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Posted by on Feb 1, 2011 | 30 comments

New Sound Design Competition from Waves Audio and Designing Sound

I’m excited to announce a new sound design competition, developed in collaboration between Waves Audio and Designing Sound, with a Sound Design Suite Native (or a different Waves bundle or upgrade of equivalent value) as the prize for the winner.

General Information

  1. Download the competition package that includes a clip from Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed™ (courtesy of Electronic Arts) and sound effects (courtesy of The Hollywood Edge).
  2. Using those sounds, and the plugins in the Waves Sound Design Suite (a demo of it), design the sound for the clip. You may also use your DAW’s native processing tools but you’re not allowed to record or manipulate other sounds or use third party plugins. You can only use your DAW and the sound effects included in the competition package, and there should not be any other plugin that is not included in the Waves Sound Design Suite.
  3. Then upload the video to the specified address and tell how you used Waves plugins to design the sounds of the clip

Detailed Rules and Instructions

Deadline and Judges

The Waves Sound Design Competition will run from February 1st until February 28th 2011, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

The judges will be four sound design masters:

  • Scott Martin Gershin (Star Trek, Hellboy 2, Chronicles of Riddick, American Beauty).
  • Charles Deenen (Need for Speed, Fast & Furious 1 and 2).
  • David Farmer (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, The Incredible Hulk, The Arrival).
  • Tom Ozanich (Kill Bill: Vol. 2, The Incredible Hulk, Speed Racer, 2 Fast 2 Furious).

Learn How to Use the Suite

During all this month I’ll be publishing several articles about the use of Waves plugins on sound design. I’ll give you my personal opinion about each plugin included in the suite and I’ll also include all kind of exclusive anecdotes, opinions, tips and tricks from professional sound designers. You can find all those links grouped here.

The plugins included in the Sound Design Suite are tools used everyday by many professionals in the sound industry, so I think sharing opinions and tricks about those plugins will be useful for many of you. Also, that will give lots of ideas to the participants of the competition.

Good luck and enjoy!

Important Links: Competition Rules and Information | Special Page at Designing Sound


  1. So i cant enter this comp if i’m not a iLok user?

  2. I got really excited about this until I found out that you need an iLok to even demo their products. Software which has no doubt been cracked anyway…

    Whilst I appreciate drives like this, companies need to fundamentally re-evaluate their old-school consumer philosophy if they genuinely wish to engage the grass-roots talent that is around.

  3. There are a few points which don’t seem to be stated clearly. It says we are allowed to use other plugins too but doesn’t specify if we can use other sounds too or only those included in the download package?

  4. Clarification on the use of other sounds beside those provided would be good. Also, you say are going to publish tips and tricks throughout the month, yet the Waves demo license only lasts a week!

  5. I have to say, I agree on the iLok argument. If Waves want potential customers to demo their software, they should offer a limited trial period without the need to have an iLok. It’s a shame as the competition is a great idea.

  6. I understand the need to prevent piracy but i feel a bit cheated. I’m not going to spend money on an iLok just to enter the competition. Seems rather unfair to be excluded from the chance of entering because of this

  7. I understand what the fuss is about the iLok but… Who doesn’t have an iLok these days? I have like 10 lying around, everything I order practically comes with one, and most high end software uses some sort of dongle, usually iLok. And Jamie has it right, Waves demos only last 7 days. Hmm…

  8. PS, the competition specifically states

    “You may also use your DAW’s native processing tools, but only the sound effects provided here.”

    So no, no other sound effects besides the one in the package.

  9. Only the sound effects package included can be used for the sound sources of the video. no other sounds can be manipulated, recorded, etc. :) Hope that solves that isssue.

  10. iLok bullshit..

    They could’ve just put out some system to use the demos without an iLok for the competition. (Or not require an iLok at all for demo versions of their products for that matter)

    But I guess it’s just because this is a competition to just market the Waves Sound Design Suite.

    You could always just go with the DAW’s stock plug-ins, but that sort of kills the idea of using Waves plugs for these effects.


  11. If we can use a DAW’s stock plugins (taking into account the number of DAWs this means there are a lot of possible plugins we could use out there) then whats to stop anybody from using plugins not from their DAW and not Waves SDS? If someone wants to use NI plugin for example how will anybody know that what they’re hearing is not just a built in effect in said persons DAW of choice?

