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Topic: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

  1. #1

    Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    I was wondering if we have experienced the biggest wave of VST and sample development over the past few years? Is the market so saturated with great libraries, and super cheap proces, that it's not worth it for developers to continue?

    I recently bought the Steven Slate "No Brainer" at AudioMidi for $20.00. I know the marketing strategy behind this, sell a ton to many at a reduced price, but is this a new benchmark for sample content?

    Larger developers like East West don't seem to be creating as much content as before. Aside from their new string library we haven't heard anything new from them since Silk. VSL seems to concentrating on other types of software (MIR, etc) and haven't released much recently either. Spectrasonics have 3 core instruments that they have been working on since they beagn making VST's. Now they are amazing and there's a ton of music in all of these companies existing libraries for us to write. It just seems like the days new releases every month or so are gone.

    Is it the economy? Is the market saturated? Are there no more categories to sample or create for? Or, if there are, are they so niche, that it is not worth the while.

    Years ago I rode the 3D animation wave watching all of the big software developers like Alias, Softimage, Wavefront, etc leap frog over each other every few months with paradigm shifts in development. Today all of those companies have been purchased by Autodesk and, while there is new innovation, it seems the strides are fewer and shorter.

    Are we at this point with VST's and samples or are we just in a development cycle waiting for the next big wave?

    Any thoughts,

    "Every time you play a wrong note God kills a kitten."

  2. #2

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    On the contrary, I think we are going to see a lot of amazing products in the next few years that is really going to raise the bar on the quality and content of VSTs. The market for these products will grow as more people update their systems (going 64bit, multi-core processors, faster, bigger, better, etc.). The one caveat will be a company’s ability to limit the pirating of these great products. A problem that is growing every day and hinders a company’s ability to develop and grow. As far as EW products go, I was just reading on their forum, that they have several new products in the works for 2010 (in addition to HW Strings of course).
    I’m pretty excited to see what the next few years bring us in the way of VSTs. I’m writing this as I’m looking at my old EMU E6400 Sampler. It’s amazing to think how much technology has changed in such a short time span. Fear not, the future is bright for VSTs.
    - Gavin
    Gavin Lake

  3. #3

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    When any technology continues to improve there will always be a market for it. There is a certain degree of saturation paricularly at the lower end of the market but natural selection will eventually allow the most talented and customer orientated developers to flourish.

    The continued advancement in computer technology will bring us tools we cant even imagine yet. Ten years ago when i was using an akai s3000 the very notion of what my current kontakt library would sound like and be capable of would have been dismissed as science fiction.

    Not only are these future products going to sound and play better, they are going to be subject to the process of ephemeralisation, essentially achieving more with less, advanced resynthesis and physical modelling are going to spell the end of multi-multi gigabyte libraries, whilst at the same time allowing us to make new and continued use of the sound libraries we already own.A good example of this emerging technology would be camel audio's alchemy.

  4. #4

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    Pretty much all the "low hanging fruit" has been picked and all the categories of instruments and sounds have been covered several generations now, so unless you want to repeat yourself or copy what's already been done....then it takes more time to create really innovative and high quality stuff.

    Indeed, the early VST days from 10 years ago of being able to make a hit product with something as simple as the LM-4 or a basic analog subtractive emulation are long gone. All the really good products generally have a lot more depth to them, and that depth takes time to develop. Much more R&D is required.

    Also, it's been proven again and again that companies that focus on producing tons of titles do not succeed in the long run. However, the companies that focus on quality, innovation and longevity can last a long time.

    Plenty more innovation possibilities still out there for sure though... ;-)

  5. #5

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    It feels like the age of flexibility and playability of virtual instruments is really coming (finally) into its own - the i7 et al generation will allow increasing breakthroughs. Agree things like the classic synth emulations are fairly well covered - but designing new modelled pianos (e.g. pianoteq), playing bass with auto string selection (e.g. scarbee) - its just starting to get really good in my mind. Physical modeling, scripting, complex synth engines (e.g. omni) all have tremendous potential still. I think the way we interface with our instruments (or the interface stays out of the way for that matter) and sculpt sounds can only get better and better.


  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Salisbury, UK

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    Until there is a choice of affordable high quality choir sounds able to articulate, then VST remains in its pre-golden days period.

  7. #7
    Senior Member caher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    Ah, the final frontier, where no man has gone before.

    Quote Originally Posted by dermod View Post
    Until there is a choice of affordable high quality choir sounds able to articulate, then VST remains in its pre-golden days period.

  8. #8

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    I'm hoping we'll start seeing the big strides in the area of controllers now. We're starting to some some things like the Haken Continuum, the Eigenharp, the Madrona Labs Soundplane. And with more complex interfaces requiring more nuanced sound generating, there's room for much more development there too. Sure hoping for enough development and variety and depth along these lines though that this stuff will a) become affordable for the majority of us (see Continuum) and b) allow us to find the gear that works for us individually, physically, aesthetically, emotionally. It's exciting to think we could be nearing a time when the differences between controllers might be rich and subtle enough that whether or not it "speaks" to the musician is at least as notable as what's on the spec sheet in terms of choosing an instrument. Like the way choosing a guitar for instance is largely about how it feels in your hands, the way the wood catches the light, the way the instrument speaks and responds to your body specifically...

  9. #9

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    I too am still waiting for a truly innovative and inspiring choir library.
    "I would rather compose than decompose."

    Sean C. Dockery

    Cubase 5, Komplete 6, Alchemy, PLAY, Vienna Instruments, Spectrasonics, and much more

    INTEL|CORE I7 980X 3.33G, 12G CORSAIR DDR3, SSD 160G|OCZ for OS.

  10. #10

    Re: Is the Golden Age of VST's behind us?

    Have to agree with what Eric said.
    In the early days of VST instruments many companies spit out instruments that were not too deep in their functionality. Today, take the three Spectrasonics instruments - they're some of the most innovative instruments in their category. I can't imagine not having all of them; they were in development for long time and Spectrasonics keeps on updating them with new features. Last month we got the 64bit versions on the Mac, and next month we're getting version 1.3 of Omni and Trilian.
    As for EastWest librarys - the upcoming Hollywood Strings comes in at over 500gigs of sample data. I believe the whole VSL CUBE is about that size (I may be wrong), but now a single Strings Library is that big. It takes a lot of time to get a product like this developed.

    So the Golden Age of VST's is really coming into play in my opinion. It's a very exciting time to make music!

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