In this four part free video tutorial series, brought to you with the support of Waves, we show you a selection of plug-ins you can use to sweeten the sound of your sub mixes and masters. Sweetening is often thought of as a way of applying subtle amounts of top end to brighten or even vitalise the sound of a mix. It’s the spit and polish many of us reach for in a mix when the finish line is in sight. The process of sweetening a track doesn’t just need to be about top end ear candy, it can also include boosting small levels of low end in a mix to help add weight and roundness to tracks, which otherwise would sound thin and gutless.
These four plug-ins we are featuring in this article are not only very capable plug-ins in their own right but are all super simple to use. We are using the same track in each of the tutorials to enable you to compare the differences in workflow and results of each plug-in.
Waves GEQ includes two models, Classic that we use in this video demonstration and Modern. These differ ever so slightly in sound as the shape of the curves are slightly more aggressive in Modern than what we find in Classic. Both QEQ plug-ins have 30 ISO bands to play with as well as high and low pass filters and a a real-time analyzer to help you reference your EQ moves.
There’s three ways to dial in settings in GEQ:
Adjust one fader at a time for surgical EQ adjustments.
Click and drag across a selection of faders to link them together.
Enable the Drag button and drag your mouse cursor across the fader array to draw in settings.
Manny Marroquin EQ
On the face of it, The Manny Marroquin EQ doesn’t appear to be anything special but under the hood there’s a unique blend of outboard EQ characteristics from popular SSL, Neve and API units that Manny typically reaches for from his collection of EQ gear when working on a mix. This is particularly good tool to reach for when creative EQ is required, which we feel makes it one of many perfect tool to try for sweetening a mix.
Waves Abbey Road TG Master Chain
This is a very flexible plug-in considering that it has a lot to offer in terms of tone and dynamics processing. You can rearrange the order of the modules and expand each of the sections for more focused control. In this video we look closely at the EQ section named Tone, which provides 4 bands featuring a number of fixed frequencies, gain pots and a shape dial for adjusting Q values. Under shape we find BL ,which stands for blunt and SH for sharp. For BL, think wide gentle Q shapes and SH for extreme notches.
What can be visually perceived as extreme settings in Abbey Road TG often turns out to be quite subtle sounding which is a neat feature that could help you avoid overcooking your EQ changes.
Waves CLA MixDown
CLA MixDown is one of many analog inspired plug-ins that Waves has produced in collaboration with Chris Lord-Alge. MixDown provides a no-nonsense approach to sub group sculpting providing a very tasty sounding drive fader and compressor section. In this video, we focus on just the tone shaping capabilities by applying small amounts of the treble and bass faders. You may be surprised to learn that CLA MixDown actually does something very subtly to the tone of a mix running through this without any of the faders moving from their unity positions, watch the video to hear this in action for yourself.
There you have it, four different ways you can try for yourself the next time you need to sweeten the sound of a sub mix or master. Out of these videos, which of the plug-ins did you prefer the sound of the most?
Visit Waves more information on the plug-ins used in this video.