Waves, regarded by many as the leading maker of audio plug-ins, has recently released the Native Masters bundle. Squarely aimed at mastering engineers, this includes the Linear Phase Multiband, the Linear Phase Equalizer, and the L2 Ultramaximiser plug-ins. The Linear Phase Multiband evolved from Waves’ C4 MultiBand Parametric Processor. This now has five – rather than four – discrete bands.
The user-interface features Waves’ unique DynamicLine display, which shows actual gain changes superimposed onto the frequency response graph. Once you get used to it, the user-interface works extremely well, delivering oodles of relevant information from a compact screen design.
The Linear Phase Equalizer provides extremely precise equalization with absolutely no phase shifting. With normal EQ designs, different frequencies get different delays or phase shifts. These can blur transients – producing a duller sound. With the Linear Phase EQ all frequencies are delayed by the exact same amount – thus avoiding this problem and producing a more accurate sound. All the usual controls for gain, frequency and Q are provided and there are nine filter types, each offering two types of Shelf and Cut filters. You actually get two version of this plug-in – broadband and lowband. The normal full-frequency range broadband version has six EQ bands – one special low-frequency band and five general-purpose bands. If you need more detailed low-frequency control, use the three-band low frequency version instead.
The L2 Ultramaximizer provides peak limiting and level maximizing for your final audio mixes – which you can dither on output using Waves’ proprietary IDR (Increased Digital Resolution) technology.
Mac OS X versions are not available yet, but these plug-ins will work with the latest Pro Tools HD and LE systems – or even with PT Free. Both VST and MAS versions are also included, so they will also work with Digital Performer 3.x and all the major VST-compatible hosts, including Cubase VST 5, Nuendo 1.5, Logic Audio 4.7, TC|Works Spark 2.0, Bias Peak 2.62, V-Box 1.01 and Deck 3, and Prosoniq SonicWorx 2.
The Linear Phase Multiband pushes the edge of what is possible with multi-band processing – providing exciting new sonic dimensions for the more-adventurous engineer. The Linear Phase EQ is much more memory- and calculation-intensive than any normal digital EQ – but it’s truer to the source, as it doesn’t alter phase relations. The L2 lets you max-out the digital audio-signal by taming the peaks, thus preventing distortion. If cutting-edge audio technology is what you want, buy this.