Waves plugins

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by schwiz, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    I have to preface this post by saying that this is somewhat of a rant.

    I downloaded a few demos from Waves to try out their plugins. The GUI's on these plugins look like they were developed in 2005. I can barely see the text on them, let alone the VU meter readings (I swear I'm not blind either). I then looked at what they are actually charging for these plugins and I couldn't believe it. $7500 for a bundle? You've got to be ....ing kidding me. How can anyone afford that?

    Does anyone actually own and use these Waves plugins? Are they really that good to justify that kind of price tag? Seems absolutely absurd.

    /rant
     
  2. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I don't know which particular plugins you're referring to, but speaking generally...

    Waves are definitely solid plugins - I'd be more concerned with the sound than I would the GUI, and they're good sounding plugins. There's a wide range of different bundles - I have the Gold bundle (which I forget what it costs, I got it included with my Apogee Ensemble, but way less than that) as well as a few one-offs; the CLA Classic Compressors, the Bass Rider, probably one or two more I've grabbed on one of their weekly sales, etc. I'm happy with the sound and performance of all of them - in particular, I use the CLA bundle a ton - I'll use the Reaper ReaComp if I want a transparent, unobtrusive compressor, but for anything I want a little more color, the LA2A or 1176 models are my go-to.

    That said, Waves is also kind of... How to say this... I guess they're like the Nike of plugins. They have a lot of brand cache and I think a lot of that is because they were one of the first companies offering a full suite of really good in-the-box effects plugins that could stack up plausibly with rack gear. Part of what allows them to command a premium price is because they're seen as a "premium" product - good reputation, good product support, lots of people use them so it's easy to get a second opinion from someone who has used them a whole bunch, etc. That doesn't mean that there aren't other just-as-good-options out there, it's just that these are the more "established" offerings on the market.

    They also go on sale a LOT - it's worth getting on their mailing list. I think I grabbed the Bass Rider plugin for $29, mostly out of curiosity, because for the price, why not. It's normally a $100-150 plugin. Likewise, I think I paid $150 for the CLA set, and Sweetwater has that for sale for a retail price of $599. It's worth getting on their mailing list.

    As alternatives, if you're on a PC, I only bought the CLA plugins because the Antress stuff I used to use on everything is Mac only. The Lost Angel opto and Seventh Sign electro compressors were great, I thought, and are free downloads. For reverbs, I STILL generally just load up the Samplicity Bricasti M7 samples in ReaVerb, even though I have a couple Waves plugins at my displosal. And the Blue Cat Audio plugins are pretty good too - their chorus rules (and is Mac and PC), and they do a really good EQ as well. all of these are freeware. I also like the Sonimus channel strip (partly for channel simulation, and partly because I really like the high/low pass on it, for some reason I feel like I get better results on guitars just twisting that by ear than by using ReaEQ), which I think I paid $29 for, as well.

    So, yeah, they make great plugins, and one or two of them are indispensable to my current workflow. But there's other stuff out there too thats worth a look, and don't pay full price.
     
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  3. schwiz

    schwiz Lefty

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    I demo'd the API 550 and Linear Phase EQ to start with. You're right, I should be more concerned with how they sound, rather than how I think they look/interact. It really just threw me off. I started questioning the integrity of the plugin based on it looking like other free ones I've seen, which was a mistake (should have used my ears). I guess I'm just spoiled with the ease of use of the stock plugins in Cubase 9. As I'm starting to look at buying other plugins, I just didn't realize for fkin expensive they are. I suppose we are paying for the R&D, and the quality of the algorithms and whatnot.

    Just joined their mailing list!

    The Gold bundle is $800 right now on their website. Out of all their bundles, the SSL 4000 bundle most appeals to me, but the API bundle is over half the price. I want to add to my arsenal, and think that some colored compressors would be a good way to start.

    I see the CLA Drums plugin is on sale for $30 right now. Have you used that before? I might try the demo of that tonight.
     
  4. albertc

    albertc SS.org Regular

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    lol what? The API 550 has a great GUI. Looks exactly like the real thing. If I were you I would wait until Waves has a sale to buy their plugins. They are expensive regular but when they go on sale they are very reasonable.
     
  5. Carcaridon

    Carcaridon SS.org Regular

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    I have the gold bundle and several of the one offs, like the hybrids. I got the Gold for $179 back on Thanksgiving/Xmas sales. Keep watching for sales and pounce then if you want them. They always seem to have a sale of some form.
     
