Waves recently released their OneKnob series for just $249 for their large collection of fans with individual plugins available starting at $49 each. We got to experience these plugins first hand, and compared to their several thousand dollar packages usually sold by Waves, this series makes a great entry-level package. There’s not very much control over them (after all there’s only one knob), but each plugin is a great starting point to figure out where you want your mix to go. Let’s take a look at each of the plugins:
The OneKnob Brighter plugin features works to boost the high end of the track ranging from a one to a ten. I found this plugin to be less useful than the others for two reasons. The first issue is that there is no defined amount of dB that is affected as you increase the value. Not a huge issue as you should mix with your ears, not eyes, but still would be better notated using an EQ. My other issue with this plugin is more of a personal opinion. I like to pull down the lows and raise the overall track level if I need to make a track brighter. For me, this usually prevents any issues with harsh highs being boosted by the plugin.
OneKnob Driver is great for quickly adding some distortion to any track, from guitars to vocals. It doesn’t quite reach a ridiculous amount of overdrive or distortion you’d get with a guitar amp. If you need a quick distortion on a DI track though, it’ll get the job done. This plugin can sound really good on a vocal if you take a moment to dial it in too. On any other instrument, I’d take the time to use an amp emulator to find a more realistic sound.
OneKnob Filter is useful when automated on most synth tracks. It can also be used on the master fader of club/dance music with ease. Once again, this plugin doesn’t tell you which frequencies you are adjusting, but it makes up for it by adding a Resonance switch. You can choose a resonance setting focused on moderate, high, extreme, or none at all. This filter is great if you’d prefer not to worry about fine-tuning each parameter of your filter and comes in handy when you’re after a classic rising action filter sweep on an EDM track or any other type of electronic music.
The name pretty much sums things up on this one… This plugin applies some compression as it raises the perceived volume to prevent digital clipping. It can help when an instrument is recorded at really low levels. You’d need to be cautious of bringing up your noise floor though.
It’s not my favorite option when there are several other peak clipper plugins out there with more defined saturation characteristics. However, if you’re buying the bundle, the price works in its favor. I’d defintiely be reaching for this plugin if I didn’t have other options available before looking at buying another plugin. If you’re someone who’s buying the OneKnob plugins individually – maybe skip this one for one of the other options.
My style isn’t usually to try and make my kicks sound like an 808 any chance I get, but if you want a thick kick sound this plugin works wonders. When you get into lower frequency EQing, things can get really muddy fast. OneKnob Phatter helps avoid the tedious EQ work by boosting the deeper frequencies first. Eventually, it makes the track punchier when pushed into the higher settings. Waves claims the plugin can be used on non-percussive sources too. In our tests, bass instruments need more than one knob to get a decent “phatter” sound.
OneKnob Pressure is a compression plugin that comes with three options: unity, boost, and pad. Compression usually requires more control than this plugin offers, but it does a better job than OneKnob Louder. This plugin can be good to create a pumping effect, but for more subtle compression I wouldn’t recommend it. One feature that would be really useful in this case would have been a way to sidechain it within the plugin. While not the most useful in the collection, playing around with this plugin can result in some creative effects and sounds.
OneKnob Wetter is the only time-based effect offered in the OneKnob bundle. It adds reverb to your track depending on how much you turn the knob and actually does a surprisingly great job at it considering there aren’t any dedicated controls for reverb length, room, etc. This reverb effect allows user to use the plugin in mono or stereo, unlike the other OneKnob plugins that are strictly mono-compatible. Reverb, much like compression, benefits from having multiple parameters to adjust. The OneKnob Wetter plugin is a great option to drop a quick reverb onto any track without fuss.
There’s no reason to use the Waves OneKnob bundle exclusively in your mixes given the stock options available in many DAWS and the more feature-packed options on the market. They’re great for quickly adding simple effects and testing them out. If the task is simple enough to only need one knob (such as the case with OneKnob Filter), by all means – use the OneKnob plugin in your final mix. You can always swap out the OneKnob plugin for something more parameterized down the line if you need more control.
With a sale price that often dips under $100 for the bundle and $29 for individual plugins, you can really use these for Waves quality on a budget. A demo version of the One Knob plugin bundle can be downloaded directly from Waves.com.
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