BIAS Peak 3.1

BIAS Peak 3.1 Audio Editor For Mac

Published in SOS January 2003
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Reviews : Software: ALL

BIAS Peak for the Mac is no longer just a well-specified stereo editor: it's also a powerful sound design tool and effects routing package.


Paul White

BIAS Peak is a very well-established stereo audio editing package for the Macintosh computer platform. The last version reviewed in SOS was v2.02, which we covered in June 1999 (www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun99/articles/biaspeak.htm), and it's now evolved to version 3.1. This latest incarnation supports all Apple operating systems from OS 8.6 upwards, including OS X.

An Overview Of Peak

Peak can be used to edit and process final stereo mixes in various audio file formats, including AIFF, WAV and SDII (Regions are supported for SDII and AIFF files and may be exported as separate files where needed), it can be used to prepare an album playlist from which a Red Book-compatible CD may be burnt using Roxio's Toast or Jam programs (a Lite version of Toast is included with Peak) or it may be used as an advanced waveform editor, integrating with other audio recording programs or for editing/creating sampler files. For those working with video, there's also QuickTime Movie and DV (Digital Video) clip support with better than frame-accurate sync of video to audio — when selecting an audio waveform relating to a QuickTime movie or DV clip, the video follows automatically.

Peak's main window, in OS 9 (below) and OS X versions.

Multiple audio documents can be displayed at the same time and there's unlimited undo/redo with a full undo history. SMIDI support is included for transferring samples to and from SMIDI-compatible samplers, which can be used via SCSI (or FireWire-to-SCSI adaptors), and there are also some neat tools unique to Peak for working with loops, such as Loop Surfer, Loop Tuner, Crossfade Loop and Guess Tempo. As with earlier versions of Peak, there's VST plug-in support, but there's also a new effects matrix known as Vbox (see box), and 25 OS X-compatible plug-ins are bundled with Peak from v3.1 onwards. Vbox enables multiple VST plug-ins to be connected in various series/parallel combinations for mastering or multi-effect processing so you get plenty of opportunity to check out the included VST effect and processor plug-ins.

To augment the VST effects, there are also DSP processes for handling fades and other edit functions that are only 'destructive' when saved. Also available in the DSP section are sample-rate conversion, normalisation, audio reverse, gain changes and so on. In addition to these familiar processes, there's the well-specified Pow-R dithering system, a very decent four-band paragraphic EQ, automatic click repair, a few off-the-wall effect-style processes (including Rappify and Reverse Boomerang!) and Convolve, a wonderful sound-design tool that can be used to apply the frequency spectrum of one sound onto another. Tools are also available for high-quality time and pitch manipulation, and to make life easier when creating multisamples and suchlike, Peak can automatically divide files into regions dependent on audio threshold levels. Envelopes can be used for VST plug-in automation, which is again very unusual for stereo editors and not offered by any of Peak's direct competitiors. Thus Peak isn't just an editor but also a useful toolkit for those designing sound effects or sample libraries.

By way of future-proofing, Peak can handle audio bit depths up to 32-bit and sample rates way beyond even the most esoteric rates used in commercial audio production today (up to 10MHz!) — the only real limit is your audio hardware. Peak also offers AAC (MP4) encoding, and for multimedia applications, a powerful batch processor is built in, with the ability to handle high-quality MP3 encoding as well as numerous uncompressed file formats. All the standard editing tasks are performed non-destructively, and any destructive edits are not made permanent until the project is saved.

Many of Peak's main features are paralleled by the somewhat younger Spark/Spark XL from TC Works — particularly the matrix-like Vbox effects routing system, which is quite similar to Spark's FX Machine, and the batch processor — but some of the newer features are unique to Peak. Additions since version 3.0 are full support for Mac OS X (which Spark now also has), a newly designed visual interface that matches Apple's Aqua styling, a new cursor palette, a newly designed and resizable floating Transport window with huge level meters, and functional enhancements to the Contents window. With OS X support has come compatibility with Apple's CoreAudio. Peak's sample-rate conversion quality has been improved and it's now possible to specify which windows float above the screens and which behave normally.

BIAS Peak v3.1 £349
pros
Mature product with well-developed user interface.
Stable and quick to use.
Includes lots of useful tools, both practical and creative.
Runs on OS X as well as OS 8.6 to 9.2.
cons
Toolbar icons could be clearer.
Nudge editor could be improved.
No paper manual.
gh
summary
Peak is one of the top stereo editors available for the Mac, and though it has many conceptual similarities to the younger Spark from TC Works, it also includes a number of unique and powerful features not found elsewhere.

