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Does The Waves Hybrid Line Of Plug-Ins Enhance The Creative Process?

It looks retro cool, and has a great feel. But how do the H-Comp and H-Delay actually perform?

By Barry Rudolph June 6, 2011

There is something warm and fuzzy about the Waves Hybrid line of plug-ins.

They have the look, feel and sound of outboard gear I grew up with ‘way too back in the day’ but they operate in a modern way with the power and precision that only a plug-in processor can provide.

The Waves Hybrid Line is a win-win winner—get all the great sounds of those old processors when they are working correctly on a perfect day without all the downside issues that invariably came up—some that even spoiled an otherwise great mix.

Forget about the elaborate setup times required, reliability problems, inherent technical limitations and noisy operation—those are gone.

Those old bugaboos are replaced by precise control, reliable and repeatable performance, real dynamic range, and new modes I only dreamt of back then.

Enter Hybrid
The Waves Hybrid line starts with two plug-ins: H-Comp, a dynamics processor that combines the modeled behavior of transformers, tubes, and transistors; and H-Delay, a time delay processor that provides tape recorder-based effects like flanging, phasing, slap-back echo, ping-pong delay, plus chorus and double-tracking effects from newer analog, “bucket brigade” or charge-coupled device-based units.

Hybrid is available in Native (RTAS, AU, VST) and in TDM for both MAC and PC platforms. The processors are carefully modeled in both stereo and mono versions (H-Delay also has a mono-to-stereo mode) and operate up to 192 kHz session sample rates in Native and up to 96 kHz in TDM. iLok dongle authorization is required.

As with all WAVES plug-ins, the included WaveSystem toolbar manages all user and factory presets with 32 levels of undo/redo, preset A/Bing, and recall/save/load functions.

(As a preface for Barry’s discussion of the H-Comp, have a look at his article about compressors and compression at

Hybrid H-Comp—Old Dog But New Tricks
Like H-Delay, H-Comp’s GUI is rugged and old-fashion-looking with big black bakelite knobs, a large VU meter and LED time delay digital display, and rectangular lighted punch buttons.

WAVES Hybrid H-Comp (click to enlarge)

The gain reduction meter’s needle rests “fully pinned” on the right side when in GR mode so you’ll have the entire range of the meter to measure compression.

I liked the large ratio knob too—it makes it easy to tweak but, of course, any of the knobs instantly set just by double-clicking and typing in a value.

H-Comp has a Mix control that mixes in some of the input signal (or Dry) with the compressed output. AKA parallel compression is possible with any DAW but requires extra routing and duplicating—it was a lot of trouble to patch and make it work well with an old tube compressor and a ‘70’s-era console too.

With H-Comp, it is built in and ready to go and I liked that there is no phase/polarity issue to think about, but I took exception to the way the gain reduction meter works.

As you mix more and more Dry signal into the output, the GR meter indicates less and less gain reduction.

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About Barry

Barry Rudolph
Barry Rudolph

Veteran Recording Engineer
Barry is a veteran L.A.-based recording engineer as well as a noted writer on recording topics. Be sure to visit his website, and also check out his related article, “A Wide Variety Of Microphone Techniques For Recording Drums”.


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