Nexus 2 eLicenser dongle is the reason why we’re abandoning this wonderful software synth

Nexus 2 was one of our favorite synths. It was straightforward and sounded great. It’s a pity that we had to stop using it. The only reason for this is that we really can’t risk using a dongle while on the road. It breaks easily, and if it breaks, there’s no backup system. If we don’t have the Nexus dongle with us on the road, the only way around it is to use other synths. And while we’re at it, we might as well make the change permanent.

Our eLicenser dongle has already suffered some damage, and we’ve had to tape it back together. It makes no sense to be dependable on such an impractical, fragile and ultimately redundant device.

It sucks that having a legitimate licence actually makes things more difficult than using pirated software. We even considered using a pirated version of Nexus 2, even though we have bought it – just to be able to use it without the dongle. Too bad that there is not an up-to-date Mac release of Nexus 2. We have bought all the software we use in music production, so it would be a pity to have to resort to a pirated version.

The eLicenser dongle is so small that it easily gets lost unless it’s attached to something. We already have a ton of live equipment, and the last thing we want to worry about is a little USB dongle.

In my previous rant about the poor state of the current MacBook Pro laptops, I mentioned that there are only two USB ports in the latest models. Using an eLicenser USB dongle would take up 50% of the USB ports. We sure have much better use for the ports than a stupid license dongle.

Almost all other software synth developers have moved on to digital licensing. I think Ableton and Native instruments have a really good digital licensing system, that allows installation on a production computer and a live computer. In the future, we will not buy any software synth that uses a USB eLicenser dongle. ReFX, if you’re listening, please come to your senses and move on to digital licensing.

37 thoughts on “Nexus 2 eLicenser dongle is the reason why we’re abandoning this wonderful software synth”

  1. I agree 100 percent, my dongle just fell apart one day when I pulled it out of the case. I was told I had to buy the whole thing over again after spending over 500 on expansions plus product etc. I’m done with nexus

    • If it just fell apart you can buy a new one and transfer your license to it. They will give you a hard time however it’s possible. Take screenshots and send to them. I have done this in the past successfully only issue is that mine broke apart again! Im fed up and looking foe a new software synth without an licenser.

      • I suggest you move on to another synth. It’s just too risky to rely on such a fragile piece of equipment like the Nexus eLicenser. Not to mention the fact that it eats up a USB port (for nothing).

  2. Totally, what sucks most about the dongle is that I only have 2 usb ports and now days multiple plugins requiresdongles. Meaning that I can’t even use nexus at times because my usb ports are already taken usually by an external and another bastard company that uses dongles. Its a pain in the ass, not to mention the customer service is terrible and they make you buy the software all over again when the flimsy thing falls apart, which it did on me in the first two weeks. I’ve been done with nexus for a while

  3. Great Article, there customer service is a nightmare to deal with anyway, I have some horror stories dealing with them. Best to not support companies that aren’t willing to support their customers in return!

  4. I sent this article to the reFX customer service, and was told that the last time their copy protection was cracked, their sales dropped to a third (-66%).

    Then again, even Adobe has stated that piracy benefits their business, because it lets them remain the industry standard. Even if you don’t pay, you still contribute to the whole software ecosystem just by using it. If you’re a satisfied customer, you tell about the synth to everyone, also those who are willing to pay for it. Even I found Nexus through a pirated version, and wanted to pay for it, because it sounded great.

    I wonder how big companies like Native Instruments and small companies like U-he manage to pull it off, if reFX can’t. Maybe they should call their colleagues… Anyway, Nexus will not be heard on our third album, because we need to be able to play the sounds live, and with Nexus it’s just too risky.

    The plastic cover of our dongle also broke, but I managed to tape it back together. That was the first warning sign. Can’t rely on something like that.

    • I would recommend turning to other great software synths, such as U-he Zebra. Nexus sounds great, but their fucked up licensing system just makes it unusable.

    • I already bought nexus without that usb lincense shit and now i have to wait till i get money to buy that shit and then need to wait till i get that usb… man this sucks

  5. I was going to buy Nexus 2 today along with a few expansions, but after some careful consideration I will use the cracked version instead.

    My current eLicenser dongle already has some crackles on it. If this fragile piece of plastic shit stops working for some reason I will be forced to buy Nexus again(!!!). It´s too risky. It´s as if Nexus wants people to use the cracked versions instead of buying from them. Fantastic plugin but what a piece of shit company in terms of customer service.

