UI Improvements Over WL7?

I really don’t mean this to be trollish.

I am one of those who upgraded to WL7 and was pretty unhappy (make that -really- unhappy) with the WL7 floating windows and overall UI. I’ll leave it at that because I think a certain number of people will feel me on this.

I just downloaded the WL8 demo and after a whopping 30 seconds, just closed it and started writing this post.

I know how childish that sounds, but I thought a big focus of WL8 was re-tooling the UI but my initial impression was that it looks almost identical to WL7 and that was pretty disappointing. Maybe I’m missing something.

I’m not sure I have any ‘feature’ need to update. Frankly, I was OK with WL4… although I do like the Spectrum Editor.

So… if someone would do me the favour of telling me what I’m missing and what makes it worth the upgrade. IOW: is the UI greatly simplified or is it as it seems… largely the same as WL7.

TIA.

—JC

If you have been with Wavelab since V4 I’m assuming you’re on Windows. I hadn’t used Wavelab until WL7 for Mac was available so I don’t have that much perspective about the UI, I’m just happy to have something decent for mastering on OSX at all.

There’s still really nothing like Wavelab that is available on OSX. SoundBlade is a favorite for some, but I think it is equally confusing at first, looks worse than Wavelab, not as powerful, and also more expensive for the version with all the features I would expect. DSP-Quattro is what I would probably be using on OSX if Wavelab didn’t exist, but that is also a little behind on some features and workflow.

I guess my point was that I’m just happy that Wavelab exists for OSX, the look can be improved over time once the functions are all taken care of, and I think it’s getting close other than any new technology that WL would need to adapt to.

Some of the new features from WL7 to WL8 may not be noticeable depending on your workflow and needs, but the new metadata features of WL8 are huge to me, something I think is essential for mastering in 2013 and beyond.

I somewhat agree that visually, WL8 is not much different than WL7 other than a little darker looking, and that maybe it should have been named WL 7.5, but it all depends how closely you look.

If I’m not mistaken, Timo has mentioned that WL9 will have a significant graphic overhaul. Even on the Mac, it still looks quite a bit like a Windows XP software program, but again, I am happy to have anything that does what WL does on OSX, the graphics are not so bad that I can’t use it.

Then… you’re the wrong guy to talk to. :smiley:

This will sound left-handed, but I kinda agree with you in a way. I kept using WL4 for years. I wouldn’t have bothered upgrading to WL7 but WL4 wouldn’t run on Windows 7/64. If it did? I’d probably still be using WL4. I -loved- it. It was so far ahead of its time I didn’t need anything else.

I agree that the features in WL are the -bomb-. But I find the UI so disconcerting now. If it’s not significantly different from WL7 there’s no reason for me to upgrade. I am also hoping the Spectrum Editor will gain some improvements (like Izotope has), but the main thing is the UI. Perhaps both will happen in WL9. Since SB usually gives no incremental price break on upgrades from older versions, I guess I’ll wait.

Thanks,

—JC


FWIW, I am pretty sure that with very little effort you could probably make WL8 ‘look’ like WL6 with the exception that there are separate screens for montage and edit … and hitting F5 to navigate between them isn’t hard.


That’s part of the point and part of WL’s attraction I think: you can customize the way it looks to best reflect what you need and the way you work.

As trivial as it may sound, here are a couple of challenges:
a) I burn a LOT of CDs. And it just -grinds- at me to have to dig into the menus to get to the Quick CD window. In WL4 it was right on the File menu -and- a CD file showed up in the ‘Recent’ list. It would be great if WL7/8 could be simplified like that.

b) I get totally confused now as to whether or not the Master inserts are engaged or not. This used to be totally self-evident.

c) Quite often, I literally ‘lose’ windows behind one another. For example, Master inserts ‘disappear’. This never happened in WL4. It would be nice if those Inserts FX could be ‘Always On Top’ as in Cubase. Can do?

Those would help for starters, though there are many others. Individually they aren’t life or death, but the kinda drive me nuts.

Cheers,

—JC

It’s just a slightly different way of working but all you need do in the Audio file view is the following: open the ‘Basic Audio CD’ window from ‘Workspace / Specific Tool Windows’ or click on the Basic Audio CD toggle switch to the right. Drag the window to where you want it to be on the screen. Leave it there if you use it often. AFAIK once saved a basic audio CD file is available in the recent list.

