NLS best practises and recommended usage

I just got my hands on the Waves NLS and based on my first experiments it does just what I expected and sounds very good. Anyway as a new NLS user I have a couple of questions in mind regarding the best practises.

Is it ok to place NLS channel plugins just on my stems (Cubase group channels) so that instead of having NLS channel on say 32 individual channels I have only 8 instances of NLS channels on my 8 group channels respectively? Would this get me a realistic vintage analog console sound? What’s the difference between having it only on group channels or having it in each individual channels?

Or should I put NLS channel on individual channels and NLS bus pluing on each different stem / group channel? Can I still use a NLS bus on the master bus if I use NLS bus plugins also on group channels. Or would it be best to use NLS channel on the group channels and NLS bus only on the master bus in this kind of setting. Is it generally a good idea to have 3 layers of NLS plugins in your mix: first on the channels, then on the sub mixes and yet one in the master bus? I wonder this also from the plugin architecture point of view. So is there some internal signal routing going on between the NLS plugin instances or do they just work independently from each other?

Is it good idea to use other analog emulation plugins in combination with NLS or is it too much? I mean if i already have NLS channel is it a good idea to still use analog emulation channel strip plugin or pre-amp emulation such as Shcheps 1073? Do these plugins overlap so that the channel sound of NLS already includes all the stuff a console pre-amp or a channel strip as such would produce if you get what I mean?

It would be nice to hear if anybody has an opinion on these questions. Also I would appreciate if the Waves plugin designers can comment on how the plugin was designed to be used in the first place regarding my questions.

These are great questions too bad an expert has not answered them. I have the exact same questions.


Yeah its okay to use it across stems.

Back in the day track count was quite limited, quite often you’d only have 24 to work with, 23 if one wast striped with SMPTE Time Code. If you had more than 24 sources you wanted to get down you’d end up having to do some submixing, which are effectively like stems. Multiple sound sources or sharing the same channel strip.

The main difference is, in the DAW, if you’ve done it properly, you can go back to edit and process each individual element that makes up the stem, which makes it quite powerful. The only main thing you’d be missing out on is the added tape effect, which you could add to your stem too. The trouble is, too many tape emulations could end up consuming your resources quickly.

Unless you’re actually trying to emulate an exact sound from the past, maybe for a documentary or for deep fake purposes ( :upside_down_face:) I wouldn’t get caught up too much on the details. Just ask yourself “does it sound better”. If the answer is “yes” then you’re doing it the right way, whatever it is.

Too many people lose sight of the ultimate goal of making music because they are caught up with reproducing the most accurate process with 16x oversampling to avoid aliasing. The audience honestly don’t care how its done, just what comes out of the speakers. Does it sound good?? Everything else is trivial.

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