    When the eLicenser requirement is removed, I will happily buy the software.

    • Tell me about it. It’s sad that you’re actually forced to use a cracked version instead of the real thing, just because the licensing system is so stupid.

  6. I agree the dongle is one of the dumbest things about this software, i take care of this dumb this more than my phone

  7. Such a huge disappointment. I just graduated college, got a new job, and was going to celebrate by rebuilding my portable studio (since I travel alot) with legal, new software goodies.

    I was just on their site to make the actual purchase for the full $4000 bundle until I saw that it required a usb dongle!? Really? Way to treat your potential customers. Since I travel often, I do not have the time to be pulling out a usb hub just so I can have it plugged in. I use a macbook pro so the ports are already used by my midi keyboard and hard drive in which I wanted to save the library in.

    A quick google search, however, led me to this new usb free alternative called Lethal. It is a rompler that seems really new. Im actually downloading the demo right now, but their intro video on their site, some user video, and the fact they are giving out a free, fully functional demo with 100 sounds convinced me to give it a try. Im in no way affiliated with them, but just wanted to inform you guys who might be in a similar situation as me since they seem new.

    Apparently you also get all extensions free until 2017 if you purchase. In any case, if they dont work out I will look towards Omnisphere next, but I was looking for something that I can use to find bread and butter sounds fast so i can focus on composition, not sound designing. If anyone has other potential alternatives to nexus, please let me know!

    Its a shame, I would have happily supported reFX.. but oh well!

  8. Im glad theres so many others who feel my pain. I just broke my second e – licenser (lost the first one) and i really dont wanna buy another one. All the shit ive been working on though solely relies on nexus. I hope they realize soon enough or theyll lose everyone

  9. It’s now 2017 and there’s STILL no pirated Mac version of Nexus 2 out (please prove me wrong), so perhaps their approach actually works in preventing piracy?

    • Yeah, I guess this is the way to prevent piracy. But piracy might not be as bad for them as they think. Even Adobe has admitted that pirated software actually helps to sustain their position as the de facto standard in the industry (because kids download the software first, learn to use it, get a job and then continue to use the same software), so it actually brings them more paying customers.

      I’m not against licensed software. I’m against eLicenser and iLok dongles. Besides, you need an adapter to use them with the new MacBook Pros. More adapters = greater chance of catastrophe on stage.

      And no, I don’t have any news on a pirated version of Nexus. I have moved away from Nexus a long time ago. U-He Hive for the win!

  10. Bought and used 1st Nexus plugins and expansions for many years until they decided not to support newer DAW and OS updates without forking over more cash. And what’s funny, I remember the exchange with them being quite rude for what it was. I think he mistook me for some other angry customer, because he seemed to think he had dealt with me before but hadn’t. Anyway, this was years ago when they were first trying to up-sell Nexus users to the sequel. Now I’ll never buy Refx products on general principle. I don’t want the hassle of having someone hold hostage the sounds I thought I already owned.

  11. Is there any way I can use Nexus 2 on my Mac book pro & desktop also.plz help thanks a lot

    • Do you mean to run Nexus 2 simultaneously on your MacBook Pro and desktop computer? You would need two USB eLicensers (not sure if you could use the same license on separate eLicensers, though). As you can see, the whole USB key thing is really not too handy for anyone. Using a pirated version is a whole lotta easier. Or just getting another software synth to do the job. U-he Hive and Zebra are great alternatives!

  12. It’s kinda funny they use that as protection against piracy, but Nexus still got pirated. The stupid dongle didn’t helped them at all, but it makes legitimate users expierence worse than of pirates.

    If they stop being so stubborn and abandon that kind of protection. See, it’s not helping against piracy at all, then what’s point having it?

  13. Same here !
    My USB starts to crackle and I am constantly scared to loose it when traveling.
    I feel considered worse than a pirate and that makes my angry regarding the huge price of the plug-in…
    They have 15 years late in the industry and I kinda think they dont really care of their customers. I also think they are business oriented and not musical oriented.
    I might use a crack version if there is one for MAC or even never use NEXUS again in my production, but they wont care of that, they already got my money thats the most important for them. You know “what is taken is taken”… Now we are fucked up.

