earth. If we’re talking about FX plugins, my upper limit is around 120 € for a once in a lifetime purchase. BUT once I’ve bought all the stuff, I will NEVER buy anything of the same stuff ever again. I’m not interested in buying any more synths or specific types of FX plugins that I already own. I think 2-3 commercial subtractive synths, 1 commercial granular synth, maybe a few specific VSTs (like a 303 or a SID emulation, a guitar or similar) and a couple of commercial FX plugins (compressor, maximizer, limiter, delay, reverb) is all you need. For simple stuff like monoizing, eqing or TP the free VSTs are good enough.

Question: I you’re pleased with what you’ve got, what’s the reason for looking at others?
If you’re always checking other reverb then you must miss something. So if you want to buy a great reverb plugin I recommend to purchase Valhalla Vintage Verb for 50 € and you’ll never need to check any reverbs again.


I personally never paid more than $100 for a software/plugin. Dollar is worth 5 times my currency so buying in dollar is extremely expensive to me.

That being said the other major points I consider are: performance/resource usage and DRM.
I like easy to download, easy to install and easy to use tools so I refuse to download convoluted shit bloated with DRM and bullshit terms of agreement like Acustica Audio, IK Multimedia or UAD.


Unfortunately this is probably the wisest approach in today’s world. You’re always at the devs’ mercy should anything go wrong, and it’s kind of unfair how they treat their paying customers a good portion of the time.


Broke my own anti-iLok rules when I got UAD Polymax for free recently - it’s so stupid, but I love what is such a basic synth and could probably replicate elsewhere with tools I already have. Something about it’s interface and sound really resonates with me, very much like Reason’s Subtractor but modern.

Purchase wise, I look to add to Renoise native - I skew pretty heavily towards buying synths rather than FX and like with video games, I ALWAYS wait for a sale. I think Renoise and Reaper are the only music software I paid RRP for. I’m basically done with buying plugins, I want another mega-deal on Eventide BlackHole to roll around again, I’m sure it went under £30.00 once and its currently only 50% off so I’m holding my nerve.


At this point in my life, a piece of software needs to offer something that I cannot do nowadays with what I have. Price is always considered and I really don’t like to hoard. If something catches my eye, I’ll spend some time researching it, reading a little bit about it. With some bit of information and some critical thinking, I can then determine if it’s worth it for me. If I need more information, then I try the demo. I am always on the lookout for something new a radical. Gone are the days when I had to try every new plugin even when I already had pretty similar ones in my computer.


I’m starting to think Renoise people, in general, are of the “I’ll approximate this myself, thank you very much”-persuasion.

@Agentslimepunk You doing things with Arduino to pacify your FOMO sounds cool & intriguing. Would love to hear more about it.

Spot on.

For better or worse, Renoise seems to be a labor of love. More so at least than a vehicle for the developers to make a living of off.

Having an unfavorable exchange rate can be murderous on your options to buy things. That really sucks.

DRM is a good point. I used to be vehemently against buying plugins with DRM. Then one day the iLok dongle wasn’t required anymore and thought to myself why not. Now I’ve got all kinds of DRM stuff running the background. Some for plugins I rarely, if ever, use. :roll_eyes:

Quite. When I’m done with a tune I render all the tracks to audio with effects applied. I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t always open sessions many years later. Sometimes plugins disappear or are no longer supported. By rendering it all out at least you have the sound, should you ever need it.

I think they tend to have a reverb sale in the spring. Even at 50% off it’s worth it. I love the Black Hole reverb.

Learning something new, mostly. Hearing what people are thinking up next. And feeding that shoegazy, ambient guitarist that lives somewhere deep inside of me still. Even though I don’t play guitar. Seriously though, I love over the top and creative reverbs. Even if you can’t actually use them in tracks, they still sound appealing to me.

Valhalla is great indeed. And very fairly priced. That is reason enough to buy some, or all of his plugins. Prove that small prices are viable business model.

I have spent some time with it. And done things like taking animal snarls & growls and used them as IR. Very cool results. But I really should do more with that, yes. Thanks for the suggestion!


There are rumors that there are people who like subscription models and thinking they own the software…

Me too! :sweat_smile:
1 or 2 years ago I’ve purchased Gullfoss believing that it’s still a quick and easy install just like all my other plugins, but after purchasing I was told to create an iLok account. Then I checked the website and surprisingly at the very end of the text there was written in small letters that iLok is required to run Gullfoss. I’m PRETTY sure this wasn’t the case ever since, otherwise I would never have been thinking about purchasing. But well, now I’ve also got an iLok stick to store some licenses and I don’t care as long as I don’t have to be online all the time. And once I’ve got iLok, I checked a lot of Softube stuff that I thought I will never get access to. I think iLok has generally its pros and cons. On one hand it can be handy in case your software is only running after checking your license every single time, on the other hand installing plugins is pretty “overelaborate”.

Every year there’s Black Friday and its extension Cyber Monday. No need to buy on other days.

As I said in another thread, Renoisers obviously aren’t average DAW users. :slightly_smiling_face:
Why should one spend money if one can do it “natively” with an equal result?
Not to mention being capable of coding to create an own tool to achieve the goals.

I wonder what this could be in terms of a reverb plugin.

Exactly my thoughts. :+1:

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Fuck the subscription model. But feel free to discuss it.

