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Anatoly Shestakov
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MultiRack V9: Native or SoundGrid? Which One to Choose for Your Live Sound Setup


Waves MultiRack V9: A Powerful Plugin Host for Live Sound




If you are looking for a way to run multiple plugins in real time for live sound applications, you might want to check out Waves MultiRack V9. This software effects rack is designed to host Waves plugins and other compatible plugins, and provide low latency, high plugin counts, and networking capabilities. In this article, we will explain what Waves MultiRack is, how to install and activate it, how to use it, and some tips and tricks to get the most out of it.




waves multirack v9 windows 7 18



What is Waves MultiRack?




Waves MultiRack is a software application that allows you to run plugins on your computer or on a dedicated SoundGrid DSP server, and process audio from any digital console or audio interface. You can use it to enhance your live sound with effects, dynamics, EQ, compression, reverb, delay, and more. You can also use it to record and playback audio with SoundGrid Studio, another software component that works with MultiRack.


The difference between MultiRack Native and MultiRack SoundGrid




There are two versions of the MultiRack software: Native and SoundGrid. The main difference between them is how they power the plugin processing. Native utilizes the computer's CPU to power the plugin processing. In practice, this means that plugin count and overall system latency depend on the computers CPU and sound driver capabilities. SoundGrid uses a dedicated SoundGrid DSP server to power the plugin processing, providing low latency, high plugin counts, a backup DSP server, and networking capabilities. You can also connect multiple computers and devices to a SoundGrid network, and share audio and processing resources.


The benefits of using MultiRack for live sound applications




Using MultiRack for live sound applications has many benefits, such as:


  • You can access a large collection of high-quality plugins from Waves and other developers, and use them in real time on any digital console or audio interface.



  • You can create custom racks and chains of plugins, and save them as presets for future use.



  • You can control your plugins remotely with MIDI controllers, without using a mouse or keyboard.



  • You can use snapshots and scenes to recall different plugin settings for different songs or parts of a show.



  • You can record and playback audio with SoundGrid Studio, and use plugins for mixing or overdubbing.



  • You can connect multiple computers and devices to a SoundGrid network, and share audio and processing resources.



How to Install and Activate MultiRack




Basic requirements for MultiRack




To use MultiRack, you will need the following:


  • A PC or Mac host computer This is the main brain and controller for the system that runs the MultiRack live plugin host application. Refer to Waves system requirements when choosing your computer.



  • A USB flash drive (optional) This holds the licenses for Waves V9 plugins and provides activated licenses on the go. Alternatively, you can authorize your host computer's hard drive through the Waves License center - An audio interface or a digital console This is the device that connects your audio sources (microphones, instruments, etc.) to your host computer and provides the audio inputs and outputs for the system. You can use any ASIO/Core Audio compatible audio interface or digital console with MultiRack Native, or a SoundGrid compatible audio interface or digital console with MultiRack SoundGrid. Refer to Waves supported devices for more information.



  • A SoundGrid DSP server (optional) This is a dedicated device that powers the plugin processing for MultiRack SoundGrid. It offloads the plugin processing from the host computer and provides low latency, high plugin counts, and networking capabilities. Refer to Waves SoundGrid servers for more information.



  • A network switch (optional) This is a device that connects multiple computers and devices to a SoundGrid network. It allows you to share audio and processing resources among different devices. Refer to Waves network switch recommendations for more information.



  • Waves plugins These are the software effects that you can run in MultiRack. You can use any Waves V9 plugins or other compatible plugins with MultiRack. Refer to Waves plugin catalog for more information.



Software components for MultiRack




To use MultiRack, you will need to install the following software components on your host computer:


  • Waves Central This is the application that manages all Waves software installations, activations, updates, and licenses. You can download it from here.



  • MultiRack V9 This is the main application that hosts and runs the plugins. You can install it from Waves Central.



  • SoundGrid Studio V9 This is the application that allows you to record and playback audio with MultiRack SoundGrid. You can also use it to create and manage SoundGrid networks. You can install it from Waves Central.



  • SoundGrid Driver This is the driver that allows your host computer to communicate with the SoundGrid network and devices. You can install it from Waves Central.



  • Waves plugins These are the software effects that you can run in MultiRack. You can install them from Waves Central.



Required Waves licenses for MultiRack




To use MultiRack, you will need to have valid licenses for the following products:


  • MultiRack Native or MultiRack SoundGrid These are the licenses for the MultiRack software application. You can purchase them from here.



  • Waves plugins These are the licenses for the plugins that you want to run in MultiRack. You can purchase them from here.



Installation and activation steps for MultiRack




To install and activate MultiRack, follow these steps:


  • Download and install Waves Central on your host computer.



  • Launch Waves Central and log in with your Waves account.



  • Select Install Products from the left menu.



  • Select Offline Installer from the top menu.



  • Select MultiRack V9, SoundGrid Studio V9, SoundGrid Driver, and any Waves plugins that you want to install from the list of products.



  • Select Install on this Computer at the bottom of the screen.



  • Select Activate Licenses from the left menu.



  • Select Online or Offline Activation depending on your preference.



