Review: Waves MetaFilter

What makes Waves' MetaFilter stand out from the already saturated filter plug-in marketplace? Mo Volans got hands-on and found its analog style sound, amongst other qualities, especially alluring.  

Filter plug-ins aren’t exactly in short supply but when Waves come up with a dedicated solution it’s got to be worth checking out. I recently got hold of the new MetaFilter and have been putting it through its paces in the studio, here’s what I thought…

Interface And Layout

The first thing that struck me about MetaFilter was its excellent interface. Waves have made some very aesthetically pleasing plug-ins in recent years, especially their products that are modelled on specific hardware processors. MetaFilter’s UI seems to follow suite here and really looks like a hardware device. 

The MetaFilter Interface.

The MetaFilter Interface.

The controls are clear and oversized giving you instant access to all available features. There is even a display area that shows the current filter curve, this can also be ‘grabbed’ for accurate tweaking. 

Overall the whole look of MetaFilter is spot on. I literally made sense of the entire plug-in and its operation in under a minute. Enough about the aesthetics let’s have a look at how this thing performs and more importantly, sounds.

Sound And Operation 

The center piece of MetaFilter is (surprise, surprise) a multi-mode filter. It has a decent choice of flavors and each has its own character. This filter can then be modulated by a multi-mode LFO, an envelope follower and an analog style sequencer.

These modulation sources are dialled in with sliders that surround the knobs in the central portion of the interface. Not only does this keep the plug-in compact but it let’s you know exactly what you’re modulating. 

The plug-in in action as an audio unit in Logic Pro X.

The plug-in in action as an audio unit in Logic Pro X.

With the ability to modulate cutoff, resonance and the excellent built-in delay effects with any of the modulation sources, some complex textures can be produced. Add to this a stereo enhancer, bit crusher, smoother and overdrive and you have everything you need for creative processing.

With the ability to modulate cutoff, resonance and the excellent built-in delay effects with any of the modulation sources, some complex textures can be produced. 

So how does MetaFilter sound? At the end of the day this probably isn’t the most extreme filter you can lay your hands on, it doesn't self oscillate and it doesn't scream but it does have a warm tone and during my testing it often produced an analog style saturation.

There are loads of options for modulation here.

There are loads of options for modulation here.

The real money shot here is the combination of modulation options and effects. Most filters don’t have all these options. You may get an LFO or two, but the ability to twist your signal with the MetaFilter is very impressive. I’m also a big fan of anything with a drive circuit as it means you can heat your audio up making it sounds instantly louder and more aggressive if needed.

Thoughts And Conclusion 

Everyone needs a solid filter plug-in in their collection, or even more than one if you are a fan of creative processing. The MetaFilter certainly has its own sound and is almost analog in tone. I would certainly say that applying this effect will add character to your audio. 

If nothing else this will compliment more sterile digital style filters that you already have. Try using it with your DAW’s stock filter effects and see the difference the MetaFilter can make. There is a trial on the Waves website so you can give it a spin before you drop your hard-earned cash on it.

Price: $200

Pros: Solid analog style sound. Good spread of effects and mod options.

Cons: There are plenty of other contenders (both hardware and software) at around this price point. 


Mo has been a professional in the music industry for around 15 years. He has released material with the world's leading record labels and also produces music for TV and Film. Mo is also a prolific writer and is a regular contributor to magazines such as Music Tech, Future Music and EQ magazine. There isn't a piece of music software tha... Read More


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