Waves Audio, the world’s leading developer of professional audio signal processing technologies and leading maker of audio plugins for mixing, music production, mastering, sound design, broadcast, post-production and live sound, is now shipping a line of three new distortion plugins: Waves Abbey Road Saturator, Berzerk, and MDMX Distortion Modules.
Waves Abbey Road Saturator is an analog-modeled saturation and distortion plugin developed with Abbey Road Studios engineers. Modeled directly from time-proven saturation chains at Abbey Road Studios, it provides musical saturation and distortion unlike any other device.
Abbey Road engineers were known to experiment endlessly with the wealth of original EMI gear at their disposal—pushing the equipment to its limits and reaching “happy accidents”; this plugin captures the very happiest of such accidents.
In 1962, EMI Central Research Laboratories patented a tape noise reduction system called the TG12321—a “compander” that compresses on input (encoding) and expands on output (decoding). The first generation of pop engineers at Abbey Road discovered that using the encode-only part of the process resulted in a beautiful high-frequency emphasis that added air and excitement and helped instruments cut through the mix. Pioneering Abbey Road engineers, including Peter Bown and Geoff Emerick, were fans of using the TG12321 in this unusual way.
Abbey Road Saturator models the original and ultra-rare TG12321 unit, feeding into Abbey Road’s REDD or TG12345 console preamps, for a one-of-a-kind excited saturation effect.
This plugin gives you flexible control over the Compander’s crossover frequencies, allowing it to focus in on different ranges depending on the source material: lower settings will be at home on bass and kick drums, higher values will afford unmistakable shine to vocals. The added phase knob causes the saturation to work in parallel, dramatically altering the personality of the distortion harmonics.
The plugin also sports M/S processing options, letting the distortion apply either in stereo or to the mid or sides separately. Activate this beast on drums, drive the centered kick and snare into beefy levels, and leave the sides (overheads and cymbals) clean and sparkling.
From subtle harmonic enhancement that helps any instrument poke through a mix, to powerful distortion effects that strip an instrument of its original character and create an entirely new effect—Abbey Road Saturator is a singular twist on what we know saturation and distortion plugins to be.
Waves Berzerk is a go-to plugin designed for wild, unhinged and creative distortion and includes 10 all-original distortion shapes, advanced feedback, pitch, dynamics, sidechaining and M/S options for versatile experimentation—plus a “Go Berzerk!” button for randomized, unpredictable distortion sonic madness.
Waves engineers started to design Berzerk by first amassing a large array of well-loved distortion units of all types: amps, tube devices, stomp boxes and old analog units. They then went on to develop original custom wave shapes based on their all-time favorite distortion curves.
Waves Berzerk includes 10 unique shapes, each with its own personality. Some transform the sound to add grit, dirt and character; others reach unprecedented sonic extremes.
The “Go Berzerk!” button creates random variations in each waveshape, letting you personalize the signal. Turn the Density knob to shift the waveshape in amplitude; the unique Feedback section is like an on-board analog synth. It can either run a tunable sine wave through the signal, producing interesting bass lines, melodies or rhythms; or it can oscillate while “riding” the input—think “crazy” synthesized vocal FX. It also includes a Speed knob to shape the groove, as well as octave, pitch, range and blend adjustments—all of which you can sidechain.
The Dynamics section sits before the distortion and twists the character of the generated harmonics. The “Up/Down” knob controls a gate/expander, which, after setting the threshold, will affect the range of sound affected by the clipper. The “Rider” option rides the amount of gain hitting the distortion, giving you full dynamic control.
Berzerk also offers unique M/S processing, distorting only the mids or just the sides when needed; a master Temperature knob to control the overall color and feel of the output; and an overall mix knob.
