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Review: Waves CLA Vocals Plug-In

Need help adding a professional touch to your vocals?

Item: Waves CLA Vocals, Vocal Processing Plug-in

Price: $149 (download)

Mic Rating:

At A Glance: Wave’s CLA Vocals is a computer audio plug-in that is designed to give a professional touch to your studio vocal mixes. (Listen to audio examples below.) It was designed in collaboration with mix engineer Chris Lord-Alge who has mixed numerous hit records for artists such as Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Nickelback and Bruce Springsteen. It aims to emulate the processing chain he commonly uses to mix vocals in his studio. The plug-in is compatible with most DAW software and is also available in a bundle with other effects in the CLA range that can be used to mix guitars, bass and drums.

High Notes: It features an easy to use visual interface that allows the user to achieve great results with little technical knowledge. The plug-in also comes with a range of presets to help get you on your way. The effects section is split into six sections that can all be adjusted by the user to achieve the desired sound that includes controls for; bass eq, treble eq, compression, reverb, delay and a stereo/pitch effect. There are three different options for each section that sound slightly different (i.e. plate, hall, or room reverb) and there are also input and output level controls to ensure there is no signal clipping.

Off Pitch: The easy to use nature of the plug-in makes it quite limited for users wanting to process their vocal sound in greater detail. Also, although there is some flexibility, the plug-in tends to work best for styles in which Chris Lord-Alge tends to commonly work with – meaning you probably won’t want to use it to mix a jazz album for example. Some users report that the plug-in has a fairly high CPU usage; older computers may struggle to run multiple instances of it.

Audio Demo:

VoiceCouncil Reviewer Says: For instant results that sound great the Waves CLA Vocal plug-in is hard to beat. It is very simple to use and very hard to achieve bad sounding results. On the other hand, if you want total flexibility over your vocal sound this is probably not the best solution for you and it definitely works better in pop and rock genres than other styles of music. The plug-in works best with a well recorded vocal and it is not designed to improve any errors in pitch or performance that will ideally need to be corrected before-hand. Overall, if you are after the Chris Lord-Alge vocal sound found on the numerous hit records he has worked on and do not have the budget to hire him, the Waves CLA Vocals plug-in can produce excellent results that require very little time and expert knowledge to achieve.

Manufacturers’ Website: http://www.waves.com

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Chris Kennedy is the principal product reviewer for voicecouncil.com. Chris is a musician in the United Kingdom – you can see more about his work at www.chriskennedymusic.co.uk You can also see more articles by Chris here.