Pro Audio

Waves Harmony: a Harmonic Multiverse Awaits

Waves, the long-standing juggernaut of the audio plugin world, have just released their Waves Harmony – a glorified and expanded version of the demon’s voice box itself, the snare drum sound from Back In Black, and also a genuine vocal tool for creating, well, harmonies.

Easily the best way a harmonizer has ever been used is over every ghastly word of any demon, ghoul, or the voice of Satan himself in ‘most every early 80s film. Or for the spoken intro for Venom’s Welcome To Hell demo. But I suppose people put harmonizers to use in ‘legitimate’ musical ways too.

The Waves Harmony is a massively expanded version of what the original Eventide unit did so well in its prime, but with a huge array of modern accoutrements to fit splendidly into the workflow of any DAW session. I suppose we should focus on using it for what they suggest on the box, vocals, but keep in mind that this thing can be used creatively across any sound source.

Open the Waves Harmony and punch in the key and scale you’re playing in if you’re setting this thing across a song, or throw it into chromatic if you wanna get ghoulish, and see what it does. If you do take the conventional, scaled route (or even if you don’t) you’ll be presented with an increasing number of harmony additions to your source (up to 8), with options to control the volume of each, plus spread these across the stereo field or beyond into outside phase territory. Doing so you’ll fatten up your vocal line with a perfecto recreation in a harmony that probably no one could perfect, not even Carl Wilson.

Beyond straight-up harmonising, this thing also allows plenty of fine-tuning to personalise your honey-dripping tones. Need your 3rd harmony to be a few cents out of tune? Easy! Want the 7th below delayed by 100ms, then feedback on itself? Done! Need these harmonies in motion? Easy to program. Want to use MIDI chords to really make this thing push the emotion with every note. Consider it done.

Now, it’s gonna be a fairly precise stack of harmonies so I had a real hard time trying to get this thing to sound old-old. But that’s not really the point here. This is a super modern production tool to speed up previous processes of cut ‘n’ paste to a new track, pitch shift, pan, delay, and whatever else has been previously in your arsenal to thicken a chorus, fatten a backing vocal, or tighten up a vocal line.

vocal harmonys

Using the LFO or built-in step sequencer this thing REALLY starts to move, with parts modulating completely across the stereo spectrum, undulating in and out of pitch, bursting forth from the fiery caverns below and blooming into life. There’s also a pile of hundreds of presets from a huge range of artists and producers, so when in doubt you can easily pinch a nice, proven harmony stack with ease.

Waves Harmony retails for $149US, and is on special right now for $39.99US. For more details head over to Waves.com