Alliance products (that is, plugins as well as standalone software) include a proprietary licensing system which is completely software based. Thus, no hardware USB dongle is required to run any of them. No additional software or drivers are needed, either. Everything is handled from within the software product. All of your licenses are stored in a single file that resides on your computer or USB flash drive. This file must be updated whenever you buy or demo a new Alliance product and install it on your computer. We support either online or offline activation.
If you have the choice, we highly recommend using online activation, if possible; it is the most user- friendly method. By default, any product can be activated on up to three different computers or USB flash drives per license.
Authorization requires you to have a current Plugin Alliance account. If you don’t already have one, you can create an account on our Registration page. Opening an account is easy to do, totally free, and entitles you to many benefits.
Our license system supports Full Licenses, Trial Licenses and Lease Licenses. A Full License unlocks your product for an unlimited amount of time. You will obtain a full license whenever you purchase a new Alliance product.
A Trial License will let you try a product for 14 days. Trial licenses are free of charge. There are no limitations to the demo versions of the products. All features are available during the demo period. A trial license can be activated on three devices as well, but it will only be valid for 14 days after the first activation.
Lease Licenses are valid for a period of 30 days. They can be renewed after expiration (Fig. 1) by paying your next installment. This allows you to perform an installment purchase of a product.
Download the installer for the product you want to use from the respective product page on our website (Fig. 2), or from the Manage Registered Plugins page in your Account. It doesn’t matter if you are going to try out a demo or if you are going to install a product for which you have purchased a full license; the installer will be the same. We have separate installers for Windows, Mac OS, as well as for specific platforms like Avid’s VENUE. Download and run the appropriate installer.
During the installation process, you will be asked to select which plugin formats you want to install (for example VST, AAX and AU). The format you need depends on the audio host program you are using and which plugin format is required for your host. If you are unsure of what format to install, refer to your DAW software’s documentation.
For standalone software on Windows, follow the instructions given by the installer. The Mac OS version consists of a package that automatically walks you through the installation (Fig. 3).
Start your host software once the plugin installation has finished. Unauthorized plugins will be grayed out and disabled. In Pro Tools, inactivated plugins will produce the activation dialog (Fig. 4) during the plugin scan at startup. Simply click on the plugin window to bring up the activation dialog in all other DAWs.
For standalone software, the activation dialog will appear during startup of the software.
You can choose whether you want to use the online or the offline activation procedure by clicking the I’m online or I’m offline buttons. If you have a choice, we recommend using the online option since it’s the easiest and automatic.
Because we’re using a single file to manage all your licenses, there is no need to reactivate the same plugin in different DAW formats. This means that if you activate a plugin using e.g. Pro Tools you can use it with Logic as well, as long as you are on the same computer or USB flash drive.
If you chose I’m online, the online activation dialog will appear. You will be prompted for your registered email address and your password. The account is identical to your website log in.
As soon as you click Activate, the product will contact our server and download a fresh license file to your computer or USB flash drive.
Any Plugin Alliance products on your system for which you have a valid license will be activated; otherwise, you will have the option to activate a 14-day trial license (Fig. 5). Note that the 14-day trial starts as soon as you have activated this trial upon instantiation of the plugin.
It’s possible to save your password by selecting the Save password checkbox (Fig. 6) in the online activation dialog. Saving your password allows you to activate new products in the future without having to re-enter your login data for every activation process. When enabling this feature, passwords are encrypted and securely stored on your system’s hard disk.
If the computer for which you wish to activate your Plugin Alliance products is not online, the product activation and the transfer of your license file must be done manually via an additional computer with Internet access. In this case choose I’m offline in the Activation window. The offline activation dialog (Fig. 7) will pop up.
You will have to exchange a file between your offline computer and your online computer twice to activate a product on an offline computer using e.g. a USB flash drive.
Step 1: Make sure you have a valid Trial, Lease, or Full license in your Plugin Alliance account for the plugin to be activated. Of course, this can only be done on a computer with Internet access. To create a trial license in your Plugin Alliance account please see details below.
Step 2: Submit your Machine ID in your account. The Machine ID is the number displayed in blue in the activation window (Fig. 7). It is used to identify your computer in our system.
Choose Save to file and store the text file, named “machine_id.txt” on a removable drive (e.g. USB flash drive) connected to your offline computer. Now connect the USB drive to your online computer and log into your account.
Upload the “machine_id.txt” file from your USB flash drive using the Activate New Device option (Fig. 8) by opening your license under Manage Devices and click Activate. Download your new license file to your USB drive by clicking Download License File on the bottom of that page (Fig. 9).
Step 3: Connect your USB flash drive to your offline computer. In the product activation window please click Open license and choose the license file named “pa.license” which is now located on your USB flash drive. Finally, click Activate. Your product is now activated.
Offline License Management
Every offline computer has to be registered only once in your Plugin Alliance account. To activate a device that is already registered, skip Step 2 and select it in the drop-down menu under Activate Existing Device (Fig. 10). Finally, click Activate, download a new license file and proceed to Step 3.
Creating a Trial License
To start a new offline demo, use the Offline Activation option in the Software section of your Account Page (Fig. 11), then choose the product you would like to test. Click Create License, download a new license file and proceed to Step 3.
Alliance products give you the ability to transfer your licenses to an ordinary USB flash drive, which then can be used to run your products on other computers without the need for these computers to be activated. This is especially useful for traveling FOH engineers or engineers who have to work in different studios a lot. When using this method, we highly recommend activating USB flash drives via an online computer.
Step 1: In order to activate your product on a flash drive make sure that this drive is properly connected to your computer and currently mounted in your file-system. Use an online computer on which the product is installed. Start the standalone software you want to activate on your USB flash drive or open the plugin(s) in your DAW of choice.
Step 2: Bring up the activation dialog (Fig. 4) by clicking on the little key-icon in the product’s toolbar. There will be a pull-down menu that contains a list of devices on which the product can be activated. Your flash drive will be listed in the case that it is supported by our licensing system. The local machine will always be listed as first entry and is selected by default. Select your flash drive and click I’m online.
Step 3: Enter your login data and click Activate. The product will contact our activation server and download a mobile license file to your flash drive that can be subsequently used on any computer just by plugging it in.
There may be some very old unsupported flash drives that won’t appear in your device drop-down. If your USB flash drive is among the unsupported models, please switch to a newer drive.
Alliance products have a toolbar (Fig. 12) below their user-interface, giving you access to additional functionality, which is described below:
PA Logo: Clicking the Plugin Alliance logo takes you to the Plugin Alliance website via your web browser if your computer is online.
License Type: The toolbar displays information about the type of license you’re running: Trial and Lease licenses will be displayed along with number of days until expiration; there is simply no note for full licenses as these run unlimited.
$ Icon: If you run a demo version of any of our products, this icon will be visible. Clicking this icon opens a browser that redirects you to the respective product page in the Plugin Alliance store; this is where you can easily purchase a product or pay your next installment without having to look it up on our website.
Key Icon: Clicking on the key icon brings up the activation dialog allowing you to manually change from trial status to full licenses before the end of the trial phase (in cases where you have bought a license in the meantime that has not yet been activated on the current device). You can also use this feature to activate additional computers or USB flash drives.
? Icon: Clicking the ? icon opens up a context menu that links to the product manual PDF, as well as other helpful links, for example to check for product updates online. You must have a PDF reader installed on your computer to be able to read the manual. You can get a free PDF reader from Adobe.