The Peak Ethos

The first stage in working with Peak is to create a new Peak Document, where you can either record an audio stream via your audio interface or import an existing file in AIFF, Sound Designer II, AAC, WAV, Broadcast WAV, QuickTime, Raw, System 7 Sound, Sonic AIFF, Paris, Jam Image, AU and MP3 formats. Any of these may be opened directly by dragging and dropping the file (or a folder containing audio files) onto the Peak application icon. Compressed Audio Documents such as AIFF/AIFC and QuickTime files compressed with MACE 3:1, MACE 6:1, IMA 4:1, QDesign, or Alaw can also be opened in Peak, so there's very little you can't get it to work with. Peak can also open files saved in programs that use split files as opposed to interleaved stereo files, in which case Peak saves new interleaved stereo audio files to disk. Once edited, files may also be saved at a different bit depth, and where the bit depth is being reduced, the Pow-R dithering may be used to preserve as much dynamic range as possible.

The User Interface

Like Spark XL, Wavelab and other stereo editors, Peak is loosely based on the original Sound Designer paradigm where the main window presents an overview of the entire audio file plus a zoomed-in section where editing and region selection is carried out, though the ability to open multiple audio documents at the same time (each with its own undo history) is as as far as I know unique to Peak. Up to 10 audio documents may be triggered and cued for playback by using the number keys 1 to 0 on the Mac keyboard. A further nicety is that you can start playback of each of these using the numeric keypad on the computer keyboard, which could be useful for applications like semi-improvisational live performance or theatre sound effects.

Sections of audio can be selected and then converted to regions, which appear in the Contents window, and it's also easy to silence, delete or insert sections of audio as well as to apply any of the DSP functions including fade-ins, fade-outs and normalisation. Auto Snap to Zero in the Preferences menu forces Peak to move your region selection boundaries to the nearest zero crossing points in the waveform. Peak facilitates the independent processing of left and right channels, but edits can only be made to both parts of a stereo file, so as to keep the two channels in perfect sync.

Clicking in the waveform overview starts playback from that point, with the cursor in the lower zoomed waveform selection reflecting the playback position. Optionally, the overview may be turned off to maximise the viewing size of the waveform. Scroll During Playback must be active in order for the zoomed-in audio waveform to scroll along with the audio playback as the cursor reaches the right-hand edge of the screen. Alternatively, Move Waveform During Play moves the waveform under a stationary cursor during playback. An auditioning feature may also be engaged to apply pre-and post-roll when playing back a selection. Markers can be placed anywhere in an audio file and Peak allows the user to 'tab' through these for easy navigation, while selection boundaries may be modified by Shift-dragging.

When editing a track from one or more takes, the necessary sections are identified as regions and then assembled in a playlist window, as with most other programs of this type. Numerous playlists can be created using the same audio material, and when a project is stored, the audio file and playlist files are saved separately. A finished playlist comprising the individual songs in an album may be exported as a Toast or Jam file for CD burning.

  Hardware Requirements & Installation  
  Those not yet running OS X will need a G3 or G4 Mac running OS 8.6 to 9.2 with at least 96MB of RAM, Sound Manager version 3.4 or later and QuickTime version 4 or later (the QuickTime PowerPlug extension must also be installed). Also needed is CarbonLib 1.4 or later. The G4-optimised version of Peak exploits the G4's Altivec Velocity Engine, but at the other end of the computer scale, Nubus machines are no longer supported since v3.0. The OS X.1 system requirements are a little higher, as at least 128MB RAM is needed, and of course any audio hardware will need an OS X driver that supports CoreAudio. CoreAudio offers lower latency than OS 9.x and supports high bit depths and sample rates directly. The program looks slightly different under OS X and includes more Aqua-like styling than the OS 9.x version.

Peak will run for 14 days after installation before it needs to be authorised, which can be done via the BIAS web site or by post. Once you send in your serial number and authorisation code, you get a code back that unlocks the program. As the OS 9 and OS X versions are effectively separate programs, however, you need to authorise them separately. Preferences, such as key commands, are also not shared between the two versions, which means you'll need to set them up twice if you plan to use both.

