Waves eq for vocals

Waves eq for vocals DEFAULT

7 Best Waves Plugins for Mixing Vocals Like A Pro

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  • Learn about the essential plugins for a good sounding vocal chain
  • What plugins are good for surgical processing?
  • Learn about the differences in plugin character

It’s no secret that there are lots of plugins on the market for treating and mixing vocals. EQs, compressors, reverbs, delays, the list goes on! While many companies have been making plugins for ages, no company has been in the game for as long as Waves.

In fact, Waves produced the very first commercially available plugin in the audio industry way back in 1992!

Waves have made a bucket load of plugins in the decades since then. So in order to help you find out which plugins are the best for vocal processing, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite Waves plugins that I use for this task.

In no particular order, they are:

  1. Waves Renaissance EQ
  2. Waves Scheps 73
  3. Waves SSL E-Channel
  4. Waves Puigtec EQP-1A
  5. Waves CLA-76, CLA-2A
  6. Waves H-Reverb
  7. Waves H-Delay

Waves Renaissance EQ

Renaissance Equalizer Plugin
Renaissance Equalizer Plugin

With its modern, updated GUI, brand-new real-time analyzer (RTA), and extended internal headroom, Renaissance Equalizer is one of the warmest, most versatile, most user-friendly EQs you will find.

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The Renaissance EQ is one of the older Waves plugins, but it’s been a staple in a lot of mixes, and with good reason.

This EQ plugin is a very straightforward parametric EQ, which is great for surgical EQ moves. It features six bands which you can assign to be either a shelf, band, or a filter. You also get a fully adjustable Q control that basically determines the width of the frequency band.

A high Q-value will result in a narrow frequency band, whereas a low Q-value will affect a wider frequency range.

Since it’s a digital EQ that doesn’t model any analog hardware it’s absolutely great for surgical moves that don’t do anything drastic to the vocal’s character.

I mainly use the Renaissance EQ when I want to take some specific frequencies out of the vocal. I will generally set the Q fairly high, which will give me a narrow EQ-band. This allows me to get rid of the frequencies I don’t like, without affecting the rest of the sound in a negative way.

Waves Scheps 73

If you’ve read some of my other articles you probably know I’m a big fan of analog hardware. The Scheps 73 emulates one of the most iconic pieces of analog hardware: the Neve 1073.

The 1073 is a mic preamp and equalizer, famous for its very musical sounding EQ section and the lovely warm saturation courtesy of the preamp’s transformer.

The Scheps 73 emulates Andrew Scheps’ (Adele, Hozier, Red Hot Chili Peppers, etc.) personal 1073 unit with an added 10kHz band that was found in the design schematics of very early 1073 models.

The EQ section is really simple, with just three frequency bands and a high pass filter you are really forced to use your ears and make decisions based on sound instead of visual input.

You can boost frequencies very aggressively without it sounding painful, which is one of the 1073’s main selling points. Another notable feature is the detailed saturation modeling Waves have done.

One of the things the 1073 is known for is how the transformer colors the sound in a very musical way. With the preamp knob, you can add that Neve saturation to your vocal to give it attitude or to make it cut through a dense mix.

I typically use the 1073 in my analog mixing chain, treating all tracks like I would when I record at a big studio.

This usually involves recording through a Neve console and mixing through an SSL, so I’ll have a Scheps 73 on pretty much every track to get that Neve console feel. When recording on analog hardware I’m usually very conservative with the EQ moves I make as the results are final.

For vocals I often high pass at 80Hz to get rid of unnecessary rumble. I also boost either 110Hz or 220Hz around 1-2dB if I feel like I need more warmth, and I also might give a dark vocal track a slight boost of 1-3dB at 12kHz.

If I’m mixing a rock song and I know that the vocal will need some grit I will also add a slight amount of saturation with the preamp control.

SSL E-Channel

SSL E-Channel Strip Plugin
SSL E-Channel Strip Plugin

The SSL E-Channel delivers the incomparable sound of the Solid State Logic 4000-series console’s all-discrete design and its Class A, VCA chip. It’s a slice of the world’s greatest hitmaking machine, in your computer.

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The SSL E-channel has been my bread and butter Channel strip for at least three years. Boasting four EQ bands, two filters, a compressor, and a gate, it’s all I could ever want in one plugin.

The SSL E-Channel models the iconic SSL 4000E mixing desk. This desk is synonymous with rock and roll since the late seventies.

It’s well known for its aggressive sound, and the incredible range of the EQ section. You often see engineers boosting high frequencies by 8dB or more.

Usually when boosting that amount on digital EQ things will start to sound harsh and painful, but the SSL E-channel sounds very musical when used that way.

The compressor section of the E-channel is also fantastic. It’s a very direct, yet warm-sounding compressor which is great for vocals that need punch and clarity. The gate section also works like a charm.

I often use this as my main source of character for my vocals. After I run the track through Scheps 73 it goes through the SSL E-channel. I boost a few dB around 8kHz to get some air and attitude on the vocals.

I will also remove a few boxy frequencies in the midrange and I’ll do another high pass around 80-100Hz.

Next, I compress 3-6dB with a slow attack, and use a fast release setting to give the vocal some more dynamic consistency.

