About Waves SoundGrid® Technology
Waves SoundGrid® is an innovative networking and processing platform for real-time
professional audio applications.
Ideal for studios, live sound, broadcast, post-production and more, SoundGrid provides
an extremely low-latency environment for high-precision audio processing. Together
with a server, a Mac or PC host computer and an I/O, SoundGrid lets you run, in
real time, a multitude of award-winning reverbs, equalizers, compressors, and other
mixing tools by Waves, as well as any other SoundGrid-compatible third-party plugins.
SoundGrid Key Benefits
- A powerful, cost-effective, all-in-one audio networking and processing solution
- Ideal for studio facilities, live sound, broadcast, post-production and more
- Extremely low-latency platform for Waves and third-party SoundGrid-compatible plugins
- Runs on standard Intel CPUs and 1 Gbps Ethernet networks
- Uses standard computers, switches and servers
- Integrates with analog and digital mixing consoles
- Provides a complete redundancy & recovery system
- Upcoming releases will feature recording capabilities
- Includes network infrastructure for sound installations
- Includes Waves’ SoundGrid
Studio System software
SoundGrid is an Audio-over-Ethernet networking and processing technology developed
by Waves. SoundGrid provides extremely low-latency, high-channel-count audio processing
using standard Intel CPUs and 1 Gbps Ethernet networks for studio, live sound, and
other real-time professional audio applications. Real-time audio processing is performed
on standard Intel-based plugin servers, running a Waves-customized real-time version
Audio Transport and System Control
SoundGrid is a proprietary Ethernet Layer 2 Protocol and EtherType. Audio is transported
and routed between networked I/O devices and is processed on plugin servers connected
to the same network. The I/O device converts SoundGrid packets to standard and proprietary
audio protocol schemes.
Taking advantage of today’s extraordinary CPU power and the memory capabilities
of Native processing, SoundGrid runs on standard CPUs under custom-optimized Linux
OS, resulting in predictability, stability and low latency that were previously
exclusive to dedicated DSP-based systems. Consequently, SoundGrid can run hundreds
of compatible Waves and third-party plugins in real time, as well as extremely CPU-intensive
plugins that are beyond the capabilities of DSP-based systems.
Separate computers form the basis of the SoundGrid processing ability:
- SoundGrid server(s) – CPUs dedicated exclusively to audio processing running a customized
Linux OS that is optimized for audio processing.
- SoundGrid host – a standard Windows or Mac computer that runs the SoundGrid host
application and GUI functions.
This division of labor between an audio processing server for plugin processing
and a host computer for DAW processing is the key to the high performance, stability
and low latency achieved by SoundGrid.
Audio is interfaced with SoundGrid by integrating a SoundGrid-programmed FPGA (Xilinx
Spartan 3) into a mixing console’s I/O ports. The FPGA receives I2S or other audio
signal formats and converts them to the SoundGrid format. The FPGA is also used
to transfer control messages between control nodes external to the SoundGrid network
and the SoundGrid control application.
SoundGrid audio processing, connections, system configuration and monitoring are
controlled by Waves’
SoundGrid Studio System
software (the SoundGrid Studio Application, the
SoundGrid ASIO/Core Audio driver, the eMotion ST mixer, and StudioRack for studio
or MultiRack for live environments).
System configuration data is part of the SoundGrid protocol, allowing users to:
- Connect and route audio between system components
- Configure I/O devices
- Configure plugin servers
- Set system sample rate, block size, and latency
- Monitor and control system and component status
- Set redundancy and recovery modes
SoundGrid systems can be easily configured for optimal effectiveness per channel
count, processing capabilities, routing and sample rate, and are easily expanded
by adding I/Os or processing devices as required.
Third-Party Hardware and Software Compatibility
SoundGrid is a protocol for real-time, low-latency audio processing and networking.
It enables applications such as MultiRack and SoundGrid Studio and DAW plugins such
as StudioRack to share and control I/O devices and servers across a network. It
brings flexibility, quality and economy to work environments ranging from simple
project studios to complex networked recording and broadcast companies.
The SoundGrid infrastructure is open to third-party hardware and software developers
alike. Waves is working closely with additional plugin vendors and several hardware
manufacturers in order to create a wide range of solutions and expand even further
the family of SoundGrid-compatible tools. Committed to this task, Waves invites
additional companies to be part of this revolution. We guarantee to provide the
necessary tools, support, and supervision in order to ensure the high-quality products
that our industry expects and deserves.