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APA44-M
APA44-M
(Click for a close-up)

Waves is showing two hardware accelerators that let users easily run multiples of the company's most CPU-demanding plug-ins. The APA products use Ethernet connections and switches to enable stacking several APA units together and even sharing them among several DAW workstations.

There are two models of APA. The APA32 is a 1U rack-mount unit, while the APA44-M, a half-rack unit that features up to 30% more processing power and nearly silent operation, is ideal for mobile use. A kit enables two APA44-M units to be mounted in a 1U rack space. The APA units are connected to the host computer via a standard Ethernet port. Up to eight units can be used together with an Ethernet switch. The units can also be shared among several DAW workstations via a suitable V-LAN configuration, with each workstation accessing up to eight APA units.

The APA system uses Waves' new Netshell software, which is included in every new Waves bundle that contains Netshell-compatible plug-ins. No special authorization is required for Netshell or for an APA unit; APA users just need to update their authorized Waves plug-ins to Netshell supported versions, and they're ready to go. This represents a step forward from conventional DSP approaches that require a card in the computer or that are tied to one particular system.

An APA32 can run 6 IR-1 Convolution Reverbs, or 9 Linear Phase Equalizers, or 12 C4 Multiband Processors at 44.1 kHz. The use of conventional high-speed Ethernet also means that the APA can be more easily shared in a facility and remotely located.

In addition, APA allows users to get the most out of powerful, CPU-intensive plug-ins that simply won't run on conventional accelerator cards -- IR-1 Convolution Reverb for example -- and opens the door to new, more powerful DSP processing algorithms for which the power of the host CPU is insufficient.

The user is able to choose where to run any given plug-in with a simple drop-down menu -- on the host, TDM card or APA. This is important because not all plug-ins are best run on outboard processors, and having this choice allows maximum flexibility. Typically, the most CPU-intensive plug-ins will be run on the APA and the rest on the host. The latency introduced by APA is reported to the host and then eliminated in most DAW applications by delay compensation.

Initially the APA-compatible Waves plug-ins are the L3 Multimaximizer, L3 Ultramaximizer, IR-360 Surround Parametric Convolution Reverb, IR-1 Parametric Convolution Reverb V2, IR-L Light Convolution Reverb, Linear Phase Equalizer, Linear Phase Multiband, C4 Multiband Parametric Processor, Renaissance Reverb, Renaissance Channel, SoundShifter, Morphoder, TransX and Q-Clone.

Release 1 is compatible with both Mac and PC, and supports the most popular DAW systems. On the Macintosh, these include ProTools 6.9, Cubase SX 3.0.2, Nuendo 3.0.2, Logic Pro 7.1, and Digital Performer 4.52. On PCs, these include ProTools 6.9, Cubase SX 3.0.2 and Nuendo 3.0.2.

For a limited time only, APA customers will receive Waves' IR-L Light Convolution Reverb and Q-Clone plug-ins free of charge -- a $1600 value.

MSRP of the APA32 is $1600 and the APA44-M is priced at $2400.

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