Waves Maserati ACG Acoustic Guitar Designer Reviews3.0/5.0 based on 1 customer review
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from Ebina, Japan
January 4, 2012Music Background:
Home Studio Hobbyist -- but a very serious one who goes through a lot of gear
Not bad, but really just another plug-inBecause this product is available in demo form from Waves, I suggest you spend some time trying it before you commit to buying it. Having already owned the entire JJP Signature Collection and being less than completely happy with it, I decided not to buy full Signature bundles anymore, but rather to assess the individual plug-ins on occasion to see what I think of them. As a result, I purchased the Kramer Vocal plug-in for those times when I'm working in more of a classic rock style, and I went ahead and got this Maserati AG Designer. I probably should have spent more time toying with it. After only a few quick passes through the presets, I was convinced it was a panacea for acoustic guitar tracks, and each one does tend to add a lot of sparkle and forward presence to a track. But, without twiddling the knobs, the presets -- in my opinion -- actually tend to all sculpt the sound in a similar way: some chorus, lots of compression, lots of high end. Using the presets, I end up with very "plucky" and bright acoustic sounds, nothing I would call rich, dark or warm. Can I get there by fiddling with the knobs? Maybe. But then what was the point of buying a "Maserati" plug-in? I can twiddle the knobs on any of a rather large collection of comps, EQs, and FX plug-ins I already have. This one was supposed to give me that magic Maserati sound.
Well, as with all these signature plug-ins, there just is no magic solution. There are just too many variables to a given track -- and more importantly, the larger mix it fits into -- for any plug-in preset to be a one-size-fits-all solution, no matter whose name is on the top of the interface. Variations in the sound of your raw track will affect how the preset sounds, and the frequency balance/masking of all the other tracks in your mix will always require you to tweak each track beyond the factory preset. How, after all, could the factory know that you were going to layer three distorted guitar parts over a stereo piano and then try to get an acoustic guitar to sit in there somewhere? They didn't; so they made their preset to make the individual track sound fabulous when you solo it. Anyone with mixing experience knows, tracks that sound fabulous in solo rarely work in a mix. But then, I suppose the target audience for these plug-ins is largely people without much mixing experience.
So, to summarize, I would demo this -- and any plug-in when the chance is there -- before buying it, and during that demo, I would try it on several different mixes (not just a few solo tracks) and twist all the knobs a lot to see what you're really getting beyond the presets. As for this particular Maserati AGD, I didn't do that, and I loved the way it made a couple of acoustic guitar tracks sound solo. When I went to mix a few songs, though, I couldn't find a preset anymore that didn't make the guitar sound plucky, smashed and somewhat thin. Maybe that's the "Maserati" sound, being (to my mind) primarily a pop producer, but my point is, at the end of the day, it didn't become my "go to" plug-in, just another one in my arsenal with a very particular sound. That may be fine so long as that's your expectation going in, so to quote Dr. Seuss "that's why I'm bothering telling you so."