Big news at the show is the new Waves GTRâ„¢ (Guitar Tool Rack) system. Designed in association with Paul Reed Smith Guitars, the systemâ€™s aim is to give engineers, producers, and session guitarists a new choice that offers entirely professional results.
Although software that emulates guitar amps and effects is available from several companies, most recording professionals still find it a challenge to get truly high quality sound from a guitar plugged directly into a digital audio workstation (DAW) the Waves GTR system aims to challenge that.
Waves GTR is a three-part integrated hardware/software solution
The Waves/PRS Guitar Interface, a hardware guitar impedance and level matching unit.
Waves Amp, a plug-in which offers 7 emulated amps of different drive levels (from super clean to saturated distortion), multiple speaker cabinets (2 of which can be played at once, with pan and phase reverse options), and 6 emulated microphones (with different placement options on 1 or 2 cabinets simultaneously).
Waves Stomp, a plug-in featuring 23 classic and new guitar effects intuitively employed using a virtual PedalBoard and controllable in real time using a MIDI controller, along with Waves Tuner, a plug-in that allows for alternate as well as standard guitar tunings.
To perfect the sound and features of the Waves GTR system, Waves engineers worked with Paul Reed Smith, founder of PRS Guitars, and the PRS team for nearly two years. Smith brought his hand-picked boutique and vintage amps to Waves headquarters in Tel Aviv and personally adjusted the tone during the sampling process.
â€œEveryone wants to play into a computer and get a good guitar tone,â€� says Smith. â€œThere is a deep need in the industry for this. Once I came to work here at Waves, I was astounded at the software they had developed to sample guitar amplifiers. I have never seen or heard anything like it.â€�
Each component in the Waves GTR system contributes to achieving this new level of performance:
The Waves/PRS Guitar Interface: An electric guitar produces a high impedance signal with an extremely wide range of frequencies and dynamics, while recording systems rarely offer guitar-compatible inputs. This mismatch isnâ€™t addressed by most amp modeling software, and the result can be an irretrievable tone loss before the signal can even be processed.
The Waves/PRS Guitar Interface retains full dynamics and fidelity while transforming the signal to a low impedance, balanced signal that connects directly to the analog-to-digital converter. An extremely transparent preamplifier circuit allows levels to be matched to differing pickups, from humbuckers to single coils. Outputs are at microphone or line levels, and balanced or unbalanced on XLR and 1/4" TS jack respectively. A 3-LED indicator shows signal present, nominal level when lit occasionally (showing that the best balance between level and S/N ratio is being delivered) and over.
Waves Amp Software: Waves Amp was developed using entirely new, proprietary methods to sample amplifiers, cabinets and microphone positions. Amp sounds are presented logically, categorized by drive level, providing a faster, more effective way to get the desired tone (Direct, Clean, Edgy, Drive, Crunch, Hot and Modern). Bass, Middle, Treble and Presence knobs provide interactive tone-shaping controls specifically tuned for each amp model. The Drive control is normalized, so Drive can be adjusted for tone without readjusting output gain. Several cabinets are available, and two can be played at once; pan controls allow for blending and/or panning in stereo; phase switches for each cabinet provide more tonal options. Six emulated microphones are offered, and each can be placed on or off axis, even on one cabinet if desired.
Waves Stomp software: 23 guitar effects are offered using a virtual PedalBoard which allows Stomps to be chosen and connected in any desired order with drag and drop ease. Stomps are mono, mono-to-stereo and stereo as appropriate and come in four flavors:
Distortion: Overdrive, Distortion, Fuzz, Buzz and Metal
Modulation: Flanger, Vibrolo, Panner (based on Waves MondoMod effect), Phaser, Octaver, WahWah, Chorus, Doubler and Pitcher (auto harmony generator).
Spatial: Delay, Reverb, Spring Reverb and Lay-D (reverse and pitch-shifted delay)
Basic: Gate/Comp, Compressor, Gate, Tone and EQ.
Most Stomps can be synced to the host BPM. All Stomps have extensive MIDI control options, including continuous real time operation using a MIDI controller (for wah-wah effects, for example).
The GTR system is completed by Waves Tuner, which offers standard and alternate tunings.
Waves GTR is compatible with both Native and TDM systems and includes the Waves/PRS hardware interface, Waves Amp software and Waves Stomp software all in one package.
U.S. MSRP for Waves GTR is $600 Native, $1,200 TDM.
A DVD is available which includes a video that explains the GTR's features, a brief explanation of the Guitar Interface by Paul Reed Smith, and demo GTR software. Customers may visit www.waves.com and fill out the request form to have the DVD mailed to them. Waves is also launching a dedicated GTR website at www.wavesGTR.com.
At the show Sonicstate were treated to a bunch of sounds from a great guitarist covering clean to really driven stuff which appeared to respond well to volume changes on the guitar itself, just like a real valve amp setup. Nashville guitar legend Johnny Hiland dropped by the Waves demo room for a test drive. Johnny is practically blind and is reported to have said â€œso, whereâ€™s the amp?â€� , praise indeed.