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Waves Abbey Road Reverb Plates v9.91

Review:

  
Waves Abbey Road Reverb Plates - featured

State-of-the-art modeling of the four legendary EMT 140 reverb plates housed at Abbey Road Studios and used on recordings by the Beatles and Pink Floyd.


Highlights

  • Precise modeling of four legendary Abbey Road reverb plates (EMT 140), each with its unique character
  • A drive control to set the THD characteristics of the in/out amplifiers and the plate sheet itself
  • Ability to control the amount of analog noise and hum
  • Four original bass cut positions
  • Crosstalk between the stereo inputs to get a stereo leak effect

Introduced in the 1950s, plate reverbs have been a fixture of recorded music ever since. Used most prominently in the ‘60s and ‘70s by pioneering bands, including the Beatles and Pink Floyd, Abbey Road Studios’ original reverb plates – four EMT 140 units – were first installed in 1957 to complement the fixed reverberation times of the studios’ echo chambers. These beautiful-sounding plates, with a variable reverb time of up to six seconds, were then tweaked to perfection by Abbey Road's technical engineers. To keep noise to a minimum, EMI’s Central Research Laboratories designed unique hybrid solid-state drive amps for Plates A, B and C. Plate D was fully valve-powered on both drive and output stages, allowing a versatile array of sonic characteristics, from warm and dark to lush and smooth.

In each of these original plates, the stereo reverb effect is created by suspending a large sheet of metal with tensioned springs attached to each corner. A transducer injects the metal sheet with audio energy, which is picked up by two contact mics fixed to the surface of the plate. The reverb time can then be adjusted by using an internal damper, and all of this is contained within a large wooden unit.

These historic Abbey Road plates have been used on countless seminal pop, rock, classical and film recordings over the years, and continue to be used in all kinds of audio production to this day. Waves has now created meticulous models of these stunning and unique-sounding units, individually modeling the harmonic distortion of both the drive and output amps as well as the individual plate/damper behaviors.

The Original EMT 140 Reverb Plates at Abbey Road

For the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Radiohead and many others, the reverb plates at Abbey Road Studios – now modeled by Waves – have been invaluable. Read about their history and the technology behind them.

One of the unique tools available to artists recording at Abbey Road Studios in the mid-twentieth century was access to the studios’ three echo chambers for the creation of unique reverb effects. The sound created by the chambers was very natural, but not easily adjustable, allowing only a single fixed reverb and decay time per chamber. With just three chambers existing to facilitate reverb for all of Abbey Road’s recording, remix and transfer rooms, availability would often also be an issue. To combat this, in 1957, Abbey Road Studios purchased four brand new state-of-the-art plate reverb units to complement the existing chambers.

Designed in Germany by EMT, these were the first professional electro-mechanical artificial reverb units made available to studios worldwide. At 8 feet long, 4 feet tall and 1 foot wide, these plates were considerably more compact than the chamber rooms. Each plate contained a large sheet (or “plate”) of steel suspended vertically by a set of springs to allow it to resonate, and was fixed to a stable steel frame. A small transducer speaker was fixed to the plate’s center point, and when a signal was played through the speaker, the plate would begin to vibrate, sustaining the tone for several seconds. Two pickups were attached to each plate, on both sides of the speaker, a quarter of the distance from the plate’s edge. The pickups sensed the vibration, converted it to a line level, and sent it to the output plate amplifier.

Unlike the reverb chambers, these plates had a damper system that allowed adjustment of the reverb decay time. The damper system consisted of a fiberglass panel suspended parallel to the plate, which could move towards or away from the plate sheet. The damper could control variable distances, ranging from 1/8” away from the plate for a one-second reverberation time, to 2” away from the plate for a five-second decay. This system let the user tune the decay time with whatever precision was required to meet the needs of the particular recording or mixing session. Since the plates were not located inside the control room, engineers could set the damper position using a remote control system.To this day, Abbey Road Studios house the four reverb plates – labeled A, B, C and D. Plate D has all-valve amplifiers on both the input and output stages, consisting of E81L, E80CC and EF804ES valves. Plates A, B and C also have an all-valve amplifier on the input, but on the output stage EMI Central Research Laboratories custom-built hybrid solid-state/valve amplifiers, in an attempt to keep the noise floor to a minimum. The sound of the plates is generally considered smoother than that of an echo chamber, if not entirely natural. Most Abbey Road engineers initially preferred the more organic-sounding chambers, but this became less of an issue when bands started to experiment with psychedelic sounds and ‘natural’ sounding recording techniques were becoming less in vogue for pop music.

