Steinberg has taken Wavelab to a much higher level with the newest version 5.0. Wavelab 2.0 and 3.0 have played a major part in my own editing and mastering efforts here at DMP over the past several years with lots of albums projects made from CD-Rs burned through Wavelab. One of the things that attracted me originally was the fact that I never felt any loss of quality transferring to or from Wavelab, something I could not say for many programs I tested. Stability was another attribute, as these programs almost never crashed. Consequently my confidence with the product grew to a real comfort level with Wavelab. Being a PC guy (not always sure that was a good choice) as the Microsoft operating systems evolved from Windows 95 to Windows9 8 and eventually to XP it was logical for the upgrade to Wavelab 5, which works on the Windows 2000 and XP platform.
One of the really nice things I’ve always liked about Wavelab is the Wave window, and they stuck with it in 5.0. This window consists of two parts, the lower main window where you can perform basic editing operations such as copying, cutting, pasting, moving, deleting and so on, while the upper window lets you look at the whole file which can be as large as an entire album or even more. You can zoom in or out of either window making it easy zero in on a specific section while not loosing track of the bigger picture or where you are, whereas either window can be sized to suit you own needs and preferences.
The Audio Montage window lets you compile and edit multiple clips on one or more tracks again consisting of two parts or panes. The lower one is called the Track View and is where you assemble the clips while the upper pane lets you select 11 tabs at the very top of the window giving you access to lots of different functions.
Other windows include, Basic Audio CD, DVD-Audio Project, CD/DVD Project, CD/DVD Label Editor and a Backup Plan window.
Multichannel surround audio is supported from input to output with up to eight audio channels for recording, editing, processing and mastering.
DVD-Audio authoring is also possible with Playlist editing, on-screen video menu design, picture slide shows, and DVD text along with DVD-Audio burning including video data. User definable down mixing from surround to stereo is doable as well.
Metering with Wavelab 5.0 is the best I’ve seen yet with six different types of meters each with their own separate windows accessible from a meter toolbar that can be placed anywhere on the screen. The level meters alone are worth the price of this program with their ability to read peak and VU at the same time along with a totally scalable set up including ballistics, range, resolution, Zones and color, you can even size and shape the meters to fit anywhere on the screen. Five presets allow for custom meter set-ups to be recalled with a click of the mouse. Pan meters show the difference in level between the left and right channels, this of course only applies to stereo.
The Phase Scope with an accompanying Phase Correlation meter is also adjustable both in shape and size along with peak hold and number of samples to be displayed.
The 60-band Spectrum meter shows a continuous graphical representation of the frequency spectrum from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz in the shape of a bar graph while the Spectrum analyzer uses FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) to display a continuous frequency graph allowing for very precise and detailed real-time frequency analysis.
The Bit meter shows the resolution of the audio being monitored by showing how many bits are used at any one time. This is useful for determining the internal resolution of real time processing which normally operates at 32 bit floating point, and whether or not to use dithering after processing.
Any selected section can be analyzed and have the meters display the average values over the selected range statically.
The Master Section window consists of an Effects pane, which allows you to add and manage up to eight effect processor/plug-ins in series, while a Master Level pane controls the final output level via linear faders. An additional pane lets you add dither (including UV-22) when mixing down to a lower bit resolution.
New file formats supported in Wavelab 5 include WMA Pro 5.1 and 7.1 export, AVI audio import.
Wavelab is an all-in-one solution for high-resolution stereo and multi-channel audio editing, mastering, CD/DVD burning along with first class CD and DVD Audio production.
Retail price for Wavelab 5 is $699 with street prices even less making 5.0 a real bargain (www.steinbergusa.net).