The latest addition to the Waves plug-in line-up combines a range of EQ and dynamics-based processes with the aim of simplifying and accelerating the process of mixing vocals. Silk Vocal’s engine is capable of analysing 2000 frequency bands to automatically detect and tackle resonances, and provides a simple set of controls for users to fine-tune the results.
The plug-in’s default GUI view provides an EQ section that contains Low, Mid and High sections, each of which are equipped with a visual display of the resonances being targeted, along with a master control that makes it possible to set how much processing is being applied in each range. The Low control aims to tackle excessive low-frequency content caused by the proximity effect and room issues during recording, whilst High can be run in either Sibilance or High modes, allowing users to switch between notch or shelf filters to find the results that best suit their vocal track.
Mid then focused on the all-important mid-range content, and is said to be capable of addressing any harshness without losing the character of the voice. Unlike the other two bands, Mid’s visual display offers a pair of automatable handles that make it possible to narrow the bandwidth affected by the processing. Each of the bands can be soloed, and there’s also a delta listening mode for checking out exactly what the processing is doing to the source signal.
A Dynamics fader follows, offering a simple single-control compressor that helps to level out vocals for a consistent, upfront sound. The section does have an output control, although operates with automatic gain compensation switched on by default, allowing the plug-in to continually adjust the output level as the EQ settings are changed.
For those wishing to go into more detail, an Advanced Settings view offers some additional controls. A switchable 60Hz high-pass filter is joined by a simple gate and a wet/dry mix control, whilst Speed and Precision controls make it possible to adjust the attack and release ratio of the EQ processing as well as the Q value of processing bands.
Those who purchase the plug-in will also receive a license for Silk Vocal Live, a version which uses minimum phase curves instead of linear phase, resulting in a much lower latency. As such, it can be monitored during tracking, and is also compatible with the company’s SoundGrid systems for use in live situations.
Silk Vocal is supported on PCs running Windows 10 or 11, and Macs running macOS 10.15 and above. VST, VST3, AU, AAX Native and AAX AudioSuite plug-in versions are available.
Pricing & Availability
Silk Vocal is available now, and is currently (27 November 2023) being offered for an introductory price of $24.99, reduced from its usual price of $79. It is also available in a number of Waves bundles, including Mercury, Vocal Production, Pro Show and SD7 Pro Show.