Do not buy plugins from these brands at full price, you will regret it

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Buying plugins at full price is not advisable because there are always deals, but if you do, you shouldn’t do it from these brands.

New plugins come onto the market every day. Whether it’s a new Synthesizer, a virtual instrument like a piano, effects, or a tool for mixing and mastering. Most of the time, the fresh plugins are supported by introductory prices that should boost the purchase decisions.

In general, however, the following applies: buy your plugins with discounts. Also, a smaller deal is always better than the regular price. But you know how the reality is. There are also music producers who buy them at full price. Either because the developer doesn’t do any deals (hello ValhallaDSP…), or you can’t wait for the next earth-shaking Black Friday sale.

Plugins full price

Buying a plugin at full price takes effort. Especially where you know what discount battles there are. Everyone is fighting for the customers’ favor. Best with deals that feel like stealing.

You must remember that many of these deals are included in the developers’ price calculations. It’s not that the devs are losing money with plugin deals. Revenue remains revenue. 

Some developers, however, don’t care about these deal events. The best-known example is Sean Costello from VallahallaDSP. His plugins are always $50 and are never in a deal. You can be sure that you are always getting the best price.

Likewise, for Klanghelm or Spectrasonics plugins, for example. But there are black spots in the plugin industry that you should be aware of. It’s better not to buy plugins at full price from their portfolios. They have deals like in a bazaar. Here are the three most prominent.

Plugin Alliance By Native Instruments

In 2022, NI, Plugin Alliance, Brainworx, and iZotope became a big company, recently renamed Native Instruments. Anyone who is an active Plugin Alliance newsletter knows why they are included here. PA constantly has some deal going on. 

Plugins full price

Once there are deals for $29.99 for each plugin, then again coupons, and currently deals starting at $9.99. My email box bursts. The full prices, in particular, bother me about PA. Plugins like the AMEK EQ 250 or AMEK Mastering Compressor regularly cost $349 and $399, respectively.

They are only $29.99 each on sale. Anyone who bought the plugins for the regular price feels ripped off. Others would say that’s just how things are with deals and check the prices before buying. I think that Plugin Alliance should bring its prices into reality and refrain from such bazaar-like shady pricing practices. It massively worsens the buying experience.

Waves Audio

Because we are at spamming mailbox. Yes, Waves Audio would win the award for the best mail-box deal spammer of the century. One thought the marketing department had learned from its mistakes of the last years and the latter subscription fiasco. No! 

Plugins full price waves

The deal emails started flying in again after the subscription topic was off the table. I think there are even more than before. And every time, the newsletter promises the best deals of the year. Since Waves Audio has promotions 24/7, the deals are the real prices. Everything else is fictitious. 

Yes, plugins do go back to the original price, but usually, only a few days until the next offer drops it again. Hence, the big warning: never buy a Waves plugin at full price. You will regret it! 

Universal Audio

Universal Audio seems to be right on Waves’ heels. The company has had plugins in its portfolio for a long time. But since they went native, advertising costs have been massively increased.

The company wasn’t on my radar because I didn’t subscribe to the UAD newsletter. However, according to my community input, they’ve also been doing more aggressive email deal marketing in recent months. New deals arrive in the mailbox every day.


A closer look at the website shows current deals on bundles, plugins, etc. Just like with PA and Waves, the prices are high for dropping them massively when on a special sale. Of course, to achieve the biggest effect. Same business practice as the other two companies.

Hornet Plugins

Exceptionally, even a small developer gets his fingers slapped by me. But first, from the beginning.  With a clear conscience, I subscribed to the newsletter of the Italian developer Hornet Plugins.

On the one hand, I always wanted to be up to date with what was new, then I like to support small companies and it was also a requirement to get one or two free plugins. 

This free plugin deal, however, was a bad idea. Once subscribed, you are thrown into an endless stream of deal newsletters. Almost punctually every night, you will receive a new Hornet newsletter with the next crazy discounts. It’s a 7/7 stream, even on the weekend.


Strangely, Hornet probably has one of the most fairly priced plugins on the market. Without the discount, a plugin costs around 20€ or less and is a quality plugin. At such prices, you can also buy them for the full amount.

But if you have the opportunity to save 87%, then you should use it. So look two or three times before you buy a plugin at full price from Hornet.

I mention Hornet here primarily to show that the developers are doing something fundamentally wrong in their marketing. Deals are nice, but do they have to be in an endless loop all year round? Do you want to end up like Waves and beloved reputation? 


With such methods, you devalue the value of your portfolio and make it unattractive even with the fair-priced regular price. 

For me, it was the wrong business decision. In addition, you annoy your newsletter subscribers with never-ending deals. Please change it. Your plugins deserve better promotion.


I can only recommend that you don’t buy any plugins at full price if possible, especially from the mentioned brands. A deal is sure to come soon unless you want a plugin from a developer like ValhallaDSP, who doesn’t play the deal game.

Where there are deals, scammers are not far away. There are fake websites that offer you Omnisphere 2 for 25€ or Serum for 9,9€. If you are interested in cracked software with fresh malware, it’s an excellent deal. Otherwise, keep your hands or mouse cursor off it. 

If you want cracked software with fresh malware, it’s a good deal. Otherwise, keep your hands off it. 

Trustable deals can be found either on my own website Plugin.Deals or web shops like Plugin Boutique, Audio Plugin Deals, VST Buzz, and others.


  1. Agree with PA and Waves, but don’t be too harsh to Saverio aka Hornet. He’s a nice guy, the plugins are good, the prices are low (well, most days of the year :). Maybe the marketing is a bit off but I would never expected him to show up here.

  2. I agree with this and thanks for writing about it. It’s also interesting that some developers give their updates for free and others charge, that’s something to note when buying plugins.

    Some of the plugins I own have had pretty hefty upgrade prices for the latest versions. Since I switched to Linux I don’t upgrade those plugins if they don’t support Linux even though most of the time I can still use them with Yabridge. Cheers to the companies that have a small upgrade fee or no upgrade fee.

  3. I wouldn’t buy any Waves plugin ever.

    They have great discounts, but it’s actually a subscription, if you want updates and support after one year, you need to pay, sometimes more than you paid the plugin initially on discount.

    Even if you wanted to resell it. Not only the resale value is very low, but you have to pay a fee to Waves for the license transfer, which will typically be higher than the price you sell your plugin at.

    There is so much choice for plugins now that I would never go back to them.

    NI / Arturia are the most fair with their customers I believe, be it for updates, licence transfer. They have top notch support from my experience.

  4. The music software business is one of the most extreme when it comes to pricing. What about “introductory” prices that are forever ? Better than overpriced, but nevertheless misleading.

    • you can buy at full price but better not from the companies I wrote about it 😉 Yes, Sonic Charge is one of the companies where you can buy full price and it doesn’t hurt 🙂

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