Our friends at Waves Audio have just announced a new and exciting plug-in called Waves CLA MixHub made in collaboration once again with mixing legend Chris Lord-Alge. All Waves plug-ins that get the CLA seal of approval are special, this though is by far the best plug-in Waves & CLA have ever developed as it provides a proper console workflow in the digital domain along with true analog sound modelled from Chris Lord-Alge own SSL console. What makes CLA Mix Hub unique is that we can mix up to 64 tracks all within one plugin window.
CLA MixHub Features
Meticulous hardware modelling of Chris’s console with added functionality
Mix swiftly and efficiently with a clear perspective
Control up to 64 channels from a single plug-in window: Build up to 8 “buckets,” each containing eight channels from across your mix session
Flip anytime between bucket view and single-channel view
Insert slot: Load an extra Waves plugin within each CLA MixHub channel strip
Re-order your processing chain within the plugin
Flexible dynamics sidechaining
Exclusive Video Review Of Waves CLA MixHub - Expert Choice Award
In this video we take Waves new CLA MixHub plug-in for an exclusive test drive. Watch the video to learn how the bucket system which has a maximum of 8 groups of 8 channels (total of 64 channels) works and to hear how each of the modules perform in a session featuring live multitrack drums, bass guitar and keyboard. Don’t for one second think this is just another run of the mill console emulation… there’s some real innovation in this plug-in that could very well change the way you mix with console emulations altogether.
Our Verdict - The Best Waves Plug-in In Years
Waves CLA MixHub is not the only SSL console themed plug-in on the market. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five over serious contenders which are all so good you would be forgiven for thinking that Waves CLA MixHub has arrived a bit late to party, therefore not worthy of any attention... but hold on a minute… CLA MixHub isn’t just about how it performs sonically, there’s much more at play here that makes it stand out from the competition.
Without even testing CLA MixHub in a session we know that it will sound the part as Waves have a strong studio gear modelling reputation… especially when it comes to all things SSL. What then makes CLA MixHub stand out from the crowd? By far the global console view and buckets workflows are the unique features here which make CLA MixHub different. Typically when working with console emulation style plug-ins we mix on a channel-by-channel basis, by which I mean we view only one plug-in at a time when moving through a mix. There’s nothing wrong with this approach to mixing but it’s not how we would interact with a console in the flesh. The bucket view enables us to tweak input stages, filters, EQ, dynamics and even fader levels across and entire mix all within the same GUI while our DAW acts as a static “playback machine”, similar to how many users of real consoles mix in the real world.
Waves CLA MixHub is by far the best plug-in Waves has released in years, that’s one of the reasons why we are awarding it an Expert Choice Award! The modular style in the GUI is similar to Waves OMNI Channel Strip & Waves Abbey Road TG Master Desk, both fantastic plug-ins, but the modular framework has really matured in MixHub making it effortless and intuitive in use.
As you can see in the exclusive video review of Waves CLA MixHub, I didn’t close or leave the plug-in once when dialling in settings across multiple channels in my mix. The Pro Tools session had the faders in the mix window set to unity, of course there was some panning set as this cannot be done within the plug-in but you can see just how “console like” the workflow is in CLA MixHub. The workflow is fluid, I never once felt the need to solo, mute or even bypass any aspect within the plug-in, or the plug-in itself for that matter, to hear how my channels sounded before any processing. The point I’m trying to make here is that CLA MixHub inspires and encourages us to work on a mix as a “big picture” which is really quite liberating. In my opinion there is only one other system comparable to MixHub, that being Softube’s Console One, but system is hardware dependant as you need the Console One control surface connected to your computer.
If you are a console emulation power user then I strongly recommend you download the demo of this to at least experience the powerful bucket view workflow as this really is the jewel in the CLA MixHub Crown.
What Are Buckets In CLA MixHub?
Chris has a cool workflow that helps him to make his mixes more productive and focused by way of grouping tracks together, a term known as “buckets” which is present throughout CLA MixHub.
Here is what Chris Lord-Alge says about Buckets:
Mixing in buckets means the world to me. It’s one of the secrets to my success and to my fast-paced, decisive mixing. By creating this plugin, I’m able to give others access to that same quick workflow in a plugin, pushing the envelope of in-the-box mixing to the next, CLA-approved level.
We can arrange our tracks side by side within the CLA MixHub window and work with them together without having to toggle between individual instances of a plug-in. This type of workflow is a great time saver and gives us a closer interaction with analog mixing consoles that we haven’t really seen in a plug-in before, but what are buckets?
Channel strips are typically mounted in a console frame in sections of eight. These “groups” of 8 adjacent channel strips came to be known as “buckets” and organising tracks by buckets was a natural way to control tracks that should be mixed at the same time. This is what Mix Hub provides. One plug-in can control eight buckets of eight tracks (up to 64 DAW tracks). See, compare and mix many tracks all within one plug-in instance which enables you interact with your tracks in the same way you do on a mixing console.
How To Use CLA MixHub
First you need to Insert several instances of CLA MixHub across the tracks in your mix. Within the plug-in assign your tracks to buckets and begin making your mix adjustments using dynamics, EQ and saturation.
CLA MixHub features two plug-in views:
Bucket view: Control up to 8 channels at a time
Channel View: Enables you to focus in on a single channel chain
What Is Available In Channel View?
Each channel consists of five sections:
insert point: Host and use any other Waves plug-in from your collection in CLA MixHub
The input section features high & low-pass filters and a control for switching harmonic distortion. A line control models the line amp in Chris’s SSL console that imparts a small amount of saturation. To achieve a more driven sound switch across to the mic pre which is similar to running a line signal through a mic pre on a console.
We have two flavours of compression on tap:
The built-in console compressor
Along with compressors a gate, expander and ducker with a cool “hold” control and flexible side-chain options are also available so that we can go into great detail shaping a sound’s envelope and presentation.
The four band parametric EQ is where a lot of the magic happens in CLA MixHub - It’s true SSL lovelyness, what else can we say other than it performs exactly as expected!
Output - Stereo Imaging
Along with the VU meter there is a cool stereo imaging control and of course the all important fader.
Within the channel view you will find the insert point. This can be used for adding an additional Waves plug-ins into the MixHub chain which is a great way to expand the system in mixing.
Intro Price & Availability
For a limited time you can buy CLA MixHub for an introductory price of $69 (regular $199). Visit the Waves website to get yourself the demo.