SACD or Surround Mastering Available?

Hi, Folks!

Been AGES since I logged onto the forum (been very busy with my “day job”, and have been running WL7 mostly, although I did buy WL8, just never got around to installing it!). Surprised my access username and password haven’t been deleted! :laughing:

I thought I’d query folks to see if this feature has been added to WL. Haven’t had anyone request it, but recently bought some SACDs and it got me wondering about multi-channel and surround processing in WL. :question:

I also have yet to try multi-track recording in WL, but I do believe it is available… and in any event, the playback decoder is far superior to the one I’m using from way back for digital multi-track recording playback on another non-Steinberg software app. :wink:

Sorry, no SACD

And surround is limited to the long-standing kludge in the montage - it’s usable, but limited in that the processing available in the wave window cannot be done.

I find it perfectly workable and don’t know what I would do if 5.1 capability was gone from Wavelab. But requests for improvements have been expressed by others. My personal request would be the ability to make a 5.1 Blu-Ray Audio reference disc.

For SACD or DSD files specifically, I think the only options left are Sony Sonoma or Pyramix with the DSD option. I guess there might be one or two manufacturing plants in the world still making SACD’s, but it has to be a very limited market, with little player support anymore. DSD multichannel files are probably more common, but still not very common. Multichannel PCM for Blu-Ray Audio or multichannel file players, as Wavelab does, is much more common I think.

Oh, you must know some secrets in WL - and it is even “perfectly”! How do you edit regular multichannel interleaved wave files in WL9 then - of course without splitting them? Process them straight with surround plug ins? Probably half of my audio editing work is done with surround files, something I still cannot do in WL9. WL9 is great as a stereo mastering environment but is a bad joke when it comes to mutlichannel work. It is 2016 not 1996.

You’re right. I probably shouldn’t say anything until Wavelab can load multichannel files without splitting, and process them directly with surround plugins. Until then it can’t really be called a modern surround mastering program.

I’ve gotten used to working with the multi stereo-mono tracks in Wavelab for surround, and have no more problem processing or editing with them than with regular stereo files, doing so across multiple tracks.

I’ve never used a surround plugin (except to try one), and possibly wouldn’t use one even if they were made more usable in Wavelab. Of course surround plugins can be used in the master section, but I can see how limiting that is.

So yes, I guess it’s wrong to recommend Wavelab for surround to someone who wants to master using the most current methods. I just happen not to use those methods. But I don’t do surround nearly as often as you do.

One thing I would ask, do you ever feel limited in plugin choice by what plugins are available with surround versions? Are there more than I think there are? And what is it that Wavelab already does that your other program doesn’t do, that you’d like to do this in Wavelab?

In Wavelab, I like to have separate channel volume envelopes just “right there” in front of me, and the ability to quickly split, clone, and substitute just in one channel or one channel pair. Do other programs using multichannel files have such ability without having to delve into too many extra steps to get there?

Multichannel files are a necessity these days. So I’m not current working as I do, but I’m not really unhappy about it,

I’m not saying you’re wrong. You’re right. Wavelab should support what you’re talking about with multichannel files, and hopefully it will soon, but personally I might not use those options.

Of course I don’t know what you think about the number of surround plug ins available. Actually there are a lot in existance already. I have Waves 360 for example and DMG Equilibrium works fine in surround. Most Voxengo plug ins are surround and Steinberg offers surround plug ins within Nuendo and Cubase (which I also have both). Acon Digital just released an update for their Restoration Suite to handle surround files. Concerning the importance of surround plug ins - I hear often you could use mono plug ins to process the channels and some other work arounds (like combining stereo reverbs for surround work) - it is often a workflow topic and how the channels interact. Do you split stereo files to mono channels to process them? See what I mean? I have several outboard surround processors too, like two System 6000, and without a full implementation I cannot proceed like I use them as inserts with Nuendo and Cubase. Steinberg makes great software and I use them daily, of course I get mean about my favourite tools sometimes if they are not capable of what I need. :wink: WL 7+8 were absurd constructions ergonomically and from the GUI and I started to use WL regularly again since WL9, which I said I wouldn’t buy because there is no full surround support - I was inconsequent and bought the WL9 Pro and two licences of WL9EL for other machines too. The new version is fantastic to work with but the missing surround support like in Audition makes me angry sometimes. I don’t update Audition anymore because of Adobes sick renting scheme. SoundForge Mac is to slow to work with on larger projects. I’ve done a complex Blu-ray Audio project some time ago which had a nearly 8 GB surround file (24/96) to work on. Only Audition could handle this in all aspects.
(I’m working mostly with Macs).

I know this isn’t a direct competitor of WaveLab (and the price is a bit different too!), but with the explosive growth in VR (virtual reality) applications, the integration of Ambisonics into commercial audio software is now under way:
http://www.fast-and-wide.com/faw-news/fast-news/8675-high-order-ambisonics-merges-into-pyramix and http://www.merging.com/products/pyramix . Still as plugins, but the architecture of the system must be able to handle them.

Note that “High-order Ambisonics” typically means third-order at present, which requires 16 channels to be handled, but fourth-order is already used experimentally (each order requires (n+1)^2 channels). Note also that the monitoring outputs will require a variable different number of channels, depending on the speaker arrangement available for the input to be decoded to. Live ambisonic recordings (such as I do) are most commonly first-order, so just four channels, but often being played back on arrays of up to eight speakers.

This post is just to highlight how the limited multichannel handling in WaveLab is falling increasingly behind the industry’s requirements in some areas.

Very good and fully true post - thank you. Steinberg themselves are eager to implement better multi-channel support in Nuendo and WL is lagging more and more.

My spin on this is that WL is not … and probably isn’t intended to be … a multi channel/5.1/surround mixing production and editing environment. There are DAWs specifically designed with that stuff in mind and there’s probably a reason why you see them in so many suites and sound stages that do that type of work. Conversely, I wouldn’t necessarily want to use those DAWs to master a record.