If you are referring to the Master section inserts it could not be clearer. Each insert has a green tick next to it when it is active, and a red dash when it is not active.

Try making sure your master section is docked alone in its own space on the screen. That way it will not disappear behind another window.

To use WL8 efficiently involves a good understanding of the tool windows and how to dock them on the screen. Once you have got a window combination that you are likely to use most of the time save it as a workspace under ‘Workspace / Layout / Save as’. That way you can always go back to it whenever you get in a fix. Tip: remember the toggle buttons to the right. Check this: http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/wavelab/new_features.html

To find out how people felt after WL8 was released, check here. Give your WL8 trial more than 30 seconds (say 30 minutes) and I think you’ll agree it’s the best WL version ever (and I started on version 3).

I’d agree that WL7 looks like WL8 and both are pretty 90s PCish and, well, ugly graphically. The iconography is dated, and the color choices can never be perfect for anyone other than the artist who laid out the palette. And I’d disagree that soundBlade looks worse (though I’d agree it’s equally confusing, it is visually a much cleaner design due to it’s historic reliance on 3rd party macros etc to extend it’s functionality), and sharper functional focus - it’s made to deliver rendered files and DDPs, period. Other tasks are a hack in soundBlade, while Wavelab is actually a passable multitrack DAW, excellent file editor, and solid batch processor all in one. Functionally, Wavelab remains pretty unique in that regard.

Since it appears we’re in a similar place wrt aesthetics of the app, let’s concede the icons are dated and the palette limited – it is what it is in those areas. What made me upgrade an app I used for my side-gig (teaching) to a fairly regular main axe in my rig are functional improvements in my daily workflow, combined with my experiences customizing WL7’s interface. That second part came down to this: as a new mac user with WL7, getting past the uglies was pretty easy and something I accepted when I bought the license, but workflow, learning curve and access to features like you mention was not quite as simple. In a nutshell, I devoted the better part of a day to learning how to tweak/customize the interface, key commands and functionality. I discovered the discombobulated explosion of windows was something under user control - by docking various bits and pieces, building dedicated workspaces and layouts, and hiding (or at least moving to less-visible places) all the junk I don’t use or rarely need got me 90% of the way home. The upside was that for a few days I understood the workflow as well as the signal flow, and could easily adjust things until I got it all right. The down side is that once it was set up, I forgot how I did most of that customization, so I’ve had to re-learn it for WL8. When I installed the app in the first place, for whatever reason many of my layouts created problems, so I blew them all up and started over; This involved lots of manual digging, as my aging brain no longer retained the details of my previous adventure.

As it happens that’s not as bad as it sounds. For one thing, it revealed some powerful features that led me to upgrade. For instance the gain-staging and ranging tools in the effects tab of WL8 is a huge benefit for me… I do a lot of restoration work, and signal levels can be very very low (intentionally to scale defects, unintentionally due to error); in those cases the 6 dB range of the old clip gain was very inadequate, adding time to my day as I adjusted levels in the file window. This is where the disconnected environments shine: when editing files, I don’t want to see EDLs/Montage views, I want it painfully obvious that I’m working destructively. A radically different window makes that point in spades. But I digress - the new Montage master effects stage changed the routing and rules concerning “master”, so having to re-read the manual was a net benefit, and that’s my point. Moreover the fact that there was a manual to read in the first place eased the trauma considerably.

The metering has improved dramatically, as have the batch utilities and metadata handling. I already have terrific meters and instruments (SpectraFoo, Insight, Span), but I’m finding WL8’s meters are more resource-efficient in use… I still have a couple Foo meters I can’t live without, but I’ve come to trust the Loudness meters in WL8 over others… It expands my business in a couple unexpected ways. First, it enables me to market my services in the sound-for-pic market, helping advertisers comply with new loudness laws in the US and existing ones in Europe. Also the True Peak feature is critical and quite accurate; for Mastered for iTunes projects I can work securely in WL8, knowing my bounces won’t crap out in Apple’s afclip before running the files through their tools, and transcoding. That saves me time, and my customers money, which grows business. Similarly Replay Gain metadata support suggests a new line of business/service for new customers. Effectively WL8 allows us to edit ALL aspects of audio files, streams and bounces. As with the GUI customization, the scriptability of the tools and features has a steep learning curve to use but represent a very powerful workflow. The new added master stage is certainly nice too - it gets beyond some of my gripes with the lack of a summing stage ahead of the main outputs. I don’t use the new speaker configuration tools, but that’s because I can do all that in the hardware of my ULN8 with much less DSP. What I gain from this new section is better integration of outboard stuff in the signal path; It makes it easier to use multi-track Montages. And of course Montages-within-montages is kind of cool and handy too. :wink:

While I’ve already mentioned the Effects tab, the unified plug-in view is also pretty handy. It’s a step back from the “explosion of windows” experience of WL7, and on bigger monitors I can set it to open over the Effects tab, where it blocks nothing I need at that particular moment, leaving my meters and timeline unobstructed.