Waves MDMX Distortion Modules includes three distortion plugins based on musicians’ all-time favorites: SCREAMER, OVERDRIVE, FUZZ. From classic fat round overdrive to freaked-out fuzz flavors, this oversaturated color palette gives you quick access to the greatest distorted sounds you know and love. The MDMX plugins offer serious tweakability: On-board dynamics, EQ and tone controls; “Temperature” controls to tweak overall color and warmth; Mix controls to blend the clean and distorted signals; and M/S processing to distort just the mids or sides of the signal—a great way to fit an instrument into the mix and change the way a sound related to the space around it.
Searching through musicians’ all-time favorite FX, Waves has customized three unique-sounding color boxes to create this versatile “plug-n-play” distortion toolkit:
SCREAMER: offers a fat, round saturated tone without being spiky—the kind of sound conjured from an overdriven tube amp. It boasts an unmistakable midrange hump in the 470-750 Hz range, delivering a smooth tone that flatters synths, bass, guitars and vocals. Features include: a BOOST knob adding 6 dB of gain in the mids; a TONE control acting like a hi-fi system tilt; a TEMPERATURE control to blend a custom master EQ curve, affecting the “color” and warmth of the overall effect; a MIX knob for blending the distorted and original signals an unique M/S processing options allowing you to overdrive just the mids or just the sides.
OVERDRIVE: The most versatile plugin of the trio, this module can add both subtle and not-so-subtle edge to a part. Its soft-clipper musically enhances an instrument, vocal or sample while maintaining the original character. Use it when you need the performance to stand out in the mix without necessarily hijacking center stage. Dialed in more aggressively, it has a pronounced overdrive that can be tailored and tuned for precise results. Overdrive includes two drive types: The first is higher gain with a greater emphasis on low frequencies, and the second focuses on the high end. The compressor section has a Punch mode, which acts as a fixed-ratio compressor with a choice of mild, moderate or extreme; a Rider mode, which acts like a gate and will behave dynamically; and a Blend knob, which mixes the dry signal with the dynamic signal. There’s a low cut on the input to tighten the distortion, a four-band EQ on the output to shape the result, a TEMPERATURE control, which blends a custom master-EQ curve, a mix knob and unique M/S processing options, allowing you to affect just the mids or sides.
FUZZ: An aggressive high-gain fuzz effect, customized for maximum flexibility. Fuzz introduces outrageous amounts of saturation, while still allowing you to shape the distortion, synthesize octaves, and take control over the tonal footprint with compression and EQ. This plugin offers two different fuzz flavors. It has a compressor section with similar settings to the OVERDRIVE, and the same four-band EQ. The OCTAVE feature is a pitch-shifter on input pre-distortion. FUZZ shares several other features with OVERDRIVE, including the low cut on input and the mid/sides processing options, TEMPERATURE to control overall color/warmth, a Dynamics section to choose between compressor (PUNCH) and gain rider, MIX to blend the original and distorted signals and M/S processing to control mid/sides separately.
About Abbey Road Studios
Abbey Road Studios is the most famous recording studio in the world and a global music icon.
Home to countless landmark recordings and pioneering advances in recording technology, the legendary studio complex has a phenomenal history spanning over 86 years, encompassing celebrated work by many of the world’s most famous recording artists including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Kate Bush, Oasis, Radiohead, Sam Smith, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Kanye West, Nile Rodgers, Lady Gaga, Frank Ocean, Brockhampton and Adele.
Since the score for Raiders of The Lost Ark was recorded at the studios in 1980, Abbey Road has developed into one of the world’s premier destinations for movie scoring. Blockbuster films such as The Lord of The Rings Trilogy, Skyfall, most of the Harry Potter series and the Oscar-winning Gravity feature scores recorded here, while recent projects include Black Panther, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Mission: Impossible – Fallout and the multi award winning The Shape of Water. Additionally, a number of high-profile video games such as Halo 5 and Call of Duty have recorded in-game music at Abbey Road Studios.