If I’m feeling really adventurous I might even drive the input of the plugin and bring down the volume on the output. That way I can get the famous SSL saturation without clipping the other plugins in my vocal chain.

Puigtec EQP-1A

PuigTec EQP-1A
PuigTec EQP-1A

The PuigTec EQP-1A is a remarkable replication of the original hand-crafted unit owned by iconic producer/engineer Jack Joseph Puig (U2, Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga) and heard on dozens of popular recordings by Weezer, Black Crowes, and many more.

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Mixing vocals is often described as a very complex process. The vocal is the centerpiece, having to sound full yet clear because you want to hear what the singer is saying.

Therefore a top-end boost is often employed. However, sometimes a big boost in the high end can sound harsh if the EQ plugin has a really aggressive character.

In those cases, I grab the Puigtec EQ. Based on the world-renowned Pultec passive equalizer, this EQ is known for its silky smooth high, and low bands. You can boost very aggressively, whilst remaining very warm and pleasant to the ear.

I often use this plugin after my first stage of compression as I typically find that after using a compressor there’s a low-end buildup. This is where the Puigtec comes in.

I usually set the low-frequency band to 100Hz and cut around 2-3 dB. This frees up some headroom, which will make the second stage of compression sound less muddy.

I also use that same instance of the Puigtec to boost the high end to improve the overall clarity of the voice.

CLA-76, CLA-2A

CLA-76 Compressor Limiter Plugin
CLA-76 Compressor Limiter Plugin

Inspired by two highly desirable revisions of the famed mid-60s Class A line level limiting amplifier, both versions of the CLA-76 (“Blacky” and “Bluey”) offer the superfast attack (as quick as 50 microseconds!) that made the originals studio legends. 

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I decided to put these two plugins under the same entry because to me they are an engineer’s bread and butter when it comes to vocal compression.

The thing about vocals is that they are all over the place when it comes to dynamics. Vocal recordings often have some big peaks which makes it hard to find one static volume level for them to sit at.

Enter the CLA-76. This plugin models the famous 1176 hardware compressor. This compressor is known for being incredibly fast. Its attack time is as quick as 70 nanoseconds, which makes it perfect for taming the sharp peaks you often find in vocals.

After taking care of the peaks I often grab a compressor with a less aggressive character and place this next in the chain. This will make sure that the vocal will sound more constant in volume.

The CLA-2A is great for exactly that. Based on the famous Teletronix LA-2A optical compressor, the CLA-2A is known for its slower attack and release time.

This is great for doing more broad strokes with compression to even out inconsistencies in volume instead of the laser-precise nature of the CLA-76.


H-Reverb Hybrid Reverb Plugin
H-Reverb Hybrid Reverb Plugin

H-Reverb is a pioneering FIR reverb based on innovative Finite Impulse Response reverberation technology, providing richer, deeper reverb tails that sit beautifully in the mix while breathing crisp air into your tracks.

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H-Reverb is a digital reverb with an absolute boatload of features.

It boasts Waves’ Finite Impulse Response (FIR) engine, which allows you to change the reverb’s behavior in quite a unique way. You can dial in gated reverb, reverse reverb or even analog sounding reverbs with all the controls on offer.

I like using this plugin for my vocals when I want a natural-sounding reverb that doesn’t interfere with the mix.

Another reason I use it on vocals is that it has some emulations of classic digital hardware reverbs such as the Lexicon 480. Many of these emulations are based on timeless units with a familiar sound as they have been used on so many records.


H-Delay Analog Delay Plugin
H-Delay Analog Delay Plugin

From real old school PCM42-style effects like filtering, flanging, and phasing, to slap-back echo, ping-pong delay, and tempo-sync with modulation, H-Delay delivers the goods, controlled by a super intuitive interface that lets you get right down to business.

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The Waves H-Delay is used on a very large number of productions, and with good reason. It has a really simple user interface, which makes it very easy to dial in a useable delay setting.

It is also very versatile when it comes to tonal character. H-Delay can be a very neutral sounding digital delay, but it also has an analog knob that emulates 4 different analog delay types.

You also get a high and low pass, which is essential if you don’t want your delay to get in the way of the dry vocal. It’s also got a tempo sync option, which allows you to do some creative long delays that line up nicely with the BPM of your song. To this extent, you could also use H-Delay like a loop pedal.

All in all, I would be happy to use only this delay plugin when mixing vocals as it really has everything I need in a delay plugin and more.

Closing Thoughts

Picking the absolute best Waves plugins for this list wasn’t easy. Especially in sound engineering, because of course, everything is subjective.

I really like effects that add analog color to my vocals, so I’m more inclined to opt for that style of plugin. However, others might prefer more transparent digital plugins for their vocal chain. So what sounds great to me might only be mildly exciting for others, and vice versa.

Therefore, I encourage you to not only explore the options on this list but also to dig into other Waves plugins that strike your fancy. All of them have fully functional demos so you can try before you buy, and if that’s not enough there are plenty of YouTube videos with further demonstrations.