 

Tools Of The Trade

One of the main jobs once you get into playlist editing is to ensure the transitions between the regions work both musically and technically. To facilitate this, there's a Nudge Regions window that shows the waveform either side of the edit and enables the crossfade duration to be manipulated graphically. In this window you can also adjust the region start and end times at the transition as the audio loops around by using scroll bars, though I still prefer the system used in both Sound Designer II and Spark, where you can set up nudge buttons to shift by specific time increments. Moreover, there's no scrolling cursor to enable you to tie up what you hear with what you see, and unlike the two programs already mentioned, you can only audition a single transition. Having the ability to hear the region before and after the one being worked on is immensely helpful where the region is very short, as might be the case if you're adding in a single note or beat. You can set pre-roll and post-roll for auditioning the edit, while a Preserve Timing tick box is available to keep the time between region markers fixed. When Preserve Timing is off, both region markers can be moved independently and the waveform display may be zoomed horizontally down to single-sample resolution.

The Nudge editor allows you to fine-tune the transitions between regions.

Further windows are available for the Transport, Toolbar, Cursor Palette, Contents Palette and Movie Window. The Contents Palette shows the audio files being worked on plus all regions, markers and loops. A great many aspects of Peak's appearance can be configured as user preferences, including defining custom keyboard commands and determining which icons are displayed in the toolbar — a feature I very much approve of. The colours used in the waveform display can also be changed, though some options are alarmingly lurid so it may be better to define your own colours using the standard 'colour wheel'.

During the review, I set up most of the key commands I got used to with Sound Designer II, though the extent to which this can be done is limited as Peak has many more functions than Sound Designer II. The number of commands, and hence icons, is huge, but by choosing only the ones you use most regularly to appear in the toolbar, you can keep the program looking uncluttered.

The small Cursor Palette houses four different icons depicting different cursor functions, the default being the ubiquitous arrow. As with many graphics programs, the hand cursor is used for moving things, there's a pencil tool (with various smoothing options) for redrawing sections of the waveform — for example, to smooth out a glitch or click that the automatic click-removal function doesn't recognise — and a magnifying tool for zooming the waveform display resolution. The Esc key on the computer keyboard toggles between these modes. Blending can also be turned on here, forcing a user-definable crossfade to be applied automatically wherever an audio file is edited, so as to avoid audible glitches. The cursor time and amplitude coordinates are displayed in this window as well as certain marker information, tempo in bpm where that's applicable, plus the duration of the current audio selection. Time can be displayed in samples, minutes/seconds/ milliseconds, SMPTE, or Bars and Beats, as set in the preferences. The user can also type in selection lengths in the cursor window as well as a tempo value, to automatically select a complete bar length.

Peak's playlist is completely non-destructive, and boasts excellent integration with CD-burning software such as Roxio's Jam.

Peak includes dynamic scrubbing where you can move the mouse forwards or backwards within the waveform display while the program loops around a short section of audio (which can be set between 10 and 600 milliseconds long) at the cursor position. Tape-style scrubbing is also available when using Mac AV playback, which I personally prefer as it's similar to rocking the tape back and forth over the heads to find a specific event. Unfortunately, tape-style scrubbing is not available when using ASIO hardware.

Special loop markers are available for marking a section (just one per audio file) that is to be repeated or for defining the loop points in a section of audio destined to be used in a sampler. The loop length may be fine-tuned by dragging its start or end markers during loop playback. There's also a new feature called Loop Surfer, which is a pretty clever addition. Loop Surfer is designed to work with music that has a recognisable beat, to help find the correct length of audio to form a perfect loop — and it can work surprisingly well. Not only is this useful for setting up loops to be transferred to a sampler, but if you want to insert or delete a riff or two from a song, Loop Surfer can help you identify the right length of section to edit. In order to avoid abrupt transitions at the loop start/end points, Peak supports crossfade looping, again with user variable time and shape. Where you already know the tempo of the song, Loop Surfer can work directly from that, but if you're not sure, a Tempo Calculator can be used to work it out for you providing the music has a detectable beat. All you have to do is to select a chunk of audio and type in how many beats occur within that selection. Alternatively, Guess Tempo can be used to try to figure out the tempo of a selected section of audio. The estimated tempo in bpm can than be entered directly into the Loop Surfer. The Loop Tuner helps line up the start and end points of a loop (based on the visual waveform display) to produce a glitch-free transition and, because it can be used during playback, you can hear the results of any changes as you make them.

