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Wave Arts' Power Suite

Bundle of five audio processing and dynamics plugins By Frank Moldstad

The problem with a bundle like Wave Arts Power Suite is that with so many choices all at once, you barely know where to begin. A collection of five audio processing plugins for Mac and PC, the Power Suite includes reverb, EQ, compression, limiting, and spatial enhancement. Each of the plugins has deep levels of control and WaveArts has engineered them to be highly CPU-efficient meaning you can run many instances simultaneously.

One of the bundles plugins is brand new. Called MultiDynamics, it is a multiband compressor/expander that provides up to six bands, with independent compression or expansion/gating on each band. Like the other plugins in the Power Suite collection, it is also sold separately. The rest of this bundle includes plugins for nearly any audio processing need, from compression and limiting to reverb and EQ. These include TrackPlug, a 10-band EQ, compressor and gate; MasterVerb, a hall reverb; WaveSurround, a stereo spatial enhancer; and FinalPlug, a mastering limiter/volume maximizer.

As standalone versions, each of the plugins sell for $149.95, except WaveSurround, which is $99.95. So if you tally up the ingredients, the Power Suite bundle offers signficant savings at $499.95, compared to the $699.75 it would cost to purchase each of the plugins individually.

A noteworthy aspect of these plugins is that they are compatible with every major audio plugin format, including VST, MAS, Audio Units, RTAS, and DirectX. So, whether you install the Power Suite on a Mac or a PC, it is available to multiple host applications depending on the format they use.

I installed the Power Suite bundle first on a Mac G4 using Live 4 as a host with the plugins running in VST and AU formats. I later installed them on an Athlon-powered PC using Adobe Audition as the host to test the DirectX and VST compatibility on that platform. In each case, installation was smooth and performance was exemplary. I used the same unprocessed stereo acoustic guitar, bass and vocal track to test each plugin.

The first plugin I opened was MasterVerb, because reverb is one of the most difficult effects to recreate with a plugin. MasterVerb comes with 32 presets simulating a wide range of environments, from small rooms to large cathedral-type spaces.

MasterVerb is a professional-sounding reverb, capable of producing deep and expansive acoustical spaces with the help of an extensive toolset. It didn't take me long to find several good alternatives for the acoustic guitar and vocal track -- bright but not tinny with a smooth tail at the end.

MasterVerb with settings for a muffled tiny room

MasterVerbs interface has a pair of intuitive graphical representations of the reverb spaces, which are a great help in creating various soundstages. At the bottom left is a simple XY graph, with time on the vertical axis and space on the horizontal axis. Where they cross, a button-style handle controls the relationship of these two parameters. A small-sized room with short reflections creates a muffled environment, while increasing the size to the max and giving it a heathy reflection time creates a cathedral environment (see screen shots above and below). As the time and space are adjusted, a 3D representation of the space changes shape in the middle of the MasterVerb interface. Called the Characteristic Plot, this 3D shape folds and unfolds umbrella-like over your environment, providing a very useful visual aid for creating acoustic spaces.

MasterVerb with Cathedral settings.

The more technically inclined can rely on the requisite knobs arrayed across the bottom of the screen, controlling Decay Time, Room Size, Diffusion, Early and Late Damping and Low Frequency Scale. I found it easy to create appropriate reverberation by first selecting one of the presets, then visually adjusting the room size and reflections, and finally fine-tuning it with the control knobs.


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Related Keywords:Wave Arts, Power Suite, reverb, compression, plugin bundle, pro audio


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