For example, a couple of years ago Liquid Sonic’s Cinematic Rooms came out. I quite like the sound of that one. Don’t like the price tag, though.

And I often look at reverb pedals, rather than plugins. But it’s all just software. There are some really neat reverbs out there in pedal land. Or boxes that combine reverb and other effects.

No need to, it’s pretty obvious that it sucks in every aspect, so let’s just say fuck it.
Btw, you’ve quoted a non existing quote. :sweat_smile:

400 € for a reverb? Yeah, pretty sick. Better buy Omnisphere instead. That can do everything and also includes a lot of effects like several reverbs. But anyway, you were talking about LEARNING something new. So what did you learn from the recent reverbs that you didn’t know already? :wink:

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Well honestly, software ilok, where you can get 3 licenses or so to be installed locally on your machines, seems to be somewhat ok to me. But where ilok is there often also is very poor programming or protection decisions. Recently seen in Falcon 3. It was explained by the crackers, who then cracked Falcon 3 within 2 weeks after release or so, that UVI added another protection layer to Falcon, so it needs to decode the whole binary on the fly (similar to the old Cubase 5), which then a lot affects performance and memory usage in a bad way… Really I absolutely have no idea why a company does such braindead decisions… It was cracked! Within 2 weeks! And now once again, the paying customer’s version (uncracked) performs much worse than the cracked one. So I think, if you are a legit owner, and there is a proper crack, you actually should use the cracked version then. Since you bought it, but what you are doing on your private machine, is just your own decision. Sadly nowadays, a cracked version works better and more stable, than the original one… Isn’t that sad?

I also can very much imagine how much development time goes into updating the copy protections. Let’s take Bitwig. They have some kind of protection layer in their java gui code. You often ask yourself, what in the hell takes them so long… Pretty sure updating copy protection is a lot of that development time, which then can’t go into actual features and improvements. Oh and btw, Bitwig was then cracked, within 2 weeks or so…

So nowadays, you don’t even know how the software originally performed, since it’s protected with multiple layers, which harm performance and memory usage. This all in a software area where performance is essential. So where ilok is there also is poorly performing software.

Also it seems to me that coders that actually can create well performing code are really rare nowadays. The bigger the company the worse the code, usually. Which kind of makes sense, if you think about it. A lot of stuff really is going the wrong direction, IMO. Not even talking about nowdays bloatware OSes by Apple and Microsoft.

So I at least try to focus on software made by developers who really know how to do it. e.g. u-he, Renoise, etc. Very often these, let call them “the real coders” do not use intrusive copy protections, too, and still do not seem to have big trouble to sell their stuff. Because in the end, the quality is what matters.

That said I bought an uaudio reverb while black friday sales, only to find out that it only has a cloud ilok license. IMHO such little details should be clearly stated in the shop, and this also is EU law AFAIK. Couldn’t find any hint here though. I already deactivated all the services the uaudio installer thing installed on my system, and blocked all internet access, the plugins still seem to work, but maybe not so long. So I really regret that I bought this one, against my conclusions above. Also have enough reverbs… Meh…

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Yup, it is terrible that the paying customer are the real victims of DRM. And that it doesn’t even actually protect their software from piracy.

Might including DRM be a legal thing? In the same way as Disney’s layers go after daycare centers who’ve painted some of Disney’s characters on their windows. You’ve got to actively protect your intellectual property, otherwise you eventually lose your claim to it. Could it be that?

Back in the day when computers were far more limited developers were forced to make their code as efficient as possible. Now they are so powerful it seemingly matters less. But things do stack up. And running multiple “less than optimized” pieces of code does bog your system down.

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I purchase software to avoid scattering my focus across various tools, as I have certain difficulties with that. I’ve been using Renoise for so many years and have managed to release several tracks written in it, so buying it was a logical continuation. Therefore, I bought it from the first release. Approaching version 3.1, I also renewed and will continue to renew my license because I derive a lot of pleasure from working in it, and I’d like the support for modern computers to be maintained.

I believe that when you buy a particular tool, it’s a splendid opportunity to concentrate on what’s available. However, again, it’s a very individual path. I don’t oppose piracy because it helps many creators express themselves and start making music by finding the instrument that suits them. Many big names have taken a similar path and, already being prominent artists, are now becoming flag bearers in advertising for the products they use.

In this sense, I appreciate the policy of Cockos Reaper, although I don’t use it myself, I consider it to be a cool software.


I don’t know about that, but you may be right. Anyway, the reality is that EVERYTHING is about to be cracked sooner or later. There is no protection that prevents getting cracked. I see iLok only as a collection of licenses on my drive and a stick as well. But all I got that requires iLok are Gullfoss and a couple of FX VSTs from Softube, that’s it. There are no limitations regarding the number of licenses, in theory it could be hundrets or even thousands. I also haven’t noticed any performance issues at all. But you’re probably right again if you’re saying those companies which rely on iLok are wasting their ressoources on copy protections instead of improving their software. I just cannot imagine a simple FX VST like a compressor or a reverb having performance issues in any case. It’s most likely a different story if we’re talking about VST instruments.

I purchased most of my stuff for iPad (apps like drambo and koala is mind blowing) and of course Renoise and Redux and never regretted)) I used some apps with iLok and it was pain in the ass for me when I moved to another maschine. Renoise`s license model is just blessing. Complex copy protection stuff like iLoks, etc usually holding me from buying stuff. Espesially these days when a lot of really good free plugins and synths out there.