How do 'you' pitch / catch?

I currently use (in Windows 10) another DAW to pitch and Wavelab Pro 10 to catch audio through my analog chain. I would love to simply pitch/catch in Wavelab alone, but there’s a few complexities:

  1. ASIO only allows one interface to be used at a time per DAW.
  2. Clocking of the pitch and catch may be different (different sampling rates)
  3. I use automation of ITB plugins in the pitch DAW.
  4. Due to the routing of my analog chain, I use a Benchmark DAC3 D/A for the pitch, and a separate Crane Song HEDD-192 for A/D for catching. To accomplish this, I have to quickly switch between a Record and Playback Audio profile.

Without trying to solve a problem, I’m curious how do you master in Wavelab when using an analog chain? I’m just curious what problems some of you may have solved in order to easily work inside Wavelab for pitch/catch and playback. Thanks!

Before even opening WaveLab, I upsample anything that comes in at 44.1k or 48k to 96k using RX. Anything that comes in at 88.2k or higher stays at that sample rate for the play/capture process and I make a montage at that sample rate. Usually it’s a 96k montage.

This solves the sample rate issue and makes it so one interface, and one computer can be used.

I use an RME AES interface that has 8 stereo AES ins/outs. This lets me feed all 3 of my DAC options that can then feed my analog chain. I determine which one feeds the analog chain via my Crookwood insert switcher. For example, my HEDD Quantum, Dangerous Convert-2, or Lyra 2 can be chosen to feed my analog gear, because the Reference Track is feeing all 3 AES paths at one time. All 3 DAC units are getting the signal at the same time, I just determine which one is passing signal on to the rest of my gear on my Crookwood. Most mastering consoles have more than 1 stereo input for this purpose.

Then in WaveLab, you can set up more than one input path to record back in to a montage track, so in real-time I can choose between my 3 ADC options and decide what sounds better for a song or project before recording it back in using the Input Monitor feature.

I play the unmastered audio from a Reference Track in WaveLab 10, out to my hardware which again, a Reference Track can feed multiple AES paths at one time. I can put Clip FX on the unmastered clips before going analog, but WaveLab doesn’t have plugin parameter automation.

Then of course I determine the right analog gear and settings.

Then I use a normal montage track to capture the analog chain back to a new montage track. The output of the montage capture track is just routed to normal 1-2 stereo output of WaveLab so I can monitor the sounds after the ADC while dialing things in, and of course after the capture to finalize. You can put a limiter in the Montage Output section to have a rough idea of what some digital limiting will sound like, but you don’t have to commit to it when capturing back from analog to digital. You can still fine tune the digital limiting and any other post analog but pre digital limiter Clip FX or Montage Output FX may be needed. And, you can do all this without the global master section being involved.

I also make a duplicate of the Reference Track that is feeding the analog gear, but then I send it out another AES path so that on my monitor controller (Avocet IIA) I can toggle between WaveLab which will be monitoring the ADC input, and compare with the fully unmastered version (no pre-analog plugins, no analog gear).

From there, you have many ways you can go to finalize things but that’s a quick overview of what’s possible.

So, in Wavelab, you are able to keep the I/O to a single device because of the RME AES card, correct? I use USB on both input and output, which I think Wavelab can only choose one or the other.

Probably yes. The only time I use a USB device for WaveLab is simple playback when working all in the box, but I haven’t tried USB for an extensive analog play/capture scenario.

The RME AES card opens up a world of possibilities and is very stable.

Hi Justin.
Really interesting. You describe almost exactly what has been my pitch/catch workflow for many years using Protools HDX.
AES out for ref to my Aveocet to monitor raw mixes, out another port AES to my HEDD for analogue loop and another to monitor catch and print.
I only started using Wavelab 10 Pro a few months ago and am still doing all my analogue loop in 'tools as I am so familiar with it, plus I have some other routing/bussing tricks I can do with it.

I’m going to start trying Wavelab to pitch catch too. It would be nice to work in one program. I need to work out a file management system and a way to do that with project specific plug in settings, and have them stay with each project folder, not in my Mac’s home folder.

Are you able to put plugins on the reference track going out to the analogue loop, for pre analogue treatment of say excessive sibilance?

