If you use cracked plugins to get great sounding tracks then I'm going to let you into a secret - if you have the talent then you don't need them, if you don't have the talent then no amount of plugins will help you.
This article is not about saying that those who use cracked plugins should be locked up and the key thrown away, that doesn't change my position on the use of them which is that it's wrong, it's THEFT and it's NOT a victimless crime. Setting aside those things I want to offer those who believe the lie that they NEED these plugins to make great sounding music some alternatives.
Here are 3 things to use instead of cracked plugins.
The Plugins That Come With Pro Tools
Pro Tools ships with a mountain of virtual instruments and plugins, all of which are enough to help you create a great sounding track. I have a publishing deal and I've lost count of the times I've been asked by producers and artists what the great sounding piano is in the tracks - it's usually Mini Grand and not some $500 piano VI (which I also happen to own), they look at me in disbelief. You'll be surprised by the amount of chart hits that use Xpand2, Producers like Noah "40" Shebib have spoken about using it on Grammy winning albums.
But it doesn't stop there, many music and post mixers alike use the included plugins to mix top songs, TV and film. You don't need cracks to make great tracks.
Use Free Plugins
If you still think there's something missing when you come to mix then there's over 100 free Pro Tools plugins available, many of them excellent. Brands like Plugin Alliance, Softube, Sound Radix and Blue Cat have some killer free plugins which you'll find in the toolbox of top producers.
Check out our free plugin list and you'll see EQ, Compression, Distortion, Reverb, Stereo Tools and instruments you can use in your tracks. Some of our favourite plugins are free ones. You don't need cracks to make great tracks. Brands are constantly bringing out new free plug-ins like the new MS plug-in from Goodhertz for example.
Use Plugin Demos
One area that could be a temptation is finding yourself working on a track and needing a particular plugin to finish a track. You may have a band coming into your studio who ask if you have a certain plugin that they need for the session. Now I understand how you could ask yourself 'why buy a plugin for one job?' That's a sensible question for anyone trying to make money from recording and mixing, but theft is not the smart answer.
99% of plugin vendors offer time limited demos of their plugins and this is what I would do if I needed to use one for a job for a limited period of time - a lot of my friends are plugins developers and they would all prefer you do this than use cracks of their plugins. You don't need cracks to make great tracks.
There is absolutely no technical or musical reason to use cracks, the things that matter and are the difference between success and failure are a great idea, great talent and a great recording, everything else is just window dressing.
Remember - You don't need cracks to make great tracks.