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X32: Waves Channel and Bus Inserts

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***Update 7/8/20*** A reader asked if it was possible to setup the X32 for Waves on Channels 1-30 and still insert on the Main L/R Bus. I figured out how to set that up and prefer that routing setup and recommend using that as it keeps MultiRack/SuperRack patched 1 to 1. You can read how to do that here and read the previous article below the link:

X32: Waves Channel and Bus Inserts Part 2

Synopsis: This Article shows how to setup Waves MultiRack or SuperRack on an X32 to process channels and buses at the same time. Following the instructions below you can setup an X32 with Waves processing on 24 channels as well as inserts including Main Left/Right bus.

Waves MultiRack and SuperRack open the X32/M32 platform up in ways that I don’t think anyone imagined when the X32 was first released. It allows chains of high-end recording studio plugins to be used live on the X32 at a price point so far below other systems. Waves plugins will not make the X32 into a Digico or Avid console, but can definitely help a technician by giving them tools to better help attain professional mixes. There are also many tools that are not available at all on the X32 and Waves makes them available to the operator.

This example is using X32 Firmware Version 4.02, which I highly recommend upgrading to. Also, using the X-USB card that comes with the mixer (or in this case the X-Live card which also include a USB port) we can use Waves natively without having the expense and complexity of a server. Using the native version introduces much more latency than the Server based version and may not work in all situations, especially when there are in ear monitors or redundancy is necessary, but this is a great way to demo the system and use the plugins and see if investing in the Server based system is right for you.

We are going to look at how to use Waves as channel inserts in channels 1-24 while also being able to insert Waves plugins on Buses like the Main Left/Right Bus. This will cause the latency to be doubled, which on a native system could very well be too much for your program, but the routing would be the same for a Soundgrid Server System from Waves which is very low latency. The reason the latency is doubled is because all of the channels have to send and return from Waves SuperRack and that is one round trip. Then the mixer would combine the signals to a bus and inserting a rack from Waves onto that bus is now a second round trip of latency. For this reason as well as phasing issues I would use inserts on all channels being used (limiting to 24) and choosing either inserts on a Left/Right Buss or inserts on Groups. I would not try to put inserts on groups as well as the main bus unless you were separately feeding a matrix, if you are wanting to put inserts on groups then I would not feed the groups to a buss that also has Waves inserted. That would increase the amount of round trips and also could cause signals to feed the Bus at different times if some are delayed by a group and some are not.

We are going to use the new User Input routing patch system introduced in Firmware Version 4 as well as the Aux in Remap to achieve 24 channels of Waves processing as well as Bus Processing– in this example on the Left Right Main Bus. There are many different ways to route sources in the X32 and this is just one example, but I have tried to come up with a system that will be the easiest to keep straight.

***IMPORTANT NOTE- Mute the Aux In Channels 1+2 so you do not create a feedback loop. You could also change their source for instance to Local Inputs to handle playback or something but if you do not change the source then you need to mute them before using the Aux In Remap.***

Input Blocks

Input Blocks get routed like the picture above. The Aux In Remap only allows Selection of Card or User sources starting at 1 so we will use User In 1-6. You could use User In 1-2 and use the others as inserts somewhere else but that would make for routing that is more complex than it is probably worth.

Routing would look like this:

Block 1-8: User In 9-16

Block 9-16: User In 17-24

Block 17-24: User in 25-32

Block 25-32: This can be anything else but we are out of Card channels so you could use Local Sources for talkback or playback or something here.

Aux In: User 1-6 (Aux in will not let you assign anything to Aux 7+8, they are reserved for the USB playback.)

Expansion Card Output

This is where we set the sources that will feed the Expansion Card and ultimately our channels.

Card Out 1-8: Aux 1-6/Mon (This sends the mixer’s inserts tap out to the card input)

Card Out 9-16: This is where you set the source that will feed channels 1-8 on the mixer. In this example it is Local 9-16.

