Plugin Alliance Unites Leading Audio Plug-in Developers

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All-new American pro audio plug-in company Plugin Alliance LLC is proud to launch its one-stop shopping, service, and support portal ( on January 2, 2012...

At time of launch, joining Plugin Alliance founder member Dirk Ulrich’s renowned German M/S mastering tools and audio plug-ins company Brainworx ( are fellow German analogue and digital audio processor designer/manufacturer SPL (; US quality-crafted audio hardware and software developer Chandler Limited (; fellow American high-quality microphone manufacturer and signal processing developer CharterOak Acoustic Devices (; Australia’s acclaimed classic Neve and modern circuitry combination specialist Custom Series 75 (; German pro audio hardware and software specialist elysia (; American elite professional audio gear manufacturer Mäag Audio ( — all set to enter the plug-in arena in February 2012; American fine audio equipment maker Millennia Music & Media Systems (; and German pro audio manufacturing venture Vertigo Sound ( More members will be announced soon.

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So, what’s it all about, then? Says Ulrich: “Our German company Brainworx has been developing plug-ins for several years, but besides making our own plug-ins, we’ve worked with SPL, elysia, and Vertigo Sound — three of the top German analogue manufacturers; their plug-ins have been developed and maintained by our team from day one onwards, but the plug-ins were offered through the individual companies’ websites, which forced us to host several web stores, plus offer tech support and download services on multiple servers. This soon got crazy as we had more than 100,000 users shared between those companies by Spring 2011! Around that time I was also talking to several US companies who were interested in releasing plug-in versions of their gear as well, yet, while I was obviously happy about potential new collaborations, I felt it would be no longer manageable if we started more and more web services — user experience suffers if customers have to open multiple accounts to download and potentially buy plug-ins from 10 different websites. So, as we are offering our own line of plug- ins with Brainworx, I decided to start a new company, which would serve as the online distributor and the service provider for everybody involved, and keep Brainworx as one of the brands in the lineup.”

History lesson over, Plugin Alliance is more than just a web store, offering several brands on one website; its new Plugin Alliance licensing system uses a single license file for all Plugin Alliance plug-ins on a customer’s computer. Several months in the making, said system can be activated online or offline, and allows simultaneous use of up to three computers! (Solutions tailored to suit working professionals requiring more than three licenses are also available by request.)

Continues Ulrich: “Our system requires only one license file which, once copied to your music computer, then automatically activates all of your Alliance plug-ins at once, thanks to our online activation system — enter your e-mail address and password, and you’re rocking within three seconds!”

Simply activate your account; download a plug-in installer; start your DAW and open the new plug-in; enter your e-mail address and password... voila — job done!

Kiss goodbye to those tiresome, time-consuming iLok hardware dongles with all existing licenses being honoured by the new Plugin Alliance system. Affordable or even free upgrades to 64-bit versions and AVID’s new native AAX format are available for all users, and all licenses bought from Brainworx, elysia, SPL, and Vertigo Sound already await existing customers in their free Plugin Alliance account! (Anyone not wishing to join the Alliance can, of course, continue using any iLok-based installers they originally purchased.)

According to Ulrich, when Brainworx hosted an online survey in 2011 the overwhelming consent from over 40,000 respondents was that users are fed up with being forced to use hardware dongles to run their plug-ins, an all too familiar feeling for Madonna producer (and Plugin Alliance advocate) David Reitzas: “As a professional user working in different studios all the time, this new system sounds like a dream come true. I hate having to install drivers and USB dongle hardware whenever I work in a new studio just to make sure I can use the tools I’m used to. All major studios I know have an Internet connection these days to enable them to update their OS, DAW software, or plug-ins, but anyone who’s ever left their USB dongle at home knows what that means.”

And it’s not just within the comfy confines of a recording studio that the Plugin Alliance concept makes perfect sense; Chad Olech — FOH (Front-Of-House) mixing engineer for an array of international performing artists (including Alice In Chains, Deftones, Mudvayne, and many more) — is a fervent fan: “I love the concept of the Plugin Alliance; the more companies that band together, the bigger the product can become and the better the product can become, because you’re using more resources and more brainpower on it, so I’m all for it, personally.”

Downloads, tech support, sales, news, and anything else relating to plug-ins from the companies in the Plugin Alliance, including multi-brand bundles catering to specific needs — mastering, mixing, et al — can be found at:

All individual plug-ins bought on or after May 1, 2011 qualify for free upgrades; cost-effective upgrade fees apply to all plug-ins bought before May 1, 2011: upgrade one or two individual plug-ins for $20 USD each, or upgrade all older Alliance plug-ins for $50 USD (for the entire account), and qualify for 64-bit versions and native AAX formats with these upgrades.