the WAVES mystique???

What’s the real skinny on this…

I’m hoping you knowledgeable folks on this board can help me handle a problem I’ve run into.

I’ve been getting involved with a sound engineering educational program here in Istanbul, Turkey. Some of the “more knowledgeable” students are insisting to me that there’s nothing in the entire UNIVERSE that even comes close to the WAVES plug-ins.

I’ve been working a lot with n-track and vst’s for the past few months now, and love all the wonderful things you can do with this combination. Much betta than working with tape, which i was enslaved to 20 years ago. I never cut my fingers when working with razor blades and splicing tape, although there were more than a few times I wanted to cut my throat over the hassle.

Anyway, some of what i’ve read here and on other forums gives me the clear impression that the high price of WAVE vst’s isn’t really justified; that the WAVES people are just trying to take advantage of what was at one time a dominant market position; etc.

What I’m hoping is that a few of you can chime in with your own personal experiences in terms of WAVES. Is it really better than all the other stuff out there, freebies included? Is it just marketing hype and price gouging and FUD (fear, uncertainty,doubt). Or IS the WAVE software marvelously wonderful.? I’m interested, of course, in both sides of the story.

Please tell me what you can. It can maybe help solve a lot of confusion going on here right now.

My personal opinion, by the way, is that a good sound guy can work with almost any kind of reasonable vst’s to produce wonderful results.

Thanks much in advance,




My personal opinion, by the way, is that a good sound guy can work with almost any kind of reasonable vst’s to produce wonderful results.

Hello Gary and a big WELCOME! to the NTrack Forum.

Well, you’ve pretty much answered your own question. There is nothing inherently “wrong” with freebie vst’s and nothing inherently “better” with those you pay for.
Of course, the greater the cost, the more the company has to hype the product in order to fool us into thinking that it’s worth it :D
Having said that, I don’t mean to imply that the Waves plugins are no good. I have used the Waves compresor and found it excellent, but in my opinion there is nothing so good about it that would persuade me to part with the required amount of cash!


I have used the waves stuff pretty extensively. There are other products out there that are “As good” - although Steve is right, comparisons are somewhat difficult, since there are often significant differences in sound. As a general rule, you get what you pay for, but there are exceptions. E.g., I think the PSP stuff is wonderful. Not free, but not expensive for what you get. For reverbs SIR (free!) is nearly as good as the waves imulse one - the differences being in the functions, not in the sounds, since impulse reverbs sound as good as the impulses used. The fact that a free reverb sounds as good as any “professional” one out there is amazing to me, since I was used to using springs in a powered mixer years ago, thinkng I was living high on the hog, and never even dreaming of, say, a lexicon. :)

Spin audio makes a very, very good sounding EQ, and there is a “lite” 4 band version of it that came with Computer Music magazing a while back.

For compression, for free these can’t be beat, IMHO:

The thing is, the quality of even the free stuff nowadays blows away most anything from not so long ago.

Anyway, the waves stuff is wonderful, but there are lots of options that not only come close to them, but exceed them, depending on what you want to do. Sounds like you have run into the usual prejudices of students in music ed programs - the sort of elitism that says “if you don’t have the top of the line pro tools set up you are not a serious muso.” My reply: those folks are not using their ears, which would seem odd in someone studying recording. :)

Go do a search on this subject over at the attitude there is that if you get the sound you want by banging a stuffed fish against a trash can with a Radio Shack mic crammed inside sent through a pignose amp with weak batteries, then it’s the right thing to do.


And what about nTrack
reverb and compression.???

And EQ?

/Goran Sweden ???

Don’t know how much time you have, but it could be an interesting student project to test this in ‘blind tests’.
If the students are up for it and commited, you could collect a couple of different versions of effects and then ‘dare’ them to make the best of what they have. Then you can let the other people judge (and vote) wich sound the best without knowing what plugins was used.

It might be an interesting excercise to teach them a) how to think ‘outside the box’ and b) how to make the best with what you have.

Chances are if they get into the real world they’ll have to “pay their due’s” in a studio that isn’t by default top notch with all the best and greatest. Knowing how to create the same result without “the best” (read: those you know and think are the best) tools available will be of some advantage.

It will also maybe help them to listen critically and fresh.

Just ramblin’


And oh yes before I forget: Tom - thanks for that Buzcomp link !

Hi Today… Guys:
Wihan… What a great post you added on this topic… That’s a great motivation Ploy for the “Student Audio Group” … gberlind

IT would serve a multi-task oppertunity… to get your Group/Class, into a project like that… In my opinion there would be nothing better to embark your entier class on a Fact Finding Mission and report on their findings… And… learn Audio Engineering, at the same time…

I hope you hang around the Board, up here… We could all learn from your Energy-and-Input… :O :;):

I posted one-time… way back when… that I’d like to see Flavio become “Compliant” in Most-if-Not-All the various File extensions used by the other Multi-Track Editors… without infringing on Copyright Protection, of course… So as to become a cross platform Editing Suite… He got into “Broadcast Wave” extension… However I haven’t received any of those file extensions yet… to “Play” with any findings… I’d sure like to, though… Mabey, someday, I will…


David Mellor of did some blind tests with mic preamps, and with mics (two separate tests), posted the findings, and for various reasons pissed-off a few people! But it was pretty informative and revealing. I think Wihan has a good idea there. You might stir up your pond- and you have to not mind doing that, maybe… :)

EDIT: The link might not work… but the point is made. I’ll come back and try to get the link right- gotta split!

I’ve used Waves and they are good quality plugins but there are a lot of other plugin developers who are catching up and even surpassing Waves now.

In the forums I read the current gold standard for plugins seems to be the UAD-1 card from Universal Audio. I don’t think I’ve ever read a bad word about this product. I’m saving up for one myself.

On the other hand, Waves has an absolutely terrible reputation for customer service. If you go to the TapeOp message board and do a search for Waves you will find some threads where people tell some truly incredible horror stories about Waves. From the firsthand accounts it appears that this company has utter contempt for its customers. Before even contemplating purchasing any Waves products I suggest you research this along with understanding their copy protection process and how it will affect the ease of using their plugins. I have read several accounts of customers who were spitting mad after trying to deal with these people.

I parted with the $ a few years ago for a bundle of waves plugs and have not regretted it at all. In particular the compressor I have is good, it seems more transparent than any other comp plug I’ve used.

However, I still don’t only use the waves plugs. In fact, since n-track came with it’s built-in compressor, I have been using that more and more, even testing it out on lead vox tracks and other key tracks, and sometimes it suits my ears more than the waves one.

But the waves verb is great, eq is pretty good. de-esser is really pretty crap, but I find i almost never need one though.

I agree with Tom, the psp stuff is great too, and I’m sure there are a bunch of cool freebies out there now. It’s been >2 years since I looked around for plugs though, because I already have good tools on hand with the waves suite. At this point I think that improvements in my recordings will result from upgrading mikes and preamps. I guess that’s the benefit of waves to me, effects are not something i worry about much.

I agree with the statement ‘that the WAVES people are just trying to take advantage of what was at one time a dominant market position’ - I get that sense too. They never stop trying to sell more stuff to me.

They are good plugs for sure, but to say they are the end all… well, that is Fender versus Gibson… what sound do you want? I will say, they are mighty expensive.