Thoughts on WLab

I didn’t know you could do that. Thank you for the tip.

That makes sense. At least, the signal flow does.

But, it begs three questions:

  1. Why would you do that when the master section doesn’t seem to change with the open file?

It seems like WL loads whatever the last used master section was regardless of what file or file type you open. This master section also doesn’t change when you change files within the group/project (e.g., different montages). And I don’t think it changes with different projects either.

That setup is fine…but it makes the master section, IMHO, a pretty useless place to put anything but meters and things you only want on your monitor path. It invites more user error to actually use it for processing.

Frankly, I like it this way for things in the monitor path. If I open some old project from before I got my Clarity M, I still want the Clarity M plugin to work. If I use a plugin there for room/headphone correction, I always want it to load the current version/profile. Etc…

There are very good reasons to have it not automatically save/load with the file/project. But, it reduces the utility for actually changing the audio. I don’t think you can have it both ways.

  1. Are you saying that the master section is active for the batch processor?

It looks like it isn’t.

I just tested it by creating a batch processor that resamples to 96k with the master section resampling (normal slot; not in playback processing) set to 44.1k and dragged in a 48k file, just to see what happened.

The output was a 96k/32f file, as expected.

I’m obviously missing something about this idea.

  1. Other than what specific options are available (largely based on your plug-ins settings), is there a significant difference between montage output effects and master section effects (obviously not counting the playback processing slots)?

It looks like the most significant “gotcha” is that any processing in the master section will convert a dithered file back to float, assuming that the dither happens in montage output effects if you don’t bypass the master section on render.


Having the Resampler available in the Montage Output section would solve a lot of these issues or points of confusion.

Regarding the Batch Processor, I think what PG meant is that if you save a Master Section preset with all the various plugins and/or Resampler/Final Effects you like, you can choose that preset directly in the Batch Processor to save a little time and promote consistency but in my workflow that doesn’t really solve anything.

Due to the nature of sample rate conversion, I prefer to do it externally and verify that all is good in a new duplicate montage. As a bonus, rendering track by track with only a dither plugin running really mitigates any errors that can occur with gapless album tracks since all the processing is baked in as one long pass first.

I’m with @JSMastering in that the Master Section is good for nothing other than metering.

You can choose whether the Master Section starts “Clean” on each WaveLab startup, or with your last used configuration.

I have it set to “Last Used Configuration” because all I’m using it for is to host the Clarity M plugin and I want that to load each time I open WaveLab. As I’ve said before, I don’t even have the master section visible in my layout. It’s floating and hidden.

The fact that the Master Section isn’t directly tied to a Montage or Audio File is just too weird/strange/dangerous for me to want to use it for anything other than metering.

Well, by design, the Master Section is a processing chain shared among all audio files and montages. This being said, it is possible to associate a preset per audio file / montage, but this is not automatic (because resetting the Master Section plugins when switching tabs would be a big slow down). The association is load/save preset. But there is also a batch processor association if necessary (check the manual).

No. But the presets of the Master Section can be loaded as batch processor chain:

Yes. Master Section section plugins allow variable i/o rate plugins (ie. the number of input samples is different than the number of output samples). Actually, only used for the Resampler.
But for the batch processor, which is an extension of the Master Section, more plugins are possible, like time stretch.
But also multi pass plugins, like normalizers.
This is why the batch processor plugin list is different, and larger.

Okay. That all makes sense.

I’m really glad both versions work. Maybe there’s a little more complexity than absolutely necessary, but I like the flexibility it brings, at least in this case.

Hi - a bit late to this thread, and I’m still learning WL, but I’m curious about this statement. When you say it’s possible to “associate a preset per …montage”, are you saying you can have WL save and recall that Master section preset with the montage? If so, that would get around all this monkeying around with the Master section and having to externally SRC a montage render so that one can get the final limiter in the correct position following the resampler. I think this isn’t possible, but would love to be wrong, and curious what you mean?


Thanks for that - doesn’t seem to really do what I’d want; it does allow you to save the preset in the Montage, but it isn’t recalled automatically as part of the montage - you have to remember to reload it after opening that particular montage. That’s too dangerous for me… Please let me know if I’m still misunderstanding.