  6. Drew

    Drew Forum MVP

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    I had to google it, but I guess I'd say it looks just like the real thing would look like in Borderlands. :lol:

    Never used the CLA Drums, though come to think of it I might have bought it during one of their sales and just never gotten around to installing it, just for the expander - I should check my account. In general, though, I've found that both with Waves and elsewhere, the actual effects are more useful than all-in-one "solution" plugins.

    I think another thing to keep in mind is that since Waves is SO heavily pirated, I think they've probably been incentived to have a very high sticker price, and offer VERY deep sale prices.
     
  7. aqa

    aqa SS.org Regular

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    I usually bought it on sales, never paid the full price

    Love the api2500
    H comp
    Nx
    Trans x
     
  8. shnizzle

    shnizzle johnny

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    i also got the gold bundle on a sale a couple of years ago and those plugins still make up the majority of my mixes. i also got the CLA compressor bundle and it´s fantastic for a lot of things. yeah, Waves is expensive. but as others have already said here they do a lot of sales. especially thanks giving and christmas time is good to safe up some money for plugins.
     
  9. brutalwizard

    brutalwizard Pretty Your Petunia

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    I rock ssl collection LEGALLY lol.

    All in all, fck the GUI fam. They do what they say without any frills, but they do it so well.
     
  10. Nick

    Nick Stop the Madness!

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    I had a non legit version which sadly I can no longer get to work (serves me right I suppose) I did find quite a few of the plugins to be absolutely awesome - particularly the SSL compressor which was brilliant for mastering. That said I have since found free alternatives that I am quite happy with.

    id be interested to see how much it costs them to produce these plugins vs what they charge as I also think they are overpriced and they would make more money if they lowered the price becasue then people like me would just buy them out of convenience.
     
  11. KingAenarion

    KingAenarion Resident Studio Nerd

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    Pretty much everything Waves does from a tool perspective is done better by someone else these days.

    From a colour perspective they're pretty behind too.
     
  12. JohnIce

    JohnIce Singlecoils = tr00

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    This is a pretty big deal, in my opinion. There's a time and place for being a mad scientist and spending hours tweaking an obscure plugin to see what everything does and how the parameters react to each other, but that's not for everyone and certainly not all the time. Part of using industry standard tools is that there's an industry standard knowledge base to learn from, shoulders of giants and all that. Choosing a plugin that has in-depth youtube tutorials from Dave Pensado or CLA over something more rare that may or may not technically be better and more modern, is not a bad option if you value practicality and workflow over tweaking and tone-chasing.
     
  13. russmuller

    russmuller Cramblin' Contributor

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    They're excellent plugins, but a lot of your assessment is correct.

    There are some plugins like the Renaissance and Q series that haven't had a GUI update.... probably since their release in the 90's. Once they make a plugin, they just update the stuff under the hood for compatibility as DAW's and OS's.

    The pricing on Waves is unfortunately high for the average consumer. For the professional who is willing to drop $1,600 - $3,000 for a 1 channel analog compressor, it's still more cost effective to pay for good plugins. However, if you're just window shopping you may not be aware of the scam known as WUP (Waves update plan) where you have to pay up to a few hundred dollars each year in order to get the latest updates (because you don't want your plugins to lose compatibility when your DAW updates).

    Over the past 15 years, they haven't really changed their business model because they were the first 3rd party plugin company (since 1992) and they continued to release new products that (at least for a while there) turned heads. But honestly it's been a few years since they put out anything that made me say "I need that!" There's a lot more competition in the plugin market than there used to be in terms of both quality and cost. They're just barely now experimenting with subscription models, and they've only got 3 bundles up.

    All in all though, they are some of my go-to tools. The SSL collection (even though the EQ's sound a little boxy to me), CLA Classic compressor bundle, JJP Analog Legends, V series, MaxxBass, and L3/L316 get used in almost all of my sessions.
     
  14. lemeker

    lemeker SS.org Slacker

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    Waves makes great plug in's. I agree they are really expensive for the average user, but if you catch the right sales you can get some really great deals.

    I'm still building a "proper" plug in library, but I currently use a couple of the one knob's and just started using Renaissance e.q. I would like to get a few more things.
     
