Starsprinkler wrote: ↑
Fri Feb 21, 2020 2:33 am
Normally, but the Absolute bundle is not on sale, so that's a lot more expensive right now, almost twice as much currently.
And HAlion and Groove Agent are the main products in that bundle.
There are sales on Absolute sometimes. I was very fortunate to get Absolute 4 at 50% off in the brief period it was on sale in December 2019, so I paid less for the whole bundle than for separate HALion 6 and Groove Agent 5 licences in the current sale. Normally I would suggest that people interested in both HALion and Groove Agent save up for Absolute, as Absolute is better value as an outright purchase than buying HALion 6 and Groove Agent 5 separately. However, buying both separately may well make sense in the current sale - the bulk of the value in Absolute is HALion and Groove Agent, so buy both at 50% off if you want both.
I thought it might be useful to talk through the rest of Absolute 4 so that those interested in the current sale can make the right decision for them.
Absolute includes Padshop 2 and Retrologue 2. If you already have Cubase Pro 10.5 or Cubase Artist 10.5 then you already have both these instruments. Nuendo 10 includes Padshop 1 (without the Pro add-on, which is no longer available to buy) and Retrologue 2 - I would expect the next version of Nuendo to include Padshop 2.
Absolute also includes The Grand 3 as well as some add-on content for HALion, Groove Agent and Padshop, all of which I would regard as having some value but perhaps not that much. The Grand 3 is a good product but just one of many piano VSTs on the market. There are two good acoustic pianos in HALion 6 / HALion Sonic 3 - Eagle and Raven.
The add-on content in Absolute is mainly older releases. There is nothing wrong with older releases, though they tend to be amongst the cheaper products if someone who really wants them buys them separately. The older releases are also perhaps less interesting than some of the more recent releases.
Four of the five HALion add-ons are very old releases: Dark Planet (cinematic / ambient), Triebwerk (dance), Hypnotic Dance (dance) and HALion Symphonic Orchestra (orchestral). The fifth, Olympus Choir Micro (choral), is a recent release. HALion Symphonic Orchestra is good as far as it goes, but it is nothing like a modern mid to high end orchestra libraries such as Steinberg's Iconica - though Iconica Sections and Players is more expensive than the whole Absolute 4 collection.
The Groove Agent add-ons are Rock Essentials (10 Acoustic Agent styles for rock) and Prime Cuts (a set of Beat Agent styles and sounds intended for hip hop). From memory, Prime Cuts is a more recent add-on but both they're both reasonably old and amongst the cheaper add-ons anyway.
For Padshop you get Zero Gravity and Granular Guitars - again neither are particularly expensive though they both provide some interesting granular content. I find Granular Guitars particularly interesting.
With any bundle like Absolute, where the content covers a wide range of styles, most users will find their musical interests only stretch to part of the content bundle. I would evaluate the value of the content by considering the price of those parts that are interesting to you, not the whole bundle. My interests are not really dance / EDM / hip hop, so Triebwerk, Hypnotic Dance and Prime Cuts are not likely to get any use - I have them installed as I have plenty of SSD space, but I doubt I'll ever use them. I had HALion Symphonic Orchestra and Olympus Choir Micro anyway, as these are bundled with and form the default playback sounds of Dorico 3 Pro. The only add-ons in Absolute that I am likely to use are Dark Planet, Rock Essentials, Zero Gravity and Granular Guitars.
If Absolute 5 continues the trend of Absolute 4 then it will include more add-on content, but I would expect Steinberg to select primarily from older releases which are at the cheaper end of the range when bought standalone. The premium add-ons like Simon Phillips Studio Drums are perhaps more likely to stay outside Absolute.
Normally Absolute is a "no brainer" - if you want HALion and Groove Agent, it is cheaper than buying both as standalone products, so you get the rest of the bundle for free. Whilst the current sale is still on, it is important to evaluate your options carefully.
I looked at buying one of HALion or Groove Agent in the sale and then upgrading it to Absolute, but this costs considerably more at the moment than buying both HALion and Groove Agent in the sale. I've never quite understood Steinberg's upgrade pricing for Absolute, especially as it is the same price to upgrade to Absolute from Groove Agent 5 than HALion 6, despite Groove Agent being a much cheaper product. Most of the new premium priced HALion add-ons are sold by Steinberg on behalf of third party authors anyway - the notable exception there is Electric Bass, which might just make it into a future Absolute.
Depending on what is included in a future version of Absolute, those buying HALion and Groove Agent in the current sale might find it worthwhile to upgrade one product to Absolute in a future upgrade sale and sell the other one to offset part of the upgrade cost. I doubt this will be cost-effective until Absolute 5 has launched and you can roll a version update of at least one product into the overall upgrade.