Cubase Plugins vs paid for VST's

How do people rate the included instruments & effects against paid for VST’s?

a) They’re ok but you need to spend money to get the good stuff

b) They’re actually pretty good

I’ll go with B on this one. Yes there are better paid VSTs out there but as far as I’m concerned, you’ve already paid for quite a lot of them by purchasing Cubase. I do have a few 3rd party plugs but if I was confined to Cubase, I would have no problem. They just have to be smartly used. Some plugs are only as good as their programmer.
Some instruments are pretty close to excellent. In my opinion, guitars and saxs are hard for any synth to emulate because they have so many nuances. For these you may have to upgrade to something that has more samples per note.
Drums, basses, keys, horns, strings and some sound fx pads are actually very good. FX plugs have carried me pretty far in my final mixes. If you need any final mix samples, let me know! (mind you, I’m only upgraded to Cubase Studio 5)


I guess it’s ‘effects’ I am more unsure of they seem ok but was wondering if you pay for expensive studio plugs if you can really tell the difference, reverbs etc

Instruments are more obvious I guess & there’s lots of interesting ones on the market so will just see how I get on

Out of all the effects, reverbs and compression seem to be the most controversial. It’s all a matter of personal taste. Many of the Cubase versions can be shaped pretty diversely. I’m using only one 3rd party reverb but just for certain applications. I use Roomworks for most of my vocal flavorings. I’m only on CB Studio 5 so I haven’t even experienced REVerence or feel the need to at this point. I can shape what I have to suit anything I do.
Compression is also a matter of taste. A lot of them function well for compression but have different sound signatures. Take your pick. You have to experience them yourself and make your own personal choice. Someone else can tell you something sounds great and you might like differently.

Most of the effects, when used subtly or well within their parameters (compression, expansion, gating, limiting, but also reverbs and delays etc.) work as well as most bought effects. But once you start to push an effect to the point at which it exerts it’s own “stamp” on the sound, this is where the different effects, each with their own particular characteristics (read algorithms) generally begin to distinguish themselves, and one becomes desireable over another. At this point it is very much a matter of personal taste, but keep in mind that some of the cheaper or freebee effects may not be so useful when they are pushed into their operating extremes. To know however, you have to try it and see.