by Steve Cunningham

This month’s review tackles Wave Arts’ Power Suite 5 bundle, which arrived on my doorstep at half-price courtesy of a group buy on the website. You see, in an effort to find the best plugs at the lowest prices, I keep a sharp eye out for group-buy deals (see the February 2005 issue of RAP for the 411 on group buys). Okay, okay, I’m also an audio software addict, and I needed a fix. Fine. Whatever.

In any event, this bundle presents a whole mess of useful choices. A collection of five audio processing plugins for Mac and PC, the Power Suite includes reverb, EQ, compression, limiting, and spatial enhancement. Each of the plugins has deep levels of control, and Wave Arts has engineered them to be CPU-efficient, which means you can run many instances simultaneously.

The entire suite is both PC- and Mac-compatible, and the bundle includes all the flavors — DirectX, VST, and RTAS for Windows 2000 and XP; and Audio Units, VST, RTAS, and MAS (for Digital Performer) on the Mac. For you Mac guys who just bought one of the new Intel Macs, version 5 now comes as a Universal Binary. Best of all, Wave Arts lets you legally install the suite on three computers, as long as you’re the only user. So I can put the plugs on my Mac and Windows desktop machines, and on my new MacIntel laptop, without having to beg for additional authorizations. Nice. In addition, all the plugs are 24-bit and 192kHz capable, so they’ll handle your high-rez projects with aplomb.

For this review I installed the suite on a 2.4GHz IBM Thinkpad running Windows 2000, with a Fireface 800 audio interface. Wave Arts copy protection is of the challenge-response variety; you’re given a serial number when you purchase the software, and you then enter that serial number to register the suite from within your host audio editor. It’s reasonably fast and simple. The screenshots here show each plug from inside Steinberg’s Wavelab, which is where I did most of my evaluation. I kept the CPU monitor window open as I worked, and confirmed that all these plugs are definitely CPU-friendly.