But if you’re still hungry for more vocal plugins, we’ve got you covered with these roundups:

Sours: https://producerhive.com/buyer-guides/vst/best-waves-plugins-for-vocals/

5 EQ Plugins for Mixing Vocals (+ Mix Tips)

Article Content

Each and every voice is uniquely different, and therefore each voice presents unique challenges when recording and mixing. EQ is arguably the most effective tool in shaping the timbre and tone of a vocal so that it works correctly within the context of a mix.

Here are the five equalizer plugins that I find myself using most frequently when mixing vocals.

1. FabFilter Pro-Q 2

In preparation of this series of articles on mixing vocals, I looked through dozens of sessions to see which plugins get the most amount of use in my mixes, and perhaps no single plugin gets more play than the Pro-Q 2. It’s the perfect surgical and subtle tone-shaper. It’s got a clean, transparent sound and a visually stunning user interface, which provides so much great useful information when mixing.

I generally like fixing problems via subtractive equalization before anything else, so the Pro-Q 2 is found as the first insert on many of my vocal tracks. In my sub-aux approach, all vocals are routed to their own aux before reaching the 2-buss, and I often have an instance of this plugin on this aux, as well.

Mix Tip:

Use the frequency analyzer to determine where to de-ess. The stock Pro Tools EQIII used to be my go-to for surgical attenuation, but since I got the Pro-Q 2, it’s now collecting metaphoric dust in the EQ plugins folder. This is mostly because the Pro-Q 2 has a simply stunning frequency analyzer, which I use to gain information about my program material. As I mentioned, each singer is unique, and sibilance will occur at different ranges in different voices. I use the analyzer to determine where it occurs in singers, do some subtle attenuation there, and apply what I’ve learned about the singer when I’m de-essing.

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Introduction to FabFilter Pro-Q 2

Each and every voice is uniquely different, and therefore each voice presents unique challenges when recording and mixing. EQ is arguably the most effective tool in shaping the timbre and tone of a vocal so that it works correctly within the context of a mix. Here are the five equalizer plugins that

2. Maag EQ4

Available from both Plugin Alliance and UAD, the high end of the EQ4 is virtually unmatched. All of the individual bands (aside from the Air Band) are at fixed frequencies, so it’s not the best option for surgical applications, but for adding color and clarity, and really bringing vocals into focus, I love using the Maag.

Mix Tip:

The Air Band. No other EQ on the market does quite what the EQ4 can do in the high-frequency range. You’ve got five selectable frequency options (up to 40 kHz) and you can really crank the Air Band without your material sounding harsh and unpleasant. If I’ve got a vocal that seems a bit buried and dull, chances are this is what I’m using to fix it.

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Plugin Comparison: Maag EQ2 vs. EQ4 – The Musical EQ Duo

Each and every voice is uniquely different, and therefore each voice presents unique challenges when recording and mixing. EQ is arguably the most effective tool in shaping the timbre and tone of a vocal so that it works correctly within the context of a mix. Here are the five equalizer plugins that

3. Pultec EQP-1A Emulations

One of the most widely used hardware EQs out there, we are fortunate that so many plugin companies have emulated the classic Pultec EQP-1A. We’ve got options from UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia, Avid and others. I’m partial to the UAD version, but there are many serviceable recreations of this Pultec on the plugin market. This is not for surgical applications, but for broad brush strokes, and adding clarity and proximity to vocals, I often use the EQP-1A.

Mix Tip:

On a recent mix, I popped the UAD EQP-1A on the vocal buss and automated the plugin so that it would add an extra 3 dB at 10 kHz during the chorus only. This did a great job of adding excitement and really helped the vocals cut through a dense chorus arrangement.

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UAD Pultec Passive EQ Plug-In Collection Trailer

Each and every voice is uniquely different, and therefore each voice presents unique challenges when recording and mixing. EQ is arguably the most effective tool in shaping the timbre and tone of a vocal so that it works correctly within the context of a mix. Here are the five equalizer plugins that

4. UAD Harrison 32C

There are so many great analog-style plugin options for general tone sculpting duties, but I keep coming back to the UAD Harrison 32C. Modeled after the preferred desk of legendary engineer Bruce Swedien, the 32C has tone for days, but can also handle more precise tasks if asked to. The filters are some of the best you’ll find in a plugin, and the midrange can be pushed pretty hard without becoming unpleasant (depending on the source material, of course.) All of these qualities make the 32C one of the most musical plugin equalizers on the market, in my opinion.


Mix Tip:

On a recent mix, I used an instance of the 32C on my Vocal Buss. Summed together, all of the vocals became a little bit harsh, yet still needed some additional clarity. A gentle cut at 2 kHz and a slight bump at 10 kHz using the Harrison did just the trick. I also like using the 32C after my reverbs. Some verbs seem to need some tone, warmth, or other fixes, and the vibrant-sounding 32C does a great job at these applications.

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Harrison 32C EQ Plug-In for UAD

Each and every voice is uniquely different, and therefore each voice presents unique challenges when recording and mixing. EQ is arguably the most effective tool in shaping the timbre and tone of a vocal so that it works correctly within the context of a mix. Here are the five equalizer plugins that

5. Softube Trident A-Range

Rounding out my favorite EQ plugins for mixing vocals is yet another analog emulation. I find myself wanting to add color, character, and vibe to vocals especially, and the A-Range is a much-used tool in my arsenal. Available from Softube native and for UAD platforms, the A-Range is a meticulously recreated plugin version of the equalizer section found on the famed British console.

