Waves - Kramer HLS Channel

The Helios mixing desk is a rare classic studio console from the late '60s and '70s with an idiosyncratic upright and sometimes wrap-around design. These custom-built consoles were used by The Rolling Stones for their mobile studio, and The Beatles, who had two in their Apple studios.

Waves' HLS Channel gives us a faithful reproduction of the original's features. With the help of renowned engineer/producer Eddie Kramer, Waves sourced a module from the original Rolling Stones mobile console to base it on.

The original's character was in no small part due to the varying colouration introduced by harmonic distortion in the preamps, and Waves has precisely modelled this, including an adjustable drive knob and the characteristic noise and hum.

On the real thing, the sonic colour imparted would depend on whether you plugged into the line or mic input, and this has been reproduced, with a switch to toggle between the two options. The noise is optional too, and while it's pure nostalgia to hear the hiss increase as you ramp up the gain dial, it's equally satisfying to be able to switch it off when it's not appropriate - noise was always the enemy in the analogue days, after all!