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Music Production

Kramer HLS Channel: A Review of the Waves Audio Plugin

Photograph of the blog post author, Annika Hope

Annika Hope


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The WAVES Kramer HLS Channel is a notable audio plugin that seeks to emulate the sound characteristics of a classic Helios mixing console, known for its distinctive warm sound and presence on numerous historic recordings. 

This emulation is part of WAVES’ collaboration with producer/engineer Eddie Kramer, who is famous for his work with legends like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles. The plugin is designed to bring the unique analog characteristics of the Helios console to digital audio workstations (DAWs), making it accessible to modern producers and engineers.

History of WAVES Audio

Waves Audio

WAVES Audio Ltd., established in 1992, has been at the forefront of the digital audio processing industry. The company’s inception marked a pivotal turn in audio processing, as it transitioned from hardware-dependent to software-based solutions, offering unprecedented flexibility and creativity in music production, mixing, mastering, and sound design. 

WAVES led the way in developing the plugin concept for audio production, introducing the first-ever audio plugin (the Q10 Paragraphic Equalizer) and later developing a comprehensive range of products covering almost every aspect of audio processing. 

Over the years, WAVES has garnered a reputation for quality and innovation, with multiple awards and a user base that spans from bedroom producers to top-tier professional studios.

About the Kramer HLS Channel

Kramer HLS Channel


The exact release date of the Kramer HLS Channel can fluctuate based on updates and versioning, but WAVES first introduced the plugin as part of the Eddie Kramer Collection in the early 2010s. This collection was designed to encapsulate Kramer’s unique approach to audio engineering, leveraging his historical work and insights.


The Kramer HLS Channel is specifically designed to replicate the sound of the Helios console, offering users the ability to apply its characteristic EQ and saturation to their recordings. It is commonly used for adding warmth, depth, and analog texture to digital recordings, suitable for a wide range of applications from vocals and guitars to drums and full mixes. 

The plugin features a simple, intuitive interface with a three-band EQ and a drive control for saturation, allowing users to easily sculpt their sound.


Authentic Sound

The plugin accurately captures the essence of the Helios console’s EQ and preamp characteristics, providing a warm, analog sound.


It can be used on a wide range of sources, enhancing them with the distinctive Helios console warmth and presence, although compared to more comprehensive channel strip plugins, the Kramer HLS Channel focuses more on emulating a specific sound rather than offering a wide range of processing options.

Ease of Use

With a straightforward interface, it allows for quick adjustments without a steep learning curve, although the distinctive coloration may not suit all types of music or projects, making it a more specialized tool in a producer’s arsenal.

CPU Efficiency

The Kramer HLS Channel is optimized for modern production environments, offering professional-grade sound processing without heavy CPU usage.

Free Kramer HLS Download For Music Gateway

We are delighted to share a limited-time free download of the Kramer HLS for Music Gateway users.

The Waves Kramer HLS Channel Strip, the Classic Console Color modelled on the infamous Helios console used by greats like Bowie, Zeppelin, and Hendrix Recordings, can now be yours to download completely FREE from 12 PM BST on the 18th April to 12 PM BST on the 21st April 2024.

The Helios console at London’s Olympic Studios was famous for fat bass, sweet saturation, and high-end presence. Working in close collaboration with legendary producer Eddie Kramer (Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones), HLS Channel models the Helios down to the last detail.

Whether used on individual tracks, buses, or masters, the HLS Channel captures the sparkling quality of the Helios’ world-class EQ, and the behaviour, coloration, and drive of its unique preamps.

Download your FREE Kramer HLS plugin below.

Closing Thoughts on the Kramer HLS Channel


The WAVES Kramer HLS Channel plugin stands out as a remarkable tool for injecting the coveted warmth and presence of the classic Helios console into digital recordings. Its focused design philosophy encapsulates the essence of vintage analog sound while offering the convenience and flexibility of a modern software plugin. 

Despite its specialization and potential limitations in flexibility, its authentic sound and ease of use make it a valuable asset for producers and engineers looking to add character to their tracks. As part of WAVES’ broader portfolio, it exemplifies the company’s commitment to quality and innovation in the field of audio processing.


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