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Kevin Walsh

If you see me trying to buy another Waves product, slap me

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Their license system is probably the worst. I got all mine on a USB stick now, seems to be the best way. 

But when before I retired  managed around 50 licenses of software with a $7500 price tag protected by a USB dongle. in around 10 years we lost 2, and we were mobalising and demobalising operations all over the world and shipping them frequently,  so I don't buy the USB sticks are easily lost if you take a little care.

Their support quickly helped me recover my licenses when I had disabled a port without using the once a year "get out of jail free card".

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I stopped buying Waves stuff when they changed their licence policy - I had a nightmare trying to get stuff I'd purchased to work. 

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I think I hear about more problems with Waves than with anyone else. Every time I get tempted by one of their deals, I remember threads like this.

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Nothing to fear with Waves if you remember to deactivate the licenses from your computer before replacing or upgrading it.

And don't go messing with your network interfaces either, it seems to have an affinity for linking them to the local activation.

But all of that can be simply bypassed by moving your licenses to a USB stick. That works just like an iLok or Steinberg dongle, except that you can use any cheap stick instead of having to buy a proprietary one.

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definitely do not use a cheap usb stick. 🙂 spring for a well-known named product. for some reason the waves license files are doing something to the stick to prevent copying and re-use - and  i've had 6 or more "cheap" ($10) usb sticks break over the course of a year. got a nice $30 kingston and not a problem in over 8 months...

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1 hour ago, Glenn Stanton said:

definitely do not use a cheap usb stick

You are taking that phrase too literally. By comparison the iLok is ~$44.95 and the Steinberg is ~$27.99.

I'm sure that you can source a relatively "cheaper" name brand USB memory stick. My go-to "cheap" brand has generally been SanDisk or Lexar.

Edit: While both have been around for years, SanDisk is now owned by Western Digital since 2016, and Lexar is now owned by  Chinese tech company Longsys since 2017. You can get a SanDisk 16GB Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive at Amazon for $6.49.

Edited by abacab
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On 11/10/2020 at 6:29 PM, bitflipper said:

I have never criticized the quality of Waves plugins. They are among the best there are. RBass remains a personal favorite. It's just their unhealthy obsession with copy protection that makes the brand undesirable.

Their LA2A is indeed quite good, but there are many LA2A clone alternatives that are equally good, including Cakewalk's own CA2A. Once upon a time, Waves offered products that were truly unique and available nowhere else. Fortunately for consumers, that is no longer the case. Name any Waves product and I can suggest a comparable alternative from a vendor that won't treat you like a criminal. 

 

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MAutoVolume from Meldaproduction is one I've used. Works well for lead instruments, too. Hornet has Autogain Pro, which is similar but IMO not as easy to use as the Melda one. But it's cheaper. There's also a blatant clone called VocRider. I haven't tried it, so you'll have to google it, but IIRC it's a freebie.

What these have in common, including Vocal Rider, is that they'll adjust a track's volume up and down to keep the ratio constant against a reference. Sometimes it works well and sometimes this is definitely NOT what you want to accomplish. It's certainly not the only way to do it.

Assuming your vocal track has been properly leveled already, it's usually going to work better if you leave the vocal levels alone and instead lower whatever is competing with it. This can be done with any compressor that has a filtered side chain input (meaning most of the better compressors out there). I sometimes use FabFilter Pro-C2 this way. Even better is to carve out a space in the spectrum for the vocal. Wavesfactory Trackspacer works like this. I use MSpectralDynamics from Meldaproduction this way if it's a super-busy mix, but usually that level of precision isn't necessary so I'll use a dynamic equalizer with a sidechain input. FabFilter Pro-MB can do this, as well as MDynamicEQ from Melda.

Another technique uses volume automation instead of a volume-adjusting plugin. Something like Bluecat Audio's DP Meter Pro, for example, can create automation envelopes from any track that can then be used to automate another track or feed a compressor sidechain.

There are a bunch more, I just can't remember them all. I recall one that predated Vocal Rider and was so similar when VR came out I remember thinking "Hey, Waves ripped those guys off!". Can't think of what it was called now. Maybe somebody else can remember what it was. Sadly, it was one of the things I lost when my computer got stolen.

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