Hundreds of rock hits were recorded using the Trident desk, and chances are if I’m working on in-your-face rock vocals, this is the plugin I’m using. Additionally, from a user interface perspective, the sliders offer a nice alternative way of working as compared to the many knob-based equalizers out there.

Mix Tip:

Push this thing. Mangle your vocals with it. Combine the filters with the ability to boost or attenuate 15 dB of gain at each band, and you have a lot of bold sonic possibilities. The Softube Native version has a saturation knob. I love abusing my signals with this thing.

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Trident A-Range plug-in by Softube

Each and every voice is uniquely different, and therefore each voice presents unique challenges when recording and mixing. EQ is arguably the most effective tool in shaping the timbre and tone of a vocal so that it works correctly within the context of a mix. Here are the five equalizer plugins that

Sours: https://theproaudiofiles.com/equalizer-plugins-for-mixing-vocals/
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Best Waves Plugins for Vocals 2021

The best Waves plugins for vocals 2021 review

What are the best Waves plugins for vocals? There are so many to choose from. I’m in a pretty good position to cover this topic. I’ve worked with all Waves plugins throughout the years. I’ve also recently tested the latest V12 versions. In this guide you will find my recommendations.

We’re going to tackle the plugins in alphabetical order. First, a short summary list for those who just want the info quick. Then, I’ll introduce what each plugin does, tell you why I like it and give you my tips on using it.

If you have any further questions, let me know in the comments section.

Disclosure for transparency: I’m affiliated with Waves and although I own many Waves plugins, they provided me with a limited 3-month license for testing and reviewing the latest versions. I only ever promote products I like. Please don’t buy anything unless you’re sure it’s what you need. Check out this post about how to make better buying decisions.

These are the best Waves plugins for vocals:

Waves Abbey Road Saturator

If you are looking for some attitude, vibe and strength for your vocal, the Waves Abbey Road Saturator is an excellent option. It features sections for pre and post EQ, compander and saturation. It works great in most situations and it’s quick and easy to get good results with it.

Waves Abbey Road Saturator - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

The compander section is what makes this plugin special to me. The compander compresses the Pre EQ signal, passes it through low-pass and high-pass filters, and then expands it. This excites the signal and provides control over how different frequencies are distorted based on the compander ratio.

Sound complicated? Not to worry. Just play around with it until you like what you’re hearing. That’s what I do anyways. It usually doesn’t take long to get a nice solid vocal sound going.

I think this is one of the best Waves plugins for rap vocals as the compander allows you to get that super tight up front sound quite easily.

Waves Abbey Road Saturator tips

  • It’s quite easy to end up with an overly bright sound with this plugin. The Post EQ section is there for a reason. Use it to counter for imbalances.
  • Even though the plugin is called “Saturator”, less is more with that. The saturation can start to sound quite brittle if you push it too hard. A little bit goes a long way – especially when mixing vocals.

Link: Waves Abbey Road Saturator

Waves Butch Vig Vocals

If you’re not a technical person and are looking for a convenient one-stop-shop for mixing vocals, then the Butch Vig Vocals plugin might be the one for you. It has all your basic vocal processing needs covered in a very nice package.

Butch Vig Vocals - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

I prefer Butch Vig Vocals over the Waves CLA Vocals or the Maserati VX1 plugins for example.

Rather than focusing on adding a bunch of effects, this plugin is all about useful and finely calibrated controls. Things that you actually need to solve problems and get the basic sound right. If you’re new to working with vocals, playing around with this plugin will teach you what to listen for when mixing vocals. The controls feel very well focused and precise.

Waves Butch Vig Vocals tips

  • Adjust the input correctly. The plugin is designed to work optimally when the input sensitivity led at the top is blinking green or yellow (not red).
  • Besides your ears, you can use the In and Out meter switches (top left corner) to monitor the relationship between your input and output volume. Try to keep them the same. It will help you in evaluating the sound.

Link: Waves Butch Vig Vocals

Waves DeBreath

Waves DeBreath is a useful companion for mixing vocals. Breath sounds are often a problem as the microphone picks them up much louder than they actually are, and compression tends to make it worse. This results in breath sounds and gasps that poke through the mix in a nasty way.

DeBreath uses an algorithm to detect the breath sounds in a vocal take (with a little bit of help from you). You can then reduce the level of the breaths without affecting the rest of the material. Traditionally this is tedious work that is carried out in the edit manually.

Waves DeBreath - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

Because it works! The plugin gives you two thresholds to set – Breath and Energy. When Breath is above the threshold and Energy is below the threshold (as seen in the picture above), the plugin classifies the material as breathing and reduction can be applied.

I have used it with several different singers and it always worked beautifully. I still recommend demoing the plugin first in your specific use case before buying though.

Waves DeBreath tips

  • Instead of removing the breaths, with many types of music it often sounds better if you just reduce them a little bit in volume. Just enough so that they’re not jumping through the mix.
  • You can use the “Room Tone” function to add some subtle room tone to fill in the gaps.
  • Make sure you’re hitting your targets properly by monitoring the breath only also. Just hit the “Breath” button.

