CRAS AES Presents Waves Plugins

CRAS has one of the most active student body AES chapters of any engineering school around! From mic builds, to web design seminars, to special events like this week’s Waves Plugins presentation. Featuring Luke Smith, a product specialist at Waves, we learned about new equipment and plug-ins that Waves has currently available, and gave us a little peak at some of the technology that is coming in the near future.

Each student that goes through the Conservatory becomes a certified Operator of Waves plug-ins, as well as receiving some of the most popular plug-ins, including the C1 Compressor, Renaissance Reverb, and the SuperTap plugins. The Certification Bundle is a great first step into the audio sweetening realm that Waves brings to AU, VST, TDM, RTAS and AAX platforms.

Luke spoke about some of their plug-in collections, including the SSL 4000 Collection, the API Collection and the V-Series plugins. Also on the agenda were plugs in the Artist Collections, such as Chris Lord-Alge Classic Compressors, Jack Joseph Puig Analog Legends and Eddie Kramer Tape, Pubs and Transistors. Luke demonstrated an example of one of their plug-ins that emulates older equipment: Waves & Abbey Road presents: REDD.

Other similarly impressive plug-ins include the J37 Tape Saturation plug-in.

It is somewhat amusing to see that after all these years of engineers seeking acoustic perfection, that they now desire the means to deconstruct their audio in ways that previously were completely undesirable. This plug-in does a great job emulating a tape machine, all the way to the wow and flutter controls that make it sounds like you can hear the flux falling onto the floor.

Element is the very first virtual synthesizer from Waves. It features a 16 step arpeggiator and a massive, fully tweakable preset library, this synth can definitely hold its own with the likes of Native Instruments and Logic instruments. Perhaps my favorite though, is their second synth, the Codex. With an absolutely gorgeous interface and endless controls, LFOs and filters, this is an absolute must have.

One of the more technically interesting plugins was the Dugan Automixer. Commonly found in live and broadcast scenarios, Waves brings the Automixer into the mixing and studio world. It is designed to analyze up to 64 channels of audio, and maximize the optimal system gain available. This can be really useful for minimizing the amount of automation needed for things like choirs and background vocals.

He spoke in depth about how these plugins were developed, and how they work. Many of the new plug-ins have a lot of research and development built into them to ensure they emulate the device that they are modeled after 100% accurately. Some other plug-ins, however, have spent years going unchanged because they simply got the design right the first time they made the plugin all those years ago. Some plugins might receive a slight visual upgrade as well, and as Luke clicked through each plug-in, I was very impressed with the look, the feel, and the uniqueness of each plugin.

During this demonstration, Luke was using an interface from their collaboration with DiGiGrid IOS platform. This is a lightweight but capable interface with 8 mic/line inputs, 8 line outputs, a built-in Soundgrid DSP server, and 4 Gigabit ethernet ports for scalable processing power and distributed computing over a Soundgrid network connection.

As the evening progressed, Luke opened up a session in Pro Tools in order to demonstrate how some of the plugins work, going track by track and soloing each plug in. Near the end of the meeting, Luke opened up the floor for a Q&A session with our students, and two lucky students even left with USB keys containing all sorts of Waves goodies!

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