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Steinberg WaveLab Pro 11

Audio Editing Software By John Walden
Published February 2022

Steinberg WaveLab Pro 11

The WaveLab department at Steinberg have been very busy indeed...

While WaveLab is well‑established as leading audio editing software, audio formats and delivery platforms are constantly evolving, as are the demands placed by users on their software tools. Thankfully for WaveLab’s loyal following, it would appear that Steinberg are not resting on their laurels, on paper at least; WaveLab Pro 11 looks like it delivers a bumper bundle of new and improved features.

This follows some impressive advances in the two most recent iterations of SpectraLayers Pro and, if your audio production work happens to span the broad catalogue of Steinberg applications, I think it is a good thing to see both WaveLab and SpectraLayers getting their share of the development attention. So, with a long list of ‘new for 11’ with this WaveLab Pro upgrade, let’s get started.

Ride The Wave

Over the 25 or so years of WaveLab existence, a diverse user base have joined the ride. This includes musicians, audio editors in traditional radio, TV and film broadcasting, mastering engineers, audio analysis and audio forensics. However, the needs of those users are always changing while, at the same time, the potential user base has expanded.

For example, for those working in film, the ability to work with an ever‑expanding set of multichannel audio formats is important. For mastering engineers (or musicians doing their own mastering), audio analysis and options for meeting the different loudness standards set by a diverse suite of streaming platforms have become critical over recent years. Independent podcast producers represent a massive new potential user base and need a software environment that suits their workflow and provides export formats targeted to their different broadcast platforms.

Existing WaveLab users can be reassured that Steinberg have not reinvented the wheel with Pro 11 and its core features and major workflows (covered in many previous SOS reviews) remain intact. The ‘new and improved’ in v11 contains an interesting mix of things that will appeal long‑standing and potentially new users alike; I’ll focus on these new features here.

Improve Your Vision

WaveLab has always provided a range of different audio metering/analysis tools but Steinberg added a dedicated plug‑in for just this job in Cubase Pro 11 — SuperVision — and that plug‑in is now also available to WaveLab Pro users. While SuperVision undoubtedly duplicates some metering/analysis options that were already part of the WaveLab feature set, it does offer a number of attractive workflow advantages.

Steinberg’s SuperVision arrives in WaveLab and includes a new VU meter module.Steinberg’s SuperVision arrives in WaveLab and includes a new VU meter module.

For example, the layout is highly customisable, with up to nine individual metering/analysis modules (from the 27 module types available) being displayed within a single instance. In addition, if you have a multi‑screen host system, placing SuperVision on its own dedicated display means you always have your analysis tools available. And, as you can use multiple instances of SuperVision, you can easily meter before/after a key audio processor (or processor chain) for feedback on the changes produced.

The modules themselves provide a very broad range of options from simple level metering, various phase displays, a range of different spectrum displays and a number of different loudness options. All the modules have their own Settings panel for fine‑tuning their behaviour. While there is plenty of overlap between the modules available in Cubase and those now found in WaveLab, there are also some differences. For example, WaveLab’s SuperVision includes a ‘Netflix’ Loudness module and, most welcome, a VU meter module. Hopefully, the latter will reach the Cubase SuperVision module list shortly. Anyway, SuperVision is something that every WaveLab user could potentially benefit from so it’s an addition that will have a very wide appeal.

Plug The Gap

There are eight further ‘new to WaveLab’ plug‑ins. Of these, five are also arriving from Cubase; Imager (multiband stereo image adjustment), Frequency 2 (multiband dynamic EQ), Squasher (multiband dynamics with both downwards and upwards compression), Quadrafuzz v2 (multiband saturation/distortion) and MixConvert V6. I covered the first three of these in the Cubase Pro 11 review, while Quadrafuzz v2 has been available in Cubase for some time. Those involved with mastering will find them all to be useful additions, although WaveLab’s Master Rig — which is excellent — already offers modules that provide much of the same processing capabilities. MixConvert V6 adds a further option for those needing to monitor a surround audio project on a stereo playback system. WaveLab already has a number of options to achieve this in the Playback Processing panel of the Master Section, but MixConvert provides greater flexibility.

Of the three totally new plug‑ins, one is also aimed at multichannel audio; the impressive‑looking AmbiDecoder. While I didn’t have the chance to fully test it, it will convert a first, second or third order Ambisonics mix to an HRTF‑based binaural sound for headphones or a speaker configuration.

New reverb reduction plug‑in DeReverb provides a flexible means of reducing ambience in an existing recording.New reverb reduction plug‑in DeReverb provides a flexible means of reducing ambience in an existing recording.

The final two...

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