A suggestion to streamline some aspects of Wavelab

Philippe,

I’ve been using Wavelab happily for more than two decades. Thank you! There are a few aspects in the organization/architecture of Wavelab 10 I would like to see further streamlined (centralized, simplified). Here they are expressed in concrete steps:

  1. Move away from a generic conception of project, i.e. a default template wherein a user performs (often times) unrelated tasks: projects should be specific, starting Wavelab should ask what specific project to open, open that project and save to that project.

  2. Make the audio montage the central operational mode of Wavelab by getting rid of the audio file editor as a stand-alone editor (see 3.1).

3.1. Move the audio file editor to the audio montage and treat it as a sub-window.

3.2. Move the functionality of the master section having to do with the audio file editor to the clip/track inspector.

4.1. Get rid of the master section as a distinct stage in the signal path (see 4.2), the last stage being that of the audio montage.

4.2. Use the interface of the master section to display and control the audio montage output stage.

The end result should be Wavelab with the audio montage at its center as a single completely reproducible working environment and the project (file+folder) as a user-defined location of project data consolidation and management.

4.2: or the interface of the montage output could stay where it is (in the inspector) and the master section strip reserved solely for monitoring.

That may be nice for your workflow, but for me (and I guess many others) these suggestions would break the workflow that is perfect for the types of jobs I do in Wavelab. And I use the montage as well as the audio file editor, but do not always have a need for the montage.

Same here. I like the way WL is currently setup. I understand that others have different ways of working but not all of us work the same way. FWIW

I do, too.

In that case, you’d use the audio montage only as the audio file editor.

Can you be more specific, what would break what?

The motivation for making those suggestions goes beyond the immediate concerns of one’s individual workflow. Wavelab constitutes a multi-stage signal path which it has no simple and straightforward way of saving in a single file. This I consider to be an architectural flaw in need of correction. And this is what the suggestions are meant to address.

I have no survey, but my feeling, from all the messages are read, is that maybe 40% of all WaveLab users are not using the montage, but are using the audio editor alone.
And among people using the montage extensively, it’s common that many users have more than one montage opened at a time.

WaveLab is oriented as a “rendering machine”… the result are audio files (CD sometimes), hence audio file are really assets on their own, deserving their own editor, and should not only be a sub-window of a montage, like it is usually the case with DAWs.

I like a parallel with photoshop: photoshop produces pictures (// audio files), and is using complex project with picture layers (// audio montages).

Being aware of all this, this is what the concept of file groups has appeared in WaveLab 9.0. You can sort your projects in various custom groups, eg. one file group for one or more montage, another for audio files, another for batch processors…
And if you like the concept of montage sub-windows, you can split the main view in 2 (provided you have a large screen), with one montage and one audio file visible at the same time.

Some of that 40% is likely to have been determined by the self-fulfilling prophecy of the de facto way Wavelab is structured now as two relatively autonomous editors.

That does not have to change (as each montage would have its own output stage and nothing past it). The main point is to have the audio montage encompass the complete audio path of Wavelab so it’s 100% re-callable with no processing stages outside its scope.

How does being a sub-widow of a montage make the audio wave editor not “their own editor?”

Feature-wise, the audio wave editor would stay intact, what would change is how it is accessed.

The destructive and non-destructive types of editing would become two layers of the same (audio montage) editor, instead of having two stand-alone editors. And the point of this, again, is to have a working environment that encompasses the full audio path of Wavelab with nothing left out and nothing appended.

You’re thinking data management and UI presentation. That is not what I’m getting at. I’m addressing the structural fragmentation of the audio path in Wavelab. Thus my remark:

To be fair - I have tackled the “montage” at least 10 times in the last 5 years and it still never sticks. I count myself as a fast and furious learner but this thing simply does not register with me and I do envy those that “get it”.

I do use the Montage for occasional CD mixes etc - but let the standard CD template do all the work.

That said - if I was forced into the “montage” (which is no more than a poor mans multi-track but with extra clunky and unintuitive added as features) - that would end my days in WL permanently.

VP

Especially your suggestion to get rid of the Master Section would cause me having issues. I use the master section as it was intended: to have processing set and available for several audio files AND montages that are open in several tab windows.

Since in current Wavelab users that have no need for an overall Master Section can simply ignore it without any consequence (because we have the Master Output effects in montages), I see no reason to get rid of it.

All good and well, saying these suggestions are for the greater good and going beyond concerns for individual workflow, but they DO break my workflow.

Bottom line: You already have what you need if you only want to use the montage. The suggestions you make don’t add to Wavelab, they only take away from it.

I have to agree with this point of view.

@Aivaras
Wavelab’s audio montage can already be used as a single ‘completely reproducible working environment’.

Even if that were true, why would you want to reduce software with two autonomous editors to one editor? :confused: Each of these editors is streamlined for a specific purpose and there’s no obligation to use the Audio editor.

And about the Master section, if you don’t need the Master section you can bypass it (by clicking on its power button) and also remove it from view (Alt+F9).

In my opinion, Wavelab is more powerful and adaptable than the Audio montage alone (even though the audio montage is already enough for many users). Remember there are also batch processing, DVD audio and Podcast project types and you can store all these different file types under a file group tab, which is convenient for grouping everything to do with a project in the same place. You also have global project files. I think one of Wavelab’s greatest strenghths is its flexibility. It can be adapted to suit your particular purpose.

The following threads might give you an idea of the variations in different people’s workflows:
https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=244&t=163907
https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=297&t=177621

That’s your view, I guess - but for me it is completely intuitive, and an easier way of working than the file editor.

In particular, the playback section is generally a global requirement - things like speaker layout and room compensation need a single place to go.

