I definitely agree that now that we have the ability to easily record in the montage, a playlist or takes system is essential to help manage different passes when a redo or something is needed.
I’ve always loved the Pro Tools playlist concept, and at first I hated the REAPER takes concept but now I like things about that too. I think a mixture of the two could be great.
A system like the REAPER takes system has allowed me to seamlessly punch into previous analog capture for cases where they forgot to send me a radio edit at first, so they send the same mix but with one or two words edited out, which saves me time redoing all the RX work on a new capture. Or cases where they sent a new mix for some other technical or creative reason, but I spent a lot of time cleaning up an intro, or removing the metronome bleed on an outro, sometimes the REAPER takes system has allowed me to preserve some work and avoid redoing any RX or other clean up work. Pro Tools style playlists probably would too but I’m just used to the REAPER way now.
It’s also helpful when you have to do a reprint to easily A/B between the previous capture and your live input before committing again. You need to be able to either make sure everything is identical to the original capture, or be able to instantly A/B to make sure that your intended changes are good.
As far as doing the main, instrumental, and radio edit of a song for example, in WaveLab, you can do them one after the other in the timeline, and assuming they were trimmed correctly from the start, you can match the ends of the new captures to the original files, and then with all three captures selected, you can hold option while trimming them further and the edits should be mirrored. In other words, you can edit the edges of more than one clip at a time by selecting them all and holding option.
As far as rendering, I usually wait until the main master is approved and then when it is, I do a Save As… of the approved master/source montage and then populate the Instrumental versions using the Replace Audio File option in the montage. It’s kind of slow because you have to do them one song at time, and I wish there was a Bulk Replace Audio File option so that we could say replace all these files with the files that are named the same but with [Instrumental] at the end, or something like that. I wouldn’t expect that WaveLab render ALL these versions without some manually assembly first.
Overall though, I think WaveLab is just in an awkward teenager stage. It’s WAY better than it ever was for using analog gear. So, if your main desire is to stay within one DAW for the entire mastering process, WaveLab 10 does it now. I know a few people happily doing this. However, if you main desire is to work in the analog realm and enjoy some of the benefits of a multi-track DAW like Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, or REAPER (which is ridiculously customizable and scriptable), then maybe you still have to use one of those options for the analog I/O portion, and WaveLab for final montage assembly, and for any projects that are all “in the box”.
I’m sure at some point, WaveLab will improve on these weaknesses but it probably can’t happen all at once as there are other priorities to the DAW as well.