WaveLab 11/12 on high-resolution (4K 5K 8K high-dpi HiDPI) monitors

(This has been an issue for a long time, but now that high-resolution monitors are quite common in music studios, it seems worthwhile to discuss.)

When using WaveLab 11 on high-resolution monitors, in most configurations the application interface looks sharp with default settings. However, with those default settings, many 3rd-party plugins render visually at extremely small sizes. These plugins are often rendered so small as to be unreadable and unusable. Here are a couple examples of this effect, exemplifying that the issue affects modern plugins such as iZotope Neoverb as well as ancient artifacts such as URS EQs.

If the user changes the Properties of the executable WaveLabPro11.exe…
Compatibility > Change high DPI settings > High SPI scaling override >
Override high DPI scaling behavior. Scaling performed by > System (Enhanced)
… then almost all plugins render quite nicely and are usable. But the tradeoff is that the WaveLab application UI becomes somewhat blurry. (The blurriness may not be evident in the below screenshots, but it’s easy to see when looking at the physical screen.)

Ideally, the WaveLab UI would remain crisp and sharp as it is with default settings, while supporting the rendering of all plugins at large, usable sizes. The current workaround of editing executable properties fixes the plugin size issue at the expense of overall UI sharpness.

@PG1 you have brilliantly solved issues like this in the past. Would it be possible to create a solution where plugins can be optionally rendered like the System (Enhanced) high-DPI override, while the WaveLab UI itself remains scaled with default settings?

(I should note: As a few examples, Blue Cat Audio, Audified and Topten Software each seem to have solved this issue with their PatchWork, inTone and Cantabile VST hosting tools, respectively. The PatchWork, inTone and Cantabile application UIs themselves remains sharp at all zoom levels, and almost all plugins render at a readable, usable size. Cantabile even has a program option: “Hi-DPI User Interface: Enabled & Upscale Plugins.” So it seems it can be done…)

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Any thoughts @PG1 ?

Sorry, this won’t happen. There is probably some trick to enable this on the host size on Windows, but I don’t want to allocate time and resources for a task that should be done by the plugin developers (I mean, there are many plugins that don’t have the problem).

try “Restrict scaling to multiples of 100” in WaveLab 11 / Pref.
With Windows 11 scaling 150%, LG 27UN880, WaveLab 11 / High DPI and "Restrict … all seems OK for me.

@jeanpierre Thank you for the thoughtful suggestion. The settings you mention are indeed preferred; however, many plugins simply render too small on 4K/8K screens with these settings. This has been tested across a variety of systems and monitors and the consistent issue is with WaveLab’s rendering of the plugins.

@PG1 Thank you for taking the time to review this request - much appreciated!

Please note that this request is being written from the perspective of a longtime fan and supporter of WaveLab who has pushed studios and collaborators to switch to WaveLab because of its excellent capabilities. Increasingly, collaborators are complaining that WaveLab doesn’t render plugins at a readable size, which is annoying and a slowdown. Then they pop open their other favorite audio editing tool and all the plugins look fine on the same system and monitor. I’d rather them not abandon the platform, but when their favorite plugins render unreadable in WaveLab, it’s hard to argue with them, which is why this issue is being raised. It’s a basic usability issue for many users.

I should note that Cubase also seems to handle the rendering of plugins such that many more are sized usably. Not sure how much collaboration is useful/possible with that team, but maybe they have a solution that can be leveraged into a quicker solution for WaveLab?

You mentioned:

… I don’t want to allocate time and resources for a task that should be done by the plugin developers (I mean, there are many plugins that don’t have the problem).

In principle, this does make sense. However, here is a quick top-of-mind partial list of some developers whose current generation, latest-version plugins exhibit the issue:

  • Steinberg
  • AIR
  • Antares
  • Blue Cat Audio
  • Cableguys
  • iZotope
  • MIA Laboratories
  • Native Instruments
  • Nugen Audio
  • Plugin Alliance
  • Sonible
  • Soundtheory (Gullfoss)
  • TC Electronic
  • Toontrack
  • Toneboosters
  • Zynaptiq

These are reputable developers actively selling their tools in the market. Plus, there are numerous quite useful legacy plugins that will likely never be updated for high-definition display. WaveLab should support good readability of all working plugins.

