Waves is a leading developer of professional audio plugins for music production, mixing & mastering, live sound, and sound designing. Waves Audio plugins are quite popular among famous music producers and mixing engineers. Waves’ first audio plugin, the Waves Q10 Paragraphic EQ became highly popular back then and remains widely used by many recording studios.
In this article, we have discussed the top 5 Waves Audio plugins that are being used by many famous recording studios and many popular records over time.


The SSL E-Channel strip is a Waves plugin from the Solid State Logic 4000-series Collection. It is highly recommended and widely popular as a mixing desk for beginners as well as experienced music producers. This plugin is fast and effective, yet sounds very good.
The plugin features a High Pass Filter, Low Pass Filter, and a four-band parametric equalizer. The left side contains a 6-band equalizer section on the left and dynamics like compressor and expander on right.


CLA-2A is widely used for smooth and precise gain reduction (compressor) effect. There are 2 main controls – gain and peak reduction on lead vocals. The CLA-2A compressor plugin is very simple and easy to use. You just need to plug your track, adjust the peak reduction, and accordingly set the volume.
CLA-2A has two component processors: CLA-2A Stereo Two-channel compressor, with one detector on both the channel paths CLA-2A Mono One-channel compressor Quick Guide to CLA-2A Using the Compress/Limiter toggle, select Compressor control (3:1 ratio) or Limiter ( 100:1 ratio). Peak Reduction control – to set the amount of the desired compression.
Gain control – to adjust makeup level after the compression. VU Meter – to monitor Input, Output, and Gain Reduction levels.


Like CLA-2A, CLA-76 is also simple to operate. The main difference between the two waves plugins is that the CLA-76 plugin has the additional attack, release, ratio, and “revision” settings for its users. The CLA-76 compressor plugin provides a superfast attack which is widely used by renowned artists and many music producers historically.
The CLA-76 is modeled after one of the best renowned solid-state compressor/limiters in music history, which used Field Effect Transistors (FETs) as gain control devices.
The exclusive “ALL” control of the CLA-76 recreates the original’s “All-Radio-Buttons-In” mode to deliver some of the most popular drum sounds.


Before getting on with this Waves audio plugin, it is important to understand the terms ‘limiter’ and ‘maximizer’. A limiter restricts the levels at peak in audio material whilst leaving lower-level material unhinged, whereas a maximizer raises the avg. level of the material (high & low level) and restricts the peak levels.
The controls are simple. You have an input attenuator, an output ceiling slider, a threshold control and a release time fader. These controls are enough to make it sound loud.
L1 Ultramaximizer/Limiter is an all-in-one powerful industry-standard plugin for mastering and mixing.
The key features of the latest (25th anniversary) version of this plug-in include:
True Peak domain setting: Eliminates inter-sample clipping Automatic Release Control: Auto-adjusts release time


The Vocal Rider plugin automatically adjusts the vocals which reduces the need to draw each level change in your DAW or manually ride faders. The “target” slider in Vocal Rider is used to determine the average level of the vocals that need to be kept in the track. Based on speed, the plugin will automatically increase/decrease the volume and range of the applied volume.
The plug in has a side chain input, and to route all the instrumental sources in the mix to a bus is the best way to mix level and then select that as the side chain. Once the vocal is leveled, apply compression, using the plugin of your choice, as you no longer have to deal with large variations.


The Waves audio plugins are loved and used by mixing engineers across the world every day. The audio plugins that we discussed are some of the most popular ones so the music enthusiasts and budding music producers must try these during their course of learning music production.

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