Earlier in the year Waves released Creative Access, a subscription-based business model designed to give Waves users tiered access to their plug-ins on a monthly or annual basis. At the same time, Waves released StudioVerse, an AI enabled content delivery system that allows you to import pre-configured signal chains into your sessions.
The StudioVerse business model is like those currently offered by other manufacturers in that they are utilizing an AI enabled content delivery system. IK Multimedia, Native Instruments, Arturia and others all use a similar AI driven predictive algorithm to filter and select results that the end user wants, or the system suggests. There are currently thousands of signal chains—or, as Waves calls them, “chains”—on the StudioVerse website to choose from.
Waves Studio Rack gives you a sophisticated way to manage your mixing and mastering chains in addition to giving you the ability to load signal chains from iconic engineers, producers, and chains provided from Waves’ vast end user database. Waves Studio Rack is available as a free download via Waves Central or as a download as part of one of the tiered Creative Access subscription-based business models. The ability to import plug-in chains into Studio Rack has been available in Studio Rack for quite a while; the big difference is Studio Rack has now been re-engineered to be the front end of StudioVerse.
Browsing through the StudioVerse website, clicking on any of the available signal chains will show what plug-ins are required to complete the selected signal chain, and what subscription tier in which said plug-in is included. If you don’t currently own one of the plug-ins in the chain, then you will either buy that plug-in or subscribe to Waves Creative Access to get access to said missing plug to complete the signal chain.
So yes, you can continue to use your waves plug-ins within Studio Rack in the ways you always have; however, once you start to access StudioVerse it quickly becomes clear that Studio Verse is optimized to work best with one of the Creative Access tiered subscription plans (the first two StudioVerse signal chains I selected at random had a missing plug-in that I don’t own in the signal chain I was checking out). Granted, you can remove the plug-in that you don’t own and replace it with one that you do own in the selected StudioVerse signal chain. Either that, or you will need to purchase one of the Creative Access tiered subscription models to complete the signal chain. There is also the option to demo the plug-ins you don’t have. You can install the entire Waves catalog and all the plug-ins you don’t own will work in demo more with periodic mutes, enabling you to try out all the chains in StudioVerse.
There was and is a good deal of controversy surrounding Waves’ decision to stop offering perpetual software licenses for its products, a decision that Waves reversed shortly thereafter when they reinstated being able to purchase individual plug-ins. Currently, you can still buy perpetual licenses to individual plug-ins, which Waves may or may not update same in the future. Yes, Waves will continue to provide updates to plug-ins purchased outside of the StudioVerse ecosystem.
Whether you agree with the Waves marketing approach or not, the concept of AI enabled products is likely here to stay. From a manufacturing standpoint, one of the big advantages of an AI enabled product delivery system is that it opens the possibility of multiple manufacturers to participate in each vendor’s business model (Waves in this case has opened their architecture to VST 3 enabled plug-ins) while keeping control of the front and back-end delivery. I predict more interaction between manufacturers in the future, resulting in more and more integration of software and development of innovative hardware products, and that’s, I believe, in the long run a good thing. Social Media is obviously playing a big part in the StudioVerse business model and Waves is using their long history of relationships with famous and iconic mix engineers and producers to promote the platform.
Many Waves users will likely find the collaborative aspect of StudioVerse a great way to manage their favorite mixing and mastering plug-in chains and learn how to craft signal chains from more experienced Waves users. Other users may not agree with the StudioVerse business model and will vote with their wallets by signing up for one of the other plug-in platforms available in the marketplace.
Check out the Waves website for more information on StudioVerse and pricing for the different subscription tiers. Waves offers a free seven-day trial to StudioVerse, after which you will be billed monthly or annually.
For more information on Waves StudioVerse, check out waves.com/studioverse