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Steinberg WaveLab Pro 12

Audio Editing Software By John Walden
Published June 2024

Steinberg WaveLab Pro 12

Steinberg introduce a huge number of enhancements and refinements to their flagship audio editing and mastering platform.

Steinberg’s WaveLab has been with us for nearly 30 years. For the initial release, designer and developer Philippe Goutier’s intention was to provide a powerful audio editor platform for those working with the new (at the time) sampler technology. However, over subsequent releases, WaveLab’s feature list has adapted to support a wide range of additional application areas and the software now provides a very sophisticated cross‑platform (macOS and Windows) audio editing and mastering suite.

Of course, many current DAWs now include their own audio editing toolsets, and there are plenty of dedicated options for audio mastering, some of which are highly automated. Outside of WaveLab’s established professional user base, therefore, might some potential new users need convincing that they actually need a product like WaveLab Pro 12? Well, Steinberg are obviously keen to try, as this release offers an extensive list of new additions and refinements to what was already a substantial, feature‑rich application.

So, what’s new and tempting? Well, I can’t fill the whole issue of SOS, so I’ll focus here on my personal picks from the Pro 12 headlines. Time to enter the ’Lab...

Assisted Management

WaveLab Pro 12 brings a whole host of workflow refinements. I’ll touch on some more of these later but two are worth mentioning from the off: the new Startup Assistant and some high‑level project management options.

The Startup Assistant concept will be familiar to Cubase users. Automatically popping open when you launch WaveLab, it provides instant and easy access to any recently used Projects, Audio Montages, Audio Editor files or Batch Processing tasks, as well as your templates, audio connection settings, software documentation and online resources. Personally, I find this a very useful time‑saver, but it can be deactivated if you prefer, or opened manually from the File menu at any time.

Enabled by some changes to the underlying project file structures, this release also brings some very welcome project management enhancements. The obvious highlight is the ability to create a backup of an entire Project, or a specific Audio Montage, to a new, consolidated, folder or to a ZIP archive. This is immensely useful as it ensures that copies of all the individual media files used with the Project or Montage are gathered together in a single location. Whether for data security, or to move a WaveLab session to another computer system, this brings both peace of mind and a streamlined workflow.

Differentiation & Integration

While there are clearly differences between the primary functions of WaveLab and your typical DAW, close integration between these two platforms is undoubtedly desirable. WaveLab 12 brings two significant refinements on this front. First, in both the Pro and Elements versions, there are new options to drag and drop or copy/paste audio selections from WaveLab to other applications. What’s more, this can be done with, or without, effects applied to the selected audio within WaveLab.

Second, WaveLab Pro 12 can now be used via ARA within a suitable host, giving you access to WaveLab’s sophisticated audio editing toolset directly within your DAW. Support for Cubase 13, Nuendo 13, Reaper 7 and Studio One 6.5 are already approved and, while it ought to be expected, my experience in testing this within Cubase Pro 13 was very smooth.

It Might Get Loud

While most of the audio world is thankfully past the worst excesses of the loudness wars, creating appropriate loudness properties within an audio project can still be a complex task. WaveLab Pro 12 brings a number of significant new and refined options on this front.

First, new numerical and visual loudness analysis tools are available for both audio files and Montages under the Analyze tab. As...

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