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Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

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Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby Marbury » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:02 pm

As I am self employed working from home, I earn my humble income from sfx/photography and music (as well as PRS) I don't spend a great deal per year on gear/software but lately I have been getting drawn into upgrading sounds instead of relying on just Omnisphere as my main go to VST. As it's tax deductible on my tax return I am wondering how much I would be able to speculate to accumulate within reason, particularly as I am going to need new monitors, some kind of mixing controller for Reaper and some nice Spitfire Audio vsts that are now on sale (Already purchased the David Fansahwe and Hans Zimmer percussion) I have to say you do get drawn into these Spitfire VSts as they sound so organic.

Of late, I have seen libraries fold, reduce our % drastically and sales dip. This is all I do so it's either make of break. Do I just accept the status quo or try and upgrade, perhaps inject some fresh inspiration (I tried this with the ipad apps but just find working on an ipad fiddly, not as nice as a desktop) and stay in the game. My productivity has somewhat waned of late as motivation has dropped (due to a few factors, including the way libraries are going)

I know my music sells and what else can I do other than this ? I don't need too much to live on (pensions kick in and mortgage paid in a couple of years) as I don't fund any lifestyle. I tend to make do and mend with gear but (see my other posts) but sometimes it's time to invest. For my own personal music (which is more leftfield) I can get a lot out of not much, but when competing in libraries you do need top notch orchestral sounds etc, while hopefully retaining my own stamp as I hate to sound like the zillion other orchestral cinematic stuff you hear all the while.

Anyone in a similar desert scenario ?
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby BJG145 » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:37 pm

Perhaps a temporary subscription to the Roland or EastWest libraries (both currently $200 for everything for a year) might get some new sounds and inspiration going without a huge outlay...?
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby RichardT » Mon Jul 27, 2020 1:53 pm

I find a new VST Instrument can inspire me to write new material. If you’re the same it could be a source of inspiration.
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby jpalmer » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:15 pm

Not at all, there's no *need* to invest in new sounds or VSTs if you have the chops to make good music. I'm making a reasonable living from tracks I made 10 years ago, probably not likely to be a millionaire any time soon but I don't need to join the daily slog to pay my mortgage which is the main factor for me. You absolutely don't need top notch libraries to make a go of it. Bottom of the pile won't do you any favours but find your voice and half the job is done.
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby Eddy Deegan » Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:58 pm

jpalmer wrote:You absolutely don't need top notch libraries to make a go of it. Bottom of the pile won't do you any favours but find your voice and half the job is done.

I agree with this in the main. There is certainly a threshold over which things sound better because they are better implementations/samples of this that or the other but the main asset in any musical production scenario is the artist driving the process.

However, people do differ and that includes sources of inspiration. Whereas some of my best work has been with very limited equipment it's also true that I find inspiration from new hardware (and to a lesser extent software). Given a new synth I'll invariably come up with something worthy of development based on some aspect of its capabilities or presets.

Some people may find the fidelity of top-notch libraries to be an inspiration in its own right, others may be equally productive with an older/less advanced sound source.

In short, it's horses for courses. What works for some people may not for others but for some, having access to the latest and greatest may be the catalyst that ignites their inner creative spirit.

In short it's all about finding your muse.
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby jpalmer » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:45 am

I guess I'm just meaning don't get caught in the trap of "If I get such and such library that could be the answer to my productivity problem". You might get some inspiration from a new patch (has happened to me in the past) but you'll likely end up chasing your tail and spending more and more money and wasting time.

Some instruments (like orchestral or guitars) obviously have a huge quality spectrum but once you've got say a couple of decent Spitfire libraries there's a law of diminishing returns.

Only way I find to get past productivity lapses is just work. Just keep chucking yourself into things. Don't think about it even being heard by other people, just try ideas, make mistakes, reverse, randomise, listen to playback from a different room or when you're making dinner, make a new synth patch, use a MIDI channel to swap an instrument for a different sound. Eventually something good usually comes out.

Of course you might find a new library that gives you a flash of inspiration but don't get hung up on trying to find that magic inspirational sound. If there is such a thing you're probably more likely to stumble across it by accident one day.
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:58 pm

People are different, and react to different things.

Look at your past and try to figure out what has motivated your or not.

For example, I don't get any motivation at all from new pieces of gear (be guitars, studio equipment or VSTs).. I work so that I'm either motivated or not, and then I must absolutely have the tools that allow me to express what I want to express. There are obviously reasons for me to be motivated or not to make music (or anything else), but they have nothing to do with gear.

You might be the same, you might be different. From a business perspective, you have to dispassionately look at the numbers (if you produce great music, how much return are you likely going to have?) but consider also the larger picture - for example, these coronavirus times will at some point either cease or become normality and libraries will once again flourish.. or not (I don't know). Basically try to figure out if you think it's a temporary dip or a permanent situation - and if it's temporary, how survivable it is.
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 01, 2020 1:41 pm

I find inspiration hardest to come by when it is most demanded. To that end, and as was mentioned above, when I have the chance to just fool around and make mistakes, then I do it. It is the mistakes and accidents that invariably yield the most inspiring results!
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby Zukan » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:42 am

It's a great time to buy VSTIs. It's also a great time to pick up free stuff.

