In 2020 Brainworx bought Wolfgang Palm’s PPG Apps with all plugins/iOS, two years later, customers are still waiting for a sign of life.
There are tons of Synthesizer plugins available for free and for purchase. But there are only a few who catch you directly. This can be because of the innovative concept, the sounds… That’s exactly what the PPG Apps plugins from the Synthesizer pioneer Wolfang Palm did for me. They were special, fascinating, and innovative in many areas.
Yes were, I’m talking here in the past. In 2020, Wolfang Palm went of of business with his PPG Apps company. Brainworx (Plugin Alliance) acquired the rights, the name, and the technology including the plugins and apps. The official website went offline and the option to purchase the plugins and apps was discontinued. That was more than 2 years ago. What’s left and what’s next?
Brainworx PPG Plugins
I am writing this article on October 26, 2022. Disclaimer: I’m a big fan of Wolfang Palm’s plugins. At this time there is no comeback of the PPG plugins under the Plugin Alliance Brainworx label, nor any updates for existing customers. There are also the iOS apps I’m not even talking about here.
In June 2020, however, this merger was communicated a bit differently to customers. In an interview, Dirk Ulrich, founder of PA and Brainworx, asked Wolfgang Palm:
Can you tell us about your collaboration with Plugin Alliance & Brainworx Audio?
Well, I am thrilled that I found Brainworx Audio & Plugin Alliance, who appreciate my work from the past and would like to continue my current software products. I think they have a great team of competent developers, product specialists, marketing, and all that belongs to a successful company.
I support their work and to make the transition as smooth as possible. It will be exciting to see how this evolves. Also, I think that this collaboration will find a much wider audience than before.
It’s been more than two years since this interview. At the current time, Wolfgang Palm’s expectations of the takeover are wishful thinking, but not reality. So he said that he appreciates that Brainworx continues his current software products. That’s, unfortunately not the case. Existing customers are waiting and waiting for updates.
The same applies to the transition. Wolfgang Palm made the transition as smooth as possible and released the last installers available to existing customers in 2020. However, the transition remains positive only on one side. You neither get new updates nor can you transfer the plugins in your Plugin Alliance user account.
More, inquiries as to whether there would be a PPG plugin comeback for existing customers in the near future were not really answered. Although that was Wolfgang Palm’s wish.
PPG iOS Apps
Wolfgang Palm returned to the software world with innovative iOS apps. The first was the awesome WaveGenerator Synthesizer. Only later he did desktop app ports and released plugin versions for macOS and Windows.
This PA/Brainworx acquisition also included the iOS apps. Already in 2020, there was little hope that the iOS apps would return to the Apple AppStore because Brainworx or Plugin Alliance do not offer or develop iOS apps themselves. The assumption was true. Very unfortunate and sad.
What Remains Of This Takeover?
Two years + have now passed. The expectations of the PPG customers were not satisfied at any point. Neither are the plugins available for purchase again, and neither are there updates. Especially for Apple Silicon or Windows 11.
It seems like the Brainworx developers are using the technology more in own products than reissuing the last Wolfgang Palm plugins. The new MEGA Sampler, which is only available with a subscription, has a PPG filter built in. Whether WP likes the whole situation remains a secret but I can imagine that he had something else in mind.
But you also have to say clearly and honestly that such takeovers often don’t go well. See Apple and Camel Audio and the death of the beloved Alchemy Synthesizer. This now also applies to innovative PPG plugins and apps. They probably won’t come back. Whether they pop up again in a new form is not known. I am very sorry for such decisions and make me unhappy.
If you want to keep your plugins alive even after the end of your business, you should consider making them open source and thus giving the musicians the opportunity to continue using them. Surge shows what you can do with a former commercial plugin if the community helps.
The PPG plugins do not have to be further developed, the availability and maintenance alone would make the community super happy. Dear Brainworx, Dirk Ulrich, and Plugin Alliance do the community a big favor and bring back the plugins unchanged but with compatibility updates. It’s a win-win situation for you.
Imagine the NI Komplete bundle gets the four PPG plugins, that would be a very positive step forward for it. This would be possible because NI and PA work closely together and the complete bundle in version 14 also includes Brainworx plugins for the first time. But that’s just wishful thinking, the reality is different.
Brainworx, if you read this I’d appreciate feedback.
More information here: Plugin Alliance
Thank you so much for bringing this topic up. I am a huge fan of the PPG plugins and their unique sound! So I was hoping that Brainworx develop them further, tidy up the UI and workflow a bit and get rid of that cryptic preset management system. Luckily I can still use some of them on my old iPad. Unfortunately though, while the Infinite Demo(!) does work on the M1 Mac, the owned full versions of Wavemapper and Wavegenerator won’t. And I missed to buy that great Phonem plugin when it was still available. So please, Brainworx bring them back!
Btw., regarding your comment about Alchemy: It’s not abandoned, at least not for Mac / Logic users, as it has been an integral part of Logic Pro since years. Actually it’s kind of the flagship synth/sampler of Logic Pro.
I’ve been asking PA regarding that topic two months ago, here is their reply:
“We do not have a set date yet when we will be releasing PPG licenses on our platform, however, we will be notifying PPG´s previous customers when we do.”
yes, it is a sad story. it was probably a bad decision of wolfgang to give the rights of his amazing software to brainworx. phonem and infinite are so innovative and unique in their sound design capabilities and there is nothing like them out there. both are still working on my iPad but i am not sure how long this will be the case..
Since Palm sold the rights, I lost hope that we’d get anything from that deal. Including those neat MPE synths on iPadOS.
Shouldn’t be surprising that bx wouldn’t release new stuff on that codebase. You’re also covering stories about Soundwide cancelling products (Absynth, Iris 2, Trash 2, BreakTweaker, R2, R4, R2 Surround, PhoenixVerb, PhoenixVerb Surround, NIMBUS, and Excalibur). It doesn’t sound like the right context to maintain extensive product lines, if you’re in that “portfolio”.
Maybe they’re prepping for something which has little to do with music production. They just needed a bunch of DSP-savvy devs for some weird crypto project? Just kidding!
Yes, this has been another negative mark on Brainworx. Why get involved if the story was going to go this way? Here’s another music-software company driven by its business model (such as it is) rather than things working the other way around.
Brainworx is the sister company of Plugin Alliance and also btw part of Soundwide (iZotope, Native Instruments…)
***HELP:Does anyone know if the PPG apps are working with the new iOS 16 update…its the only reason I’m hesitating to switch…. Thanks guys if you were one of the brave ones….
I am on ipad os 16.1 and all of my ppg Apps are working fine. (ipad air 3. generation)
I tested Wavegenerator, Phonem, Wavemapper and Infinite.
They’re also working with external midi in (Korg nanokey) without a problem.
I hope I could helped
Perhaps Wolfgang Palmen should have teamed up/sold the software to Rob Papen? Here is some wishful thinking…
Been waiting for so long for this! Thank you for bringing attention to it. I subscribe to Plugin Alliance and have been wanting use these apps for years
I vomited the day I heard that Wolfgang is giving up development and in all names PA “would” continue it. I absolutely despise PA and reading the news 2 years ago was a black day. Even if PA will eventually release updated versions, they won’t get a single cent from me. How could Wolfgang do such a thing? One of the most out of the box thinking developers is giving his knowledge to a company which utterly destroyed plugin industry over the last decades? Oh my… No further words