In Spring 2017, in the biggest transformation since opening in 1931, Abbey Road launched two new contemporary studios - The Gatehouse and The Front Room - making the magic of Abbey Road accessible to a whole new generation of recording artist. The new studios have already played host to artists from James Bay, Jess Glynne, George Ezra, The 1975 and Skrillex to legends like Nile Rodgers and Noel Gallagher plus grime MCs Novelist and Jammer BBK. A new Dolby Atmos Premier accredited Mix Stage also opened in 2017 making Abbey Road the only facility in the UK to offer both scoring and film sound post production, with recent projects including Tim Burton’s much anticipated live action Dumbo and Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots.
Symbolic of the new era, in March 2018, Abbey Road appointed multiple Grammy Award winning producer, guitarist, arranger and composer Nile Rodgers (of The CHIC Organization) to the specially created role of Chief Creative Advisor. The new role sees Nile establish Abbey Road Studios as his primary creative base in the UK and serve as the Studios’ global ambassador within the artist and creative community.
The studios house a number of state-of-the-art mastering suites. Recent projects mastered or re-mastered by Abbey Road’s award-winning engineers include music from The Beatles, Sam Smith, Sade, Abba, Krept & Konan, Graham Coxon, Dido, The Police, Goat Girl, Johnny Marr, Roxy Music, New Order, Frank Turner, Rita Ora, Queen, Brian Eno, The Rolling Stones and Novelist’s Mercury Prize nominated debut.
Abbey Road Studios is accessible no matter where an artist is located, offering online mixing and mastering, audio products for professional and home studio music producers and live concert recording.
In 2016, Abbey Road launched Abbey Road Red, Europe’s first music-focused technology incubator which supports the endeavours of entrepreneurs, researchers and developers. Inspired by the original in-house Record Engineering Development Department of the 1950s to 1970s, the programme is now expanding with in-house R&D activities within the music creation space, including explorations in spatial audio.
The Abbey Road Institute is another new initiative, offering vocational diplomas in music production and audio engineering to students at the studio complex in London and state of the art facilities in Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Sydney.
Finally, the Abbey Road Shop, located next door, sells exclusive gifts and souvenirs to the 300,000+ music fans who make a pilgrimage to the zebra crossing each year and write on the wall outside the studios.
Abbey Road Studios is part of Universal Music Group, the world leader in music-based entertainment.
About Waves Audio Ltd.:
Waves is the world’s leading developer of audio DSP solutions for the professional, broadcast, and consumer electronics audio markets. Since its start in the early '90s with the introduction of the Q10 equalizer plugin, Waves has gone on to develop a comprehensive line of over 150 audio plugins, including industry standards like the L1 and L2 Ultramaximizers, popular vintage console models, and innovative mixing tools like Vocal Rider and the Artist Signature Series. For its accomplishments, Waves received a Technical GRAMMY® Award in 2011, and the Q10 was selected as an inductee into the TECnology Hall of Fame. In 2016, Waves released the eMotion LV1 mixer, a revolutionary live digital mixing console that provides real-time audio mixing for front-of-house, monitor, studio and broadcast engineers. Waves technologies are now used to improve sound quality in virtually every sector of the audio market, from recording, mixing, mastering and post-production to broadcast, live sound, and consumer electronics. Waves has over 25 years of expertise in the development of psychoacoustic signal processing algorithms that leverage knowledge of human auditory perception to radically improve perceived sound quality. Waves’ award-winning processors are utilized to improve sound quality in the creation of hit records, major motion pictures, and top-selling video games worldwide. Waves offers computer software and hardware-plus-software solutions for the professional and broadcast markets. The company’s WavesLive division is a market leader in all live sound sectors, spearheading the development of solutions for all live platforms. Under its Maxx brand, Waves offers semiconductor and licensable algorithms for consumer electronics applications. Waves technologies dramatically enhance audio performance and are used by industry leaders such as Dell, Google, Fitbit, Acer, Asus, Hisense and more.
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