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VSL vs EastWest - huge difference in attitudes

Discussion in 'The LUG Lounge' started by Colin Shapiro, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. Colin Shapiro

    Colin Shapiro Senior member

    I have been a user of VSL products since the very start, with their libraries for EXS24 through to the current time. Whenever I have had issues with the software (seldom), I have received really fast and efficient support from VSL, either at their forums or direct from VSL support.

    Over the years, some really difficult customers have posted at their forums but their anger (and sometimes, abuse) has been tolerated by the VSL team who have always bent over backwards to help.

    I'm writing about this because it is contrasted by my recent experience with EastWest. I bought their Ra library and soon found several problems - bad loops, delays before notes started and more. These were the kind of problems that made certain instruments unplayable. I posted on their forums and was told to submit a support ticket, which I did. A year later, the problems have still not been fixed, and Ra is still for sale, as is, at their website.

    I have been posting regularly at the EastWest support forum, complaining about the lack of response. Last week, an update to Ra was posted that fixed other problems that I hadn't encountered, but not the ones I'd reported. (I actually gave up on using Ra out of frustration.) I posted a new topic at their main forums about bad service, and received this remarkable response from their Admin:
    For me, "as good as it gets" is simply not good enough. Ra may have been created many years ago but it's still for sale right now, with no warnings that several samples are badly looped and that instruments don't play properly.

    I was also shocked at the attitude of intolerance in general. I started a new topic to express this, but the new topic was completely removed by Admin, further demonstrating their lack of transparency and hiding any evidence of my frustration.

    This whole episode serves to re-inforce just how great the team at VSL are and I wrote this whole epic to express my ongoing thanks to them.

    Sorry for the rant...
     
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  3. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    Always good to put these things into perspective.

    Maybe you've been lucky with VSL and unlucky with EastWest. I am not really that fond of Vienna, and did actually have similar experience with them as you've had with East West.

    I discovered that many samples (on the original ESX24 library) had been
    recorded wth left and right of the stereo out of phase. This was actually quite damaging to a project because it sounds fine in stereo, but I had sent off a mix to an editor without checking the mono (wrong, I know) and when I turned up at the dub, they were testing on a mono monitor and the entire cello and double bass section were practically missing, we wasted a lot of time troubleshooting and ended up with egg on my face of course.

    I contacted Vienna who replied that they knew about this, but it should not be a problem as "most producers would use a stereo imaging plugin anyway".

    Needless to say this was fixed when they released the update of the library on Vienna Instruments.

    Another issue I have with Vienna is that they do not actually allow you to advertise the software for sale if you want to sell it. Yes, the licence is transferable and you can actually sell it (with their consent) but it seems only to people who telepathically know that you want to sell it.


    Now, can I find anything good to say about East West? Hmmmm. At least you can sell their stuff.
     
  4. georgelegeriii

    georgelegeriii Senior member

    Funny Colin, you describe my experience with Vienna rather than East West. Are you in Europe?

    I have found VSL as a company to have been great in the past, but for the last couple of years it has been very difficult to get proper support here in the US. Only after some things had happened (like my client list became too large to ignore and a conversation at NAMM) was I able to resolve my issues to a point.

    East West has been awesome, with one of their guys over there being very supportive (Jonathan Kranz) and while they can be sensitive about things (I suppose all these companies are) they usually do what they can to resolve any issues.

    Many times have I wanted to got on a rant like this over Vienna, but have restrained myself. I suppose it's good to know some people get support... while others would like to feel like their investment was worth something (the most non insulting way I could think to say it in the middle of the night).
     
  5. Colin Shapiro

    Colin Shapiro Senior member

    It must be really late at night George. ;)
    If you look in the sidebar, you'll see I'm in South Africa.

    Anyway, to George and Pete:
    I'm surprised to hear of your bad experiences with VSL. Clearly they are not perfect all the time.

    The bottom line for me though is that after my experience with EastWest, there is no way I will ever consider buying more of their products. The lack of willingness to even acknowledge problems is totally off-putting.

    Maybe there should be a Buyer Beware section here at LUG. My next gripe would be with Native Instruments who haven't fixed long-standing bugs with FM8 for years.....
     
  6. EastWest Lurker

    EastWest Lurker Senior member

    Sorry to hear that you have not been satisfied with your experience with EW. In the future if you are having trouble getting issues resolved, feel free to email me the details and I will try to get you the help you need or at least an answer.
     
  7. Orren Merton

    Orren Merton Logic Samurai / Administrator Staff Member

    No company should ever show attitude towards their customers.