I’m NOT a fan of WL’s look and feel in ANY version. For my tastes it’s never looked very good. But it’s always been powerful and holistic, versus competitors, and today it does many things well that require separate apps in other systems (in the case of the file editor it’s mo’ better than any I’ve used). The file editor is as powerful as any other. The Montage is as powerful as anyone elses EDL (more precise and dependable than all but dedicated mastering daws). The batch tool works as well as many dedicated batchers. I don’t like very many of the plugs, and having to manage VSTs on a mac is not really pleasant - I can’t use Mastered for iTunes tools in WL8 at all, not to mention many other AU-only plugs I rely on. That’s a shame. I’m glad to see Izotope MBit Dither, but I’d prefer the ability to use Izotope’s SRC for non-realtime rendering, as opposed to the Crystal Resampler (which remains a unique miracle for editing/playback).

Everything is a tradeoff, and the time spent with the manual to customize WL7, then re-reading and doing it all again for WL8 (sorry PG, but the initial installation really munged things, so I had to wipe and clean-install, ignoring previous settings) was richly rewarded almost immediately. With WL7 that was much harder and more painful… the online help and weak tutorials made it tough for us newbie mac guys. In WL8 the manual helped ease that pain and get to the reward faster.

Thanks for the feedback All.

@Daved:
“The down side is that once it was set up, I forgot how I did most of that customization, so I’ve had to re-learn it for WL8. When I installed the app in the first place, for whatever reason many of my layouts created problems, so I blew them all up and started over; This involved lots of manual digging, as my aging brain no longer retained the details of my previous adventure.”

Exactly. I use WL perhaps 5% of the time overall. That will increase to 50% after I finish recording/mixing. But when I need it? I NEED it!

And what -always- happens with me and WL7 is that ‘re-education’ period. I spend a certain amount of time getting it to look right for one purpose and then, when I need to re-fit it for something else, I have to redo lots of things. And my late-middle-aged brain just doesn’t seem to retain the stuff from 3 months earlier. This wouldn’t bug me if I didn’t have to go through it over and over. It reminds me of a fishing boat that has to be re-fitted every time you want to switch from crab to trawling. It’s a commitment! :smiley:

In short: it needs to be more self-evident for people like me who don’t ‘live’ in it all the time. I shouldn’t have to become an expert at ‘screen sets’ to get over.

I also have been somewhat teased by Izotope RX2. I never thought any program in this price range could ever come -close- to WL feature-wise, but the Spectrum Editor dumps on WL from a great height. I sure hope PG works on that for WL9.

For now, I will spend a few hours with the WL8 demo, based on some of the glowing reviews I read.

Thanks,

—JC

My favorite improvements from WL7 to WL8 are being able to use the “montage master” which is a master section that is automatically tied to the montage rather than having to use the global master section which requires you to remember to save and load your master section plugins separately from the montage itself. It gives me peace of mind to know that I didn’t forget to load the right master section when working quickly.

The shared plugin window is nice too but I’m still experiencing GUI issues with Waves and Ozone which are some of my main plugins, so I still find some extra clicking going on to get everything to appear correctly. This seems to be a Mac Pro issue mostly.


The other big improvement is the option to not have Waveleb show you each rendered WAV file. Again, when working quickly rendering files, it was a major slow down that WL would change over to the edit view each time a file rendered

Also, as I mentioned, the meta data features are great. It can reference your CD-Text info and embed it as metadata to rendered files and you can also embed the cover art right from Wavelab. I used to have to do this in a separate program but now it can all be done right from Wavelab.

For me, the difference from version 7 and 8 is night and day as far as function, not so much in appearance but as I said, you can’t be too picky for mastering DAWs on OSX as there aren’t many other options with these features.