Link: Waves DeBreath

Waves Doubler

Waves Doubler is a classic plugin. It’s a sound enricher and a stereo widening effect, but can be used for all sorts of experimental stuff. It’s very useful for making vocals pop in the mix.

Waves Doubler - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

Doubler is quite old school and that’s part of it’s appeal for me. Above all it sounds great. It is one of those plugins that just work and give you good results every time. It is very simple and straightforward to use. Doubler also has fantastic presets from many top mix engineers to explore.

Waves Doubler tips

  • Use the modulation feature to add small amounts of movement. This can liven up a vocal in a very nice way.
  • It might be tempting to go all out and use all 4 voices. But many times using only 2 can do the trick in a cleaner way by cluttering the mix less.

Link: Waves Doubler

Waves EMO-D5 Dynamics

If you’re looking for a complete dynamic toolkit for working with vocals – look no further. The Waves EMO-D5 Dynamics gives you gating, compression, levelling, de-essing and limiting. The EMO-D5 is a very clean sounding plugin. There’s no analog emulation or other funky stuff going on here as opposed to many other Waves compressors.

Waves EMO-D5 Dynamics - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

The interface on the EMO-D5 is clear and very nice to use (it was actually designed to work well on touch screen interfaces, and that shows). It also gives you zero latency and low CPU consumption. The controls do what they’re supposed to. It’s a great package for mixing vocals.

Waves EMO-D5 Dynamics tips

  • When mixing vocals, start by switching on the different sections individually one by one. It is easier to figure out what each section is doing that way.
  • The plugin has very nice visual metering. If you’re unsure about what some of the visuals represent, it’s all very well explained in the product manual.

Link: Waves EMO-D5 Dynamics

Waves H-Delay Hybrid Delay

The delay is an essential vocal effect and the Waves H-Delay “just does it”.

From slap-back echo, ping-pong delay, and tempo-sync with modulation, to filtering, flanging, phasing, and more, H-Delay delivers real old school effects, controlled by a super intuitive interface.

Waves H-Delay

Why is it good?

In H-Delay I like that it’s easy to navigate, but most of all I like how it sounds. It has character and vibe. If I had to describe in one word how it sounds, I would say it sounds thick. But not in an obvious or obtrusive way.

H-Delay is one of those plugins that when you put it on, it almost always sounds good. Equally great for big dubby delay effects or short dimension delays.

Waves H-Delay tips

  • The LoFi button emulates the sample rate reduction that many classic analog delay units sported by design. It gives the delay some really nice edge.
  • Use the modulation parameters to bring slight movement to your delays. It can really bring the sound alive, especially when you are synced to a certain BPM.

Link: Waves H-Delay Hybrid Delay

Waves H-Reverb

A reverb can make or break a vocal. You need to have a good reverb in your arsenal when mixing vocals.

The Waves H-Reverb is designed to provide lush, spacious, warm reverberation effects. It’s based on FIR (Finite Impulse Response) technology.

Waves H-Reverb - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

I love exploring the presets in H-Reverb. It’s a great source for ideas. I especially like the “Hardware” category of presets which replicates many classic reverb units.

H-Reverb has many clever options to tailor the sound exactly how you want it. In that sense, it doesn’t feel like an impulse response reverb at all. In fact it’s more flexible than most algorithmic reverbs.

Waves H-Reverb tips

  • The plugin installs with 2 different versions: H-Reverb and H-Reverb (long). The difference is that the regular version goes up to 6 seconds in decay time and the (long) version goes up to 12 seconds. This gives you the option of using a less CPU-intensive plugin (regular version) in most situations, while still having the ability to do the really long reverbs if you wish.
  • The Global section has several options for giving your reverb different characters. My favourite is the “Drive” knob. It pushes the input gain against a clipper, creating a similar effect where the input of a hardware reverb unit is being pushed hard (I still use many hardware reverbs too and I push their inputs all the time).
  • You can use the “Duck” feature to make the wet reverb signal duck when input signal is present. This is especially great in dense mixes where you want to maximise the impact of the direct vocal. Also equally great as a creative effect.

Link: Waves H-Reverb

Waves Ovox Vocal ReSynthesis

The Waves Ovox allows you to create voice-based musical effects without using a keyboard. It’s very easy to turn your vocal upside down into something completely crazy yet musically interesting. The plugin is designed for vocals but also works well for experimenting with different instruments.

Ovox has so many cool things going on. Without going into all the details, you can use it to get all manners of autotune and vocoding type effects. Just browse the presets and you’ll quickly realise it’s endless.

Waves Ovox - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

Waves Ovox is a ton of fun and a great source of inspiration. It always gives you something unexpected but cool. Yet, it can also be used in subtle and deliberate ways as well. It’s very adaptable, too. It comes with lots of preset chords, scales and harmonies and you can edit them to your liking.

Waves Ovox Tips

  • Ovox can seem quite extreme at first, but try adjusting the “Voice”, “Synth” and “Ovox” dials in the mixer section to achieve more subtle effects. You could also use it on a FX bus to enhance the vocal sound you have going.
  • The plugin only shows the top part of the interface by default. See the icon with two squares in the top right corner? Use that to expand the plugin to show the very powerful EQ, FX and modulation sections.
  • It’s a very deep plugin. Read the manual to understand it properly.

