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Wavesfactory Spectre Review at Audio Plugin Guy

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A spectre to bring back some life to your tracks?!

APG Score:

  • Sound quality - 5/5  
  • Ease of use - 5/5
  • Interface - 5/5
  • Value for money - 5/5
  • Ghostly Presence - 5/5

Overall Rating - 5/5

When it comes to mixing or producing, we cannot unsee the huge trend of bringing ghosts from the past in order to bring more dusty mojo to our clean and cold digital tracks. Gear from the past decades see their prices skyrocketing whereas plugins developers try to emulate those ancient studio totems by giving either a pale photoshopped image of them or a derived and inspired copy. Because those mysterious objects are harder to understand than they thought.

Their renowned sonic imprint is still unrivalled (for most of them) and plugin manufacturers dig deeper into the rabbit hole to find the ancient truth that could bring the holy “warmth” back to digital music production/creation (production always make me think of a freaking factory). The secret of those enigmatic spectres is still to be found.

But one plugin maker had decided to keep his head out of the mass and to make his own, Frankenstein-ised, unique spectre. And there was born SPECTRE, in a small Waves Factory in the further land of Mallorca.

The only Spectre I like.

Little Richard used to sing about Casper the little ghost, loved by every child. Well for your own mental comfort I will avoid singing it to you, but I will explain to you here why Spectre could be the little ghost that all the audio nerds (like me) will love.

Spectre is a multiband harmonic exciter, it introduces harmonic “phantom” content that was not present in the original track. Hence the name Spectre. By that, it does not have the same impact as an EQ for example.

It is quite easy to visualize what it is doing. Let’s say you have a thin snare drum. You listen to it and wish the snare had more information in the 100-200hz area. So you take an EQ, relatively broad and boost around that area. But it brings nothing of what you envisioned. It sounds relatively muddy, imprecise and you have to boost a lot to hear at least something happening. But now it brings unwanted muddiness lower than 100hz and higher than 200hz. The snare loses his attack (smack), well you are disappointed. That is where Spectre comes on stage to help you, Spectre the friendly ghost!

Spectre comprises of 5 parallel bands, it “extracts the difference between this signal and the dry input. It then processes it through one of the 10 saturation algorithms of your choice. And it finally, mixes it back with the dry input.”.  Well, that might frighten you a little bit I guess. Doing all of this wizardry to your beloved tracks. But don’t worry, not all ghosts are here to scare you. And this one is definitively your ally.

In addition to the five-band, you have 10 different saturation algorithms ranging from the classic tube, tape to the extreme rectify and even bit crushing. Making it extremely versatile.

But that is not all!

Each band has its mid/side processing matrix. Letting you boost the low on the mid-channel and the highs on the side for example.

Nice isn’t it? But that is still not all!!

It has a master input/output/mi knob for further tweaking and ensures proper level matching and appropriate dosage of the effect. Finally, and this is where/why it truly shines in my opinion, Spectre offers you three modes of processing to accentuate the effect (Subtle, Moderate, Aggressive). But as you may know, aggressive saturating in the digital world can introduce unwanted artefacts. Aliasing being of the most common of them. But Spectre stays proudly in the arena and faces that enemy of the sonic warmth by offering you optional oversampling modes (x4 and x16).

I tested it, and even without them, Spectre is still incredibly clean. When being overly (ridiculously) aggressive, the very well designed x4 or x16 oversampling options keep the aliasing amazingly under control. And last but not least, Spectre offers you a De-Emphasis mode, on by default, to compensates for the EQ boosts after the saturation state. Ensuring better level matching and more transparent, respectful processing of the source.

I think that we can now agree that this might be one of the most full-bodied spectre we have ever seen so far right? But, the ultimate question, how does it sound?

 

Conclusion.
To conclude, I definitely recommend you to try Spectre. It is not one of those numerous digital processors that are doing more harm than good to your tracks. I rarely get enthusiastic about straight digital tools except when they are purely utilitarian.

The only thing I would like from this plugin is having a 1 band option. Where you can just “color” the signal according to one of the algorithms you want. As some of them sound really cool, I sometimes would like to hear this.

The only thing I am not fond about is the Tape on the high-end. It does not sound like a good tape machine to me. I don’t why a lot of plugin developers forget to think about the fact that Tape can be quite bright sometimes. The higher you go in the frequency spectrum, the more it is saturated and the more the high-end is harmonically “rich”. Some of the peaks are reduced hence that feel of “softness” (and the extra high-end sometimes too yes but it depends on the calibration of the machine and the machine used). But it is definitely not muffled like the plugin here offers it. To me, it sounds more like a Cassette Tape effect than a reel to reel studio-grade Tape machine when it comes to the high-end.

But that is because I am picky.

Summary

The best plugin I have purchased so far. And no I am not one of those guys that get enthusiastic about every new release. Shout it out loud on every digital platform they can and end up not using the plugin after 1 or 2 months. And I am also not the kind of guy that buys every plugin that is released. I am much more into analog and outboard gear sound. But believe me, this one is a serious keeper. Congratz Wavesfactory, you’ve made me like ghosts now!

Original Source - AudioPluginGuy.com

 

Try before you buy

Download Spectre trial version for free!

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