The general experience with WaveLab on a high-resolution monitor is simply that too many third-party plugins render too small to read/use, unless the user wants to sacrifice the clarity of the overall UI with an .exe compatibility workaround. Some users see WaveLab rendering their favorite plugins as tiny and unreadable and won’t bother with workarounds (which degrade the main UI anyway) and will simply assume something is wrong with WaveLab and move on to something else.

Put another way: If WaveLab were improved to handle this issue, then the issue is solved once and for all. As it is, you’re asking users to run into these issues and chase down each developer about each plugin, which is a mountain of effort required on the part of your users - and often futile if the developer is unresponsive, no longer in business, or not interested in catering to WaveLab. In the meantime, the user workflow is disrupted with each plugin problem, when all the while WaveLab itself could simply resolve the problem.

Given that so many other modern DAWs and VST hosts seem to gracefully display almost all plugins, it would be a very exciting development if you reconsidered.

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You are making it sound like Wavelab is at fault here.

Or that WL has some ability to influence a third-party VST UI how to display itself correctly.

Much of what you describe occurs in Studio One, Ableton , Kontakt, Komplete Kontrol etc - this is not new, not uncommon and not something that any DAW DEV should need to address.

The price of being “bleeding edge” (4K, 8K etc) is that most of the world still is not. There is a logical reason that some plugins look awesome but most do not. The ones that do have all been designed to scale correctly in a session, standalone etc.

Until every developer of every plugin available takes the time to rewrite their product UIs to scale seamlessly in the high-res world - it is useless to pester DAW application developers.

Especially when most of the world is still using good old HD resolution that displays ALL of these plugins just fine. Can’t see a vendor needing to “move” on this until it really matters.

For the record - I asked iZotope about this directly just a week or two ago - and they responded saying they do not support 4k whatsoever - so that’s one you can take off your list.


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@Vocalpoint Thank you for your vigorous viewpoint and adding your insights.

The intent of the request is definitely not to assign fault to any one entity or individual. It is evident that Philippe @PG1 has done more to single-handedly advance the state of the audio editing and mastering art than many other individuals and companies combined, and he is a true leader in innovation and software design. Philippe also has been extremely responsive to requests over the years and has graciously implemented many large improvements as free updates to each major WaveLab edition. So agreed, there shouldn’t be any fault or blame assigned to WaveLab here. Quite the opposite: It would be fabulous to see WaveLab’s user base continue to grow and the wonderful tool that it is celebrated increasingly worldwide.

Also, you mention a handful of products and correctly observe that they do not render nicely on higher-resolution monitors. While this is true, there are numerous other tools in use in studios here which do somehow manage to display all plugins in a readable, usable way on all screen resolutions. It seems that it would be beneficial for a world-class tool like WaveLab to do the same.

It’s not evident that 4K and 5K monitors are “bleeding edge” at this time. Most local stores are primarily only offering these currently, and it’s harder to find good quality lower-resolution monitors. Experience in numerous pro studios shows that the monitors used are at least 4K because it provides more screen real estate for complex configuration control. When users fire up WaveLab on such monitors and see plugins looking too small, often they don’t care whose fault it is, they just want things to work correctly, and they assume something is wrong with WaveLab. When their other tools manage to display the plugins at a usable resolution, they tend to use those other tools and move away from WaveLab. This is not assigning blame or fault; it’s just the reality for busy audio professionals who don’t have time to troubleshoot .exe setting workarounds (which then make the overall WaveLab UI fuzzy) when their other tools do what they want out of the box.

The point of the request is: There are DAWs and VST hosts which do currently display all plugins (including iZotope) usably on 4K/5K/8K monitors while maintaining a sharp overall UI. The myriad needed legacy plugins that render too small in WaveLab are not going away anytime soon, and the need to use them is immediate. If WaveLab can use a trick, as Philippe mentioned, to solve the problem once and for all for all users and their plugins, and reduce annoyance and WaveLab abandonment in the studio, then it would be very beneficial.