Due to the nature of analog valve equipment and manufacturing techniques (plus the EMI custom-built amps), no two plates sound the same: each has its own distinctive sonic characteristics. Ever since the Sgt. Pepper era in the 1960s, these four plates have seen significant use on nearly every pop recording done at Abbey Road Studios – from the Beatles and Pink Floyd to Radiohead, Adele, James Blake, Florence + the Machine and Frank Ocean. The plates even started being favored by some of the classical engineers, and before long were being used on a wealth of films scores – so much so that the plates would often have to be booked well in advance of sessions to guarantee their availability.

 


Updates

v9.91


  • All plugins now have control mapping for Avid S3 and S6 control surfaces.

  • H-EQ: New H-EQ Lite components that require less CPU and are well suited for live sound or when processing resources are limited. They do not include the Spectrum Analyzer and Analog sections.

  • H-EQ: New Solo function - Any parametric band can now be soloed by touching its Frequency, Q, or Gain controls. This provides a momentary check of the band’s processing. For a latching solo of a band, click on its solo button.

  • H-EQ: New Smooth feature which eliminates noises that can occur while controls are moved in certain older H-EQ versions. When a session with instances of older H-EQ versions loads, ‘Smooth’ will automatically set to Off. New instances of H-EQ in new or old sessions will load with Smooth On.

  • Nx Virtual Mix Room: Support for up to 6 Nx Head Trackers at the same time.

  • Nx Virtual Mix Room: Nx Head Trackers can be renamed from the WavesHeadTracker application. The name is permanent and saved on the Nx Head Tracker device itself.

  • Nx Virtual Mix Room: The Head Tracker's status color is now also shown in the plugin's tracking device drop down menu.

  • Waves Central 1.3.1.4: Support for installing version 9.91.

Mac

  • CPU -Intel Core i5 / i7 / Xeon
  • Memory
    • 8 GB RAM
    • 8 GB free disk space on the system drive
  • Operating System - 10.10.5 - 10.12.4
  • Screen Resolution
    • Minimum: 1024x768
    • Recommended: 1280x1024 / 1600x1024
    • USB displays are not supported as the primary display.

Windows

  • CPU - Intel Core i3 / i5 / i7 / Xeon / AMD Quad-Core
  • Memory
    • 4 GB RAM
    • 8 GB free disk space on the system drive
  • Operating System - 64 bit
    • Windows 7 with SP1
    • Windows  8.1
    • Windows 10
  • Screen Resolution
    • Minimum: 1024x768
    • Recommended: 1280x1024 / 1600x1024

Exceptions & Notes:

  • Screen Resolution: SSL E-Channel, SSL G-Channel, Element, Codex, and Dorrough require minimum screen resolution 1280x1024 / 1600x1024.
  • SoundGrid Studio Application: For SoundGrid Studio Application system requirements, visit the product page Support tab.
  • SoundGrid I/Os: If you wish to use the eMotion ST mixer, see the system requirements on the SoundGrid Studio Application page under the Support tab. If you are not using eMotion ST, see the specs above.
  • Waves Central: to run on Windows 7 with SP1 64bit, KB 2999226 must be installed.

Mac Compatible Hosts

 

  • Pro Tools 11.3.2 - 12.7.1 (AAX Native 64-bit, Audiosuite)
  • Logic Pro X 10.2 - 10.3.1 (Audio Units)
  • Digital Performer 9.0 - 9.1.2 (Audio Units)
  • Ableton Live 9.2.2 - 9.7.2 (VST 64-bit)
  • Nuendo 7.0.20 - 7.1 (VST3)
  • Cubase 8.0.30 - 9.0.1 (VST3)
  • WaveLab 9.0.10 - 9.0.15 (VST3)
  • Main Stage 3.2 - 3.2.3 (Audio Units)
  • Garage Band 10.1.0 - 10.1.6 (Audio Units)
  • Audition CC2015, CC2017 (VST3)
  • Adobe Premiere CC2015, CC2017 (VST3)
  • Final Cut Pro X 10.2.2 - 10.3.2 (Audio Units)
  • Studio One 3.1 - 3.3.4 (VST3)
  • Media Composer 8.6.3 - 8.6.4 (AAX Native)
  • REAPER 5.18 - 5.22 (VST3)

