In the ever-evolving landscape of audio production, Waves stands as a trailblazing force, offering a vast array of plugins that have become essential tools for engineers, producers, and musicians alike. With a legacy rooted in groundbreaking digital signal processing and a commitment to uncompromising sound quality, Waves has revolutionized the way we shape, manipulate, and enhance audio in the modern studio. We’re reviewing the Waves SuperRack Performer plugin, allowing users to run extensive plugin chains for live performance and live sound mixing.
Turn Your Computer Into a Live Sound System With SuperRack Performer
One of the biggest hurdles in live performance and mixing are limitations posed by the venue’s equipment. While we have detailed control over every aspect of the sound in the studio, it’s very often not the case when performing or mixing live. There are many situations when you might only have a console or digital mixer, and are only able to process the sound as much as the board allows. SuperRack Performer changes that.
What Is Waves SuperRack Performer & What Does It Offer?
Waves SuperRack Performer is a native software host. It operates as an extension of any mixing console, analog or digital. With minimal setup, and connection most easily achieved over USB, users can stream audio from the mixer, to SuperRack, and back to the mixer for output to the audience.
What happens inside SuperRack is pretty magical — engineers can create plugin effects chains on up to 64 channels of audio for the level of sound manipulation and refinement typically only found in the studio. Load up any of your favorite plugins on any channel of audio from the mixer to create a live mix that rivals the recording.
Waves SuperRack Performer Review
SuperRack Performer includes up to 64 stereo plugin racks with stable, reliable performance and little latency. It effectively transforms any mixer in a live venue setting into a powerful and flexible mixing machine. Simply insert plugins on the desired channel, just as you would in a DAW.
SuperRack Performer is an unbelievable gigging companion, giving performers or FOH engineers not only the ability to run plugins live, but also to save and recall mix snapshots for consistency of sound night in, night out.
Interface & Usability
The actual software interface is not unlike the mixer window of your favorite DAW. The layout is immediately familiar, displaying up to 64 channels, called “Racks,” each with their own plugin inserts. Users should have no problem navigating the software if they have any, even minimal, experience operating a DAW.
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As far as connection to a mixer goes, it’s most easily achieved with digital mixers over USB. If the console allows USB streaming in and out of the board, simply run that cable from the board to your laptop. In other cases, you would need an ASIO/Core Audio interface to connect your laptop to the console.
Waves SuperRack Performer is a native software host for Mac and PC. Like most software, overall performance depends on how powerful your computer or laptop is. As plugin racks begin to stack up, you may find they start to tax the CPU on older machines. And while it’s possible to adjust the hardware buffer size to compensate, you’d also be introducing additional latency. It’s advised to run as current, or as powerful, a computer as you can. If you regularly produce music without issues, your machine should work well with SuperRack.
When Is SuperRack Performer Necessary?
Waves’s SuperRack software is necessary for anyone who wants to replicate the power and feel of mixing in-the-box in a live sound setting. You may be a FOH engineer yourself, or just a musician/band. In either case, you can simply connect a laptop running SuperRack to a mixer and replicate your studio sound for live performance.
Closing Thoughts: Is SuperRack Worth the Price Tag?
SuperRack, like all Waves plugins, runs on the affordable side — currently, $99 from Waves. That’s a reasonable investment in the quality of your live productions. Initial set up and signal flow may take some troubleshooting, especially if you’re connecting to an analog board. Apart from that, Waves SuperRack Performer is a live sound workhorse aimed at revolutionizing how we mix for audiences.