  Vbox  
  Vbox, which is also available as a separate VST plug-in in its own right (for Mac OS and Windows), is a matrix of electronic pigeonholes into which can be slotted VST effects. Once an effect is loaded, it is represented by a box with buttons for Solo, Bypass, Mute and Edit, the latter opening the actual plug-in editing window. There are also meters and gain controls for the input and output levels plus the ability to view multiple plug-in edit windows simultaneously.

Assigning plug-ins to the window is very intuitive and to evict one you don't want, you simply click on the plug-in name, then select 'no effect' from the plug-in list in the usual way. Plug-ins may be moved from one box to another, and as new plug-ins are added, appropriate 'wiring' appears, though this can be changed to some extent to create different configurations by clicking on the green input indicator on the left of the plug-in box. However, as in Spark's FX Machine, there is no facility to pan the outputs of different parallel effects chains to different locations in the stereo field unless you insert a panner plug-in. A complete Vbox matrix can be saved as a user preset, and if the matrix isn't big enough, it can be resized to as large as 99 x 99 boxes.

 

Burning Issues

Peak's playlist is completely non-destructive, so gaps between songs can be applied, fades can be tweaked and song starts and ends can be trimmed without doing anything irrevocable. One you have a playlist you'd like to transfer to CD, Peak will let you burn in either Track At Once or Disc At Once mode using the included version of Toast Lite or the optional Jam. I always use Jam for creating my own Red Book masters; apparently Jam now uses the same burning engine as Toast, but Jam is still required in order to write the necessary ISRC and PQ sub-codes for creating a Red Book master for duplication. Note that Peak may be set up as the designated external waveform editor for Jam via Jam's preferences. Peak's playlist editor can also create a ready-to-burn Jam image file for burning using Jam, and it's possible to save a playlist as a Sound Designer II file for import into Digidesign's Masterlist CD burning software or Emagic's Waveburner/Waveburner Pro.

Yet another very powerful aspect of Peak is that it not only supports VST plug-ins, but also that it enables them to be used within the playlist to provide a form of snapshot effect automation. To do this, the Vbox effects matrix must be set up with the desired VST plug-ins, whereupon a snapshot of the settings relating to a particular playlist entry can be saved. The manual rightly points out, however, that audio glitching can occur if plug-ins are added or removed during playback, so it's usually best to load all the plug-ins you need into Vbox, then use their Mix or Amount controls to determine whether or not they are contributing to a particular snapshot. A Bounce function is available to write the processed playlist to a new audio file.

When using the playlist to set up an album's running order ready for burning via Toast or Jam, it should contain only complete songs, as each region is interpreted as a separate song ID at this stage of the game. That means that any songs requiring edits are best burned to new single audio files before any CD burning takes place. Similarly, if any real-time VST effect processing is being used in the playlist, Peak will automatically bounce the results to a new audio file before burning a CD. Also be aware that any markers you create in a playlist prior to creating a Jam image file will become index points in Jam. Many users need this feature, but from my own experience (I don't use indices, as few players recognise them), markers can get left in by accident after editing operations, resulting in the creation of unwanted indices. For this reason, a Delete or Ignore All Markers button in the playlist window might have made life easier for those not wanting to use indices.

  Different DSP Functions  
  Many of Peak's DSP functions will be familiar to anyone who's made much use of software editors before, but some are unique and many are worthy of special mention. One such is Convolve, which is used to apply the dynamically changing spectral characteristics of one sound onto another by multiplying the frequency spectrum of the clipboard audio with that of the audio you're processing — rather like a vocoder, but with many more frequency bands. Convolution is very handy as a means of creating new sounds by combining existing sounds, but it can also be used in a fairly basic way to apply the sonic characteristics of an audio space onto an audio file. The manual suggests copying a small amount of room noise to the clipboard and using Convolve to process your audio.

Gain Envelope is another function seldom seen in editors other than perhaps Waveburner. Here you draw in a gain envelope in the way most sequencer users will already be familiar with, in order to apply dynamically automated gain changes within a piece of audio. Envelopes can also be used for VST plug-in parameter control — which, again, is something a bit special for a software editor.

Mix causes audio saved to the clipboard to be mixed into the main audio file (handy for adding sound effects) while Modulate multiplies the clipboard audio with the main audio files to produce a ring-modulator like effect — not recommended while mastering! Yet another esoteric function is the Phase Vocoder, where it's possible to change the pitch of a selected section of audio. Phase vocoding is somewhat different to conventional pitch-shifting and involves FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms). As I understand the process, it works by analysing the frequency content of the audio selection and then effectively resynthesizing it using a vast number of oscillators, which means pitch changes can be made without the usual pitch-shifter warbling, though relatively non-complex sounds fare better than complex mixes. Phase vocoding only appears to be available when using 16-bit audio files — there's no option to convert 24-bit files to 16-bit automatically when phase vocoding, so this would have to be done manually.

