Waves Gems is a collection of creative effects that offer stompbox‑like simplicity when it comes to the controls, but each one is nonetheless capable of creating a variety of useful treatments that could take a long time to setup from scratch using other plug‑ins. The individual Gems cover a range of use cases, including vocal processing, motion‑inducing modulation for instruments, drum treatments and drone processors. Available only as part of the Waves Creative Access subscriptions, five of the Gems come with Waves Essential, and you get all 10 of them if you sign up to Waves Ultimate.
Although accessed as a single plug‑in window, Gems opens with a browser‑type screen that shows all of the available Gems.
All are accessed through a single plug‑in window, which opens with a browser‑type screen that shows all of the available Gems. Click on one to launch it (only one Gem can run at a time in each instance of the plug‑in) and you are greeted by a relatively small number of presets and just a handful of knobs for parameter adjustment. To get back to the browser view, you just have to click on the Gem icon to the right of the Waves logo. There’s an output level control for each Gem, along with the option to resize the window. Vocal treatments include Shine, to add sheen and doubling, or Rock Vox for beefing up and adding colour to rock vocals, this with a delay effect built in.
For lo‑fi aficionados, there’s Neighbour, which creates the sound of music coming from a neighbouring apartment, and has variable distance, door, hallway and floor contributions, while the delightful Corroder adds some very usable lo‑fi grit and dirt. Meanwhile, G16 Mini serves up bit‑reduction effects reminiscent of video games. Pow adds weight and dirt to drum sounds with variable sub‑octave, while Fan Only adds a modulation effect that sounds as though your audio is being played through a rotating fan — complete with the wind noise! For the more genteel side of music, Solar Drone uses shimmer, filter, distortion and modulation to create long, lush drones, with the option of pulsating rhythms, while Sunsets adds a languorous texture that’s based on delays and modulation plus some filtering. Liquid Glass also uses filtering and modulation, in this case to add the character of a glass full of liquid being sloshed around, which is a rather more musically pleasing effect than it might sound from that description!
Despite their simplicity, these effects can be used to very quickly come up with effective treatments that would fit well into EDM, chillwave and ambient music. You cannot buy Gems separately. Rather, it’s being offered as an incentive to buy into one of the Waves subscription packages. Or, of course, you could view it as bonus content for existing subscribers, who’ve just had a bundle of creative fun added to their plug‑in armoury.