    But it does beg a question: if you are a customer service rep, and you know something won't be fixed ever, what's the best way to handle it?

    Obviously, throwing around attitude isn't the answer.

    But do you blow some smoke saying "hey, thanks for bringing that to our attention, I'll write a ticket, please check back in a few months" to make it look like something is happening, when you know it's not?

    Or do you say "sorry, the company has decided to put it's limited resources elsewhere, I don't think that issue will be addressed in the foreseeable future" knowing that 1) you personally didn't make the decision and 2) saying so will anger the customer further, potentially opening you up to a nasty tirade in person, the person venting on forums like this one, etc?

    This is why I can never do customer service. ;)

    I suppose the best answer would be a) to be as honest and contrite as possible and b) offer the customer a refund or exchange for another software program. I appreciate the honesty of EastWest that rather than placating you they told you the truth but the attitude and lack of refund/exchange I think blew an opportunity to show that they care.

    Orren
     
  8. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    Don't get me started on Native Instruments!

    I once had a problem I contacted Eastwest regarding a registration problem. They replied telling me to contact NI. Idid so and they replied telling me to contact Eastwest.

    When I mentioned this to NI, I was incredibly impressed because (and please make sure you are sitting down before you read this)

    Their technical support apologised for giving me wrong information. Yes, that's what I said, technical support actually apologised!
     
  9. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    Fix it in the upgrade and charge an extra £1500.
     
  10. Colin Shapiro

    Colin Shapiro Senior member

    Thanks for offer Lurker..

    Sadly, I don't believe that there will be a future for me and EastWest. They know about the reported problems I had with Ra and have not bothered to fix them. Admin's attitude is F*$k off and enjoy the bits that actually do work.

    I won't buy any more of their products, so there won't be any further problems for me.
     
  11. georgelegeriii

    georgelegeriii Senior member

    Have you considered that you just got someone who was having a very difficult day, and that the company is really much better and concerned that there are issues and is going out of their way to fix them , or at least acknowledge the issue? I suspect that you might find this out, especially if someone from EW is offering to assist you now. It's your choice, but I have to tell you, some of my closest friends and I didn't hit it off in the beginning, and if that initial thought had been the last one, I wouldn't have one of the better friends in my life.

    As for NI, I only have to say 1 product:Kore. Then there are the others, but the way they handles this product from the start was bad, and the way they promised users that there would be updates to make it 64 bit, and still work after the K8 upgrade. That was a komplete lie. I have K8 on one of my systems to be able to learn it and tech it, but I am unsure of putting it on my main system out of fear that it will break Kore and all my Korepacks (about 10 or so... about $600 worth) would be unusable.

    And if we have a bad guys list I think we might want to acknowledge the really great ones like u-he, UA, PSP, Rob Papen, Nomad,KV331 Audio, Fab Filter, Redmatica, and many more whom I would be happy to support and recommend to anyone.
     
  12. georgelegeriii

    georgelegeriii Senior member

    BTW Colin, If I could be so bold as to suggest something: starting a vendetta against a company on multiple boards with your "rant" can be seen as petty. In the end the people who make up their own minds will do that, and the sheeple will thank you, and possibly miss out on a product they might find perfect for their needs.

    I have always regretted taking this tactic in the past, and have always come out looking (or feeling) a bit foolish.

    One last thing: If we can get 99% of any product working and doing what we want, I'd think we are doing pretty good. With millions of lines of code, as well as tens of thousand of either edits or features, frankly I'm completely surprised any of this stuff works as well as it does.

    I started out with a Fostex 8 track that recorded on 4 tracks at ones, with a spring reverb, some mono synth by Yamaha, owned Protools 1, Studio Vision when the only option for an audio crd was the 2 track soundtools card on my Mac SE 32, and remember when Alchemy was considered the king of 2 track editors. Some have been lost while some survived, and it wasn't always the one who supported their product the best.

    Anyways, I saw the same rant at the Spectrasonic list and thought I'd make a comment about that.Nothing personal, just a bit of advise from an old timer.
     
  13. Colin Shapiro

    Colin Shapiro Senior member

    George:
    I appreciate that you're trying to help, but it wasn't just one day.
    I started reporting certain faults with EastWest Ra in April 2010. Other users confirmed they had noticed them too. I had a promising post from a moderator. In January 2011, Nick Phoenix of EastWest said he'd "look at it this week". Another user came on the forum with a further looping problem I hadn't noticed or listed.

    Another moderator promised that "..a few of these issues are going into a PLAY Update and not an Instrument update, as they are not specific to the instrument files but rather functionality in PLAY."