Spitfire have LABS which allows for downloading free isntrument libraries to use in your music. Think of it as a slimmed down version of their paid libraries. I also filled in a brief questionnaire on their site and received Discovery. This only costs around 50 squids and is quite useful if you're into classical or need some classic sounds in your EDM compositions.

I am still using my old VSTIs that I picked up years ago and they serve me well but then I design my own sounds which negates the need to keep buying new libraries/instruments. I received Falcon from UVI years ago and have had no need to look elsewhere for synthetic sounds. Acoustic is different, so make sure to beef up in that department. I use Modarrt Pianoteq for all my piano sounds and am still on the old version.

Sign up at Plugin Boutique and pick up tons of free synths. I have actually bought synths from them for one pound. I make sure to buy synths that offer something different to the standard bread and butter sounds.

There are literlly gazillions of libraries for Kontakt, so if you have it go and do a search and sit back and click on the 1000s of pages throw up at you. There are even free libraries offered by individuals and companies as tasters.

Spectrasonics stuff is slightly different. Sound design by someone who knows what he is doing, so in terms of quality his products are hard to beat.

BUT TBH, all you need is one good synth that offers various forms of synthesis, a couple of good 'acoustic instrument' libraries and you're good to go. Otherwise, you end up in the 'find a preset' rabbit hole which takes away from creativity...
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:49 am

The Elf wrote:I find inspiration hardest to come by when it is most demanded. To that end, and as was mentioned above, when I have the chance to just fool around and make mistakes, then I do it. It is the mistakes and accidents that invariably yield the most inspiring results!

Like many of us I keep a sort of "library" of potential ideas, usually generated exactly by the fooling around you talk of.. it's a disorganized mess (I've sound files in my phones, computer, different hard disks and even on the phone it's all split across different "sound memo" apps) and my labeling is awful ("nice idea 1" is the typical title) as by definition I have them while I'm focusing on something else..

It feels almost like cheating, but when I feel I'd like to be creative but I can't, I go listen and usually something worthwhile comes out!
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby Zukan » Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:52 am

Almost all the music i write CS70 can be termed as 'extended snippets'. Great ideas but going nowhere....
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby CS70 » Sun Aug 02, 2020 2:16 pm

Zukan wrote:Almost all the music i write CS70 can be termed as 'extended snippets'. Great ideas but going nowehere....

That's not the worse place to start.. at least it's great ideas! :D
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby Marbury » Mon Aug 03, 2020 1:53 pm

Ok, so it's cold comfort to know I am not on my own. To be fair, I have been quite restrictive these last 20 years in the game as Omnisphere was the last vst I purchased in 2013. Then earlier this year I got Keyscape for the acoustic pianos. Then I got Spitfire BBC free orchestra, then the labs and then the sale happened so I got the Fanshawe libary (fantasticly organic) , hans Zimmer percussion (only have Stylus RMX for drums) and last evening (and I still can't get it to show in my Kontackt player with the other installed Spitfire apps) British Drama Toolkit for the lovely dry instruments.

And now Native Instruments have a sale so I got their Arkhis (as a cheaper orchestral underscore alternative to Albion Tundre) and seriously pondering the SLATE + ASH products (currently in the sale as a bundle) for serendipitous bliss (which I thrive on) and make use of my redundant (yep, another bit of kit that gave me buyers remorse)

When I see some Youtube reviewers with hundreds of expensive vsts in their setup, I don't feel that extravagant but I do agree, limitation breeds creativity. I think these sales do lure you in but they come along like busses (and probably will more often soon if the recession hits)

I have spent quite a few quid over the last few years on ipad apps, which I still dabble in from time to time, but I find the ipad a fiddly thing to work on, despite some of the apps being excellent. I always like working at a desktop.

Yes, I feel a sense of guilt with some gear and software that hasn't really been used but I have had a crappy best part of a year with the loss of my mum, sorting her estate etc so sometimes you have to indulge yourself in what you love, and to be fair, its my living (just)
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby blinddrew » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:31 pm

Sorry to hear about your mum, sometimes we need some indulgences to get us through.
I look around my studio or garage at some of the under-used toys, but I choose to think of them as things I haven't made use of yet, rather than things I've wasted money on. I'm sure their time will come.
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Re: Investing in new VSTs and gear, is it really going to pay these days ?

Postby RichardT » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:08 pm

Sorry too about your mum. Buying yourself some VSTs as a treat sounds a good plan to me.

I've just bought Arkhis too and I'm finding it a great source of creativity at the moment. I hope you enjoy it and it gives you some new ideas.
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