Waves Space Rider Review and Guide (With Tips)

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

Space Rider is a newly released time-based effects plugin by Waves that consists of multiple time-based effects like chorus, delay, and reverb. This plugin is your ultimate space and ambiance effects creator that works swiftly and with ease. 

The key advantage of Space Rider lies in its versatile Rider, which can be assigned to any parameter. You can activate the Rider to transform various effects, rapidly generating motion and capturing attention. Additionally, it lets you utilize the built-in envelope shaper to enable the Rider to react dynamically to the incoming audio signal, achieving effects that would typically require extensive setup time.

First Impressions

I applied the plugin on Lofi-ish and slow hip-hop vocals. The first thing I found myself looking for is the mix knobs for all three individual effects, but there’s only a single mix knob for the entire effects chain. But I found my way with the input knobs for the effects. 

So, I found the plugin quite intuitive overall and got the hang of it in no time. Regarding its sound, the filters and customizations help you achieve whatever sound you want, but overall, the delay and reverb sound quite natural. You can get them to sound anything from dreamy, bright, warm, 80s, etc

I usually use delay and reverb in buses to get more control, but this plugin gave me a new alternative and a faster workflow, too. I don’t often go for chorus effects, but the chorus in this plugin, especially the second algorithm, sounded nice. It maintains the upfront-ness of your audio while adding more depth and width to it.

 I liked how the first chorus algorithm boosted the side channels. That can be helpful on synths and guitars, cymbals, or any track that you want to spread out more.  

User Interface

Space Rider has a nice night-time and space-like aesthetic to it, which looks pretty cool. There’s just one single window that consists of three sections: Chorus, Delay, and Reverb. Each section consists of an on/off switch along with an input knob, by which you can control the input gain of the audio for all three effects.

Chorus Effect

The ‘Chorus’ effect section has an intensity knob that serves as a potent master control, influencing modulation across the Chorus section. It exerts control over various parameters, such as the number of voices and the degree and speed of modulation. Notably, the impact of the intensity effect is closely tied to the chosen chorus ‘Type.’

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

The chorus ‘Type’ setting offers two distinct options:

  • Type 1 
    This setting produces a tight effect, functioning like a doubler at low-intensity settings with only two voices (left and right) and minimal modulation. As the Intensity increases, additional voices emerge, featuring greater delay and density. However, caution is advised, as high-intensity settings may introduce noticeable phasing.
  • Type 2
    Characterized as a vintage chorus, this option is designed for slow transients. It imparts a looser effect compared to Type 1, offering more airiness. This type is particularly well-suited for instruments with slow transients.

The plugin’s ‘Width’ control governs the stereo width of the chorus effect, allowing you to tailor the spatial characteristics to their preference. The ‘To Delay’ knob manages the level of the Chorus section output directed to the Delay section.

Delay Effect

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

Moving on, the delay section of the plugin is quite elaborate, consisting of knobs for controlling time and feedback. You also get a switch to sync the delay to your tempo and a ping-pong switch to add panned left/right delay effects. 

You also get high-pass and low-pass filters to shape your delayed sound. In terms of modulation, the ‘Depth’ parameter dictates the extent of delay modulation applied, determining the intensity of the effect. Meanwhile, the Rate parameter governs the cycle rate of the modulation LFO, allowing you to set the speed at which the modulation occurs.

For modulation offset, the L/R Offset feature amplifies the delay on the right side, providing a means to adjust the spatial distribution of the effect. Additionally, the Mod Offset parameter alters the phase relationship between the left and right modulation, introducing further customization options. The ‘To Reverb’ control regulates the amount of the Delay section’s output directed to the Reverb section.

Reverb Effect

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

Continuing with exploring Space Rider’s features, let’s delve into the ‘Reverb’ section. Here, you get two styles of algorithms: ‘Space’ and ‘Plate,’ along with low- and high-pass filters. ‘Space’ is designed to create a sonic space reminiscent of a hall, offering a broad and immersive reverberation. On the other hand, ‘Plate’ recreates the characteristics of a plate reverb, featuring high density and a smooth tail, ideal for achieving a more concentrated and refined reverberation.

The ‘Decay’ parameter dictates the duration of the reverb tail in milliseconds, determining the length of the reverberated sound. This control is instrumental in tailoring the spatial and temporal characteristics of the reverb effect. Finally, you also have knobs for tweaking the ‘PreDelay,’ ‘Damp (absorption of high frequencies within the reverb tail),’ and ‘Width.’