  14. wtf

    just attach the thing to a short usb cable and wrap a crap load of electrical tape around it

    this isn’t rocket science

    personally i prefer the dongles because i can use the software on any computer just by installing the software and temporarily moving the dongle. to me that’s a million times better than licensing schemes to lock it to a particular computer, i wish all software could be licensed simply by moving a usb dongle.

  15. I submitted a ticket asking if they would consider the Soft E-license idea. It seems that they are finally looking for an alternative! Pia from Support wrote back “We’re working in developing an alternative to the physical USB eLicenser. I’m afraid I don’t know any of its particular details just yet.
    This is exciting news, for me anyway, because I really like Nexus, but share the same issues with the Dongle as most people here.

    • Wow! An online licensing system for Nexus would be fantastic. Let’s hope they finally come to their senses. Until then, I will continue to boycott reFX products.

  16. Broke mine too, bought a new Steinberg stick and succesfully transferred both Cubase and my Nexus2 licenses to this new one.
    Pricetag: a whopping 20 euro’s.
    Whats the problem? i really don’t understand your issue.

    For the record people will hack anything, no mather what the security method is.
    Even the brilliant iLOK software can be “hacked” so you will.

    • The main problem is unreliability. And using one USB port for the elicenser dongle is just stupid, as this often leads to having to use a hub, which is also usually unreliable in live situations. I would rather have all my software licenses behind an online activation system.

  17. This company doesn’t care or want your money..
    I would have loved to bought vanguard once I had the money saved up but it’s discontinued, I was hurt for long time, I said fine and saved up like 300 later and I found out I needed to buy hardware to run the program… HAHA!!!!!!!
    No way I will ever use dongle for software lol… that defeats the purpose of not buying hardware and using a vst.

    • Exactly – no point in having a software instrument that needs a hardware counterpart…which gets lost or breaks easily. It sucks that there isn’t really a good alternative to Nexus out there. I bought Lethal, but it sounds a bit cheaper than Nexus. Didn’t really find it that useful. Any tips on good romplers are welcome!

      • To heck with dongles and licensing and user agreements and software-as-a-service and the cloud and the whole ugly mess.

        I bought a battered old Proteus and I can do whatever I bloody well please with it, without asking for permission from anyone!

  18. I was googling and found this thread since I am having some elicenser problems, with Nexus 2. I used to run pirated copy of Nexus 2 years ago but after I got tired downloading different hacks and cracks and whatnot, I decided to buy the softaware. Also I could not get some plugin packs working that I wanted. So far i’ve been very satisfied with eLicenser performance. I have also Cubase which requires eLicenser to work. But also, I can see the dongle be a pain in the ass when you are using laptops on road. I hope in the future we don’t need usb dongles anymore, as far as I know, if price is right, people will buy the software / games if they want those. Just look at what CD Project Red is doing. No copy protection at all in their games and they sell like crazy.

    • I guess reFX have their reasons for using dongle licenses, but their customers are already choosing other synths because of the impractical licensing devices. We paid for this synth, but chose not to use it because the dongle was a liability. I bought Lethal, because I thought it would be a worthy replacement for Nexus 2, but it doesn’t sound as good. So, these days my sounds come from Zebra 2, Omnisphere 2 (which I consider to be the closest replacement for Nexus 2) and Serum.

      If software licensing is easy, convenient and not overpriced, the majority of customers will choose to buy (instead of using a pirated version). Steam has proven this, and Native Instruments is also doing a good job on their licensing software. Not to mention Ableton, which has successfully moved to online licensing years ago.

  19. @Joona Nuutinen: As an Omnisphere2-owner myself i had to email support@spectrasonics everytime i had to re-install because of Windows updates and when i bought new computer because they thought i was a fraud or somesort, very annoying because i paid every cent. They now gave me 10 credits for re-installing whenever i would need to.
    So that’s a no-go comment.

    With E-licenser you do’nt have isues like that and never lose valueable studiotime because everything you need is on the stick despite wich computer you are using, as long as the stick is connected to whatever machine you are using.
    Steinbergs Cubase is our base and all other are on the stick as well.
    I really don’t see or agree with the problems or disadvantages stated here.

  20. Jesus Christ, why Produce a dongle for a single piece of software…

    They should just use iLok if they want a dongle bound license


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