Waves API Collection: 550A – 550B – 560 – 2500 Compressor
The API series from Waves, which is one that I use a lot. Just kind of wanted to break down what this was. A lot of people had a bunch of questions about this. I’ve done videos over the SSL and the V-Series. This is probably the other series of plug-ins from Waves I use fairly often as well.
So basically what you get is three different EQs and one buss compressor. So let’s look at the EQs first. We’ll look at the 550A, which is a 3-band EQ. Let’s break this thing down.
So you get three bands going from top to bottom. You’ve got the high filter, you’ve got a mid filter, you’ve got a low filter, then you’ve got some options down here.
The blue numbers define your frequency band. So 5kHz, you know, plus four dB. You get 12dB plus or minus in either direction on each of these bands. So if you wanted to boost, you know, 12.5kHz, or say you just want to cut 12.5kHz 4dB, you’d go like that.
Same thing with the mid filter. You know, 400 to 6kHz. Plus or minus. Then the low filter at 50Hz to 400Hz. Plus or minus. Take your pick.
Down here you’ve got some filter options. You can switch the type of curve you get between the low filter and the high filter. The default is shelves, but if you hit these buttons, the low filter becomes a bell or the high filter becomes a bell.
So you’ve got options there.
It’s really super versatile. I’ll use these things on just about anything. Pianos, guitars, vocals, they sound great.
The 550B is — does pretty much the same thing, with the exception that it’s got four bands of EQ, so you’ve got more options there. Works the same. I mean, you also get, what is it, like seven frequency bands on each sort of filter to select from.
So here you get like, 2.5kHz to 20kHz. So you go a little higher. You know, 800Hz to 12.5kHz, 75Hz to 1kHz, then on the low filter, 30Hz to 400.
So definitely a lot more options there. Then also, you know, you have a switch here between the bell or shelves. Bell or shelf curves on the high and low filters.
Then of course you have your output section. Then you have the polarity/phase reversal on each one of these. Really easy to work. You know, and your metering at the top, obviously.
So 550A, 550B, you’ll see these in studios everywhere. You’ll also see the 560, which is a graphic EQ. Very simple to work. You know, just — you’ve probably seen EQs like this on old stereos or whatever.
But you know, you just select the frequency band you want and go at it. Boost on the right, cut on the left. You’ve got 12dB of gain in either direction. Figure out what you want to do and just start grabbing frequencies and go to town.
Same type of output section. Phase reversal and the knob.
Then you get the buss compressor. Which is one of my favorite compressors. I’ve — I used to use this on my mix buss, now I just use the SSL, but I’ll use this on subgrouping and just set it up to where that needle is just barely rocking.
I think I’ve got a video where I demonstrate that, but a lot of the same controls you’d see just like on any other type of compressor. You can switch your metering up here, default the gain reduction, then you can see output and how much you’re dumping into it.
You’ve got your threshold, attack, ratio, all of the normal compressor settings.
Then you’ve got sort of like, five options — or I’m sorry, six options for your release settings. Then you can throw it into a variable release, which gives you way more control from 0.05 milliseconds all the way to 3 milliseconds, moving in steps of 0.2 milliseconds.
So if you really just want to lock this thing in with the groove of your song or whatever, you’ve got that option there.
But you do have to throw it into that sort of mode for that to happen.
Then down here, you have some shaping controls and sort of side-chaining options. Some magic that happens in the back end. Obviously, you can select from your three different knees, from a hard, medium, and soft.
Tone controls sort of has to do with where signal is thrown into the front of this thing. Basically, normal through is going to work like a normal compressor. Medium, basically what happens is less of the lows are compressed and more of the highs. Then loud is just going to be the same situation, just even more highs are compressed with less lows.
So you almost get kind of a side-chaining type of vibe going on. Tone type, also has to deal with how the signal dumps into that. That’s just sort of emulating the hardware aspects of this.
So very subtle kind of tone shapings there. With your knee and your thrust sort of being the more dramatic options, then tone type is going to subtly kind of change some things.
Then you have this linking section, which has to do with — you know, you have your L/R link, and this runs in percentages, so if it’s in independent, that means left and right sides are working independent of one another, and as you crank it up to 100%, it becomes 100% linked.
Then here you have — you know, you can high pass sort of the frequencies, or low pass frequencies that are coming into this thing. So you have options there.
Or you can do like a band pass filter. So three options there, each their own shape.
Also, you get a lot of options with this thing. It’s got automatic makeup gain on it. I usually almost always use the manual makeup gain. You just hit the red button and then you can manually back this off or put more out. Typically with a compressor, you’re going to use more gain, but there’s that option.
Then you have Waves kind of analog noise on and off. Sort of hardware sound emulation voodoo.
But yeah, that’s it. I love these things. You’ll see them on a ton of my mixes. I just wanted to do a quick video. I had someone asking me to kind of go over the plug-ins in this series. They’re all great. You can’t go wrong with them.
I think you can buy them a la carte now through Waves. I’m not — don’t quote me to that though, but regardless, check them out for yourself. A lot of guys I know use them. Waves did a killer job with their SSL, these APIs, and the V-series.
So anyways, that’s it. I’m done talking. Like the video, subscribe if you haven’t already. We just hit 2,000, which is really cool. I think I’m going to do a giveaway soon.
If you’d be interested in a giveaway, leave a comment and let me know. I’m not talking something crappy, I’m thinking like, a plug-in. Like, a legit plug-in.
So — and maybe do some sort of a mixing contest where you guys can download some stems from the website. So if there’s enough interest in that, if I can get at least like, twenty or thirty people into it, I think it could be fun.
So anyways, let me know if that’s something you’ll be interested in, and we’ll see you next time. Later, guys.