Card Out 17-24: This is where you set the source that will feed channels 9-16 on the mixer. In this example it is AES A1-8.

Card Out 25-32: This is where you set the source that will feed channels 17-24 on the mixer. In this example it is AES A9-16.

Patch Points: AUX

Here we set the Aux Output to be Inserts. Do this for all of the Auxes that will be used as inserts.

Patch Points: User In

Here we set the User In Inputs. Patch them 1 to 1 with Card Inputs all the way up to 32.

Main Left/Right Insert

Page to Home/Config for the Main Left/Right and set the Insert to Aux 1. You can set if the insert is before or after the channel dynamics and eq.

X-Live Card

If you are setting up a Native Waves system and have an X-Live Card in your mixer you will need to set the Playback Config to “USB Interface” and make sure the USB Interface is set to 32in/32out.

Waves Routing/Setup

For this example I setup Waves SuperRack with 24 mono racks that would be the channels, and Rack 25 was a stereo rack.

Starting on Rack 1 I routed the racks like this:

Rack 1: X-Live Mono – Input 9 / Output 9

Rack 2: X-Live Mono – Input 10 / Output 10

Rack 3: X-Live Mono – Input 11 / Output 11

Etc. all the way to:

Rack 25: X-Live Stereo – Input 1+2 / Output 1+2

X32 Input Presets

For redundancy sake you could build a routing backup that bypasses the Waves Inserts in the event there is a problemo so you can quickly switch to an alternate routing system. The X32 allows for routing presets that can be recalled, but an easy alternative is using the Input Recording/Playback settings. You can set one up for the inserts like the article above and setup a backup routing scheme that uses the sources straight from the sources. You would loose some flexibility but if your inputs are straight ahead it would be possible.


There are many creative ways to route sources and outputs with the X32 and this is only one of many. I plan on covering some other routing examples in later articles. Let me know if you have any questions or would like to see another example covered.

9 thoughts on “X32: Waves Channel and Bus Inserts”

  1. Thank you, exactly what I was looking for. I have the Waves card but I’m hoping to use the system with the xLive card. I only actually use a couple of plugins but trying to get something on the front end plus a couple of the channels has been Frustrating

    Great looking site by the way I can’t wait to dig into it

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the feedback. Let me know how your setups works. You would effectively be doubling you latency which is already high for a native setup but varies based on your computer and buffer setting. The nice thing about the Waves Card and Server setup is that the latency is so low to begin with you really don’t have to worry much even doubled. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish the doubled native latency is probably too much.

  2. Hey,

    Would it be possible to explain the routing for 30 inputs channels to waves as well as insert on the LR stereo bus?

    1. Hi Alex, thanks for the question. I was able to figure it out. Look for an update/re-write of this article in the next few days for a walkthrough of your setup or you can subscribe to the newsletter to get updates.


  3. Hi Chris,

    Great walkthroughs.

    Could I use the same theory to insert a piece of outboard on my LR, while keeping multirack on my channels.

    I tried the other day but didn’t have enough TRS>XLR adaptors or cables.



    1. Hi Dave,

      You can run hardware inserts using the Aux in and outs. What you are talking about should actually be more straightforward than what we are doing in this article.

      You are right that it would be similar to the LR insert in this article except using the Aux in and out for your hardware insert instead of the card in/out.

  4. Hey thanks for this! If I understand correctly I would have to route every channel in my channel block (1-8, 9-16, 17-24 or 25-32) through soundgrid even if I only want to process a single channel. Is that correct? Example: I have only a single channel in the 25-32 block I want processed I still have to route each channel through soundgrid? Would this affect the amount of processing power I have on a server based system even if some of the channels are not using processing?

    Can you please explain how to set up reverbs and delays? My confusion is how I would send/return from the channels. I assume it is from a bus. I’d like to use 2 reverbs and 2 inserts on groups. I have a drum group and a percussion group I’d like to process.

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