Link: Waves Ovox Vocal ReSynthesis

Waves Renaissance Channel

The Waves Renaissance Channel is a straightforward channel strip with EQ, gate and compression sections with good sidechain controls (so it does de-essing, too). It’s all about simplicity and functional design. The compressor has an Rvox mode which is specifically tuned to work well with vocals.

Waves Renaissance Channel

Why is it good?

The Waves Renaissance Channel is a very utilitarian plugin that gets the job done without fuss and sounds good. The spectrum analyser is very helpful in identifying possible problem areas.

If you’re just looking for a simple channel strip that works and is easy to use, I would recommend this one. If you’re looking for something with all the bells and whistles, take a look at the Scheps Omni Channel below.

Waves Renaissance Channel tips

  • The plugin has presets from something like 40 professional mixing engineers! Browse them to get an idea of the many different use cases and how they like to set things up.
  • The Rvox mode in the compressor works great for vocals in most situations.

Link: Waves Renaissance Channel

Waves Renaissance DeEsser

If you don’t have a good de-esser in your toolbox, then the Waves Renaissance DeEsser is a great choice. It is simple, intuitive, affordable and it gets the job done.

The Renaissance DeEsser combines the technologies used in Waves C4, Renaissance VOX, and Waves DeEsser with proprietary features that make it cleaner and more effective.

Waves Renaissance DeEsser - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

In a de-esser I appreciate the ability to quickly be done with what I need to do. And this is exactly why I prefer the Renaissance DeEsser over the other Waves offerings. It has a clean interface and a very thoughtful feature set.

Phase-Compensated Crossoverhelps to avoid undesirable coloration and phase modulation that would otherwise occur as artefacts of the amplitude modulation applied by the compressor.

Adaptive threshold dynamically adjusts the threshold to the input signal, as opposed to typical “absolute value” threshold processors. This yields more natural-sounding results.

Waves Renaissance DeEsser tips

  • Set it and forget it! I love it.

Link: Waves Renaissance DeEsser

Waves Renaissance Vox Vocal Compressor

Waves Renaissance Vox combines gating, compression and limiting into three super simple, one parameter controls.

Waves Renaissance Vox

Why is it good?

Renaissance Vox is not for everyone. But if you’re not very confident with using traditional compressors yet, it might be just the ticket for you. It works pretty great in most situations.

It may also work for someone who just quickly needs to get some compression going on for monitoring purposes, or to make podcast dialogue sounding better, for example. Especially when combined with the Waves Vocal Rider plugin.

Waves Renaissance Vox tips

  • The Gain control is your limiter ceiling at the same time. Be careful not to crush your vocal with it.
  • To hear the effect of the compressor without a change in level, link the Compression and Gain faders by drawing a box around them—they now move together.

Link: Waves Renaissance Vox

Waves Scheps Omni Channel

The Scheps Omni Channel is a very well designed set of mixing tools. It’s a true workhorse plugin. It has six different sections that you can rearrange freely:

  • Saturation/filters
  • Gate
  • Compressor (3 different ones in fact: VCA, FET and Opto)
  • De-esser
  • EQ
  • Insert (you can insert any Waves plugin that you own here)

Additionally there’ s an output section with monitoring controls and a brickwall limiter to control peaks.

Waves Scheps Omni Channel - Best Waves plugins for vocals

Why is it good?

The Scheps Omni Channel is my favourite channel strip out of all the ones in the Waves catalogue. In contrast to something like the Renaissance Channel, you can hardly call it simple. Yet it is very well thought out and the interface is nice.

The Scheps Omni Channel is both powerful and flexible. You can rearrange the different processing sections in any way like. The insert slot is very useful for vocals, as you could insert a reverb or a chorus right inside the chain, for example (it only works with other Waves plugins though).

Of course it sounds great, too. It has everything you need to make your vocals shine. A real workhorse plugin and absolutely one of the best Waves plugins for vocals.

Waves Scheps Omni Channel tips

  • The metering/monitoring section is very useful and nicely laid out. The VU is great and I love having the mid/side/mono listening options there.
  • Use the little square icons at the top right corner of each module to expand the interface and access further options.
  • Play with the compressors – they all sound quite distinct and good in their own way. The FET is my fav. Great for an aggressive, in-your-face sound!
  • I am not a huge fan of how the Saturation module sounds when pushed. So I prefer to go pretty easy on that and use other things for saturation.
  • The gate is one of the best I’ve used. No matter if you want to use it for subtle cleanup or as a creative tool, it’s quick to find settings that work.
  • Having the ability to gate the Mid and Side signals separately is very interesting!
  • The Mid and Tone EQ bands are identical except in the wide mode, where Mid is wider and cleaner and Tone is narrower and more smeary. The Mid band is better for enhancing the natural character of the source. The Tone is better for making the source pop out and giving it some colour while still keeping it glued to the rest of the material.

Link: Waves Scheps Omni Channel

Waves Vocal Rider

Waves Vocal Rider offers to take some effort away from you by automatically adjusting the level of your vocal takes in order to make everything sound more even. All you need to do is set the target range of the vocal level in relation to the rest of the mix.