  • Select your USB flash drive or your host computer's hard drive as the target device for activation.



  • Select MultiRack Native or MultiRack SoundGrid, and any Waves plugins that you want to activate from the list of licenses.



  • Select Send Licenses at the bottom of the screen.



Congratulations! You have successfully installed and activated MultiRack on your host computer. You are now ready to use it for live sound applications.


How to Use MultiRack




Setting up the audio interface and driver




To use MultiRack, you will need to set up your audio interface and driver correctly. Follow these steps:



  • Connect your audio interface or digital console to your host computer via USB, FireWire, Thunderbolt, Ethernet, or any other connection type supported by your device.



  • If you are using a SoundGrid compatible device, connect it to a network switch with an Ethernet cable, and connect the network switch to your host computer with another Ethernet cable. Make sure that your device is powered on and configured to work with SoundGrid.



  • If you are using a non-SoundGrid compatible device, install the driver for your device on your host computer, and make sure that it is updated and configured correctly.



  • Launch MultiRack and select Preferences from the File menu.



  • Select the Audio tab and choose your audio interface or driver from the drop-down menu. If you are using a SoundGrid compatible device, select SoundGrid as the driver. If you are using a non-SoundGrid compatible device, select ASIO (Windows) or Core Audio (Mac) as the driver.



  • Adjust the sample rate, buffer size, and latency settings according to your needs and preferences. Generally, lower sample rates and buffer sizes result in lower latency, but higher CPU usage. Higher sample rates and buffer sizes result in higher latency, but lower CPU usage. Refer to Waves latency guidelines for more information.



  • Select the I/O tab and configure the input and output channels for your audio interface or driver. You can assign different names, colors, and icons to each channel for easier identification. You can also group channels together for stereo or surround processing.



  • Select OK to save your settings and close the Preferences window.



You have now set up your audio interface and driver for MultiRack. You can now start creating and managing racks and plugins.


Creating and managing racks and plugins




To use MultiRack, you will need to create racks and load plugins into them. A rack is a virtual container that holds one or more plugins in a chain. You can create multiple racks in MultiRack, and assign different input and output channels to each rack. You can also save racks as presets for future use. Follow these steps:



  • In MultiRack, select New Rack from the File menu, or click on the + button at the bottom of the screen.



  • A new rack will appear on the screen, with a default name and color. You can rename the rack by double-clicking on its name, and change its color by clicking on the color box next to its name.



  • To load a plugin into the rack, click on the + button at the top of the rack, or right-click on an empty slot in the rack and select Insert Plugin.



  • A plugin browser window will appear, showing all the available plugins that you can use in MultiRack. You can browse by category, manufacturer, name, or favorites. You can also use the search box to find a specific plugin.



  • Select a plugin from the list and click on OK to load it into the rack. The plugin window will open, showing its controls and parameters. You can adjust them as you wish.



  • To load more plugins into the rack, repeat steps 3 to 5. You can load up to eight plugins per rack. You can also reorder plugins by dragging them left or right in the rack.



  • To assign an input channel to the rack, click on the input box at the left side of the rack, and select a channel from the drop-down menu. The input channel is where the audio signal enters the rack.



  • To assign an output channel to the rack, click on the output box at the right side of the rack, and select a channel from the drop-down menu. The output channel is where the audio signal leaves the rack.



  • To create more racks, repeat steps 1 to 8. You can create up to 64 racks per session in MultiRack. You can also reorder racks by dragging them up or down in the screen.



  • To save a rack as a preset, click on the Save button at the top of the rack, or right-click on the rack name and select Save Rack As. A save dialog window will appear, where you can name and save your rack preset. You can also choose a folder and a category for your preset.



  • To load a rack preset, click on the Load button at the top of the rack, or right-click on the rack name and select Load Rack. A load dialog window will appear, where you can browse and select your rack preset. You can also use the search box to find a specific preset.



You have now learned how to create and manage racks and plugins in MultiRack. You can now start routing and processing audio with MultiRack.


Routing and processing audio with MultiRack




To use MultiRack, you will need to route audio from your audio interface or digital console to your host computer, and then to your racks and plugins. You will also need to route audio from your racks and plugins back to your audio interface or digital console, or to another device on the SoundGrid network. Follow these steps:



  • In MultiRack, select Patch from the File menu, or click on the Patch button at the bottom of the screen.



  • A patch window will appear, showing the input and output channels for your audio interface or driver, and the input and output channels for your racks.



  • To route audio from an input channel to a rack, click on an input channel on the left side of the patch window, and drag it to a rack input channel on the right side of the patch window. A green line will indicate the connection.



  • To route audio from a rack to an output channel, click on a rack output channel on the right side of the patch window, and drag it to an output channel on the left side of the patch window. A green line will indicate the connection.



  • To route audio from a rack to another device on the SoundGrid network, click on a rack output channel on the right side of the patch window, and drag it to a device input channel on the bottom of the patch window. A green line will indicate the connection.



  • To route audio from another device on the SoundGrid network to a rack, click on a device output channel on the bottom of the patch window, and drag it to a rack input channel on the right side of the patch window. A green line will indicate the connection.



