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Sonnox or Waves... which company would you choose?

Sonnox looks so good, but they're so very expensive. Waves has a sale on right now where you can get the Waves Gold bundle for $640 which is over 20 plugins. Is it worth the $$? You don't get much for $640 with the Sonnox plugins. Is there a difference in the sonic quality between the two companies? Anybody used both that can give their personal experiences?

I just got my iLok a few days ago and will be downloading some demos to try a bunch of different plugs. I've decided against UAD, but not because they're not good; I just can afford them right now and I can't demo the plugins unless I put the money into one of their UAD cards.

I downloaded some McDSP plugs, but wasn't really impressed. Is there certain plugins that I should stay away from? I want professional stuff here.


Big K Sat, 03/12/2011 - 00:31

Big mistake....
The first update of waves costs you up to 200 $...and so will all following. Always been free with UAD.
Sonnox, good plugs, but I hardly use them, which goes for my Waves stuff, too. Why? Yes, because I have

My advice here in Pro Audio Forum: do not look at numbers of plugs, but if they are all usable for you. If you found a great plug or manufacturer because of usability, choice of plugs, service and great sound, then safe up money for it.
If you think, it all costs too much: look at the hardware prices of things.
Now, without wanting to offend, but most of us have consoles, monitors and outboard gear in the racks worth little homesteads (+ DAW,FX & VSTi). Expenditures for important plugins are not really considered exorbitant when the software is needed and substantially adds to quality. Pro studios must calculate their budgets, as well, and lay aside for new or urgent aquisitions.

BobRogers Sat, 03/12/2011 - 12:05

With Waves you get a lot of plugs, but you are unlikely to use that many of them. It's not that they are bad (though many of them are pretty mediocre), just that there is a lot of duplication and a lot of silly "bells and whistles." Now, I may like something that you think is a bell or a whistle and you may like something that I think is worthless. But unless you have a dozen engineers working the studio, the quantity isn't going to be that useful. That's not to say you shouldn't buy the Gold bundle. If there are four plugs in there that you really love it's worth $640. If it's one or two....not so much.

As for Sonnox, I have their Reverb and really like it. Though I have to admit I used only the UAD EMT 140 plate reverb on my last CD. I found all of the Sonnox plugs that I demoed very good (in contrast to Waves) but the reverb is the only one that pushed me over the top.

Actually, when you really compare Waves top of the line products to Sonnox, prices are not that different: Sonnox Dynamics $315, Waves CLA $375.

Jeemy Wed, 03/16/2011 - 11:10

I have about 30-40 waves and the bundle of 4 Sonnox - EQ, broadband comp, Ox Reverb, and a limiter I think. The Sonnox are definitely sonically superior. The waves are quick, simple and if you don't have an outboard FX unit you get a delay, if you struggle a little with vocal processing you get the RChannel which has some quick presets to slap about and get a quick fix on a voice character.....

If you have plenty of gear and just need a few plugs to do broad brush strokes then Sonnox every time. If you are going to be mainly ITB then Waves is probably better bang for buck.

UAD is a different beast and I haven't used, but a cut above either I hear, although I'm not really sold on modelling plugs of any type.

As regards the Waves upgrades I've been running 10.4.11 Mac and Waves 5 or 6 for aeons and never been charged. Recently we had cause to use a Leopard machine and were given a free upgrade to 7 and allowed to keep using legacy 6 on our main machine. Numbers may be wrong but my experience there was really good; you have to wait, like, 24 hours for a response but the Waves guys seem pretty on top of CS for an internet machine.

kmetal Sat, 03/19/2011 - 03:34

FWIW my boss uses the mercury waves bundle. Loves the sound hates the upgrade fee's. They're gui is kinda like 10yrs ago, but the sound is nice, if you ask me. it's cool to be able to boost a digital eq, and have it sound pretty cool. You see references in trade mags about both waves and sonnox.

BobRogers Wed, 06/22/2011 - 15:41

I think of Waves sort of like a good version of one of those big buffet restaurants where there is a ton of food, none of it really great, but most of it pretty good. Almost everyone can find a few dishes that he or she likes, but nothing that you will remember next week. The big bundles can make sense for a big studio with a lot of people working there. The small bundles can make sense for a beginner who wants to try a lot of shiny new toys. (Yes, I bought the silver in a weak moment.) Sonnox does a few things and does them well. If you like their versions of basic plugins you buy them a la carte. I have the Sonnox reverb and it's the best "natural" reverb I own. Right now I'm using the UAD EMT 140 plate emulation for the things I've been recording.

Davedog Thu, 06/23/2011 - 08:04

I have a Waves Gold bundle and a UAD card. I LOVE the UAD stuff. The EMT Plate is an awesome version of the real thing. I use it and the Pultec and the Fairchild a lot. I also like a few things in the Waves. The compressors are nice and work well, the CS channel strip is good and a couple of the convolution verbs see some work. It really is too bad they dont let you pick and choose for that kinda money.

BobRogers Thu, 06/23/2011 - 08:43

I find it somewhat surprising how many people like the Waves business model. Since getting my first UAD card last year, I've been reading the UAD boards. There is a large contingent of long time users who are really angry that UA has gone to only turning out a small quantity of high quality / high price plugins as their new issues. They really would like a couple of cheap new toys to play with every month. I think there is a big market out there for the big bundles.

audios Thu, 06/23/2011 - 10:43

may be. But I really think big bundles are for the guy who wants a bunch of toys in his arsenal and tends to try and use them all because they're there. Not a reason to buy any plug or bundle IMO. And then they become over used and not worthy of the audio that was fed into them to begin with.

I have used WAVES in other rooms and they are just that sort of bundle company and charge for every new license in upgrades. Plugs should be used sparingly anyway. Only when the audio situation demands it, not because there's a bunch of new toys in the plugs window. I researched a LOT of audio plugs before i settled with the UAD-2 QUAD card. UAD does what it says it will do in all their research/development. They don't just emulate or imitate other plugs and algorithms, they create them from the original schematics of the OEM who released the rack unit in hardware, analog for. What more do you need? These are real, not emulations of some engineers idea of what a compressor should sound like. These are tried and true pieces of history, expertly crafted into digital plugs. They have picked top devices that have been tried and true over a long analog history which is what engineers today are trying to get back in their digital 2-mixes, right?

true there are some developers out there that produce some higher quality plugins but they're rare for sure. UAD is the first company i have known to take this approach to producing quality products time and time again. Others have tried and honestly, failed IMO.

So I'll stick with a winner for my room and everyone who hears my mixes agrees. there's a reason for that isn't there?