July 17, 2024

Battle of the Waves Noise Reduction Plugins – Waves CLARITY Vx VS. Waves NS1, W43, & WNS

Waves Clarity Vx and Clarity Vx Pro are making waves in the pro audio community for it’s ease of use and ability to totally clean and audio track with the simple turn of a knob. But what about the other Waves noise reduction plugins? Is there still a use for Waves NS1, W43, and WNS? We’ll, we put them all to the test, and you can see and hear for yourself in the video below.

Waves Clarity Vx & Pro

Waves Clarity Vx and Clarity Vx Pro are the new flagship noise reduction plugins from Waves. Based on Waves neural networks, they use A.I. to remove noise from your audio tracks. What use to take hours, now takes seconds, and the results are impressive!

Waves Clarity Vx is able to remove noise and completely clean a track.

One thing to note is that Clarity Vx and Clarity Vx Pro are only meant for VOCAL tracks – be it dialog or singing. If you are trying to de-noise a non-voice track, then you’ll want to use one of the other plugins.

But, what about the other Waves noise reduction plugins? Do NS1, W43, and WNS still have a place in your studio? Does the technology behind Clarity Vx render these plugins obsolete?

(SPOILER: Clarity Vx does NOT win every battle)

Waves NS1

Waves NS1 is a simple to use, single fader noise suppression plugin. Like Clarity Vx, it automatically adapts to the incoming signal and intelligently differentiates between voice and background noise.

Waves W43

Waves W43 is based on the famous Dolby CAT 43 noise reduction hardware. Unlike the other plugins, W43 is not meant to totally clean a track, it’s only meant for a small amount of reduction while keeping the track sounding natural.

Waves WNS

Waves WNS Noise Suppressor was the previous flagship noise reduction plugin from Waves. It has 6 adjustable bands, and a large range of reduction to clean up your tracks just the way you want.

When it’s time to clean your podcast audio, what will you reach for? When you need to clean up your voice track for a new YouTube video, which one should you choose? When you are filming on location and your dialogue tracks are flush with background noise, which plugin will you use? When you are recording a singer in a bedroom studio and the ambience bleeds into the vocal, which noise reduction plugin should you reach for?

Those are the questions we set out to answer in the video below.

We’ll cover a wide variety of background noise. Everything from removing simple computer noise or air conditioner noise – to removing extreme traffic noise and construction noise.

NOTE: Many of these samples have extremely loud background noise. Much louder than you will usually have. In order for people to clearly hear the background noise, we recorded it in exaggerated circumstances. All of the plugins will perform proportionally better the quieter the background noise is – but the winner of each round will still be the same.



Which noise reduction plugin performed best in your opinion?

I think it’s pretty clear that Clarity Vx is an indispensable tool for anyone who works with audio. But the other plugins also performed well on many of the samples. One thing to keep in mind is that Clarity Vx can use quiet a bit of CPU power, and the others do not use nearly as much and are near zero latency, which may influence your choice depending on what you are attempting to do.

While Clarity Vx and Clarity Vx Pro won most of the battles, NS1 and WNS were better at a few of the samples. And, W43 actually did better than NS1 in one of the battles.


Waves Clarity Vx/Pro was the clear overall winner. It’s ability to totally clean a track, not just reduce it, is quiet amazing. However, NS1, and WNS were simply better at a couple of the samples, and WNS did just as good as Clarity Vx on a couple of samples – and used less CPU power.

So while Clarity Vx or Clarity Vx Pro would be the first noise reduction plugin I would reach for – I would not be without NS1 or WNS. You could probably do without W43, unless you want something that will emulate the famous CAT 43 hardware, control noise (not remove it), and allow you to run multiple instances without killing your CPU.

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