The Waves CLA Guitars plugin is straightforward mixing tool that allows guitarists and producers to get the signature sound of Chris Lord-Alge in the comfort of their own recording studio. This easy-to-use plug-in is a great choice have for any guitarist who doesn't want to deal with all of the intricacies of mixing a great guitar sound.
Put simply, this is a guitar toolbox that incorporates all of the important effects in the exact blend used by pro mixers, allowing for instant gratification when mixing. This blog post will provide a thorough review of its features and capabilities.
Note: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning I would receive a commission - at no cost to you - for any products you purchase.
Background of CLA Guitars
CLA Guitars was created by Waves Audio in conjunction with top-notch mixing engineer Chris Lord-Alge, whose credits include artists known for their amazing guitar tones, like Green Day, Bruce Springsteen, Muse, and My Chemical Romance.
Overview of the Plug-in
The ✅ Waves CLA Guitars plug-in is a powerful and versatile tool for guitarists and producers. The plug-in is powered by Waves’ state-of-the-art audio processing technology, which allows users to easily craft unique guitar sounds with a few simple clicks. The plug-in offers all the necessary combinations of effects and mixing tools to give users the flexibility to sculpt their sound to perfection, while removing any complex, unneeded options.
On the left of the plugin you'll find the input section, which also includes options for guitar amp simulation and panning. In the middle, you'll find EQ, compression, delay, reverb, and pitch effects. On the right, there's a fader that lets you control the output level.
Key Features of CLA Guitars
Waves CLA Guitars plug-in has two key features that make it stand out from other guitar-based plug-ins. First, it includes three vintage-style amp simulations based on some of Chris's favorite studio gear, offering you the choice of three amp sales: clean, crunch and heavy. This allows you to achieve the exact sound you’re looking for with a great deal of accuracy.
Second, it allows you to quickly dial in a tone by focusing on the most important controls, or go with Chris's default settings in the click of a button via lot of great built-in presets.
Ease of Use
The Waves CLA Guitars plug-in is designed for ease of use, offering a wide range of features that can be adjusted in real-time. The interface is laid out in an intuitive way that allows producers to quickly and easily access the tools they need. With additional sound-shaping controls, the plug-in lets producers create unique and modern-sounding guitar tracks without hours of tweaking and tuning.
For example, the bass fader allows you to choose how much to boost or cut of the sub, lower or upper bass, allowing you to get the perfect blend of bass without overthinking it. Similarly, when using the delay fader, you don't need to worry about delay times, but can simply choose between three styles of go-to delays and blend to taste from slap delay to Edge style delays. It also includes simple, go-to reverbs that sound great and can be easily blended in. The pitch section (basically a stereo component) allows you to expand the stereo image of the guitar with three modes.
Overall, the different effects and eas of use of the Waves CLA Guitars plug-in makes it a great choice for producers of all levels who want to quickly and easily create professional-sounding guitar tracks.
The audio quality of the Waves CLA Guitars plug-in is excellent. The plug-in utilizes the same high-quality audio processing as other Waves products and has been optimized for guitar recording and production. The plug-in allows you to tweak the tone of each guitar track to achieve the sound you desire.
Although the Waves CLA Guitars plug-in is an exceptional tool for mixing guitar tones, it’s not the only option. If you’re looking for an alternative, there are plenty of other choices available. Some of the most popular alternatives include the IK Multimedia AmpliTube, the Softube Guitar Amp Room, you can find my review of the best guitar amps here.
The big downside to CLA Guitars is that while it works great for guitars, it isn't really designed for other instruments. Thankfully, if you're looking to be able to easily create nice mixes quickly, there are arrange of other CLA plugins from Waves that you can buy. In fact, if you buy the ✅ CLA Bundle, you'll get the best price and save massively. The CLA bundle includes everything you need, including:
- CLA Drums
- CLA Bass
- CLA Unplugged (for acoustic guitars)
- CLA Vocals (see my full review of the Waves CLA Vocals plugin here)
- CLA Effects
If you're looking to get a little more control over your tracks, you could also consider getting individual plugins, like the ✅ CLA Classic Compressors collection (for example, dialing in an aggressive CLA-76 sound to control the dynamic range), ✅ CLA Mixhub (emulating the console that has been a major piece of Chris Lord-Alge's classic sound due to its analog console saturation), and ✅ CLA Epic (a complete suite of CLA reverbs), to give yourself additional flexibility to put the plugins in a different order, use different effect plugins for different instruments and get more granular with your sounds.
So is Waves CLA Guitars Any Good?
In conclusion, the Waves CLA Guitars plug-in is an excellent tool for mixing and mastering guitar tracks, with plenty of features to help you craft your sound. It's incredibly easy to use and has a great selection of amp models, effects, and presets so you can get the sound you want quickly. Whether you're a beginner or a professional, the Waves CLA Guitars plug-in is an essential tool for anyone looking to create great-sounding guitar tones.
That said, pros may skip this all together, or just use it as a jumping off point for their mixes, given the limited flexibility that it provides. I doubt that Chris Lord-Alge mixes with this!
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