The plugin has some pretty clever controls and does a good job at levelling out vocals.

Waves Vocal Rider

Why is it good?

First, a disclaimer. In the context of music, I do recommend controlling the level of your vocals manually by ear and volume automation. This is because sometimes you might not want everything to be totally even. You might lose some expression by handing that task over to an algorithm.

But doing it manually is time consuming and sometimes you might just need to get it done quickly. Perhaps you want to knock out a quick demo, or maybe level out some dialogue for a podcast.

In those types of situations, Waves Vocal Rider plugin comes very useful. It does a great job of automatically evening out the volume differences in the recording. It also allows you to write volume automation and flip it into automation read mode, so that you can then adjust the levels manually.

You could also just let the Vocal Rider do a little bit of pre-leveling, while controlling the rest by hand.

Waves Vocal Rider tips

  • Personally I’ve had the best results by following Vocal Rider with a compressor (the EMO D5 or RVox would work). I like to do a little bit of levelling with Vocal Rider first, and then add some compression. The levelling allows the compressor to operate more of the time within the most optimal range. This results in a more solid vocal sound with less weird artefacts.
  • At any time, you can grab the big fader and make your own adjustments. As soon as you release it, Vocal Rider will continue working automatically. This can be very useful for recording automation

Link: Waves Vocal Rider

Best Waves plugins for vocals – summing up

There are a ton of plugins in the Waves catalogue to choose from for mixing vocals. When I started thinking about what are the best Waves plugins for vocals specifically, I used three pointers for narrowing down the options: 1) Sound, 2) Ease of use and 3) Value for money.

Instead of buying Waves plugins for the full price, I would recommend waiting out for a sale if you can. Waves are frequently rotating sales.

What are your thoughts? Any questions? Feel free to drop in a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Liked it? Level up and support Resoundsound on Patreon.
Sours: https://resoundsound.com/best-waves-plugins-for-vocals/

As regular readers will know, I’m a longtime fan of Waves plugins. Founded in 1992, they are one of the earliest developers of widely-used audio plugins and have built up a vast collection of software effects, processors and instruments to choose from.

It’s entirely feasible that just a DAW and one of the many Waves plugin bundles could be all you’d ever really need for your productions – but with this wealth of choice it can also be difficult to know which individual plugins or bundles might best suit your purposes.

So in an effort to both provide some clarity for those newer to music production in general and Waves in particular, and also as an interesting frame for more experienced producers to consider their own collections and favourites, I posed myself the question, ‘If I had to recommend a handful of Waves plugins that every producer should own (or at least demo), which would they be?’

Below you can find the roundup of some of my all-time favourite Waves plugins. These 14 (I couldn’t keep it down to 10 in the end) are plugins that I’ve naturally found myself coming back to time and time again, and the list includes some of the most distinctive classic hardware emulations and cutting edge audio processors you can find anywhere.

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By the way, click through on each entry in the list to get more info from the Waves site on which bundles they are included with.

(Full disclosure: While the links from GTPS to the Waves site are affiliate-enabled, this article and the editorial selection of this list are entirely ours and independent from Waves. GTPS is based on a firm policy of only recommending software and equipment we actually use ourselves every day, so you can be sure that when we talk about particular companies and products it’s because we genuinely love them!)

Waves L2 Ultramaximizer

1. L2 Ultramaximizer

The original Ultramaximizer, the L1, was really the first Waves plugin to become fairly ubiquitous throughout the studio world, and it’s still a much-loved favourite of many. The L2 iteration offers an even more streamlined control set and look-ahead brickwall limiting, making it the choice for squeezing every ounce of potential ‘loudness’ out of your tracks. Simple but smooth-sounding even when pushed hard.

Waves Metaflanger

2. Metaflanger

Once I was put onto MetaFlanger it instantly became my default flange/phase effect processor. I often use it in series with a whole stack of other favourite plugins, and whether you’re introducing some subtle rhythmic movement into a film sound design element or going all out with waves of wooshing phasing on a riser for a club track, MetaFlanger always does it’s thing with a touch of class.


Waves H-Delay Hybrid Delay

3. H-Delay Hybrid Delay

The Waves Hybrid Collection (made up of the H-Delay, H-Comp and H-EQ) are each some of the most flexible and satisfying to use plugins in their respective categories, combining simple large knobs and dials with a diverse range of possible sounds, more or less ‘analogue’ to taste. I’ve highlighted H-Delay as the epitome of this combination of simple, intuitive controls which enable you to craft so many different quality sounds and effects very quickly – excellent for keeping the inspiration flowing without getting bogged down under the programming process.

Waves API 2500

4. API 2500

From general ‘analogue’-style to an actual model of a specific vintage hardware unit, this stereo compressor plugin (and the rest of the Waves API Collection) was developed in a collaboration between Waves and Automated Processes Incorporated – API. Quite simply, API are responsible for several of the most highly regarded mixing console modules and EQ strips since their inception in 1968, and this software version comes about as close as any classic emulation to capturing the spirit and the sound of the original.

