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Topic: What prompts you to buy a library?

  1. #1

    What prompts you to buy a library?

    Although the answer to this question would seem to be simple, that being "sound", I wonder if other factors enter the equation, such as ease of use, aesthetic appeal, compatibility with hosts, customer service/support, even word of mouth on this forum, or perhaps all.

    Personally, I always go for sound first. And also, the acid test is if those sounds get me thinking creatively. Many is a time when I've played a keyboard in a store and come up with so many ideas that it prompted me to buy the product. Obviously, it's a little harder for software synths/libraries to cater to this kind of shopping ideology, but when I hear demos on line that blow me away or else have a couple demo patches to play with, that usually does it for me.

    The reason I bring this up is that there are several developers at this forum who are very passionate about what they do. And I think that's great. the more blood, sweat and tears (at times) they put into their product, the better off we the customers are. Because of this dedication, tempers can run high and people get defensive when their product is dissed. But I honestly wonder if vehement criticism by some customers really taints the potential purchase by another. I know we all ask for opinions around here and other forums before buying, but does it really have a big impact on the sales?

    I'm getting a little bored with the amount of bloodbaths that come out of debates between which developers sounds are better. I do think articulating one's opinions better on the web would help to clear up many misgivings too. Just imagine if everyone said:

    "I don't find the sounds from ABC lib to be useful for my application or musical style" as opposed to

    "Developer ABC sucks".

    Obviously the first example takes a little more time to type out and perhaps think of in the verbiage but it certainly would help avoid such heated arguments.

    As far as I can tell, every developer's product has its merits. I mean, does anyone set out to work hard on a crappy product? Heck no!

    As for the tempers of the customers, well, I can understand their point. They drop a lot of money in some cases on a lib only to find out it is buggy or wasn't exactly what they expected. I own Gigastudio Orchestra, Miroslav Philharmonik, and MOTU Symphonic Instrument and none of the three get any use (giga is uninstalled on my PC actually) because they didn't do much for me. On the other hand, I'm enthralled with my East West libs, VSL sounds, Korg Digital Legacy Collection, Arturia CS80V, and most recently Gary Garritan's Big Band plug-in. Couldn't be happier.

    And as for the personalities involved, I find it hard to dismiss ANY of the developers here or on other forums. I admire the fact that Gary Garritan has created such a helpful online community (as well as create an incredibly effective performance interface for his sounds!), Project SAM's awesome brass instruments and great customer support (my initial Solo Sessions DVDs didn't read in my DVD player so they rushed me a replacment copy), Herb/Dietz's amazing musicality that courtesy, Sonic Implant's fantasic crew, and yes, Doug and Nick from East West who have been nothing but responsive and respectful of this customer (and I know of many others too) and his questions.

    Anyhow, I got way off topic here. To get back to the initial post, I do wonder if more online examples or demo patches would help increase sales of a product. Or whether stores like Guitar Centre (in the US) or Long & McQuade (Canada) could have computer set-ups with the latest libs so that the potential buyer could really put them through their paces. The more we see the decline of hardware, the more other mechanisms for software driven libs/apps should be developed to allow the paying customer that much more information before they plunk down their cash.

    Cheers (off to compose a string quartet).

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tom Crowning's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    On the other side of the big pond

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    First, I have to listen to it. The more demo songs the better.
    If there are single instruments/sounds available for download it's even
    better, I can play around with them end see if I can make them fit into
    my music.
    If I'd be impressed by that the decision is down to 3 points:

    a) do I need it
    b) do I WANT it
    c) is it worth the money

    The last point is the most important, I can't justify to spend more money
    than a product is worth in my eyes, and that does not depend on the
    amount of money (there's enough available here ).
    'Worth' isn't an absolute value but depends how much I'll be able to use a
    product in my work (e.g. VSL isn't (for me) worth the money it costs, but
    it's a very very good product, but for some strings or flute I need
    occasionally it's extremely oversized).

    Sometimes b) overrules a) and c), but I think most of us are guilty of that


  3. #3

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    1) Is it something that's sorely missing from my toolset?
    2) Does it sound better/have more features than what I currently use?
    3) Is the pricing fair?
    4) Is the company one that I can trust for customer support?
    5) Will it play nice with the other tools on my computer?
    6) Is it using technology that has a good lifespan, or will it become obsolete soon?

