With stereo files, an identical region is automatically created in the other channel. You can either treat the selected regions with off-line Surgical processing, or real-time Master Section processing.
Surgical processing offers a variety of filtering alternatives. Damp is generally used to reduce levels, with a choice of band-pass, low-pass and high-pass filter options to reduce various unwanted parts of a region. Blur Peaks is easy to understand in the graphic sense, and is a powerful tool when you want to remove certain spectral parts of a sound. Dispersion smears sounds so they are less obvious in the mix, without removing them and leaving a hole in the spectrum, while the four Fade options are great for reducing the impact of transients or gradually changing certain spectral aspects of a region.
There are also copious Copy operations that let you transfer a Source to a Destination region, so you can, for instance, replace a bum note with a good one from another part of the song. By working with limited frequency ranges you can also remove or replace sounds like a few seconds of feedback in a rock concert or a sneeze during a live classical concert. The copious and informative PDF manual provides plenty of operational details, although you'll need skill and a lot of practice to perform such miracles invisibly.
This is a well-featured and highly regarded editor, but has nothing directly comparable to the new Loudness Envelope and Spectral Display or Spectral Editing tools in Wavelab 6. The new version 2 of Adobe's Audition formerly Cool Edit Pro, as reviewed in SOS July , however, does include a spectral display mode, and is also a widely used and powerful piece of software. Master Section Processing With Master Section processing you can treat the whole file in real time through a chain of up to eight plug-ins.
These plug-ins are either fed from a frequency spectrum defined by the region you select, or from the remainder of the frequency spectrum, while the non-effected part of the spectrum can either be mixed in at the output of the Master Section, or discarded altogether for more radical treatments. The latter mode is also useful when fine-tuning the effected part prior to recombining the two. Tucked away in the Time-stretch and Pitch-shift windows is a new set of DIRAC processing algorithms, providing arguably the cleanest results available anywhere.
While Surgical processing is one of the most sophisticated tools there is for audio restoration, Master Section processing offers a huge range of new creative options, such as frequency-selective reverb, flanging and chorus, auto-panning of different parts of the spectrum and narrow-band distortion of drum loops.
By the time I tried out spectrally limited delays and echoes my head was reeling with new possibilities. Occasionally the selected and non-selected parts got slightly out of sync after removing complex plug-ins from the chain in real time, but I'm happy to forgive such a small bug in the delay compensation, especially as clicking on the Play button pulled everything back together perfectly. It shows loudness over time in various predefined frequency bands, and up to four curves can be chosen from Main overall , low-pass, band-pass and high-pass.
By studying them you can learn a lot about frequency distribution through a song, or the amount of compression used. However, recalculation of the display for a complete track can take a long time, even if you're just resizing or zooming the window, so if you need to do this, switch back to Wave display first.
The Audio Analysis menu options now also include a Loudness Distribution window that plots the most frequent, rather than the average, loudness level in any file. On this display, most modern finished songs appear as a single horizontal lobe, but unaccompanied vocals and classical tracks display significantly wider or more numerous lobes, indicating a far greater variation in dynamics. You can store up to three different results to compare different tracks.
It may not look impressive, but the new Crystal sample-rate conversion plug-in offers significantly more transparent results than previous algorithms, and also shows the new interface sported by generic plug-ins. Another related function is the off-line Level Envelope processor that lets you apply a user-defined envelope to any or all of your file.
This is far more versatile than the previous Fade processes, especially with its 'smooth envelope' function that turns lines into curves. Yet another enveloping function that I found particularly useful is the Effect Morphing: I also found this a very useful way to avoid clicks when you want to process only part of a file.
The previous Normalise process has become Level Normaliser, and is joined by Loudness Normaliser, which works with RMS levels to set a loudness and is thus far more appropriate than the conventional peak level adjustment when you're trying to make individual tracks sit in an album context.
There are also many smaller additions and improvements that prove really helpful. Here are some that particularly appealed to me: Wavelab has always had a comprehensive Key Commands section allowing you to assign keyboard shortcuts to most operations, but this has now been extended to include MIDI command options, which makes it a lot easier to couple Wavelab up to MIDI controllers or sync it to other applications.
The Rename File function can now automatically update any references to the file in all other open documents, and rename any associated peak and marker files. This is particularly handy if you want to rename an individual track used in one or more Montages, since in the past the next time you opened them you'd get 'file not found' problems. There's also a Batch file-renaming tool with more comprehensive features. The old Wave Scope oscilloscope display has been renamed Oscilloscope and been augmented by a new Waveform Scope that displays a real-time drawing of the audio signal being monitored — anyone who has ever used a high-persistence storage 'scope will know exactly what to expect, and it's a handy way to monitor an in-progress recording to check that everything's OK.
Generic plug-ins without a dedicated graphic interface finally appear with a full set of slider controls, rather than the previous rather primitive parameter pages and a single rotary knob. The new Edit Folders dialogue lets you specify all the document, work and temporary folders used by Wavelab, while graphic peak files can now be stored separately from the audio files. New Treatments Previous Wavelab versions offered the same sample-rate conversion algorithms as Cubase and Nuendo, but Wavelab 6 includes a new SRC Crystal Resampler that's gaining much praise for its conversion accuracy — it's significantly more transparent, and roughly on a par with Voxengo's highly acclaimed rBrain Pro.
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Wavelab 's latest tricks include a revolutionary Spectrum Editor, which allows you to identify problem areas in your material visually before applying extremely precise restoration processes. Since its first release in , Philippe Goutier's Wavelab application has jumped to the next major revision every couple of years. Each new version has managed to add numerous new features and improvements without sacrificing stability or performance. Given that Wavelab 5 already included more features than many musicians could shake a stick at, some may have wondered if there were any more new features that could possibly be added. Wavelab 6 proves them wrong, but one new addition may not be as welcome as the others. For the first time ever, Wavelab is protected by a USB dongle.