  12. @John

    I thought that for a while, before I went back and reread the rules a few times. It states “You may also use your DAW’s native processing tools, but only the sound effects provided here.” So imagine they mean you can use processing such as normalise, reverse etc. but not the built-in plug-ins. This is how I read it anyway.

    Which leads me to wonder what people are supposed to use for reverb…

  13. The way I understood it, you can use the plug-ins provided with your DAW e.g. digirack/audiosuite plugins for pro tools, but no other third party effects. It’s gets a bit hazy if you include the signal generator plugin, as that could possibly be construed as being another sound effect. I’d prefer it if they just said “Use any sounds and any effects, but must use waves plugins as much as possible”. I guess that’s not the point of the campaign though!

  14. They should clarify if we can use 3rd party plugs. There is no way to confirm nor deny if anybody uses them so we might as well settle it now before it comes time to judge. 

  15. You can use the plugins included in your DAW, Waves Sound Design Suite plugins, your DAW and the sound effects provided. That’s all :)

  16. And please remind! You not only need to upload your video. You also need to tell (in the description field) what plugins you used, in which sound effects and how you used the tools to achieve your goals. That’s obligatory for each entry.

  17. Back in the game :)

    Cheers Miguel! I need to remember to take notes as I’m working…

  18. Still seems weird to me. So if I use 3 daws in my work that’s hundreds of effects I have extra in addition to waves…but I can’t use some random vst I find on the Internet.

  19. Can we just make it official that we can use whichever plugs we want but we must include Waves plugins somewhere? 

  20. Guys, please read the post, it seems very clear to me!

  21.  “You may also use your DAW’s native effects but you’re not allowed to record or manipulate other sounds. You can only use the sound effects included in the competition package.”

    If you don’t know the difference between a plug-in and a sound effect don’t even bother with the contest

  22. @ Miguel

    Is there literally any way to enter this without the iLok or is that it?

  23. Just to clarify several things:

    1. You need an iLok for activating the demo. There’s no other method for trying Waves plugins.

    2. You can use the native processing tools of your DAW, but you’re not allowed to use any other plugin that’s not inside the Sound Design Suite. That includes plugins from other companies and also Waves plugins that don’t comes with the SD Suite.

    3. You can’t use other sounds..

    4. Remember to tell in the description of your video how you used Waves plugins to achieve your goals.

    I few words. Use just your DAW, Waves plugins and the video/sfx provided. That’s all :)

  24. Guess I’ll throw away the work I spent all day yesterday doing then…


    Maybe I’ll just go and download a cracked version of the suite. A joke, but pertinent nonetheless… ;)

  25. The rules still sound ambiguous. They state:

    “You must use Waves Sound Design Suite plugins – the more the better.”

    As I understand it, I MUST use Waves Sound Design Suite plugins to qualify. Is that right?

    If so, it would mean I would have to make at least one purchase: an iLOK. I cannot see any rules forbidding international entrants but I know that there are rules against contests that require the entrant to purchase a product before entering. (Though, IANAL, I assume that these rules do not cover international contests that are open to UK citizens.)

    But, back to my point. I’m skint. £25 is a lot of money to a lot of people — especially if it is only needed to run a ‘demo’ version.

    So, yes or no, would my entry be valid if I did not use any Waves products?

    Also, what about good old analogue manipulation? Is that valid?

  26. Only Waves it seems.

  27. It’s a catch 22 situation then. 

  28. I agree with the comments “who doesn’t have an iLok”? It’s a standard method, and quite successful, for preventing pirating of software. I support the system.

  29. I know many people who choose to avoid anything involving the iLok system. I know of one person who lost her licences because the iLok people didn’t believe she was the original owner — both her email and snail mail addresses had changed and she had since married. She had to fork out over £2000 because she depended on the software for work.

    Their customer support is terrible too. When you’re working to a tight deadline, the last thing you want to do is wait until the evening so that someone in California will answer your call. They seem to be unaware that people might want to use the system outside of America.

    Syncrosoft’s eLicenser, on the other hand, is a doddle. I’ve lost two keys in the past and have had no problem reclaiming my licences.

    I’d say iLok was far from a ‘standard’ method. It’s a propriety method.


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