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In-depth Feature:  Waves L2 Ultramaximizer
Put simply, the L2 sounds superb.
Albert Potts writes: .


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Introduction
OK, I confess I didn't follow my own gear-buying advice on this one. I didn't do extensive A/B listening tests between the Waves L2 and its primary competitor, the Apogee PSX-100. Instead, I read every review I could find, I lurked on newsgroups, and did exhaustive Dejanews searches, and I devoured the Waves site for info. Then I bought the L2 cold without so much as a test listen. Come on, admit it, you buy gear this way too, I know you do. Every once in a while you can get lucky with this kind of approach, and thank goodness this was one of those times! I certainly do recommend the normal approach of careful A/Bing and comparative shopping above this kind of risk taking, however [yeah, yeah, *now* you tell us - Ed].

What it is, exactly
The Waves L2 Ultramaximizer provides high-quality 24-bit A-D/D-A conversion at sample rates from 44.1 to 96k and bit depths of 16-24, dither and noise shaping called IDR, and digital look-ahead limiting. The front panel has a series of switches on the left which allow selection between analog, S/P-DIF, or AES input sources, sync source (external, internal, or digital), 44.1, 48, 88.2 or 96 sample rates, and the various quantization, dither and noise shaping options.

To the right of the selection switches are the L/R trim knobs, allowing adjustment of input gain for each channel independently from -10 to +10dB. Next comes the Threshold dials, which are detented, as are the Out Ceiling controls and the Attenuation Release controls. Each of those controls has a bright LED next to it that shows the current parameter status. Further to the right is the ARC Auto Release switch. The Left and Right channels can be linked by pressing a switch, and there is also a bypass switch and a peak reset switch. The only thing missing on the front panel is a power switch, which is located on the back panel. I would have preferred the power switch on the front, but that is a minor quibble.

The back panel sports XLR and TRS analog in/out, as well as AES and S/P-DIF digital in/out, a word clock input on BNC connector, and the power switch.

This is a case where the usual progression of gear from hardware to software versions has been reversed. The Waves L2 is directly derived from the L1 software plugin. I have done informal comparisons between the L1 and L2 and feel the L2 does sound better than its software ancestor.

More Resources              Articles - full listing
  • WAVES L2 Pages
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