Use NLS + CLA Mix Hub?

How does the NLS summer signal flow work in conjunction with CLA mix hub?

The summer doesn’t have the EQ and dynamics of the mix hub channels, but the CLA mix hub has an analog-emulated preamp at the top of the signal chain, which seems to be the heart of the NLS summer. And I realize the NLS summer has three different console Preamp emulations.

Should this be an either/or decision? In other words, both are designed to emulate analog mojo. I like the VCA component of the NLS summer, which requires the channel inserts to use. If the NLS summer preamps are replicating what the SSL input preamp is doing (if I’m using the SSL version of NLS) , does it make sense to put the NLS summer first in the signal flow to use its preamp and then Insert CLA mix hub channel strip and bypass its preamp because the NLS summer provides that? This would create an SSL console channel strip after the NLS’s SSL preamp insert. Is that right?

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone, please? Thank you.

The CLA Mixhub is essentially just one modelled channel. CLA was asked if he wanted to do the whole desk, but he just wanted the one strip modelled as he could rely more on how it sounded.

I guess he didn’t understand that you can potentially select which channel emulation you want to use, so you could use the same one over if you wanted to. But hey, CLA is a bit too old to get the whole plugin thing.

The NLS, however, does do the multichannel thing, as you know. Just by plugins it in it is already doing its thing to add harmonics, the subtle variations between each channel. The thing that MixHub doesn’t do. If you want another channel model just select it from the settings.

How I’d combine this with the Mixhub is just insert it and make sure you change the channel emulation with each instance. For the whole preamp and drive thing you have a choice, either use the CLA one or the NLS one, or you could always try a little of both. But personally i’d give them both a go and opt to use the one that sounds best for the given source.

The cook thing is you can save NLS as an insert inside Mixhub, so you can always set up your channel configurations and save it as a preset for a faster setup later. :thinking:

Good info and helps a lot. Thanks!

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After trying Waves NLS on a mix and doing an A/B comparison – never again will I do a song withOUT console emulation. When you hear mix engineers say “I never use bus compression” - a lot of times it’s because they got a similar equivalent from per channel saturation (and then again on each bus.) So in their case they didn’t need compression because similar was happening just by driving the inputs on their Neve.

So… Waves NLS sounds amazing, simple as that. It models “per channel” so it adds further nonlinear variation to your mix. (You can actually hear the difference between some of hte channels - it’s not always subtle!)

But CLA Mixhub has more control. With Mixhub you can control the EQ, lowpass/highpass, and dynamics for 8 busses at once – from a single plugin. Perfect.

This is where I answer your question — I believe Waves NLS and CLA Mixhub would work very well together! In this case I would use NLS as the first plugin in each track and then set up Mixhub to handle the busses as the last effect. (And I would use NLS on the first channel of each bus, as well.)

This was you’ll get the per-track variation that NLS offers, and the greater mix control that Mixhub offers. What a combo.

It’ll take ~10 minutes to set up, but you’ll get that time back when you can EQ/compress/filter all your busses from a single screen at once.

Just make sure you don’t go crazy with the saturation. It’s amazing how it can be too much if you oversaturate each channel.

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Thanks for the input. Look forward to applying…

UPDATE: Here’s an incredible setup that maximizes the virtual analog desk simulation using 3 of Waves best tools for the best of each:

Per Channel:
Use Scheps Omni Channel with NLS Channel loaded on the interior insert.

Per Bus:
Use CLA Mixbus (don’t set buckets, your 8 busses will appear in the first bucket slot)

On Master:
Use CLA Mixbus as a summing plugin


  • Set this up as a 32 channel, 8 bus template
  • Remember to load the presets in NLS so you get the per-channel variation that only NLS offers
  • To avoid complexity, don’t worry about the NLS bus plugin… Also, don’t worry about interior buckets with the CLA Mixbus — your busses are pre-bucketed by routing in your daw, and CLA shows your 8 channels and allows bus compression, dynamics, and levels for your busses only.
  • If you mix with exported WAVs (recommended), run the WAVs through something like Adobe Audition to batch normalize them to -30 LUFS. This puts their average level at -18db RMS so your tracks already have the correct gain from the start of your session once you import!

Also – Using CLA Mixbus as the summer gives per-bus settings that aren’t available when using the NLS Bus. It is an upgrade over standard NLS flow… And Omni Channel appears to be a little more CPU friendly than Mixbus – so using Omni Channel for the bulk of your per channel EQ/Compression settings and Mixbus for your per-bus EQ/Compression settings is the best of all worlds.

CLA Mixbus, NLS, and Omni Channel are all incredible plugins. Using them this way gets you the benefits of each while minimizing complexity!!

PS. I tested the NLS Channel plugin internally in OMNI channel – it still responds to the NLS Bus, so if you need global top level changes to the desk setting, gain, noise, etc. that is still possible even when using NLS Channel inside Omni Channel.

Hats off to Waves for bringing the analog desk experience and virtual summing to our DAWs. Using these plugins together is truly an incredible experience and it sounds fantastic.

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Great information, thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:

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