You really should try to work with workspaces. Create one for each specific purpose, and once set up that way, all you need to do after those three months is to select the intended workspace for the function at hand. Saves a lot of time - also for those that do remember all setup steps.

As someone who has been with WL since 4, I understand the frustration and confusion. Prior to 7, upgrades and rewrites almost seemed to make things easier and simpler, even when adding features, and the GUI was an unbroken stream that required no adapting to use. 7, with the rewrite for Mac and all the changes that were somewhat incomprehensible without a manual of any value, was confusing in a way that had never been associated with the program before. There were some especially important new features in 7 (DDP being perhaps the most important), others may have been obscured by the poor documentation and big change in GUI.

However, I have to say that I am liking 8 a lot. There is some research and adjustment necessary to understand what is going on, and to make sure of the signal flow, but Phillipe’s calm responses and a much more thorough manual are making the transition a lot smoother…What I like:

-Sonically, WL8 seems to be a significant improvement over 7 (and perhaps even a bit over 6), at least to my ears. 7’s audio engine was changed from 6, and maybe a little degraded in a couple of areas, whereas 8 seems to have returned to the same style and sound of 6 and perhaps improved a bit in solidity and clarity, even compared to 6.
-The way the floating windows works in 8 makes it easier to achieve simple control over Navigator, CD, Markers, meters, etc. This was messier in 7, but all the tabs are right there in 8. Since 8 has more power, this is important. You have to have a way to keep the interface as simple as you can, even when you are doing more at once because of increased features. There are still some small bugs with persistence of this or that, but Phillipe seems on top of it. I am not much of a layouts guy, but was able to get a comfortable setup pretty quickly that allowed me to work more like I might have in 6, even though using a bigger set of features.
-New plugins- Mbit dither, Brickwall Limiter, even Tube Compressor- all seem immediately usable to me, and I am looking forward to the Voxengoe (sp?) eq, having seen an intriguing demo of this in Nuendo recently.
-Metering is more comprehensive and tappable in more ways…though the signal path needed to be clarified a tad, however there are indicators fairly clearly for most modes (Phillipe agrees that one more indicator is still needed)(Concerning the Master Section and metering, it should be noted that the post above is incorrect if thinking that the Master Section is not universal and can be limited to the Montage, it is always in the path unless deliberately disengaged…read the couple of threads on Master and metering). The True Peaks, etc., are quite useful and important…once you understand how everything works together.
-There seems to be a serious intent on the part of Phillipe and Steinberg to integrate the host of new features in a logical and fairly fluid and controllable way, despite my and others’ confusion at everything new. This is important. More power requires more decisions, responsibility and controllability of your workflow. The tools seem to be coming together, and the direction seems pretty clear.

In short, I am really not feeling the simmering anger and frustration that often comes with frivolous or market-driven updates. Everything is making good sense, once Phillipe or the manual get you to understand it.

Thanks again. It would seem from this ‘sampling’ that there is much more ‘love’ for WL8 than WL7.

Maybe it -is- easier to use, perhaps the features are now worth the effort. I’ll give it a deeper look.

However, I’ll say that my skepticism comes from the fact that I am -not- a full-time WL user, like perhaps a ‘mastering’ guy might be. I’m not an ‘Elements’ kind of guy either. When I need what WL does, I usually go into ‘power user’ mode… lots of batch conversions, or restoration work or fairly complex montages. If I was more ‘full-time’ I’d probably be more accepting of the new UI. But since I’m not, it’s a hard sell. IOW: I’m not sure all these floating thingees were strictly -necessary-. I’ve yet to see how they -help- me.

Also: I spend most of my time in Cubase. And I guess I had hoped that at some point, the two programs would become -more- integrated, but as it stands, they actually seem to be heading in opposite directions. And the funny thing is that I really don’t like -either- of those directions. What I personally like is how Adobe Creative Suite works and I had hoped against hope that WL and Cubase would kinda head in that direction, both in terms of UI and in terms of integration.

Thanks again,

—JC

It will almost certainly be worth it.

Well, of course, nobody here is trying to sell you the software, and if you don’t like the software then I guess you simply don’t like it!!! :open_mouth: :wink: There is some amazingly helpful advice here. :wink: all of which helps get to know WL8. Unfortunately, getting to know any software requires time and effort. Perhaps one of your biggest mistakes here is trying to apply your way of working with WL4 to WL8. Of course, it’s going to help a little, but to be honest you are better off treating WL8 as a completely new program.

