Originally posted by jjbraunius
I am not sure about the wrapper applications, the ones I've tried seemed to make the PC sluggish and since I have enough good direct x plugins it wasn't an issue, but definitely a hindrance.
I've tried a lot of the wrappers, and I definitely trumpet the virtues of direciXer. There's no latency and no extra system stuff, because there's nothing running but the plug-ins. DirectiXer builds a directX plug-in out of whatever VST plugs you register in it. So when it comes time to use the effect, you're using a directX wrapped VST, but the wrapper app isn't running at all.
The down side is that some VSTs don't wrap so well... sometimes a few of the parameters aren't easy to adjust after the fact, because the interface can change to a directX default thing. Doesn't happen with the better plug-ins, but it does with some.
If I had to do it again, I might go with Cubase for the VST support, but I've been using Cakewalk Pro Audio since the early days, so Sonar was a no-brainer for me when it was time to upgrade. (Before I started with Cakewalk, I did use the "lite" version of both Pro Audio and Cubase VST back in the day. I ended up going to Cakewalk because it was easier for me to use.)
On the other hand, I don't mind paying for a plug-in if I know I'll use it. The Sonic Timeworks reverb is well worth the $150 or whatever I paid for it, because I know a comparable hardware unit I could use at mixdown with digital i/o would cost a lot more. I have built up a healthy collection of killer directX plug-ins over the years.
I agree, though, the only way to know what's for you is to download the trials and check them out... As much as folks complain about the cost of software, it's really the only thing in pro audio that's easy to evaluate before you plunk down the cash. Sure, you can buy two $1000 preamps, take them home for review and return one in 30 days to a lot of stores, but you still need the $2000 up front to do it. Not so with software.