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I get the request and understand the situation. But it is what it is.

I still maintain it is not PGs responsibility to oversee UI rendering/4K scaling for third party plugins in WL. I would rather see him focus on Wavelab and continue to innovate in the space where he excels.

Now - for all those who thought buying a super high-res monitor was a good idea and either expect the software world to bow to their new screen OR refuse to accept the fact the world is simply not there yet (still HD in all studios where I work) - could always do one of these two things:

  1. Use another DAW (that does scale things correctly) I have never seen one actually do this, but I am willing to be proven wrong.

  2. Use 1920x1080 resolution (like the rest of us) on their fancy new monitor and everything will work great with no one having to do anything.

As mentioned, - I have seen this type of post for literally years now and nothing is going to change quickly.

Of greater interest - the iZoTope response I received was telling in more ways than one - in addition to telling me they do not support 4K - they also said they have no plans to (currently).

What that really tells me - is if a large player like iZotope cannot see the “4K” forest for the trees - why would anyone else? There is simply no value for any VST developer to use valuable time, talent and resource to take apart a known good plugin (that is presumably making them money) and rewrite the whole thing from scratch just so it scales in 4K.

Now - I suppose there could come a time (in the distant future) when all of us actually have 4K monitors (I still do not) that might make this effort defensible for a plugin dev.

But judging by the general lack of movement from almost everyone on this - even here in 2023 - I still think this hi-res thing is a long way off.


@Vocalpoint Behold some exhilarating examples in Windows 10 on 3840x2160 monitors set to 150% scaling:

Avid Pro Tools 2023.9

Steinberg Cubase Pro 12.0.70

Tracktion Waveform 12.5.11

Audacity 3.3.3

Audified InTone

Blue Cat Audio PatchWork 2.66

TopTen Cantabile Performer 4 build 4064


…but then the same in Steinberg WaveLab 11.2.0:

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So I decided to take another look at this - and pick the first entry here to see exactly what is going on - specifically if ProTools is doing correct 4K scaling or something else is in play.

Here is the “official” policy on Protools and 4K Resolution. It is not supported:

Pro Tools and 4K Resolution Monitors on Windows (salesforce-sites.com)

So clearly this is just Windows OS level scaling and not “real” 4K support. And I suspect all the rest of your examples are using some variation of this.

Now - I fully understand that you are trying every trick in the book to justify use of your display and make things work for your eyes, but if Windows 10 DPI scaling tricks (for Wavelab) is what you are asking for - I can really see now why PG does not want to get to this.


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Vocalpoint, thanks again for continuing to vigorously argue for the status quo.

Not sure why you are so suspicious and accusatory. You may be projecting your own experience and situation into the original request. You accuse of “trying every trick in the book to justify use of your display and make things work for your eyes.” There are no tricks involved here.

Not sure exactly what your work is or how you utilize WaveLab in your environment(s). It seems you are an independent voiceover artist, perhaps in addition to other audio work; but this post is not about an individual. It’s about the experience of people who are working on commercial projects in a variety of professional facilities outfitted with modern equipment. The request is not about an individual’s eyes or display; it’s about seeing collaborators frustratedly turn away from using WaveLab due to a fairly straightforward issue: Objectively, many widely-used, latest-generation plugins from reputable, popular developers are rendered so small as to be unreadable/unusable in WaveLab on a 4K+ monitor.

4K monitors first came into use around 2013, and have been widely used by the public since 2016.

If you’ve ever worked in a commercial production studio (audio, television, film, etc.) then you know the general temperament of the people who work there and need to get things done quickly. They see WaveLab rendering plugins small and they quickly assume “it’s buggy/archaic” and quit using it. Whether that’s reasonable or not doesn’t matter; it’s reality and developers often must cater to this difficult reality.