Windows Compatible Hosts

  • Pro Tools 11.3.2 - 12.7.1 (AAX Native 64-bit, Audiosuite)
  • Ableton Live 9.7.0 - 9.7.2 (VST)
  • Nuendo 7.1 (VST3)
  • Cubase 9.0.0 - 9.0.1 (VST3)
  • WaveLab 9.0.10 - 9.0.15 (VST3)
  • Sonar Platinum (VST3)
  • Sound Forge 10.0e, 11 (VST)
  • Audition CC2017 (VST3)
  • Adobe Premiere CC2017 (VST3)
  • Samplitude Pro X3 (VST)
  • Sequoia 13 (VST)
  • Pyramix 10.1 (VST)
  • Studio One 3.3.4 (VST3)
  • Media Composer 8.6.4 (AAX Native)
  • FL Studio 12.4.1 - 12.4.2 (VST3)
  • REAPER 5.40 (VST3)

Exceptions & Notes:

  • 32/64 bit: Version 9 supports all audio hosts above in 32-bit, and 64-bit where available.
  • Surround plugins are supported on the following hosts: Pro Tools HD, Logic Pro, Digital Performer, Nuendo, Cubase, Audition, Premiere, REAPER, and Pyramix.
  • DTS Neural Surround plugins are supported on the following hosts: Pro Tools HD, Logic Pro (7.1 not supported), Nuendo, Cubase (7.1 not supported), Audition, Premiere, and REAPER. 7.1 SDDS/Film is not supported in all DAWs.
  • eMo Generator: when using eMo Generator in Logic or Digital Performer, make sure to enable the input monitor on the channel where the plugin is inserted.
  • Reel ADT on windows does not support sync-to-temp on WaveLab and Sound Forge.
  • Codex & Element are supported on the following hosts: Pro Tools HD (AAX Native 64-bit), Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Digital Performer (V9.1.2 and above), Nuendo, Cubase, Main Stage, Studio One, Sonar, Samplitude (VSTi), Sequoia (13 as VSTi), FL Studio, and REAPER.
  • Electric 200 Piano, Electric 88 Piano and Electric Grand 80 Piano are supported on the following hosts: Pro Tools HD (AAX Native 64-bit), Logic Pro, Ableton Live, Digital Performer (V9.1.2 and above), Nuendo, Cubase, Main Stage, Studio One, Sonar, Samplitude (VSTi), Sequoia (13 as VSTi), FL Studio, REAPER, and Garage Band (on i7).
  • X-FDBK is not supported on Final Cut, Sony Sound Forge, Media Composer, Adobe Premiere and Pro Tools Audiosuite on Mac.
  • In addition, it is not supported on Sony Sound Forge, Media Composer, Adobe Premiere and Pro Tools Audiosuite on Windows.
  • DeBreath is not supported on Main Stage.
  • NLS is not supported on Final Cut Pro X.
  • UM225 & UM226 are supported on the following hosts: Pro Tools HD, Nuendo, Cubase, Audition, Premiere, REAPER, and Pyramix. UM226 is also supported on Logic Pro and Digital Performer.
  • Sidechain is supported on Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Nuendo, Cubase, Sonar, Audition, Ableton Live, FL Studio 12, REAPER and Studio One only.
  • Waves Tune & Tune LT: are supported on the following hosts: Pro Tools (AAX Native 64-bit & Audiosuite only), Logic Pro, Nuendo, Cubase, Digital Performer, Studio One, REAPER, and Ableton Live (Arrangement view only. Session view not supported.).
  • SoundShifter: on Pro Tools, SoundShifter Graphic & Parametric support AudioSuite only.
  • On all other hosts, only SoundShifter Pitch is supported.
  • MIDI Support: the following hosts don't offer MIDI support: WaveLab, Main Stage, Pyramix, Garage Band, Premiere, and Audition.
  • Q-Clone: is not supported on the following hosts: Main Stage, Garage Band, Media Composer, FL Studio.
  • Q-Capture component not supported on Main Stage.
  • InPhase & InPhase LT: sidechain not supported on Logic.
  • Nx Virtual Mix Room: Surround is supported on Pro Tools 11 and up (HD required), Logic Pro, Cubase, Nuendo, Digital Performer and REAPER. Surround is not supported on Ableton Live, GarageBand, Main Stage, Studio One, Samplitude, Sequoia and Sonar.
  • Mono to Stereo components are not supported in Sonar Platinum and Wavelab.

 

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