I like Waves - more importantly, I can get their plugins to do what I want. The Fabfilter and UAD stuff sounds better to my ears, but I don't have those. I will say that Waves "sales" are misleading, because their plugins have never been their regularly advertised price for at least three years...
Currently, I'm really liking their SSL Bundle (the E & G channel and the G Bus Comp is a magical thing on the drum bus) and I love the API 550 EQ. I have been experimenting with F6 – I'm not really sure what it does, but the "Vocal Cleaner" preset does wonders for my voice-overs on my YouTube content. The Andrew Scheps Omni Channel looks phenomenal.
For tape, I much prefer Softube's Tape to the Kramer Tape (I haven't tried the J37), and I really like Softube's Summit Audio Grand Channel as my go-to channel strip these days.
I think Waves are a good way to go beyond your stock DAW plugins and get your feet wet with third parties. They're relatively inexpensive, the legacy stuff is pretty low on CPU (H-EQ is a CPU hog though), and they're good for exploring what you need.
Nord Electro 5D, Novation Launchkey 61, Logic 9, Mainstage 2, Kontakt 5, AAS & Arturia stuff, fingers, pencil, paper.