Waves REDD


Abbey Road Studios should need little introduction, and this collection of plugins is modeled on the desks that were custom-designed and built especially for the studios by the in-house team: the Record Engineering Development Department.

Waves MaxxBass

6. MaxxBass

This plugin is Waves patented variation on an ‘harmonic enhancer’, designed to analyze the existing signal, add precise harmonics based on and closely related to this original signal, and combine them to ultimately give the impression of greater energy in the lower frequencies. Used everywhere from film sound design and post-production to chart hits, it should obviously be used sparingly and with caution – and ideally only in a decent listening environment to really gauge the changes, as it would be easy to overdo the processing. MaxxBass is undeniably powerful though for helping to getting any mix, no matter how bass-heavy, to translate on any final playback system, from laptops to headphones and hand-held devices.

Waves SSL G-Master Buss Compressor

7. SSL G-Master Buss Compressor

I’ve mentioned this one a couple of times on GTPS, and it’s still very much part of my default mix project template. It can take a bit of getting used to in terms of how subtle you need to be with the initial setup, but once you find a sweet spot (or just start with one of the presets) and mix whole tracks through it, you begin to get a feel for how it very gently helps bind things together – always a must for imbuing DAW mixes with a little analogue magic dust.

Waves Renaissance Equalizer

8. Renaissance EQ

From some of the recent show-stoppers in the Waves arsenal to one of the unsung heroes: the Renaissance Collection. These plugins have been around for a long time, but they’re just so solid and workhorse-y that there’s no desire to ever remove them from my plugin folder, no matter what else comes along. We’ve discussed the Renaissance Compressor previously, but the EQ is also a highlight for it’s similarly straightforward layout, intuitive real-time draggable graphing and the ease with which you can find the sound you want.

Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter

9. Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter

The piece of gear that some believe inspired Richard D. James’s Aphex Twin moniker (apparently it’s not really true), the original Aural Exciter was a fairly rare device, and so exclusive that it was credited as a ‘session player’ on some records! What it does is process the high-frequencies of the signal, introducing an extra dimension of brightness and presence, and all without altering the actual respective frequency levels. Try it on a vocal track or key instrument for that extra indefinable sheen.

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C1 Compressor

10. C1 Compressor / Gate

Another incredibly solid workhorse plugin that, while not particularly glamorous, is packed with features that you’ll always need. With it’s separate modules (Compressor/Expander, Gate/Expander and Fliter/EQ) and internal sidechain (if you’re a Pro Tools user the sidechain can also be externally triggered), you can basically conduct any dynamics processing task all from the single interface, including dynamic filtering and de-essing.

Waves Kramer Master Tape

11. Kramer Master Tape

A collaboration with Hendrix producer Eddie Kramer, this plugin is an emulation of a vintage 1/4″ reel-to-reel tape machine. Even since everyone moved to the computer for most recording and mixing duties, it’s still a popular idea in top studios to run tracks off to this kind of tape machine and back into the DAW, for the extra character and specific saturation qualities the tape can impart when driven quite hard. However, even if you’ve no intention of recording classic rock guitar tracks, the various Flux, Wow & Flutter and Noise controls, plus the Slap/Feedback delay section, can be fun to play with in conjunction with electronic elements for some cool effects and artifacts for resampling, spot FX etc.

Waves MondoMod

12. MondoMod

Like MetaFlanger (they’re both included in the Sound Design Bundle), MondoMod is a go-to for chorus and tremolo duties, particularly when the track calls for something a little different. The types and combinations of weird modulation you can quickly conjure, and how the controls allow you to tailor the sound to fit the track, make it very useful in any processing chain that requires movement, from subtle shimmer to, “It’s all around us!”

Waves Q10 Equalizer

13. Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer

No round-up of Waves plugins would be complete without mentioning the Q10, Waves very first plugin originally released back in 1992 – and also the first ‘paragraphic’ EQ, a system that we’ve become rather used to but which was an impossibility before computer-based music production.

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Waves Vocal Rider
14. Vocal Rider

We finish with a look towards the possible future of digital mixing and music production, as Vocal Rider is more groundbreaking than it first appears. It’s something like an automatic level fader, but if that sounds like a simple compressor, that’s not the whole story: the plugin doesn’t colour the signal the way a compressor might, as it’s not emulating any of the valve, FET or VCA technology that compressors utilize. It really is just an automated fader, but with the benefit that you can go back over it’s work and edit the movements: so the best of all worlds, taking the time and at least some of the fiddliness out of manually riding the entire vocal track, but with the option to punch in and take over yourself at any point. It’s so simple in principle that it’s funny to think no-ones done it before now – but it’s a good example of Waves ability to offer genuine innovation and usefulness without recourse to gimmicky or unnecessary extra features.

That wraps it up, but I’m sure I’ve missed someones favourite ever Waves plugin – did I get anywhere close to what your selection would be? Let me know below!

And if you like this post, you’ll probably also be interested in these:

The 10 Best Reverb Plugins In The World

The 10 Best Delay Plugins In The World

50 Of The Best Compressor Plugins In The World.

Sours: https://getthatprosound.com/top-14-must-have-waves-plugins/

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Mixing Hip Hop Vocals with WAVES PLUGINS From Scratch - EQ \u0026 Compression


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