The key for those who feel this way (myself included) is to use a workflow that doesn’t require the master section at all so you never have to worry about loading/saving the settings correctly. It’s possible. You can use WaveLab’s SRC in the Batch Processor if you prefer to not use another app like RX or Saracon.

There are also some other variations on the way I’ve described doing it.

Yeah, understood, but when I read PG’s comment it appeared to me that you could “associate” a master section preset with a montage, and that it would reload automatically when opening the montage again - that doesn’t appear to be the case, so for me anyway is not that useful.

And yes, the workaround is of course to duplicate the montage with a newly SRC’d (by your preferred SRC algo) file - this works and is probably the safest way, but is slightly clumsy.

Apologies if I’m misunderstanding.


Yeah. The Custom Montage Duplicate option is probably safest. I guess I have enough little shortcuts with Stream Deck and other utilities that make the process really fast and not something I even notice or think about and is fairly quick to do. Definitely a little strange at first I know.

Also, the WaveLab Batch Processor is such a separated thing from the Audio Montage that opening the WaveLab or RX Batch Processor to do the SRC is really no different in my book.

A lot of the things we do in mastering are at least potentially clumsy, with a high chance of little errors creeping in that may or may not even be audible but do make the masters for formats different.

That’s a large part of why it’s a job. Yes, we have fancy processors, a fresh set of ears, and very good monitoring (or at least we’re supposed to). Yes, there’s value in having a (relatively) naïve but expert listener doing some final sonic adjustments. But, everything “music-y” that we do can be done in the mix session, and some of them (e.g., de-essing when only vocals present a problem) are better addressed in the mix session. We do them when fresh ears and good very good monitoring are worth more than more precise adjustments (in terms of how much of the track it’s affecting).

It’s up to us to make sure that the masters for different formats & file types are identical apart from technical considerations and that they’re as close as possible even with the technical considerations.

In other words, part of our job is to jump through these hoops because we have one foot in the artistic camp and one foot in the technical one. It lets mixers, producers, and artists stay more firmly in the artistic camp, which I firmly believe is a better situation for the music.

Unless I’m mistaken, using offline SRC and a custom montage duplicate is actually one of the easiest ways to jump through the particular technical hoop of delivering nearly-identical masters at different sample rates.

And, I firmly believe that there are other technical hoops to jump through that the unassociated master section (and bypassing it on render) can help with…think things like avoiding monitoring even 24-bit truncation distortion (whether you’re going to hear it or not) or previewing codecs & SRC to see how much TP headroom you actually need (assuming, of course, that you want to maximize sample peaks without causing TP overs, even if the minute difference winds up academic). And a handful of other little technical things that you can easily simulate & measure with the master section but may be better addressed rendering differently.

100% agree. I am actually in favor of baking in all the plugin processing at the highest native sample rate and floating point bit-depth. From there, you can make any and all formats without having to redo any of the details.

The only time I have to go back to the parent Audio Montage (aside from making any mastering revisions) is to make the vinyl pre-master, instrumental masters, and other alternate versions.

But for the main digital master, this is the best way to do it in my opinion. This way, when you render track by track master WAV files at any bit-depth/sample rate, the only plugin needed is a dithering plugin which make the renders go fast, and leaves very little room for any processing errors…something that can more easily happen when you have larger CPU processing chain and render track by track…plus, that method paints you into a corner somewhat.

In my opinion Wavelab ought to have the possibility to save one’s work as a project as discussed in many other discussion threads too. This should cover all possible settings (montage plugins, routings, master section etc.).


This is definitely planned.


Yes- as someone just coming to Wavelab. I’m only just now wrapping my head around the fact that projects are not completely saved - makes zero sense to me - a full project save would eliminate all the hoop-jumping…

This will be a most welcome feature. Good to hear that it is in the works.

This depends on what you call a “project”. The Audio Montage is what other DAWs generally call a project, and WaveLab saves everything of an Audio Montage.
This being said, when working with WaveLab, you are not limited to a single montage. Multiple files can be opened and edited, there is a shared Master Section, there are presets in multiple places that are independent from Audio Montages.

Yes, I understand this.

It’s not that expensive. Not “spectacular” improvements, but I upgraded and it is… a little better…

Pretty sure you are refferring to the MASTERSECTION which is not linked to specific montages. It should. This really annoys me. A lot.