Waves has announced two hardware acceleratorsthe APA32 ($1,600) and APA44-M ($2,400)for running multiple instantiations of the company's most CPU-demanding plug-ins. The APA products use Ethernet connections and switches that allow you to stack several APA units together or share them among several DAWs.
The APA32 is a 1U rack-mount unit. The APA44-M, designed for mobile use, is a 1/2U device that offers up to 30 percent more processing power and nearly silent operation. A kit enables two APA44-M units to be mounted in a 1U space.
The APA devices are connected to the host computer via a standard Ethernet port, and up to eight units can be used together with an Ethernet switch. The units can also be shared among several DAWs using a suitable V-LAN configuration, with each workstation accessing up to eight APA devices.
The APA system uses Waves 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 simply update their authorized Waves plug-ins to Netshell supported versions, and they're ready to go.
The APA32 can run six IR-1 Convolution Reverbs, or nine Linear Phase Equalizers, or twelve C4 Multiband Processors at 44.1 kHz. 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. Waves notes that this is important because not all plug-ins run best on outboard processors, and having this choice gives the user 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.
Currently, the APA-compatible Waves plug-ins are 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 Windows users, and for a limited time , APA customers will receive IR-L Light Convolution Reverb and Q-Clone plug-ins free of charge (a $1600 value). For more information, visit Waves.com.