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Waves Magma Channel Strip — A Product of the Week

Waves' new Magma Channel Strip is a simple-but-powerful plug-in that incorporates EQ, compression/expansion and a modeled tube-drive circuit.

Waves Magma Channel Strip
Waves Magma Channel Strip

Nashville, TN (February 9, 2023)—The Magma Channel Strip is a simple-but-powerful plug-in that incorporates not only EQ and compression/expansion but a modeled tube-drive circuit developed with the same technology the company used for its BB Tubes plug-in.

Magma’s GUI features a retro look with old-style knobs and a VU meter. The top section includes a polarity reverse switch, a three-position hi-pass filter (Off, 60 Hz and 110 Hz) and a large Drive knob for adding the modeled tube saturation.

Below it is the EQ, which has fixed high-shelf (2.5 kHz) and low-shelf (frequency not specified) filters and a midrange bell filter that you can sweep between 100 Hz and 5 kHz.

The Dynamics section includes a single control knob and a switch to toggle between the Expander and Gate functions. An LED-latter style meter indicates the opening and closing of the gate.

The Compressor also has only one knob, which combines threshold and makeup gain functions. It also features a button labeled Smash, which, when turned on, increases the ratio and speeds up the attack and release. The gain reduction is reflected in a red LED meter.

The output section includes a gain fader (-48 dB to +12 dB), the VU meter mentioned earlier and a screwhead calibration control that allows you to change the meter reference from -12 dB to +12 dB.

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I briefly experimented with the Magma Tube Channel Strip and found it extremely useful, despite its limited parameter control. The EQ is musical, thanks to the sweepable midrange and well-chosen low- and high-shelving filter frequencies.

The Compressor sounds good and is particularly handy in Smash mode for quickly creating a fast-attack, heavily compressed effect, particularly on drums.

The highlight of this plug-in, however, is the tube-drive circuit, which makes it easy to quickly dial up fatter, warmer and livelier tones on drums, vocals, guitars and more.

The Magma Channel Strip includes a large collection of artist presets and is currently available for an introductory price of $29.99. At an unspecified time, it will rise to its list price of $149.