A/B reference track

Hi there.

What would be the best way to A/B track using wavelab elements 9? I want to be able to have a commercially released track to compare with my original material.

I just got a copy of it and I am trying to figure out the best way to use such technique. Basically I would like to use a mastered reference track so I can better master my own tracks based on my references.

Thank you

Usually I have the tracks I’m mastering within a montage. Then I just open up other commercial tracks I may want compare with in the standard wav editor. They appear as tabs, and I can click to listen to different tabs as I work.

The issue I’ve had is comparing the incoming audio stream (if recording into Wavelab) with existing tracks. I use the input plugin, so I have to unload the input plugin anytime I want to hear a commercial track, or any tracks in my montage. I then have to reload the input plugin to hear the audio coming into Wavelab. It’s a slow process, and during a day long session of mastering, I might literally load and unload the input plugin several hundred times. I’ve shared my concerns with PG here… hopefully he’s able to find a good solution. I’d be perfectly happy just having the ability to “bypass” the input plugin, and to do so with a key command. That would be plenty good enough for me.

Anyway, hopefully this is some help to you.


Thank you for your fast reply.

I am trying it now, but I may be missing some detail. Do I have to bypass the master section all the time when I swap between tracks? This step definitely affect my audition perception.

Basically I have both files, one on montage tab (commercially released track) and one on standard wave editor (unmastered track) but as I add effects on master section, it affect both files.

Last week, a friend showed me his A/B mastering technique using a DAW (Pro Tools). Basically he used the “solo” button to swap between track and had a instantaneous feedback between the reference track and the unmastered track. A single click task.
While he created his mastering chain, he would simply “swap” and balance his unmastered track accorddly. A very effective way without losing perception of loudness.

It would be good if can could just do it in a simply click. Without swap track and bypassing the master section. Hope you understand what I mean.

Thank you

At the lower right of the wave display, there is an icon which toggles the master section on/off for that file only. Checking this will enable you to do what you want. Although you will still need to “select” your reference file.

Or if you want it to be like the Pro Tools example, can’t you just add another track to the montage, put the reference file on the the 2nd track, and then put all your plugins on the 1st track (not in the master section) ? Then you can solo between those 2 tracks.

Edit: the only problem is you can only put 2 plugins on a track in Elements. So probably better to go with Toader and Rat’s suggestion. Although you could add 2 plugins on the track, and 2 plugins on the clip, for a total of 4.

This is an area where there could be major improvement. It’s also part of why I don’t even use WaveLab for analog play/capture.

What we need is a way to route montage tracks so they can bypass both the Montage Output Effects as well as the global master section. This would also come in handy for those unfortunate cases where we have to work in a previously mastered version of a song to a new EP or album master.

I guess I’m fortunate to have a nice studio monitor controller where I can play reference tracks from my Mac and monitor that on digital input #1 of my Avocet, and then have my main DAW be on digital input #2. I can A/B between a mastered song from iTunes or the web or my work in WaveLab with the press of a button.

Another thing WaveLab could really use is a way to send a copy of all original audio files before any clip/track/montage/global master effects to another output for easy A/B comparisons of the original audio and what your processing is.

I could go on and on about routing in WaveLab but instead I just use REAPER for certain tasks. I wouldn’t want to compromise my plugin insertion workflow just for A/B comparison sake.

I’ve never tried this plugin but people seem to like it OK:

Just like rat says… At the lower right corner of a montage or wav edit window, there is a small button under the horizontal zoom wheel for “bypass master section”. This little button is almost the same as the large “bypass master section button” at the top of the master section, EXCEPT, when using it, it remembers the state of the master section for that particular tab… The large bypass button at the top is a universal master section bypass (not per tab).

So use the small bypass button to bypass the master section on the tabs with commercial reference tracks… and leave the master section engaged for your montage.


Thank you all. Most appreciated.
I will give it a go soon I hit the studio tomorrow.

Agree that Wavelab could do with better A/B comparison features. As Justin mentioned, one workaround when using a reference track for A/B comparisons is to use a VST plugin wave player. Might be helpful if Wavelab could include a simple wave player plugin for the playback processing section.