Canadian Musician - March / April 2018 - Page 23

ROAD TEST Waves Scheps Omni Channel Plug-In By Adam Gallant J ust in time for The 2018 NAMM Show, Waves released its most versatile chan- nel strip to date. Developed alongside renowned mix engineer, producer, and educator Andrew Scheps (Adele, Metallica, Jay Z) the Scheps Omni Channel is highly intuitive, colourful in all the right ways, and perhaps the most useful plug-in I have ever put to work. The Scheps Omni Channel encapsulates the best of both analog modeling and digital flex- ibility. The plug-in contains five modules of treat- ment, an insert point where any Waves plug-in can be placed, as well as comprehensive moni- toring and a built-in limiter. Each module (and the Waves plug-in insert point) can be shuffled to any position on the strip. Most impressive is that each module can be treated in mono, stereo, dual mono, or mid/side mode, completely independent of the other modules – a totally innovative and brain-melt- ingly flexible approach. This plug-in is incredibly powerful, colourful (when desired), and operates at zero latency. I’ll break this review down into the plug-in’s modules, then give a more broad overview of why I think this is Waves’ best work to date. Pre The Pre module refers to a preamp, and this section contains a saturation knob with selectable colours for harmonic saturation: Odd, Even, and Heavy. On stereo material, use the Heavy option to crunch up your centre channel and leave your side channels warm with a touch of Odd harmonic saturation – all independently controlled and beautifully cali- brated to give consistent gain when swapping between saturation types. The Pre section also contains a high pass filter, low pass filter, and an additional resonance option called Thump, which is perfect for adding weight to drum transients. EQ The equalization section is versatile, distinct, and intuitive, boasting four bands of equaliza- tion per channel with fully parametric curves, as well as very musical sounding high and low W W W. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N . CO M shelves with or without resonance curves. Get- ting a kick drum’s low end to ring in the most satisfying way is at your fingertips in this module. DS Squared The DS Squared is a de-esser on crack. I would say it is more of a multiband compressor on crack with a layout that forced me to use my ears and make better decisions. Two de-essers per channel with independent EQ curves, thresholds, and fre- quencies along with the ability to work in mid/ side makes this a perfect plug-in for taming cymbals on a drum buss, or high end harsh- ness on a vocal buss. Comp The compression module is where I spent the majority of my time when testing out this plug-in. There are three colours available – VCA, FET, and OPT – with perfectly consistent volumes when you swap between. The side chain is highly sculptable and can be moni- tored directly. The compressor also has a mix knob for parallel compression, which is a staple in Andrew Scheps’ mixes. Gate The Gate is musical and has flexible side chain controls that can be monitored. It will operate as a gate, expander, and as a simple solution for controlling the noise floor. The layout is clean and easy to navigate. I found myself getting settings for kicks and snares much faster than with my old, go-to plug-in for this task. The final stage of treatment on the Omni Channel is a lovely sounding limiter with a simple threshold knob. This is the icing on the cake when you need a quick solution for spikey material. Overview The Scheps Omni Channel is a complete tool- kit designed with one of the most respected names in the music mixing world, Andrew Scheps. The plug-in is very well laid out, be- yond versatile, and somehow not overwhelm- ing in the least. I can get results from this single plug-in comparable to what could otherwise take six or more. Oh, and remember – zero latency. A huge benefit to working within the Omni Channel is that it’s very comfortable to test a va- riety of different settings and options without mucking up the overall gain structure of the downstream signal path. This is a huge hurdle when it comes to juggling several different plug- ins on a strip. For readers taking this plug-in for a demo spin, I suggest starting with presets as there are many solid ones to choose from. Presets are sculpted from some of the best in the business, including Jaquire King, Billy Bush, and Tony Vis- conti, to name a few. There is also a “Focus” mode, which highlights go-to controls best suited for the preset. Also, worth noting is the Expand mode, which expands the window size of the selected module, making it much easier for touch screens or mixers with low-resolution monitors. A huge thank you to the folks at Waves and Andrew Scheps for their dedicated work on this tool. It will certainly be saving me hours of time and piles of CPU power. Adam Gallant has worked in all facets of digital audio production, from music composition to location and post audio for television and film. He currently owns and operates The Hill Sound Studio in Charlottetown, PE. C A N A D I A N M U S I C I A N • 23