Mastering is arguably the most important step in the music production process. It's where your tracks transform from good to great, achieving a polished, radio-ready quality. Waves, a leader in audio plugin technology, offers a range of tools that can elevate your music to a new level. So, let's explore the top 5 best waves mastering plugins and discover how they can enhance your production workflow.
Included in this guide:
Related Article: My Top 5 Best Waves Plugins | I Use These In Every Mix
The Waves Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain is a premium mastering plugin modeled after the iconic EMI TG12410 Transfer Console. As such, it combines the vintage analog warmth of Abbey Road Studios recordings with modern digital precision.
Conveniently, this plugin includes many modules for filtering, EQ, compression, and limiting. It also allows you to turn on and off any section you like. So, despite being a classic mastering solution, it’s highly versatile.
That said, such a fantastic plugin may need some time to get used to. That’s especially true for those unfamiliar with working on analog equipment.
Capturing those vibes of analog tapes without the hassle of upkeeping an actual tape machine seemed far from reach. However, this changed with the release of the spectacular Waves Abbey Road J37 Tape plugin.
Our choice of runner-up plugin emulates the legendary J37 4-track tape machine used at Abbey Road Studios. It injects a rich analog tape saturation into the audio mix for the vintage feel of classic tape recordings.
Such a remarkable plugin offers controls for tape speed, saturation, and tape delay. So, whether you want to enhance an individual track or add glue to an entire mix, this plugin is what you need.
The Waves F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ plugin is an achiever in equalization. It features a superb processor that responds dynamically to audio content. It also has six flexible floating bands, easily deployable anywhere in the frequency spectrum.
Such a plugin gives you outstanding control over the audio signal. On top of that, it provides you with an effective toolkit for shaping the sound’s tonal characteristics.
From side chaining and parallel compression to mid-side processing, the plugin’s capabilities are exceptional.
Plus, its compatibility with touchscreen interfaces ensures a user-friendly experience for all users. With zero latency and low CPU usage, the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ is the real deal.
For peak limiting and level maximization, the Waves L2 Ultramaximizer plugin delivers exceptional precision. Its look-ahead brick wall peak limiting ensures optimal signal integrity, preventing overshoots and distortion.
This popular plugin offers a dynamic range of control, allowing users to switch between manual and automatic release control. As such, it helps users manipulate the release characteristics to their liking.
Furthermore, with Increased Digital Resolution (IDR), the plugin guarantees a high level of detail and transparency in audio reproduction. It also helps achieve pristine audio quality through advanced options, such as bit re-quantization and dither with a 9th-order noise-shaping filter.
The Waves WLM Plus Loudness Meter is a spectacular solution for loudness monitoring. Designed to meet broadcast and streaming standards, it offers flexible monitoring modes. This includes Momentary, Short-Term, and integrated to provide detailed loudness analysis.
With advanced display options and customizable layouts, users can utilize this excellent plugin for many audio production needs. Additionally, its program and short-term loudness history graphs provide dynamic content insights.
Not only that, but this plugin also comes with a helpful logging and warning system. Such a feature helps alert you when you exceed or fall short of a specific loudness range.
So, whether you work in film, audio, broadcast, or media production, the Waves WLM Plus Loudness Meter should be one of your go-to plugins.
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Mastering plugins are specialized software tools used in the final stage of music production to enhance and optimize the overall sound of a recording. They help in achieving a polished, cohesive, and loud enough final track without losing clarity or quality.
Waves plugins are renowned for their high-quality sound, versatility, and user-friendly interfaces. They are used by professional sound engineers worldwide and offer a range of options suitable for various mastering needs.
Yes, Waves often offers trial versions of their plugins, allowing users to test them out before making a purchase.
Waves plugins are widely compatible with most major DAWs, including Pro Tools, Logic Pro, FL Studio, Ableton Live, and others. However, it's always good to check compatibility with your specific DAW version.
This is a subjective question. With that being said, we shoot for between -8 and -11 dB integrated LUFS. This ensures that your music will have a comparable loudness to major label releases.
By now, you should’ve collected a few tips to help you find the best Waves mastering products for your needs. Our best overall suggestion, the Waves Abbey Road TG Mastering Chain, captures the timeless sounds of Abbey Road Studios.
As for the runner-up, we recommend the Waves Abbey Road J37 Tape. It replicated the iconic tape machine, making it an indispensable tool for infusing your digital records with warmth and character.
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