Rider: Taking Automation & Modulations To The Next Level

The next feature we will discuss is what sets Space Rider apart. Rider, positioned at the bottom of the interface, is a tool for simultaneously initiating dynamic changes across multiple controls. This unique feature allows you to transition smoothly from one control setup to another, creating intricate and evolving soundscapes.

It’s important to note that morphing in Space Rider is distinct from a simple fade between two presets. Instead, as the Rider traverses from one end to the other, each selected control undergoes continuous and intricate changes, contributing to a nuanced and complex transition.

To execute morphing, you can manually move the Rider or employ DAW automation for a more precise and automated experience. The Rider’s ability to sync with the input envelope adds an extra layer of intrigue, modulating all selected controls based on the incoming audio signal.

At each endpoint of the Rider’s path, denoted by the letters α (alpha) and β (beta), you can visualize the starting positions for the transition between setups. The arc of each control determines the actual range of control adjustment during morphing.

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

If a control’s arc limits its range to, for instance, 25%, transitioning from α to β (or vice versa) will only move the control by 25% of its complete range. Clicking on α or β instantly positions all selected controls to their starting positions.

The color of a control’s arc serves as a visual cue, indicating the rotation direction of the knob during morphing, enhancing your understanding of the evolving sound transformation. For example, the image below shows the arc settings for the offset controls in blue color.  

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

The ‘Auto’ feature is convenient, locking all controls influenced by the Rider to the modulator. While Range controls can still be manually adjusted, the actual control values and the Rider slide control become locked. You can click the Auto button or select α or β to disengage Auto, restoring manual control over the affected parameters.

Sensitivity, Attack, and Release parameters provide further customization. Sensitivity sets the threshold at which modulation initiates, while Attack and Release control the speed at which modulation begins and recedes, respectively. These parameters offer fine-tuned control over the morphing process, allowing you to tailor the dynamic transitions to your artistic preferences.

Finally, there are the mix and output knobs for controlling the dry/wet mix and output gain. 

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

Presets

Space Rider gives you a total of 63 factory presets of various types and styles, crafted by renowned producers and mixers such as Matt Schaeffer (associated with Kendrick Lamar), Tony Maserati (renowned for his work with Beyoncé), Greg Wells (known for his work with Dua Lipa), Neal H Pogue (recognized for contributions to Doja Cat’s sound), Lu Diaz (noted for collaborations with Jay Z), Preston Reid (a key figure in Kanye West’s productions), and other esteemed names. These presets give you a great headstart. 

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

The preset selector lets you copy and paste different settings, save/load presets, and set default preset settings.   

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide 

Compatibility and Installation

Space Rider by Waves is accessible in AAX, VST3, VST, and AU plugin formats, supporting both Windows 10/11 and macOS operating systems, including Catalina 10.15, Big Sur 11, Monterey 12, Ventura 13, and Sonoma 14. To utilize this plugin, a minimum of 8 GB RAM is required, with Waves recommending 16 GB for optimal performance.

To get started, you need to register with Waves and proceed to download and install the Waves Central application. Once installed, use Waves Central to install the Space Rider plugin. Navigate to “Install Products” and select “All Products,” locate Space Rider, and click on ‘Install’ to complete the installation process.

Waves Space Rider Review and Guide

Verdict

The Waves Space Rider is a versatile time-based effects plugin that you can apply on any track of your choice. The edge this plugin has over, let’s say, plugins like H-Reverb, H-Delay, Valhalla reverb, etc., is the simplicity of workflow. It takes fewer steps to set and still sounds beautiful

I loved the presets, including Space Rider Start, Guitar Lead, Vocal Lush Verb Delay, Big Acoustic Guitar, Lil Bigger BG, and more. Unlike other effects plugins that mostly have presets just for the sake of it, Space Rider’s presets are inspiring and may give you fresh perspectives beyond your imagination. 

Next, I also liked the nuanced chorus effects, one of the best I have used, which can be used for subtle to extreme effects. I would use the chorus effect on my synths, vocals, guitars, and other instruments. The preset browser’s search bar lets you look for different effects. For example, you can type “guitar” there to get guitar-based presets. 

Finally, Rider lets you experiment and introduces more movement and animation in your sounds

Overall, this new Waves release is quite impressive and could be a good addition to your plugin arsenal. 

Download Waves Space Rider here

Waves Space Rider Manual

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