Waves C4 (Mac/Win)Waves' C4 caught our attention with its impressive combination of professional-level audio quality and flexibility. Available for Mac VST, MAS, RTAS, TDM, and AudioSuite, and for Windows DirectX, C4 goes far beyond the prosaic one-trick-pony compressor/limiter plug-ins we see so often. A true multiband processor, it offers four independent bands of compression, expansion, and parametric EQ.
Waves combined four of its renowned Renaissance Compressors into a single window to provide 4-band upward and downward expansion, limiting, and compression, along with dynamic and standard EQ. You can perform these processes independently or simultaneously with complete control over each band's crossover points, gain, and frequency range. Unlike single-band compressors that react to bass line peaks by compressing the whole mix, C4 lets you tailor the processing to solve your specific mixing and mastering problems: compress the bass, expand the midrange, and EQ the high-end all at once, and preview the changes as you make them.
The C4 is great at tightening low frequencies, such as kick drum and bass guitar; deessing vocals; and adding high-end gloss to vocal harmonies. It also works well for noise reduction, such as removing hiss and hum.
With its well-designed user interface and big bag of processing tricks, the C4 easily deserves an Editors' Choice Award.