While most of Peak's features are there to optimise audio quality, Rappify uses heavy dynamic filtering to create the impression of a nightclub sound system heard through a wall! Again, this is not often used in mastering. Reverse Boomerang mixes a reversed copy of an audio selection with itself, producing exactly the result you'd expect.

Returning rapidly to the subject of quality, Repair Click attempts to identify sharp spikes or clicks and replace them with data 'guessed' from what's going on either side of the click. When fixing individual clicks, the selection can be no more than 100 samples long, but there's also a semi-automatic process that works through the file locating each successive click — almost like a manual search-and-replace function in a word processor. Repair Clicks is particularly good at fixing short digital clicks but needs more care when used with vinyl records and suchlike, because vinyl clicks aren't as easy to identify as digital clicks.

 

Peak Of Perfection?

Before I start to get judgemental, I have to say that it's very hard to evaluate a software package fairly if it's not the one you generally use for the job, as all your expectations are influenced by what you're used to. For most serious editing work, I still use an antiquated version of Sound Designer II, simply because I find it very fast to work with. Like relative newcomer Spark XL, BIAS Peak is now a very sophisticated program with a host of features augmenting its core audio editing capabilities, but its success or otherwise must still rest on the quality and usability of that editing core. I tested Peak on both OS 9.2 and OS X and found both versions to be very stable, which is of course the first essential for any program with professional aspirations.

The only apparent bug I found was a very weird graphic anomaly under OS 9, which I've yet to explain. When I used the Contents palette on my main monitor, it worked perfectly — when the triangle by the file name is clicked, the selected regions fall down beneath it in traditional 'folder' style. However, if I tried to do the same thing with Contents dragged over to my second monitor, the regions could not be displayed. This is the only time I have ever experienced this kind of weirdness when using a second monitor. On an ergonomic note, I found that many of the icons were too small and too vague in their meaning for my liking (and the lack of icon colour doesn't help), but being able to customise which icons appear in the toolbar and which key combinations activate the various function helps a lot. I couldn't see an obvious way of creating and storing different toolbars for different tasks as the toolbar settings are stored as preferences, but this could be a useful future addition.

Peak 3.1 comes with 25 OS X-compatible plug-ins, including the "mastering quality" four-band Freq EQ.

The business of selecting regions and positioning markers is fast and largely intuitive, though I prefer the simpler method of marker deletion where you just drag unwanted markers off the page or into a bin as it means you don't have to remember another key combination (it's funny how you buy computers to remember stuff for you, but all too often you end up remembering stuff for them!). Similarly, the way you can start and stop audio anywhere in the overview window is well implemented, but having no tape-style scrubbing when working with an ASIO audio interface is a bit restrictive given that most serious users running under OS 9 will be using ASIO.

Deleting sections of audio where you want the cut ends to be joined up is handled very effectively without clicks or glitches, and because nothing is made permanent until the file is saved, multiple levels of undo are available if you need them. This 'delete and join' mode is extremely useful for dialogue editing, and is one thing Sound Designer II handles very badly as it insists on saving the edited file after every edit!

Dragging regions from the Contents palette into a new playlist is easy, as is setting up pre- and post-roll times to audition transitions. As with Sound Designer II and Spark XL, there's a crossfade audition window for fine-tuning transitions between regions, but I found the lack of discrete nudge values to be a little frustrating (perhaps because it's what I'm used to) and would have also preferred a moving time cursor. I've also mentioned that the ability to audition two consecutive transitions at the same time could be useful when editing in very small sections, but to be fair, Peak's adopted system will produce quick and accurate results in most situations. I found there to be more than enough control over fade time and shape, both for crossfades and fade-in, fade-out operations, so as a general-purpose editing tool, Peak comes out extremely well on most counts.

All the familiar DSP functions work as expected, but the more ambitious sound-design functions such as Convolve are very welcome additions when you're using Peak to bend and shape new sounds rather than for song editing. For me, the most fun to be had with Convolve is when melding disparate sounds to create something abstract and new. Even convolving one vocal phrase with another in the same song produces fascinating and quite unworldly results. It's also worth noting that the declicking function can work extremely well, though in some instances it will simply not recognise a click, in which case you still have the option to draw it out manually as in many other editing programs. The drawing tool has its own smoothing options so in most cases short 'problem areas' can be removed without leaving an audible glitch.

