Waves SoundGrid
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 Technology
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 of Linux.
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.
Audio Processing
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 Interfacing
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.
Control Software
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
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.
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