To avoid misunderstandings, I will explain the meaning of some terms I will use frequently.
This doesn’t mean, you are not supposed to buy it. It actually means the developer(!) offers you FREE access to the VSTs. It still might be donationware, a demo (more or less functional),… It is your moral decision if you buy / donate,…
This gets a bit tricky in case the original developer stopped hosting him/herself. I’ll try to avoid linking on rehosts as long it is possible (there are / will be some exceptions). In some cases a formerly free plugin gets commercial. If I know this, I won’t link on the rehosts. (Mistakes are not impossible, if I get one wrong, please correct me).
This is tricky. Due to the artistic part of audio a review will always be subjective. So I will try to seperate different categories.
GUI: Of course the part “Do I like it?” is subjective but I’ll take into account the overall clearness (is it to loaded, are the knobs understandable, is everything (important) labeled…).
Function: A function/use is promoted. Will the plugin do this? Will it give you good results easily (via good controls, good presets,….). Is it something of general use or a one-trick-pony? In the latter case, is it a good trick or will it be of no use in 99% of the all projects?
Efficiency: This is straight forward: CPU load. Of course it is not 100% objective due to different CPUs (or overall systems) and possible special cases. Why do I do this? You might want to know, if you can easily run multiple instances of a plugin. If it has a high load, this will be impossible.
— Please note, that this is often only a “snapshot”. Before I write a review I play around with the plugin in question testing some sounds and aspects to make the evaluation as accurate as I can – and not only by memory. The CPU load is taken from these tests. And it might vary!
I’ve noticed some significant fluctuations when used in different situations so the xx% CPU load can only be a point of reference.
My standard CPU is the AMD FX6300 – if a different CPU is used for the test, this will be noted.
Personal opinion: This one is clearly subjective. I’ll state my point of view, if I like and/or use it. (regulary, sometimes, never…).
I mostly work with recorded tracks, sometimes with midi but focused more on realistic instruments. This will be disclaimed if needed (example: Twin Delay).