The inclusion of looping tools will be welcomed by anyone preparing rhythm loops for use in samplers, but tools such as the Loop Surfer can also be useful in traditional editing roles, for example, to identify a piece of audio to be cut or copied without breaking the rhythmic flow of the music. In most cases, these tools work extraordinarily well and indeed, it's surprising to see tools this effective included in what is really a general-purpose audio package. On the whole I was impressed with the way Peak handled VST plug-ins, though I witnessed some glitching and playback stutters when trying to configure effects as the audio was playing. I was also unsuccessful in getting Vbox to load a Spark FX Machine plug-in — even an empty one. This was the only thing I found guaranteed to crash Peak.

In concept, Vbox is in fact very similar to Spark's FX Machine and shares the same limitation in that there's no way to pan parallel sound streams other than by inserting a dedicated panner plug-in. Having a pan control in each output stream would have been easier. Being able to set up snapshots of VST plug-in settings for each item in a playlist is also potentially very useful for mastering and remixing. Apparently so many users lobbied BIAS for this feature that they had to put it in!

Peak's Batch File Processor is pretty comprehensive and is designed to be as easy to use as possible, at least when carrying out routine tasks. Once again, as I use this type of program mainly for track and album editing, batch conversion is not something I need a lot, but there are some jobs, such as preparing audio for the Internet, where it could save a lot of time and frustration.

  Batch Processing  
  Peak's Batch File Processor allows several processes or conversions to be applied to a number of different audio files without the user having to be in attendance. This includes the application of plug-ins — as far as Peak is concerned, a VST plug-in is simply one more operation to apply.

The Batch File Processor has three main sections: Input, Process and Save Changes, where Process looks after the sequence of processes to be applied. Once configured, audio files (or folders of audio files) may be dragged to Peak's icon for automatic processing. The Batch Processor includes support for Apple Events, allowing large libraries of audio files to be managed using database programs such as Filemaker Pro.

 

Conclusions

As a stereo editor, Peak checks out very well in most departments. I feel the Nudge editor could do with a few minor improvements and I'd like to see the option of larger, coloured icons in the toolbar, but in most respects, the program operates in a smooth and workmanlike way. More importantly, although some aspects of the program work slightly differently to the way I'm used to, I found I could do all the basic editing I needed without having to consult the manual. This is just as well, as BIAS supply it as a PDF file rather than on paper. PDF manuals are all well and good, but you need to print them out for them to be of any real use, and that can take up to four times as much paper (single-sided using A4 sheets) than a proper printed manual would have done in the first place.

SMDI support is one function I wouldn't use as I have abandoned all my hardware samplers in favour of software sampling, but although SMDI is slow via MIDI, it is quite fast when using SCSI. Potential OS X users should note that relatively few plug-ins yet work with OS X though 25 OS X-compatible VST plug-ins are included with Peak 3.1. However, for the purpose of this review, I updated to version 3.1 from version 3.0 via the BIAS web site and at the time, the updated plug-ins weren't included on the on-line updater so I couldn't try them all under OS X. I also asked BIAS what their take was on Apple Audio Units as a plug-in format. Their reply was: "Audio Unit support in Peak will certainly make sense when there are commercially available Audio Unit plug-ins and Apple have resolved some of the acknowledged technical issues that still remain with respect to Audio Units with custom GUIs (graphic user interfaces)."

Outside the core editing framework, the Vbox effects matrix and the additional 'creative' DSP processes stand out most for me, closely followed by the looping tools, but everywhere you look, there are more tools tucked away in corners just waiting for you to come up with a need to use them. Peak really is a king-size stereo toolkit, not just an editor, but I'm glad to say that the functionality of the stereo editor hasn't been compromised by the addition of all these extra features — most of which stay politely out of the way unless their services are called upon.

I'm not going to tell you Peak is perfect because there are still areas that could be improved, but it is a powerful, stable and largely intuitive editing program with a lot of additional useful features, many of which are unique.

 information
Peak £349; Vbox £89. Prices include VAT.
SCV London +44 (0)20 8418 0778.
+44 (0)20 8418 0624.
Click here to email
www.scvlondon.co.uk
www.bias-inc.com

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