Try before you buy model

The talk made by Andrew Belt and the future plans of getting more Hardware manufacturers into the fold has got me thinking. The success of Rack and undoubtedly future success a try before you buy model, on commercial plugins, would be extremely healthy for Rack and the Community.

Propellerhead software use this model and it works great (mostly). There would need to be some API/ABI changes to how plugins are authorised which would also be healthy for commercial plugins in Rack. More than likely the number of Rack users is going to increase exponentially as more people start using it. With that comes the potential of folders being shared with others. With the commercial VST version of Rack the API/ABI changes will have to be made anyway.

How could it work?

Any commercial plugins you try could have a timer function built into the website and it would only allow those plugins to load when checked against a token in the trial version of that plugin, different than a compiled version, the trial only works when you are logged in. How long the try lasts could be anywhere between 15-30 days or less.

The one thing that bothers me about Propellerheads try model is when a major update is released from the Vendor or some time has passed when you have already tried a Device the timer is not reset. This could be up to the developer to reset, possibly the next try could be shorter so it is not abused. There is a lot reasons to reset. Maybe you did not know enough about Rack or Modular the first time and could not get the most out the Trial. Perhaps you forgot about it or something came up IRL. Perhaps the plugin got bug fixes that would change someones perspective or it has a new module added to the pack.

Being able to try a set of plugins would not only allow you to sample what they are like but could also promote them without the developer needing to spend much time on promoting them, they speak for themselves. There is too few commercial plugins at this moment in time for this model to make sense but 2-3 years down the line there could probably be 300+ commercial plugins all of them will be competing for spoils and some will not be to everyone’s taste but if there was a Try you could find that out quickly.


I think Vult, Hora, klirrfactory etc have the best approach offering some free or limited versions that give a good insight into the quality of the modules, documentation and support before you choose to buy or not. It seems like the most inclusive approach to me.


The one month (which is quite a long time for trying), has worked fantastic for me and a lot of other Reason users.
So i would definitely welcome this idea, of something similar for VCV.
Even if it was 1 week or 2.

I honestly just kind of assumed the ability to start [some kind of limited] demos via some kind of advanced “Module Manager” (browser+manager+store) was always part of the roadmap for v2 or beyond. I think the keys to widespread adoption are:

  1. VST support/DAW integration. People will expect to be able to integrate this into their DAWs, sync with the start/stop, tempo, etc. We know this is already in the works.

  2. Support for some kind of DRM - preferably left up to developers to figure out if and how they want it. Third-party developers like U-he (for example) may not want to get involved in anything where they can’t protect their IP. And larger developers may be comfortable with their existing copy protection schemes. So maybe design it where it can be flexible and if a company wants to use proprietary DRM, then let them. But for smaller devs, offer some kind of built-in DRM or other types of limits on usage (like limiting the number of devices that can be logged into an account). When it comes to hardware manufacturers, I’m sure they’ll have different ideas about how (if at all) to protect their IP. What you don’t want is users sharing commercial modules, or their log-in info, to their friends or just posting login credentials on a forum. That kind of open-sharing will kill third-party development.

  3. The ability to preview modules from the interface. I think this is something Cherry Audio does well. There’s a browser, I can try stuff out and download and activate demos directly from it, or click a link to purchase. Great user experience. A “Module Manager” should also include a lot of the browser’s current features (tagging/searching), let me tag favorites and hide modules I don’t want to see in the browser.

Again, I just kind of assume all these things are eventually coming and already part of Andrew’s roadmap.