What level are you?
Personally the free stuff is what I cut my teeth on, at that point I did not know whether they were good or bad, I only knew music then.
Then you start to learn, ears get better, and you use the free stuff as a base for where to improve.
Trusty free stuff that is, not stuff downloaded from the ghettos of the nets. Take a look at Computer Music magazine’s CD. Everything you need is right there, and they keep it fairly current. I ask what level you are as I know suggesting the magazine could be taken as insult for some. Also, not knowing what level, we don’t know whether to suggest that you learn the basics, or suggest that you go for a UAD solution (that would be my suggestion best quality in my useless op)
We all use em’ and they are fun to discuss so you should get plenty helpful responses to weigh.