Available for download, Waves CLA MixDown is part of their Artist Signature Series collection and is designed to sit on your master buss in a relatively set-and-forget kind of way. In fact, Waves recommends that you instantiate the plug-in at the beginning of the mixing phase and perform all subsequent decisions through its processing.
Its GUI gives you six faders, some controlling a whole host of under-the-hood parameters, others performing simpler functions. Input and output are relatively straightforward to grasp; however, above the input fader you’ll find a virtual LED which goes from green to yellow to red. Waves recommends that you aim for yellow on the input stage to better achieve the drive and warmth by which Chris Lorde-Alge—this plug-in’s namesake—is known.
The four faders between MixDown’s I/O stage give you control over Bass, Treble, Glue, and Drive. Bass and Treble emphasize/de-emphasize their respective frequency bands, through bass has an effect on the compressor as well. In a broader way, Glue is your one-stop compression shop, with two switchable compressor circuits provided—one modern and punchy, the other giving you a longer time constant for less pumping. Drive, on the other hand, dictates the level of harmonic distortion applied to the overall signal; this control is said to emulate driving signal (quite heartily) into the mix buss of an SSL console.
At unity, these faders have not been set to transparency, but rather, to Chris Lorde-Alge’s specific predilections (as one might mix into a Pultec equalizer and an SSL compressor, with settings already dialed in). Adjusting a fader does boost or attenuate a parameter, but unity does not zero out any processing; it merely returns the processing to CLA’s preferred default. MixDown, which is compatible with Mac and Windows platforms, also works as a processor for stereo-instrument busses (for instance, drums). Mono instances are also available. The plug-in operates in AAX, AU, Audiosuite, VST, and VST3 formats.
Key Features at a Glance
Created in collaboration with well-regarded mixer Chris Lord-Alge
Four faders for enhancing the color, dynamics and drive of your mix:
- Bass fader: Controls the richness of the mix
- Treble fader: Increases or decreases high-frequency presence
- Glue: Two flavors of compression for holding the mix together
- Drive: Analog console overdrive for increasing harmonic distortion