@Vocalpoint Let’s say that you’ve helped a studio migrate into WaveLab in the past. Now you’re standing in that studio with a busy producer and an engineer in an edit bay and they happen to open a needed plugin in WaveLab that shows up too tiny to see. Their reaction is, “See, it’s doing that again.” You point out, “Hey, you can right-click the WaveLab executable and make a compatibility setting,” so they aggravatedly do so. Then they relaunch WaveLab, but now the whole UI is fuzzy. They say, “Yeah, I don’t think so.” Their studio is outfitted with modern tech including 4K monitors. Do you, Vocalpoint, then castigate them and say, “Well, this is the price you pay for being bleeding edge. I know you want WaveLab to work for your eyes, but too bad.” ?? What would be your response, when they use the same plugin in other tools and it renders usably? It seems it would be far better if WaveLab simply provided a solution which solves this problem seamlessly, with no need for the user to troubleshoot myriad plugins. Not everyone in commercial audio work has the time/patience to investigate; they simply move on and quit using the problematic tool, even if it’s not really that tool’s fault.

Pro Tools may have an official support policy, but given Avid’s focus on high-resolution video production, they seem to have come up with a solution that “just works” on a 4K monitor regardless. So have the developers of the other products shown above.

There are no tricks involved. These are simple screenshots.

It doesn’t matter if WaveLab would utilize Windows scaling or “real” 4K support; indeed, no one would care. The point is that there are numerous other tools which seem to render almost all plugins at a readable size, but WaveLab currently is among those that do not.

Fans of WaveLab want it to succeed as much as possible. This has always been an issue for any studio using 4K+ monitors, and since other developers have obviously found solutions that work great on all monitor sizes, it would be very helpful if @PG1 could implement a similar solution. Maybe he simply doesn’t agree, but it seems it would help avert a situation which comes up a lot in studio settings where a variety of plugins are involved.

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Look - I am not trying to be suspicious OR accusatory - but I am trying to be realistic.

It is clear that you either do not own a normal monitor, do not want to work in normal resolution, or refuse to accept the general standard concepts about how software is written these days and most importantly- how it displays on a screen.

You are however - trying to sell an agenda where since your “world” is all 4K this and high res that - everyone else’s should be as well.

Of course - you may encounter studios where hi-res is important - but I am a working pro (like you) and in my world - sure -high res out there but is not a cause for concern OR a reason to compromise a session.

The studios I work with - do not worry about what their tools (like WL) can’t do - they worry about what WL can do - and they focus on the work - not how big /fuzzy something appears on screen.

To your scenario about migrating a studio with a busy producer in an edit bay - I would strongly recommend he use a normal HD (1920x1080) resolution (since that is standard for ALL software available today) and if needed - install a 50-inch TV monitor on the wall so we can all get to work.

Quite frankly - I think I would be super annoyed if a producer started dicking around with monitor scaling, fuzzy UIs and crap like that in the middle of a paid session.

I also find your comment about “collaborators frustratedly turn away from using WaveLab” to be massively speculative and without any context. If you actually named some real-world users who dropped WL because it does not scale things correctly - it might hold water but comes off as inventing a negative to better sell your idea.

To close (I think we understand each other now) - if PG thought this was useful for all “fans of WL” - he would have done it by now.

I will let you mull over his decision - as he already told us what he thinks.


Not sure why you continue to reiterate your concern about what you perceive as a single user’s monitor.

We are discussing the use of Steinberg WaveLab 11 on a variety of 4K monitors in various studios, usually set at anywhere from 100% to 150% Windows scaling with a typical resolution of 3840 x 2160 depending on exact form factor and screen size. That is the “normal resolution” and scaling for those monitors, if the benefits of the extended capabilities of the monitors are to be utilized.

No one is trying to “sell an agenda.” If you work in modern studios, many of them utilize 4K+ monitors, and the people working in the studios are in a hurry and expect things to facilitate their work easily. When they run into speedbumps, it creates an aversion to the technology creating the speedbump, in this case, WaveLab. The argument is not to impose an agenda, but to simply eradicate a problem at the source instead of seeing all these myriad end-users continue to experience the problem.

