Continuing with this series of articles dedicated to explore the Waves Sound Design Suite, now let’s move to a very special plugins included in the suite. I’m talking about the amazing Renaissance and the (recently added) V-Series.
The Sound Design Suite doesn’t include the whole Renaissance Maxx Suite, but it includes enough tools for sound design purposes. All those Renaissance plugins were based on vintage gear, so all they add a really nice warmth to the signal processed.
The same happens with the V-Series, three plugins that were also modeled from vintage gear. These plugins were recently added to the Sound Design Suite, and although they’re not “essential” tools, it’s very useful to have plugins with such incredible vintage warmth. The processors included were modeled from different hardware processors of Neve, including several legendary models, such as the 2254 compressor and the 1073, 1066 and 1081 equalizers.
Let’s explore each of those tools. Starting with the Renaissance plugins:
REQ is a very intuitive equalizer, pretty similar to Q10 in terms of control, but this time the filter curves were modeled from vintage analog equalizers, so the signal coloration is different but really cool. I use this one as my default EQ for shaping sound effect frequencies, but I’ve also used it in the past for music, dialogue and all kind of tasks. It comes in 2, 4 and 6 band versions and supports both mono and stereo components.
It has typical parametric controls for each band, including gain, frequency and Q. Also, each band can be easily activated/deactivated. You can also control the curves graphically and more quickly, by using the keyboard and mouse combinations. It’s pretty cool.
If you’re already familiarized with EQs, you’ll not have any problems with RenEQ. In terms of control and parameters, it’s pretty similar to any other EQ in the market, but, in terms of sound quality and warmth, it’s a very unique processor. It adds a really nice flavor to your sound. I personally recommend it for sound editing/design tasks, both for subtle and heavy operations.
“The RenEQ is often a part of my channel strip. Going down to 16Hz it is mainly used in the 2 band variation as a low-cut. That works perfectly for me to make sure there are no uncontrollable ultra low frequencies – especially on synthesizers or plug-ins that create weird stuff in the low end.” – Axel Rohrbach
“A longtime favorite for ease-of-use. When I transfer sounds from Soundminer into Pro Tools, this plugin will often be part of that chain.” – Charles Deenen
This is one of my favorite compressors. It was created for compresion and expansion tasks, by implementing technologies from C1 and L1. RComp integrates a brickwall limiter in the output and also supports sidechain. This compressor is very flexible and can be perfect for many things, including both soft and hard dynamic control. What you get is a natural and flexible (analog modeled) sound loaded with precision and control from the digital world. As Waves said: “Analog punch. Digital Precision”
RenComp offers parameters that you can find typically in a compressor, including attack, release, threshold, ratio, gain and also the possibility of change the compression mode (Vintage Opto and modern Electro). Threshold and Gain feature an integrated signal meter and the ratio has a special meter that shows the amount of attenuation/expansion present in the process. That’s also great because gives you instant information about the process you’re applying to the signal.
The Renaissance Compressor is a perfect “average” compressor. I use it a lot for general dynamic control. It has a natural sound and easy user interface for quick access to the important parameters. I also love it as a side chain compressor in different situations. – Axel Rohrbach
“My go-to “regular” compressor. It’s transparent enough when you don’t want to hear it, and can pump when you want it to. Often I’ll use two in a row– one to “level” things a bit with a long attack/release, and one to slightly compress things. Also works great on voiceovers. I’ve tried many other compressors, but seem to always come back to this one.” – Charles Deenen
RAxx is a nice tool that simplifies dynamics processing into three parameters: Threshold, Attack and Gain. That’s all. The rest of the parameters are fixed, so this one is not a very flexible tool, but it’s very easy and quick to use and that is the goal here. It was created originally for guitar and bass, but it works pretty good on sound effects and different kinds of tracks, applying a very special kind of compression (or limiting).
One of my favorite plug ins. I always use this if I need harsh and crispy compression / limiting. This works well on explosions, gunshots, crashes, animals – pretty much everything thing. – Axel Rohrbach
Now it’s turn for the last of the Renaissance plugins that are included in the suite. This one is a quite powerful tool that has gained a lot of popularity between sound designers. RBass is a fantastic plugin based on Waves MaxxBass proprietary technology that uses psycho-acoustic principles to enhance the signal by adding harmonics and extending an specific range of frequencies.
It was created especially for extending the low frequency content on any sound. The frequency cutoff has an extended range of 32Hz to 256Hz and the intensity can go from -24dB to +24dB, which only means one thing: you can go as subtle or extreme as you want. You could use this bad guy for a lot of things, like adding just a bit of weight to a sound, creating fat and low sweeteners, or just to make an impact bigger.
Its controls are very intuitive, including three main parameters: frequency, intensity and gain. The frequency sets where the plugin begins to add harmonics. The amount of the harmonics added is controlled by the intensity. Also, it offers metering for the original bass, the harmonics added and the output gain. You’ll find you using this plugin in a lot of things. From making deep and low content to just adding some body to a sound. It’s one of those tools that you’ll want to use on a lot of different things.
“Another Plug-In that is used on nearly all of my projects. Used in a chain with Lo-Air, this is the killer LFE combination. I also use RBass sometimes very subtle with the frequency set pretty high to beef the sound up by creating some more harmonics.” – Axel Rohrbach
“It’s been my go-to “beefinizer” for many years; I probably use it every day. Stacking two of them up at different frequencies makes both the sub and mid-range bigger. Even at zero dB, it adds a significant amount of low end.” – Charles Deenen
“It adds “body & punch” to a sound. I use it to beef up sounds without depending on the LFE channel.” – Scott Martin Gershin
Here’s an interesting video with an overview of the MaxxBass technology:
V-EQ3 is an equalizer modeled from the Neve 1073 and 1066 (combining both). It features three bands of filters with frequency and gain controls and also a high pass filter that has a range of 45Hz to 360Hz.
I use this equalizer mostly when I need to give certain color to a sound, specially treating the mid frequencies range. Also, since the cutoff points are fixed and the filters were modeled exactly from the hardware processors, what you get is a very unique EQ with classic sound and modern control. You can also get less vintage sound, by turning off the “Analog” button you see below the output.
V-EQ4 was modeled from the Neve 1081. It’s similar to the V-EQ3, but this time it features four bands and offers both LP and HP filters. There’re controls for low, low-mid, mid-high and high frequency ranges. LMF and HMF also includes a HiQ button.
I find these equalizers very useful to retouch the sounds you’re making. If you’re looking for a modern sound, or you want an EQ for surgical tasks or detailed frequency operations, V-EQs are not the tools for the job. These processors are created specially to create a vintage feel and add an “specific” coloration to the signal. Think about this like salt: adding just the right amount to change the “flavor” of your recipe.
“I like the way it fattens things up, adding warmth and color to the sound.” – Scott Martin Gershin
V-Comp follows the same concept. This one was modeled from the Neve 2254 hardware compressor/limiter, which deliver a true legendary vintage sound. V-Comp can be a great tool for treating single sound effects and also mix busses.
This processor offers several common controls, as well as some special features. It offers a compression section and a limiting section. The compressor features ratio and release control. Threshold is not there, since V-Comp was modeled from a console master bus compressor, where the threshold was driven by the master fader. In V-Comp, that setting would be the the input. The limiting section offers level control and also several options for fixed attack and release settings.
V-Comp also features an “Analog” parameter, which controls the amount of analog modeling and harmonic distortion. In other words, it helps you to change the color of the compressor and find different characteristics for your tasks.