Yes. You can put plugins on the Reference Track output before going analog, or better yet, you can put Clip FX on each song/clip placed on the Reference Track before going analog. This way, each song has its own pre-analog plugin settings that are easily stored and managed, instead of all the songs sharing the same Reference Track output plugin settings.

When I got WaveLab 7, I had dreams of staying in one DAW finally but I quickly learned that there were way too many limitations and things to learn so like you, I kept using Pro Tools for the analog I/O because I already knew it well. Then eventually I replaced Pro Tools with REAPER for that task because it finally clicked with me how customizable and efficient it is.

WaveLab has improved a lot since version 7 and WL 10 has much improved analog I/O features and options, but it’s not as flexible and powerful as a multi-track DAW. So, it comes down to a trade off. Is the convenience of doing it all in one DAW worth the trade off of losing some of the things we take for granted in a multi-track DAW such as playlists, advanced routing, plugin parameter automation, more advanced delay compensation, etc.

Only the person doing the work can answer that question and I’m sure WaveLab will continue to progress and continue to close that gap in this area.

Thanks Justin,
I actually tried this morning to do a simple EP with WL doing pitch/catch with my analogue chain.
Yes I could make it work with routing close to the way I normally do.
But I bailed.
Not really Wavelab’s fault: Just with time pressure i got frustrated not being able to work as quickly as I can in PT.
I’m sure I’ll try again.

Some of it is that PT has a very good folder organisation for audio, plugin settings, renders etc.
I can do those in WL but I have to remember and do it and to stick to a system.
No need in PT it does it for me

Yeah, that’s what I was getting it. It’s a bit of a trade-off game and of course, you probably need to set aside some time where you can work slowly and find a preferred workflow. When times are busy, that’s the worst time to figure out a new software or workflow.

To be honest, I myself haven’t figured out EXACTLY how I’d handle EPs and albums doing them all 100% in WaveLab even though it’s now technically possible. I need more time to explore things but my workload is too high right now to change what I’m doing.

Part of the reason for starting this thread is to look at a growing trend, perhaps. There are ways to create an analog ‘FX loop’ from and to the same computer via two separate USB connections using two completely separate DAC and ADC and completely separate DAWs. However, it’s tricky. It’s also menacing to software such as SonarWorks Reference 4 if the sampling rates differ. In fact, Reference 4 just goes into a coma.

My chain goes (same PC):
Studio One -> ASIO -> USB/Benchmark DAC3 -> Analog chain -> CraneSong HEDD-192 ADC/AES -> AES/MOTU 8D/USB -> ASIO -> Wavelab.

However, with more people using laptops or iMacs, and small form PCs PCIe interfaces will become a thing of the past (or, at least, less in demand).
What I’m interested in is the future of the analog chain for a DAW to master with. My wish is that eventually Wavelab could do this alone, but I haven’t been able to do that, yet. I’m told it’s not possible, but I’m genuinely interested in ways others may get around this.

As has been demonstrated in this thread, It is totally possible – if you’re not trying to playback and record at different sample rates.

It’s your prerogative of course if you choose not to sample-rate convert source files so you can work within a single DAW. For me (and Justin, and others I’m sure) the tradeoff is worth the convenience.

Yes, and aside from convenience, I’ve had great results sonically by upsampling anything that comes in at 44.1k or 48k up to 96k and doing the play/capture at 96k. Anything that comes in at 88.2k or higher gets processed at the native sample rate.

Using a quality SRC like RX or Saracon to upsample is not an issue in my opinion. I haven’t explored the “new” SoX SRC options in WaveLab yet because when I started using WaveLab, it had the Crystal Resampler which was not great. The SoX that’s in WaveLab now might be on par with RX or Saracon but I haven’t had time to really A/B them or change from my normal workflow.

And I agree, the sampling rates can easily be the same. I can pitch and capture at two different rates as well, but I just have to use two DAW’s.

What might be an awesome feature is to have a stripped down Wavelab “catcher” app that can catch at any rate from any soundcard, and save the file, or drop it directly into Wavelab after. We have this function inside Wavelab, but it relies on the same hardware driver as the playback. I use a quick function to switch soundcard interfaces in Wavelab between a Record and Playback profile. Add full automation capability, and we’re running!!

Thanks for all the input, btw!!