Why I don't personally like Waves, and it's not because they sound bad.
Here's the thing, Waves plugins sound great for the money. Waves offers native plugins that very few other manufacturers sell. Do you want an API channel strip? Well, count on one hand your opinions. Non-linear summing emulation? Good luck finding a good selection of choices.
Waves plugins are also super reasonably priced, especially if you catch them on sale, and they are on sale a lot. Do they sound absolutely amazing and better than anything else? Well, no, but they don't need to either. Nothing is wrong with Waves being the budget friendly opinion out there. I mean, I'm a huge fan of Boss pedals, AMD CPUs, Yamaha studio monitors, ECT. If it's a good product, and has a good price, I'm all for it.
My issue with Waves is there horrible business model, which I could only discribe as predatory. It's not that they don't make good products, because they do. It's that they are extremely deceptive about the cost of them.
Firstly, a bit if a history on Waves, and their slow fall from grace.
Back in the early 2000's, and the influx of affordable computers, which resulted in the feasibility of DAW being usable by amateurs and studioless pros, there was a growing market of people wanting to capture the sound of pro studios. Big studios absolutely could afford the previously expensive computers to digitize tape, or record digitally to save on tape, and allow for more flexible editing, more tracks, ECT. But they had hundreds of thousands of dollars of analog gear behind them to make the digital gear sound killer.
I'm a huge fan of NIN, and The Downward Spiral was one of the first albums to be recorded into a computer, often from tape, but still. The album was made in 1993, so obviously before when I'm talking about, but also had a million dollar home studio behind it. That was the dream for a lot of amateur musicians in the 2000's.
With Steinberg inventing the VST standard, the stage was set for software designers to realize the market for amateurs, or pros outside of the studio system, wanting to get the pro studio sound, without having to pay to use that studio. Most DAWs included pretty shitty sounding stock plugins, which were very limited. Enter Waves.
They developed a reputation for creating high quality, albeit expensive, plugins that put the sound of a SSL, a Pultec, a Fairchild, in the hands of Joe Blow. And all of the sudden, the pro studio wasn't as much of a requirement as it was. Pro studios also could expand their existing arsenal of sounds to gear they didn't have in studio.
There was a huge democratization happening. Amateurs could sound pro, pros didn't have to use an analog studio, and analog studios didn't just have to use the gear they had in house. It was beautiful. Waves was a huge part of what made that happen, and they paved the way for hundreds of other software developers to make their own plugins.
This is were things started to crumble for Waves. With all the competition, charging $600 for a channel strip emulation was kind of a hard sell. This, coupled with users selling their licenses on the used market for a fraction of the price of new, resulted in Waves having to cut prices.
Now this could have been the end of the story here. But boy oh boy, it's not. Waves was still not happy that people were selling their multi hundred dollar plugins for $30-40. So they decided, hey, we can sell our plugins for that price, and make it impossible for people to sell their licenses by implementing a license transfer fee roughly equal to the price of the plug-in.
Well that's shitty. But it's how they implement it that really fucking scummy. They didn't say hey, you can't sell your license any more, oh no. They decided to start the manipulative bullshit that makes up their new business model. They officially say that can you transfer your license for 5% of the cost of the plugin. Well, that sounds really reasonable. Well, it's not 5% of the cost of cost you payed for it, which would be a steal, it's 5% of the cost of the plugins original price. The price years ago before they cut the cost of the plugin to be more competitive.
You see, Waves plugins labels the cost of the product at the original, let's say $300, but the plugin is always on sale for $100, and with an additional frequent sale of 40%, leaving the new price of $60. See, in many countries, that's highly illegal. Fallout 76 got sued because of it. You can't label something as on sale if it's always on sale. Yet somehow Waves does. Like the 40% sale is a sale. But they haven't had the price at the original full price for years now. Maybe it's because the product is so old, that the price is allowed to be labeled as a sale, because the product has technically not been on sale longer than it's been on sale, but part of me is just itching for someone to hit them with a class action lawsuit.
But here's the thing, as scummy as all of this is, who really cares, if I'm just bitchy about the plugins being too cheap, that's honestly kinda silly. But they aren't cheap. Oh no oh no.
See, Waves actually wants to make the full $300 off the plugin. They'll sell it to you for $60, but they want more. So they charge for updates to the plugin after one year. See, their plugins are often pushing over a decade old, if not older. But instead of releasing a version 2 of the plugin, while maintaining the previous versions for comparability with new systems, they run the same version and charge for yearly support.
Now, you don't have to pay for new versions, but then you lose compatibility. A lot of Mac users lost plugin compatibility with Catalina, the newest Mac OS. So, your hundreds of dollars of Wave plugins that you haven't payed to update for a few years? Well, now you have to pay to use them.
See, I pay $10 a month to use Photoshop. I have tech support for it, and a guarantee that it will work on whatever OS I run it on, on whatever computer I want to login on. Roland Cloud has a similar model. Pro Tools is rent only. Most DAWs you have to pay to get the latest version of, within the support cycle of the product. Hell, even a lot of developers cut support for older plugins when they make a new version.
