Using CLA plugins for a newbie

I recently bought CLA vocals, bass, Guitars and Acoustic. I do recordings in Reaper: vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, drums, mandolin. Can some of you experienced people offer any tips on how best to use these on my recordings please? Some of your preferred settings. I basically play covers (rock and roll, soul standards, vintage pop, traditional folk music) and a few own compositions (probably just as cheesy as the covers but I am easily pleased!)

Hey @anton.darby! welcome!

These CLA plugins you bought are a great starting point and offer very flexible and great sounding processing with a very simple interface and controls.
It will be hard for anyone to recommend specific settings on these as it really needs to match your material and style. I suggest starting be experimenting with the different controls on your vocals and guitars to feel and experience what they do… they choice of which and how much is ultimately yours :slight_smile:

Once you get to some more parametric plugins - asking for help with settings and presets will become more relevant.

The main thing with most of the Signature plugins, including the CLA, is that they take alot of the “technical” element out of mixing which is great for people just getting started. It also teaches you how to use your ears.

Because of their design you should be able to set them up on each track relatively quickly, just go by how it sounds and makes you feel. Now this is the key bit, walk away from you mix, do other things, listen to other things, comeback and listen to it again. Does it still sound good?? :thinking:

The answer is “probably not”, especially in the learning stage. However, if you can identify what the problem is you can then set about fixing it. Guitars are too bright?? Try pulling down the Treble or changing the Treble “mode”. Vocals too thin?? Try giving it more Bass or changing the mode. Too boomy, try less Bass, Too hollow, try more Mids or lowering the Treble and Bass. Too washed out, try less Reverb. Anyway you get the point. Create some reference mixes if it helps, so you can compare newer versions of you mix with an older one, just to help remind you what the problems were. Compare it to other “similar sounding” songs too and use them to keep everything in context.

When you’ve done revisiting your mix , walk away from it again and listen to it later, how did you go?? Just keep repeating the process until you get something that’s thats not terrible, something that might even sound quite good. Something that you can play alongside other commercial tracks and you don’t notice a huge change in quality. :grinning:

The more you do this, the faster and more accurate you will get, until you start to realise that you want more control to change certain elements that the plugins don’t allow. That’s when you start exploring some of the more detailed options your DAW has to offer.


Thanks very much for your helpful advice, Simon. Using a reference track is a particularly good idea. I do use reference tracks in general but I had not thought of comparing the CLA plugins with professional recordings.


@anton.darby Hi :slight_smile:

In addition to the words of wisdom above, watching videos can really accelerate the learning process. Almost every Waves plug-in has videos available on the product page. For instance, here’s CLA Guitars. Furthermore, there’s a huge amount of educational videos available HERE


Yeah Waves’ on site can have quite a few good how-tos and useful tips.

They’ve been doing some live streams lately with all sorts of “personalities”, including CLA. These can be worthwhile checking out too. Admittedly, some are more useful than others, but that has has always been such a relative thing. What is isnt useful to one person, will be more useful to the next. It comes down to the individual and their needs.


Thanks for the tip, Simon

1 Like

Copyright © 2019 Waves Audio Ltd. All rights reserved. Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy