Music 101 Software Review

Wavelab Software Review

01/21/2001
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Wavelab by Steinberg

This program is actually really good. You can use multiple real-time effects. It was able to immediately see and use my sonic foundry Direct-X plug-ins. I like the 3d spectrum analyzer. You can fly samples to and from your favorite sampler. I was surprised to find that it was able to recognize my Yamaha CRW 6416S CD-Rewritable Drive without any problem — (SonicFoundry would have you believe that it’s much more of difficult task). Most importantly, everything seemed to work – and it looks really good. Compared to the others that I demo-ed this evening, Wavelab is programmed intelligently. Plus – I’ve been waiting all-night for something with a tone generater — Wavelab gave it to me. The slight problems that I found with Wavelab were GUI and ease-of-use related.

The knobs for the effects are a bit awkward to control. When you’re turning a knob from left to right, you have to push the mouse straight up. After running out of screen, you’re forced to release the button, grab the knob again, and go for another big swooping 1/32nd of a turn. The user needs to have a tighter control (but that would deaden the sensitivity of the knob) or the mouse movement should be from left to right — or in a circular motion.

I was able to apply 6 effects and adjust each real-time with minimal drop outs. A very efficient use of my processing power. Drop outs seemed to last 3-5 msecs. There were strange pops from time to time. I noticed pops when enabling or disabling loop mode. I noticed pops when changing effect parameters on the fly. Sometimes there would be a strange clipping problem when first adjusting a parameter — even when clipping wasn’t really happening. These are all ease-of-use issues that don’t really get in my way unless someone is looking over my shoulder — but if I were “on the clock” I probably wouldn’t be using WaveLab in this way.

So what are the uses of this program?… It’s definitely not a mastering tool. This is a strong small wave editor – good for editing a sample on the fly. I popped over from Cakewalk to edit a sample, dropped the pitched on a kick drum, added some compression — and I’m sure if I had a registered copy I would have been able to save the sound and fly it back into my song. For that purpose, the most impressive attributes were: how fast it opens (much faster than SoundForge); how you can edit effects real-time; and how it actually does the job and doesn’t crash. Sound design?… I’m not sure this would be your main tool for sound design. I like to layer my sounds to create some weird new sound that never existed before. For that purpose – Wavelab isn’t your tool.

So — if I were choosing between SoundForge and WaveLab, I would pick SoundForge; however, – this may be an inexpensive alternative for home studios to keep an eye on.

Wavelab by Steinberg
http://www.steinberg.net
(c) Steinberg Soft & Hardware GmbH 1995-1998

written by Ray Archie – 2001. Expect updates soon! =)

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