Waves NLS plugins- separating myth from reality

Posted: 25th May 2012 by Mezzanine Floor Studios in Uncategorized

I read recently about a product Waves was proud to announce: a new series of plugins called NLS (Non-Linear Summing.)

At first I was excited, as this seemed another step towards being able to mix “in the box” with plugins. Then I got to thinking- can these plugins really make analog summing boxes irrelevant if all we care about is the sound?

The short answer is no. While the NLS series might add some analog “character” to the sound, the whole exercise misses the point, as clearly spelled out in the naming of the plugins. In the end, these plugins have nothing to do with summing. Because of the core architecture of DAW software, summing is done OUTSIDE of the plugin architecture, so the whole premise of these plugins is a complete misnomer.

That said, Waves has implemented a cool VCA group architecture and done a lot of work to model individual channels and busses on 3 major consoles, and done a good job of enabling the addition of analog warmth and a separate analog modeled fader that could potential replace the faders in your DAW if you want better modeling there.

Bottom line- if you’re looking to replace a great sounding analog mixer or Dangerous summing box with these plugins, I’d tell you to pass. If, however, you’re looking to add some analog warmth to your tracks, they are definitely worth a look. If you happen to have any UAD-2 cards in your system and haven’t done so, for about the same amount of money I would buy the Studer A800 tape plugin first. This plugin will absolutely change the way you mix.


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