Mix bus plug-ins are great for "broad brush" processing, perfect for "glueing" mixes together and shaping the tone of tracks quickly. Commonly used on 2-bus or master tracks, mix bus plug-ins are often the key to getting mixes and masters into shape quickly and tastefully.
In this article, I feature a selection of mix bus plug-ins by Waves that I consider essential tools in my mixing workflow. I don't consider mix bus plug-ins to be exclusively dynamic processors, no, good mix bus plug-ins provide tonal characteristics that help me to shape mixes beyond compression.
Waves Linear Phase Multiband Compressor Plug-in
The Waves Linear Phase Multiband has been around for quite awhile. I've used it on my mix buses for years. I was first introduced to LIN MB while watching a Waves video that showed Greg Wells using it. I was impressed, Luckily, I found LIN MB in my Waves Horizon Bundle being sadly overlooked. The feature I love in this plug-in is the Auto Makeup Gain Control. Set this from Manual to Automatic and the plug-in will automatically match the output level making it very easy to set the compression settings to taste. This is a very clean sounding multiband that doesn't impart any tonal characteristics - only transparent dynamics processing.
Visit the Waves website for more information on The Linear Phase Multiband compressor plug-in.
Waves CLA MixDown Plug-in
Waves CLA MixDown plug-in is a fairly recent addition to my Waves plug-in collection. It features a great set of core controls - Bass, Treble, Glue (compression) and Drive. These four controls help me to quickly shape the tone and dynamics of any mix bus. I've found this plug-in to sound very transparent, however, if I poke the Drive control with a stick the results can sound quite exciting. This is a very analog sounding plug-in that I feel does a great job of combining tracks together in a mix.
Visit the Waves website for more information on CLA MixDown.
Waves Infected Mushroom Pusher Plug-in
The Infected Mushroom Pusher plug-in is a straightforward dynamics processing tool. When I first starting using it I thought it was a little on the basic side, however, I quickly discovered that this is quite a powerful plug-in and musical sounding tool. Initially, I thought this plug-in would only be useful in EDM mixes, a style I don't work on, but that wasn't the case at all, this thing sounds great on lots of styles of music. The controls are labelled with good descriptions such as High, Body and Push that do exactly what they say on the tin.
Visit the Waves website for more information about The Infected Mushroom Pusher plug-in.
Waves J37 Tape Plug-in
The J37 plug-in by Waves is a very versatile tape plug-in. For years I used the Waves Kramer Tape plug-in but now I use the J37 as this offers me more variation. Like Kramer Tape, J37 features a cool delay section but unlike the Kramer Tape the delay in J37 has three different types of delay, not just Slapback, though the slap is my prefered delay type. Like other Waves mix bus plug-ins featured in this list, J37 can be as transparent as you like but can also be pushed hard to produce some lovely gritty effects.
Visit the Waves website for more information about Abbey Road J37 Plug-in.
Waves Abbey Road Vinyl Plug-in
Waves Vinyl plug-in is a very charming plug-in which provides nostalgic retro vibe. I can't deny, the effect is subtle but it certainly does something quite pleasing. Vinyl is also a nice alternative to Tape emulation plug-ins. I liken this plug-in to Instagram filters that make photos look vintage by the click of a button. Throw Vinyl on a mix bus or across an entire master and you'll hear the picture of your mix focus in really pleasing ways that I find hard to describe...
Visit the Waves website for more information about the Abbey Road Vinyl plug-in.
Are you a Waves plug-in user? If so what are your essential Mix Bus plug-ins by Waves?