  15. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    this thread hasn't decomposed too much... the sales continue for waves plugins. I have the Rbass and it's awesome at $39usd. I wonder if there is anything in particular I should be looking for?
    I have izotope 5 and fab filter currently, but I see ppl using the cla-76 and nls quite often. The chris lorde-alge bundle is $59usd right now... reviews are stellar for it...
    thoughts??
     
  16. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    I have Mercury bundle. Got a killer deal on it, I think around $1400. There's a lot of great stuff in there, and a lot of 'separating wheat from chaff'.

    For high-pass, low-pass, EQ, comp, limit and de-Ess... I find myself rarely using Waves anymore and now rely on iZotope Alloy almost entirely for all this blocking and tackling work. Basically I've moved away from comps/eqs vsts that try to mimic 'vintage' gear and just use Alloy as a pseudo console eq/comp for every track. With Alloy, everything you need is in one plugin, so when I create a new track, I already have it inserted as a track template. This makes workflow way faster because I'm not spending time experimenting with 3-4 different EQs or Comps all with different interfaces to get the desired result on a track. I find 90% this work can be done quickly and satisfactorily with Alloy. And the big win is that my tracks seem to all gel together better using this approach, vs a different set of comps and eps on every track.

    Sorry about the redirect, back to Waves... There are a few things in Waves I really love and depend on and a few I use on occasion, but would miss greatly if I don't have them:
    • The IR plugins (like IRlive) are my go-to reverb effects. These are great on a buss.
    • H-Delay is awesome, it's my go-to delay for everything from thickening to echo.
    • I use Metafilter (which is awesome), Doppler, or Mono-mod if I want to add some killer effects on a track. About 50% of the songs have a track one or more of these.
    • When I need a quick fix to dramatically alter the sound of a bass or guitar, I'll use the signature plugins like CLA, Kramer, Manny, JJP, etc.... but I'm starting to look at doing more ITB re-amoing with Amplitube, so I may not rely on these much in the future... TBD...
    • Occasionally I'll use the bass or vocal rider if I need subtle fader riding and don't want to spend time automating.
    • Occasionally I'll use the L3 to prevent a random peak from clipping my mix buss. I don't do any reduction or traditional limiting with it. I save that for post-mix/mastering.

    Waves was the first large plugin bundle I ever purchased, and having it was a huge coup at the time, vs trying to cobble this and that together. If I had to start over again, I may not have bought it. I probably would have bought iZotope bundle for track work and then just bought misc effects for all the other things like delay/mod/verb etc.
     
  17. buriedoutback

    buriedoutback SS.org Regular

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    ^^^ thanks dude. good info, especially that last bit.
     
  18. billinder33

    billinder33 SS.org Regular

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    Just to clarify... you don't have to pay the WUP, unless you want updates and the new products they release for your specific bundle. You can buy WUP whenever you feel like upgrading your version bundle. I don't really have an issue with this model. If they were forcing you to pay WUP every year, I'd feel differently.

    I feel the same way, they have not released anything in a few years that I find compelling. I have a friend who's opinions I respect, and he swears by the Greg Wells Mixcentric which was released a couple years ago (I'm like "meh" on it... seems like you could do the same thing with EQs/comps).

    Honestly, I wish they would reduce they number of plugins they have in their bundles because there's so much redundancy. I understand why they do it that way... they want to maintain backward compatibility for end users who've already used a plugin on older tracks. But I wish they could find a way around this, rather than having a million plugins to sift through. Given the choice, I'd rather have less plugins that do more, instead of more plugins that do less... this is why I'm a huge fan of iZotope's approach.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2017
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  19. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    For the most part I don't think Waves are that amazing. I like a few and kinda miss them since I've moved on a new system and decided not to fork the upgrade $$$.

    Mainly the Ultramaximizer and Ultramaximizer 2 are really good IMO for mastering final product. The classic or retro series was also really cool, especially the comp and eq. Don't miss much of the rest.

    They're ubiquitous in most pro studios so that's why you see them at this $$$.
     
  20. Mike

    Mike The Traveler Contributor

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    I bought a bunch of waves plugins on some bundle sale years back and I've been generally happy with the results. That said, I can agree some of the screens are starting to become a bit dated.

    I still use a few of them here and there, but earlier this year I made the switch over to fabfilter stuff. In my experience thus far, I've found the fabfilter stuff to be superior to Waves' comparable vst's.
     
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