Waves Tony Maserati Plug-Ins Collection Review

Jun 1, 2009 12:00 PM, By Barry Rudolph



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DRM Drum Slammer

The DRM is excellent for converting dull, lifeless R.I.P. drum sounds into punchy and bright drums. DRM's processing modes are Kick, Snare Top, Snare Bottom, Hat, Toms, Overheads and Room Tracks. Although I don't know exactly what's going on behind the GUI, DRM duplicates the sound of equalizer and compressor chains I often used for these tracks. I liked the Snap control because it works subtly on the transient portion of drum hits — harder sounding without being just brighter. The hi-hat mode brought up some lightly played eighth notes without lifting spill from the rest of the kit. I replaced all the plug-ins I had on all my drum kit tracks with DRM, and all sounds matched well to what I had gotten previously using a lot of time and plug-ins.

GTi Guitar Toner

The GTi has five modes or guitar types: Clean, Clean Chorus, Heavy, Thick Rhythm and Soft Flange. As with all of these plugs, the most important initial control is Sensitivity to set gain staging — the right amount of “hair” from clean to not. Sensitivity, when cranked, brings up low-level ambience — room tone I had not heard before. GTi has a great-sounding chorus and vibrato with plenty of adjustability, while the Tame control acts like a limiter to contain peaks resulting from extreme EQ boosts. In general, all guitar tracks will emerge fatter and broader sounding through GTi — even direct guitar recordings. I used the Thick Rhythm contour to “beef up” a direct-recorded R&B rhythm guitar, making it sound amp-like. I ran the Sensitivity nearly wide open, and I liked the Univibe-esque vibrato sound but ended up switching to the chorus. I got a clean guitar sound much like a Roland Jazz Chorus amp.

ACG Acoustic Guitar Designer

ACG has two acoustic types of treatments. I was hesitant to tweak ACG1 type as it was so dialed in. I found acoustic guitars to be trimmed in the low frequencies in a very particular way that somehow retains a big bottom without boominess. There is also a kind of harmonic exciter, compression and short ambience happening — all tweakable, of course. The ACG2 type adds more compression and a wider ambience width — a lovely treatment for any acoustic guitar fighting for solo space in a busy track.

HMX Harmonics Generator

The HMX is a brilliant chain of processors that stereophonically spreads mono-sounding pads, synths and electric pianos. In addition to adding delays, it makes the pitch center ambiguous by way of a beautiful and watery-sounding chorus/flange effect. This was the one plug-in I also used as a send/return effect for several tracks that comprised a stereo pad. Used judiciously, HMX fattened and widened keyboards, backing vocals or strings.

Brilliant Chains of Command

What might at first seem like a dumbed-down, inflexible interface is actually an ingenious design that let me react musically and emotionally and less analytically. My left-brain was craving to know technically exactly what's going on inside of the Maserati Collection plug-ins, but my right-brain is telling me it all sounds great.

Barry Rudolph is an L.A.-based recording engineer/mixer. Visit www.barryrudolph.com.

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