When it comes to the world of studio effects plug-ins, few companies have been around as long as Waves, whose first product, their Q10 paragraphic EQ, was released in 1992. Even fewer have built such an outstanding reputation among the studio community for producing consistently awesome sounding plug-ins.
Israel isn’t a place you would normally associate with creating cutting-edge audio production software, but that is where Waves was born. The company that started out as a two-man team has gone from strength-to-strength and now employs 150 people across the world, while Israel continues to be home for the headquarters of the company. They now have offices in the USA and China, and development centres in India and the Ukraine.
The latest development over at Waves is the release of the V9 upgrade to their complete range of plug-ins. This new upgrade has seen the introduction of 64-bit support which means faster processing and faster loading, as well as ditching the iLok copy protection dongle in favour of a new easy-to-use activation system that can be installed either on a single computer or a USB drive to make it possible to take Waves plug-ins from studio to studio.
Waves now have a phenomenal 130 plug-ins in their range, with many of them being among the best out there at the various jobs they do. And while these plug-ins can all be purchased individually, arguably the easiest way to get a great collection of plug-ins at a decent price is to buy one of their plug-in bundles.
One of the most popular packages that Waves have on offer is their Mercury Package, which features over 120 plug-ins and is used by some seriously heavyweight hitters in the production world, including Mark “Spike” Stent who has produced for Madonna, U2 and Muse, along with Dave Pensado, who is a co-conspirator with the likes of the Black Eyed Peas, and Justin Timberland as well as a host of uber cool DJ/producers.
ALL BASES COVERED
The Waves Mercury package covers all the major bases needed in today’s production environment, with plug-ins that include Equalisers, Compressors, Reverbs, Maximisers, Flangers, Guitar Amps and even sound manipulation plug-ins. With so many plug-ins to choose from in the Mercury pack, it’s not possible to cover each and every one of them in this article, so we will cherry-pick our favourites, and the plug-ins we have found to be most useful to give an idea of what can be expected from this uber bundle.
Among the tastiest morsels to be found are the Bass and Voxrider plug-ins, which will set the optimum level of bass or vox in tracks. The Renaissance Compressor, Renaissance De-Esser and the Renaissance Reverb are all excellent, and can be heard on a huge number of chart-busting underground tracks rocking dancefloors across the globe.
Other treats in Mercury are the GTR3 guitar processors, MetaFlanger is fantastic and the H-Comp compressor and H-Delay are the stuff of dreams. The One Knob plug-in is also great for use in the studio, as well as being a killer tool for DJing and live performance when using software that can enable VST plug-ins such as Ableton Live.
With so many different variations of plug-ins available from Waves, it makes sense to spend a bit of time having a good look at the various options available to ensure purchasing the right package to suit specific needs. Unless brand new to the production game, it is more than likely that at least some of the plug-ins in the various packages will already be taken care of in the studio’s plug-in arsenal, so be sure to highlight the missing areas that need to be covered and ensure the package selected ticks all the right boxes. Of course, having more than one tool for each job isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as certain plug-ins, especially EQs, Reverbs and Compressors, will be more suited to certain tracks and sounds than others, and given the high quality of the Wave plug-ins, it could well work out that having a few options to choose from could be a great thing for the overall finished quality of productions.
Producers will be hard-pressed to find packages that will beat the quality and pedigree of the Waves packs, but of course there are individual plug-ins out there that are of the same top-notch caliber, and even some that are arguably better — but they aren’t likely to be found at the budget end of the cost spectrum. We highly recommend anyone looking to round out their studio production suite to head over to Waves’ website and download the demo versions available to see and hear firsthand what these amazing plug-ins can do for their music.
|Ease of use||8.0|
|Value for money||7.0|
Some of the plug-in types such as reverbs and compressors are duplicated, and if paying the full list price, this package can be quite pricey.
Various - £5500