Waves CLA Drums
Waves CLA Drums

CLA Drums, Software channel strip from Waves in the CLA series.

tarrtime 12/01/2012

Waves CLA Drums : tarrtime's user review

« Over the top drums! »

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The CLA Drums plug-in is designed to process recorded individual drum tracks inside a DAW. Waves installation is pretty easy. Once you get the program up and running, there isn't much of a learning curve to get it working.

The basic processing functions are all available with this plug-in (eq, compressor, reverb, gate). The dial that selects 'drum' adds a predefined eq curve based on CLA's preference. Selecting different drums on the dial also changes how some of the other processing works behind the scenes. For instance, selecting 'cowbell' gives you access to a delay effect instead of a gate.

Obviously the plug-in was intended to be used for drums. That's not to say that you couldn't use the reverb or compressor for other instruments.


The processing in CLA Drums is not subtle. It immediately changes the sound of your drum tracks. I think some of the eq curves are pretty extreme (kick and snare). This kind of extreme processing will make your drums sound hyped up and closer to typical modern rock drums. This may or may not make your drums actually sound better. It is all a matter of preference.

If you prefer to add your own eq curve for the kick and snare, one option to consider is that the cowbell setting has a flat eq response, which makes the processing of the plug-in much less extreme.

The compressor options are the highlight of the plugin to me. I haven't really liked using the reverbs, and I don't use a drum gate in a lot of the music I make.

In general, I do like the convenience of pulling of a plug-in, clicking a few buttons, and have a decent sounding mix.


Some people won't like that all the functioning of the effects are happening behind the scenes (no control of attack, release, ratio, knee for the compressors for instance). I'm sure part of the idea for this plug-in was to make a product for the amateur and semi-pro musician who doesn't know much about mixing. If you don't know much about mixing drums, this plug-in is probably a good idea.

On the other hand, if you are an experienced mixing engineer and already have a bunch of effects with all the functions and knobs to tweak, do you really want another plug-in that does the same exact thing as all your other gear? This plug-in offers a nice change of pace with that respect.

In conclusion, this plug-in will make your drums sound rock and roll, no doubt about it. My main gripe with the product is that it only does over the top rock drums. When you need that, its great. When you don't, you would be better off picking up the JJP Signature Collection. His drum plug-in can do a lot more than just rock.