But here's the thing, the way Waves goes about is super bullshit. They don't develop new and improved algorithms for their plugins. They don't make version 2s, their plugins are the same as the have always been, more or less, you just need to pay for compatibility. Which is something you really don't have to pay for, until you do, and then they hold sometimes thousands of dollars of software hostage until you pay.
See, when it comes to something like Massive vs Massive X, I can still buy Massive, I'm not forced to use the new software. I'm not punished for not paying for the new software, I can use the old one, with compatibility, because that's honestly next to free for software developers to code in if they have a large catalog they can apply the changes to. Most importantly, they sell new shit that actually changes the feature of the plugin, so when you pay to upgrade to the new thing, you actually get something new, not just the plugin to fucking work.
Here's what else rubs me the wrong way, they say you can spend the update price on new plugins for free. So you spend $50 updating your suite, and you can get a free $50 plugin. It's shit because your next update fee might be $55 dollars, and the next one $67, ECT. You don't have to get the new plugin, but they trick you into spending more long term. It is a trick, absolutely don't think they do it to be nice. It makes them more long term and it really, really rubs me the wrong way.
Here's the thing, big studios super don't give a shit about this. Infact, they would rather rent than own, because they get guaranteed compatibility, and they have all the money in the world to spend on those plugins. Do you know who it hurts? The consumers. Joe Blow. The original market for Waves.
Look at Universal Audio. Yes, they absolutely overcharge for their product. Yes, it's pretty stupid that their plugins aren't native. For the price of a UA Apollo you could get a CPU that would crush any plugin chain you threw at it. But here's the thing, just because people like me think the UA is kinda dumb, doesn't mean it isn't an absolute God-sent to thousands of producers who make amazing use of it. Guess what, they don't have a rental program. Because their plugins aren't native, they always work on the device. Old, legacy plugins work fine. You pay for new features on the new plugins. They charge a lot, but they work rock steady every time.
Waves in many ways is trying to compete with that model, having continually developed plugins and guaranteed tech support. And for a professional, that's actually not a problem.
But here's the thing, Waves sells themselves as a budget brand trying to bring pro sound to the masses, and that's absolutely not who they are. They are a company who's business model is a rental program for professionals, and have no disillusions that isn't exactly what it is.
Their plugins are outdated, simplistic peices of codes, with a shitty GUI and misleading marketing. I'm not going to bitch about them without providing a solution for how they could be better.
Firstly, move over to a rental system like Roland. Charge per package, or number of plugins installed per month. So adding a new plugin might add 50 cents per month to your total package, or maybe $10 for the whole Abbey Roads package. Pros gets the support they need, and users don't have nebulous hidden costs to deal with.
Update the GUI of the plugins. The newer ones can look okay, but a lot of the old ones look dated, and some of them look super, super shitty.
Have a return policy. Their customer service is actually super chill, I have nothing but good things to say about them for my own personal experience, but still, a return policy or satisfaction guarantee is something most manufacturers have. Yes, I know you can try before you buy, but honestly most companies I shop from have some kind of return policy. It's fucking software, not underwear. If you rent, you cannot sell a license, so two birds with one stone. Everyone is happier. The price of the gear is also honest and clear.
Update the audio quality of the plugins. Yes, they all sound at least okay, some of them sound great, and some of them are near industry standard. But a lot of their old plugins really show their age, especially their channel strip plugins. Brainworx is out here with TMT, and hell, even Waves offers TMT-esque features on their NLS pluggin.
Better GUI. Try something by Slate, Softube, ect. for proper 4k scalable GUIs. They look beautiful.
Did I mention the GUI yet?
Allow for mode switching in plugins. If you rent the SSL package, have it so you can switch between the E and G series with a button or switch. The actual SSL plugin features this. It would be so much more useful than having to open and close slight variations of the same plugin. Waves offers this feature on a few of their plugins, but it would be awesome to see it in more of them.
Cut the bullshit mastering plugins. If I see another "oh this will turn headphones into mixing studio" gimmick I am going to shit a brick. If you want any proof that Waves targets amateurs, but caters to pros, that Abbey Roads plugin is fucking proof. I would be hard pressed to find a single mixing engineer who one, would even attempt a full master in headphones, and two, use a plugin that colors the mix more than their headphones already did. Anyone who defends bullshit mastering plugins like that are just peddling poor advice to people too ignorant to know better.
I firmly believe every issue I have with Waves could be fixed over a year long roll out program.
-Sincerely, An Amateur
Edit: holy shit, thanks for sliver!!
submitted by telefromhelle
Fl studio 12 scans waves plugins v12 but it doesn’t show up for selection after. It’s worth noting I’ve recently upgraded to windows 10 if it helps.
Pretty much the tittle. When I load mixer preset containing the the plugins it loads just fine. Any clue?
submitted by R178