There is some integration but the two programs are conceived for fundamentally different purposes.

IMO WL8 will pay back dividends if you get to know it. But you have to put in some time to get to know it.

I think he might have meant this…
http://www.steinberg.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=189&t=43730 Look at Item 2.

It was a Cubase decision…not in PG’s control.

Actually I had totally forgotten about that… but HELL YES.

I was more meaning that… as with Adobe Creative Suite… the programs would operate in a similar, consistent manner.

I think that’s actually my main gripe. Frankly, I didn’t want a ‘completely new’ program.

—JC



I came into Wavelab after about 8 years (an eternity!) working with a program from a small company- Micro Technologies Unlimited- with a single programmer, very much like Wavelab, that was miles ahead of everything else and years earlier starting than anything else…going back to 1977.

When this very small company could no longer afford to keep upgrading, I searched heavily for something else as intuitive, good sounding and forward thinking, and found Wavelab, which was then, as now, the only other player in town that offered anything like the same kind of creative and great sounding workflow.

At the same time, I also climbed into Nuendo to achieve the other thing the Microsound/Microeditor (the primary MTU software programs) had achieved in terms of post production mixing. The programs (Nuendo and Wavelab) were always separate and distinct from the beginning, unlike Microsound, which was equally agile for CD and post production.

To this day, however, they (Wavelab and Nuendo) still excel in their different areas…but other programs have matured mightily as well…and can be very useful, depending on what you are trying to achieve and what way you are used to working. Adobe Audtion (formerly Cool Edit) always, unlike Nuendo and Cubase, had an internal CD burning program within it, and was always quite inexpensive.

What I am trying to say, I guess, is that there are a few different and mature programs out there, with large corporate support, that can serve your needs. You, and everyone else, should spend time seeing which serves your needs the best.

After well over a decade with both programs, and after absorption by Yamaha, I can say that I am very pleased with the continual support and development for Wavelab and for the other DAW programs in the Steinberg family, but I am also pretty positive about the other programs that are left standing with good support in the whole pantheon of modern DAW software. We each have to make our own practical and creative decisions in this regard.

I would add that it is not all that difficult to transfer working methods from WL4…which were consistent through WL6… is not all that hard, and is actually easier for WL8 than it was for WL7.

The trick is to want the new features. If you don’t, then go back to WL5. Unfortunately, if you did not make the transition to WL6 (which I did not, but experienced it at my friend’s studio), that is really the only backward path, unless you have access to a dongle.

It is all relative, and we all have to live with the software obsolescence way of life. I happen to think that Phillipe’s path with WL8 is a lot more palatable than most others, but YMMV, and that is just fine. It is all personal and creative, and you have to be comfortable with your workflow…and have access to the OS you need.

I have also been very, very pleased with Win 7, so that has influenced my personal decisions in this regard. To each his own.

Yes, it might have helped if there was more consistency, but I guess that would be very difficult given the GUI and functional differences between cubase and wavelab. Basic transport key commands are the same. As for integration, you can automatically export audio to Wavelab using the Export audio mixdown function of Cubase.

I was not suggesting that WL8 actually is a completely new program but that treating it as such might help you get over the first hurdles of getting to know it. And as geezer mentions:

I had a tough time going from Wavelab 6 to Wavelab 7… I found myself really confused sometimes. I forced myself though… I started using only Wavelab 7, and over time I began to get used to it and to figure out little tricks that I liked about it. Still, it had something things that drove me nuts.

When I got Wavelab 8, I forced myself once again to use only Wavelab 8. I found that compared with 7, it was FAR FAR FAR more intuitive. The more I used it, the more I began to really love it - and now, I sincerely believe that this is the best version of Wavelab EVER. I can hover over almost any spot and get instant information on that particular function. Right click context menus now always seem to get me where I am looking to go. The layout features are very powerful and versatile. I messed with them a bit until I found a setup I really like - and now, I LOVE the look of it and the design of it.

The key for me was to force myself to stop using the old versions - permanently… uninstall them. Once I had no other choice but the new one, I began to find my way around the program, and it did not take long before I learned to love and appreciate the new setup and feature set. Wavelab 8 was FAR more intuitive than 7 - so it didn’t take long. It really is better than the older versions - ALL of them in my opinion (I started on Wavelab 3). Wavelab 8 is incredible and I can’t imagine going back now to any of the others.