And the montage output section can’t sensibly replace even the processing part of the master section until it correctly handles plugins for multichannel montages (which currently it doesn’t).

Paul

Understood - but this is a interesting statement (From PG):

“I have no survey, but my feeling, from all the messages are read, is that maybe 40% of all WaveLab users are not using the montage.”

It’s if that intuitive and easy - it gives me great comfort knowing that it’s not just me.

VP

A track in Wave Lab may be worth a dozen or more tracks in another DAW because of Wave Lab’s capacity to process individual clips in real-time.

“Extra clunky and unintuitive” – that’s the sound humans make when something exceeds their muscle power.



Given the complexity of current-day DAWs, they cannot be intuitive in principle. What can be done at most is standardizing some of their features to look and act similar/familiar when switching between DAWs.

A DAW has to be learned through a long-time effort and commitment. By way of analogy, there are no intuitive musical instruments. If one wants to play an instrument well, it will require years of painful practice. It’s the opposite of intuitive.

Yes, indeed. Thus my suggestion to retain (even expand) the functionality of the monitoring section reserving the GUI of the current master section solely for it.

Incorrect. A mastering session usually ends with re-sampling. 1) Re-sampling is not available in the audio montage. Because of this methodically 2) final limiting and 3) dithering cannot be done in the audio montage. The engineer is forced out of the audio montage into the master section.

You’d open several audio files in tabs from a montage and process them like you do now, the only difference being they’d be fed to the montage signal path (track bus > montage bus, either one could be used for applying a common chain of processors to the opened audio files).

This part would indeed require some adjustment in one’s workflow. But one would still be in a position to achieve the same results either by applying the same chain of processing to a group of montages at each one’s output or by monitoring them through the same chain of processors (the monitoring section could be extended to include more processor slots, an option could be available to insert the monitoring chain at the montage output, etc.).

In contrast, think of someone who wants to work on several audio montages each with its own final effects. It cannot be done in principle given the current state of Wave Lab. One cannot even monitor such montages.

Now if one could re-sample the audio stream coming out of a montage at it’s output, the limiting and dithering stages could also be moved to the montage. This would indeed open the possibility of opening several montages with different sample rates, limiting, and dithering settings and working on them all at once, with all those settings saved in the montage as part of it. The audio montage would reach full maturity as a self-contained operational environment.

Incorrect in all respects: I do not already have what I need if I only want to use the montage (re-sampling > limiting > dither). The suggestions I’m making do add to WaveLab (re-sampling > limiting > dither in the audio montage, ability to work on several montages with different final effect chains). Nothing is taken away from it that cannot be replicated through a minor adjustment in one’s workflow.

Unfortunately, it cannot because a few critical stages of processing (re-sampling, limiting, dithering) have to be done outside of the audio montage. As a result, this:

is not an option because one is forced out of the montage into the master section.

That is not what I’m suggesting. I made it very clear the audio file editor would stay intact (it’s a great tool!). What would change is how it is accessed (via the audio montage) and where it is positioned in the signal path of Wave Lab (integrated into the montage signal path).

Yes, of course. My suggestions concern the two aspects of Wave Lab (the audio montage and the audio file editor) which focus (among other things) on real-time processing and monitoring.

Not really. You can use the Output section of the Inspector.

No you are not forced to do this. Other users here, (see the references above), bypass the master section and use the audio montage as a ‘completely reproducible working environment’.

In terms of ‘forcing’ … what you are generally suggesting here would be ‘forcing’ people to use the audio montage. I don’t think this is what Wavelab is about.

Why would I want to access the Audio editor via the Audio montage? I can already access the Audio editor via the Audio montage anyway… select a clip and press ‘E’. Currently, I can also open the Audio editor directly. i can’t see anything wrong with the current architecture. We have the best of both worlds.

Can you re-sample in the output section of the inspector?

If you use the resampler plugin, yes why not?
[Correction: it’s not possible to use the resampler plugin in the Output section]

I would not be sad to see the master section go away, and repurposed just for monitoring FX only for extra meters (Clarity M and room correction even though I don’t use that.

For resampling, I don’t really trust getting perfect WAV masters of each track when rendering track by track, and then adding the Resampler on top of that. It might be fine, but especially for cases where EP and albums have overlapping tracks, I see this as a vulnerable place for errors at the starts and ends of each resulting file such as ticks and glitches when playing the resulting files back to back like the end listener will.

I really prefer to render the montage as one long file to lock in the plugin processing, but carry over the existing markers, from here you can add a dither plugin and render your track by track WAV files safely.

To get down to 44.1k, you can resample that full project render with the SRC of your choice (RX, Saracon) or using the Resampler in the batch processor. From here you can use Custom Montage Duplicate to recreate the montage at the new target sample rate.

I do a lot of albums for some reason where tracks overlap to some degree and this method has resulted in zero issues and errors, but before using this method, errors would come up which is what led me to this workflow.

I think the global master section confuses new users especially because it’s right there and perhaps the most obvious place to insert FX but then they realize that the global master section is not automatically saved or loaded with each project and it’s easy for a big mess and headaches to occur.

What WaveLab really needs is Direct Offline Processing for both standalone files and files in the montage, and a takes system, especially now that we can record in the montage more easily.

It would indeed solve or at least alleviate my immediate issue. I’ve tried accessing the resampler pug-in in the montage inspector a number of times in the past with no success. I went and double-checked it once more: no, I cannot access the resamper plugin in the inspector even though it is marked in File > Preferences > Pug-ins > Steinberg > Mastering.

If you can insert the resampler in the montage inspector, then something is wrong with my setup.