    Nick Phoenix came back later and told me that one of the issues (with a very strangely layered sitar) was "...a little weird, but I had nothing else to use that would improve it. So I left the patches in. Don't use them if they bug you."

    PLAY 3 arrived and nothing improved. Not another word from EastWest and no fixes. Who knows how many other faulty patches there are in Ra? I've given up on using it.

    This doesn't appear to provide any evidence that the "company is really much better and concerned that there are issues and is going out of their way to fix them." Exactly the opposite.

    I fully agree with you by the way about having a "good guys" list too....add Spectrasonics to the ones you mentioned.
     
  14. Colin Shapiro

    Colin Shapiro Senior member

    To George again:
    I missed your 2nd post of two in a row.
    I purposely posted at a few forums for several reasons:
    1 - I was shut down by Admin at EastWest. If they had been more tolerant, I would have kept it all there.
    2 - In a post that was removed at the EastWest forums, I compared their attitude to that of VSL and Spectrasonics. After the removal, I felt compelled to post at VSL and Spectrasonics, really to applaud their better attitude and support.
    3 - After some thought, I got into a caveat emptor state of mind and decided to repeat my "rant" at a few select forums (like here), if only to serve as a warning to other users like myself.

    I do appreciate your input, from one old timer to another. I also started way back, with a Fostex 8-track and a series of neolithic computers - remember the Yamaha QX-5? The MC-500 was standard MIDI gear and editing anything was a major exercise in menus and typing. When the Atari ST came out, it was sublime luxury. Amazing how far things have come....
     
  15. EastWest Lurker

    EastWest Lurker Senior member

    That is of course your choice to make but I think you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
     
  16. Colin Shapiro

    Colin Shapiro Senior member

    Have you actually read all my posts? Do you really think I would want to spend more money buying products from a company that sells products with known faults?

    Give me a break!

    How do I know that other libraries aren't as bad or even worse?

    Fix Ra and demonstrate some goodwill and integrity towards customers.

    Then you can come back here and talk to me....
     
  17. EastWest Lurker

    EastWest Lurker Senior member

    Wait a minute, aren't you a Logic user? Does not Apple (and did not Emagic before that) release versions of Logic with known bugs, some of which get fixed and some of which do not? You bet!

    I am also an NI beta tester and I can tell you they also release their products with known bugs, some of which get fixed and some of which do not.

    It is the nature of ALL complex software. If your standard is that you only will buy bug-free software or software where all the bugs will eventually be fixed without introducing new bugs when introducing new features, you are not going to be using much software.

    BTW, I guess you will not be able to run either OSX or Windows either because they both have known bugs, some of which will be fixed and some of which will not.

    Anyway, we live in a global village. It is quite easy to visit forums and see the nature of the issues and various experiences people have with any given software and make the decision of what we can live with and what we cannot.

    Your choice but even if I were not working part time for EW, I would say you ate throwing the baby out with the bathwater, just as I tell people who write me and say, "I am done with Logic because it has bugs they will seemingly never fix" only to switch to Cubase, DP or PT and find that they too have bugs that will seemingly never get fixed.
     
  18. LVP

    LVP New Member

    I ordered a composer's collection from EW about the day Colin posted his issues. My first response was "Gulp! What have I gotten myself into?" I had heard from the folks at Sweetwater that EW had fallen down on customer service, but seemed to be redeeming themselves of late.
    I suppose I might ask, is there any of this software that is bug-free? If I can get a good percentage of Goliath, SD2, Voices of Passion, and Gypsy to work, I'd be pretty happy. But, if the guitar sounds in Gypsy are glitched, or the violin, I'd be really upset. The accordian(s), not so much.
    I started with a Teac 3340S 4 tracker--no, first I had an old Sony that did multi-tracking by bouncing. I started in the digital world with a little Alesis sequencer and drum machine. Then on to Visions and its multiple versions. It was buggy, but I got alot of work done on it.
    Wish me luck. Gypsy, et al, should arrive any day! :eeek:
     
  19. Colin Shapiro

    Colin Shapiro Senior member

    An update from the original poster (me):
    VSL just released a whole bunch of updates and I experienced some rather strange problems. I posted on the VSL forums and had some really fast and helpful replies from 3 of the VSL team including Herb (the head man).

    Some of my problems were fixed by re-installing, another was user malfunction (ie my fault). The bottom line is that VSL jumped in right away and they have already released further updates to address some problems.

    So, once again, a huge round of applause to VSL for their care and support!
     

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