  • To remove a connection, click on the green line and press Delete on your keyboard, or right-click on the green line and select Delete Connection.



  • To clear all connections, select Clear All from the Edit menu, or right-click on an empty area in the patch window and select Clear All.



You have now learned how to route and process audio with MultiRack. You can now start recording and playback with SoundGrid Studio.


Recording and playback with SoundGrid Studio




To use MultiRack, you can also record and playback audio with SoundGrid Studio. This is a software application that works with MultiRack SoundGrid, and allows you to capture audio from any device on the SoundGrid network, and play back audio to any device on the SoundGrid network. You can also use plugins for mixing or overdubbing. Follow these steps:



  • Launch SoundGrid Studio on your host computer.



  • Select Preferences from the File menu, and configure the audio settings according to your needs and preferences.



  • Select Patch from the File menu, and configure the input and output channels for your devices on the SoundGrid network.



  • Select Devices from the File menu, and configure the devices on the SoundGrid network according to their roles and functions.



  • Select Mixer from the File menu, and create and manage mixer channels for your devices on the SoundGrid network. You can also load plugins into the mixer channels for mixing or overdubbing.



  • Select Record from the File menu, and create and manage recording sessions for your devices on the SoundGrid network. You can also play back recorded audio to any device on the SoundGrid network.



You have now learned how to record and playback audio with SoundGrid Studio. You can now start using some tips and tricks for MultiRack.


Tips and Tricks for MultiRack




How to optimize performance and latency




To use MultiRack, you will want to optimize your system performance and latency as much as possible. Here are some tips and tricks to do so:



  • Use a fast and reliable host computer with enough RAM and CPU power to run MultiRack smoothly.



  • Use a dedicated SoundGrid DSP server for plugin processing, instead of relying on your host computer's CPU.



  • Use a low sample rate and buffer size for your audio interface or driver, as long as it does not cause glitches or dropouts in the audio signal.



  • Use a high-quality audio interface or digital console with low latency drivers, preferably one that is compatible with SoundGrid.



  • Use a network switch that meets Waves specifications for connecting multiple devices to a SoundGrid network.



  • Use plugins that are optimized for live sound applications, such as those from Waves Live bundle or other compatible plugins.



  • Avoid using plugins that are CPU-intensive or have high latency, such as those that use convolution or oversampling.



  • Avoid using too many plugins per rack or per session, as this can affect performance and latency.



  • Avoid using plugins that require external synchronization, such as those that use tempo or MIDI clock.



How to use MIDI controllers with MultiRack




To use MultiRack, you can also use MIDI controllers to remotely control your plugins without using a mouse or keyboard. This can be useful for live sound applications where you need to adjust plugin parameters quickly and easily. Here are some tips and tricks to do so:



  • Connect your MIDI controller to your host computer via USB, MIDI, or Ethernet, depending on your controller's connection type.



  • In MultiRack, select Preferences from the File menu, and select the MIDI tab.



  • Select your MIDI controller from the drop-down menu, and enable it by checking the box next to its name.



  • Select OK to save your settings and close the Preferences window.



  • To assign a plugin parameter to a MIDI controller knob, fader, button, or pedal, right-click on the plugin parameter in the plugin window, and select Learn MIDI CC. Then move or press the knob, fader, button, or pedal on your MIDI controller that you want to assign to the plugin parameter. A green line will indicate the assignment.



  • To remove an assignment, right-click on the plugin parameter in the plugin window, and select Clear MIDI CC.



  • To view all the assignments for a rack, click on the MIDI button at the top of the rack. A MIDI map window will appear, showing all the plugin parameters and their assigned MIDI controllers.



  • To save a MIDI map as a preset, click on the Save button at the top of the MIDI map window, or right-click on an empty area in the MIDI map window and select Save MIDI Map As. A save dialog window will appear, where you can name and save your MIDI map preset.



  • To load a MIDI map preset, click on the Load button at the top of the MIDI map window, or right-click on an empty area in the MIDI map window and select Load MIDI Map. A load dialog window will appear, where you can browse and select your MIDI map preset.



You have now learned how to use MIDI controllers with MultiRack. You can now start using snapshots and scenes with MultiRack.


How to use snapshots and scenes with MultiRack




To use MultiRack, you can also use snapshots and scenes to recall different plugin settings for different songs or parts of a show. A snapshot is a set of plugin settings for a single rack. A scene is a set of snapshots for all racks in a session. Here are some tips and tricks to do so:



  • To create a snapshot for a rack, adjust the plugin settings as you wish, and click on the + button at the bottom of the rack. A new snapshot will appear in the snapshot list, with a default name and number. You can rename the snapshot by double-clicking on its name.



  • To recall a snapshot for a rack, click on the snapshot name or number in the snapshot list. The plugin settings will change accordingly.



  • To edit a snapshot for a rack, recall the snapshot, adjust the plugin settings as you wish, and click on the Update button at the bottom of the rack.



To delete a snapshot for a rack, right-click on the snapshot name or numbe


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