  4. #4

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    Unfortunately I can't afford to buy anything I want, so purchases usually relate a lot to what I need in my work. After that it's a price/quality ratio. I really base 80% of my decision on demos, and the rest on reading opinions online and I honestly have not been disappointed with a single product I've bought since going primarily to software libs and synths.

  5. #5

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    1) Do I need it for my current project?
    2) Do I lust after it for a future project?
    3) Is it in my budget?
    4) Is the sale price too good to pass up?


  6. #6

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    The obvious:

    1. If I really, really need something I will get it right away.
    2. If I don't really need something but I want it I will spend months drooling and buy it when the price seems right. Usually that means a sale.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Steve_Karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA 15206 USA

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    Quote Originally Posted by davecos

    "I don't find the sounds from ABC lib to be useful for my application or musical style" as opposed to

    "Developer ABC sucks".
    However they both give the same amount of information to the reader.
    Next to nothing useful.

    I'd much rather hear specific details as to why a product does or doesn't work for a particular individuals needs.
    Many "points of view" can help provide a more informative picture.

    What would help sales of a product?
    More information. As much information as possible.
    As an example:
    How many instruments in this product are actually playable instruments,
    and how many are just loops and licks?
    Which specific ones fall into each category?
    And don't make me read some cryptic code hidden somewhere in a down loadable file to figure it out my self.
    Leave out the hoopla and the hype and just give me the actual facts.

    Also, as many audio demos as possible, and full disclosure of what products were used in the demos.

    In my opinion, it is annoying, suspicious and underhanded to present demos that imply they are representing a product but have other libs. in the demo, and that information is not printed boldly and explicitly right next to the demo.

    Most important to me:

    Sound and playability ... or maybe it's playability then sound.
    Hard to tell these days.
    I won't buy from a company that I don't trust, no matter how good the product is. It's just a matter of principle ... for me.

    I tend to be very opinionated, however I do realize it is only one persons opinion, and everyone is entitled to have a different one.

  8. #8

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?


    my questions are:
    1) Do I significantly improve my sound/music with this library?
    2) Is it playable in a convenient way without loading lots of seperate programs for an instrument (->Keyswitching ...)?
    3) Am I allowed to re-sell the library?
    4) Is the price reasonable?

    If any of the four equal-weighted questions is to be answered with "no" I won't buy it. Else I'll check my personal priority of the new instruments (does it offer instruments I don't have at all or in a very bad quality only?) Then I make my decision

    Best wishes,

  9. #9

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    What we need is more exposed demos whit solo instruments and soloed ensemble that has no re verb and no tricks, just shorts musical phrases of multiple styles like legato phrase, stacc, soft and loud phrases, ect... so we can see how it behaves in a specific genre, and we need less full score demos that tends to hide the weak areas of a library like some producers intend to. For that reason i think that a lot of demos don't tell us everything we want to know.

    A good example of what I'm trying to say is the VSL solo strings demos where you can listen to the legato and detache articulation completely exposed, now that's what i want... Sonic Implants demos also seemed fair to me.

    A big factor that affect my decision is the way the company behaves, if a company threatens users and smaller developer-they sure wont get my money or if a company delete my post while I'm just asking for a fix date release-i sure will not encourage theme in the future, or if a company has a too aggressive business attitude like selling their lib 1/2 price after a year or so-i will not trust that company mainly because i think the intent is to eat up the biggest part of the market and leave very little to the smaller developer who will suffer from this and eventually could close their shop,.. i don't know about you but i sure don't want to end up whit just 1 or 2 corporation company like that will decide what we get and at what price...not to mention that, we would all sound the same. It's about principal for me and i will vote whit my money that's for sure.

  10. #10

    Re: What prompts you to buy a library?

    I'm often a price junkie for something I'm just getting into. I can't justify top of the line products if I have no experience with the genre: I just can't say how long I'll stick with it. (Same with real instruments: I typically buy used, or new student models, otherwise.)

    To that end, it also helps to know whether the license agreement allows transfers.

    If it's really my cup of tea, I can always upgrade later. I just need something to get my feet wet, and sometimes I don't even know what I'm after at the beginning. That's pretty much what entry-level products are for!

    Otherwise, I'm very much into smooth workflow and user-driven flexibility. But sometimes you can't know about those until you buy the product (unless the vendor has a demo version, which sadly isn't seen much in sample libraries).

    - m
    Free MFX and other plugins: http://www.TenCrazy.com/
    Markleford's music: http://www.markleford.com/music/

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