The studios I work with - do not worry about what their tools (like WL) can’t do - they worry about what WL can do - and they focus on the work - not how big /fuzzy something appears on screen.

With all due respect, that makes no sense. If an engineer needs to use a certain plugin and wants to use it in WaveLab, it needs to be readable.

From a software development professional standpoint, it’s hard to agree with your statement about “how software is written these days.” If you’ve ever worked on a software application, you know that with the currently available tools, it’s possible to provide support for any number of window display technologies - literally the imagination is the limit. That said, WaveLab is built with reliance on certain third-party libraries/modules (perhaps Qt framework and other graphics components) and so it’s possible that Philippe doesn’t enjoy the thought of having to perform a major heavy-lifting project outside of utilizing the existing modules. It seems doing so would avert these problems, but ultimately @PG1 is the one to decide.

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So can running in 1920x1080. Problem solved - once and for all. And no one needs to change a thing.

Yes he is.


4K+ monitors are implemented because studios require the benefits of increased resolution. The reason the studios buy and integrate such monitors is to go beyond 1920x1080. Running these monitors at 1920x1080 defeats the purpose and also negates the time spent setting up templates and configurations that utilize the 3840x2160 screen space in all the other software that renders nicely at that resolution.

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The actual benefit can only occur when ALL software in use is written specifically for that resolution (and scales with 100% accuracy) in order to take full advantage of that space.

Just because you have the resolution - does not make it useful here in 2023.


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Vocalpoint, you seem a little aggressive and dictatorial.

4K monitors first came into use around 2013, and have been widely used by the public since 2016. (There is evidence for this even in these very Steinberg forums.) 4K monitors are not bleeding edge and are in fact quite common.

Philippe himself uses two 4K monitors in his primary configuration:
• 32 inches / 3840 x 2160 (150% scaling)
• 30 inches / 3840 x 2160 (200% scaling)
• 32 inches / 2560 x 1440 (100% scaling)

Almost all software does scale correctly and usably on a 4K monitor. Have you tried a high-resolution monitor? Even WaveLab itself does scale correctly and usably on a 4K monitor. The request is simply to help plugins which do not scale nicely in WaveLab, in a manner similar to how other tools (Cantabile, PatchWork, Audacity, et al as shown above) gracefully scale the same plugins.

The actual benefit can only occur when ALL software in use is written specifically for that resolution (and scales with 100% accuracy) in order to take full advantage of that space.

This statement is simply not true and does not follow logic.

Studios will simply configure hardware and software for maximum capability, reliability and usability. When a tool creates a speedbump, a studio will often resort to other tools that don’t create the same speedbump. If a studio has committed time and resources to configurations and workflows that include 4K monitors, then often WaveLab is going to create a speedbump when 3rd-party plugins are involved. This request is to remove a speedbump that prevents users with 4K monitors from simultaneously enjoying crisp UI and readability of all plugins in WaveLab.

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I have to point out that URS produces only ONE 64bit plugin currently (October 2023).

I have to think that, beyond a user’s personal history, that a plugin company that isn’t producing a 64bit version of their product in 2023 is quite behind the technology curve. At the very least, they have very little interest in my PC.

I think maybe it’s time to investigate some other comparable products that weren’t created in 2005 (or thereabouts). Who knows? you might find a plugin that scales in 4K and actually serves you better. Not to say I haven’t enjoyed this post.


Per the original post, two examples from developers were used to demonstrate the issue ranging from latest-gen (iZotope) to ancient (URS). There is a wide range of modern plugins (Native Instruments, Zynaptiq, Steinberg, etc.) which also exhibit the described issue.

The point isn’t that anyone is using URS plugins in particular. URS was highlighted as an example to demonstrate the remarkable fact, as shown above, that some current DAWs and VST hosts provide a readable view of almost all plugins, new and old, on a 4K+ monitor.

For example, TopTen solved the problem in their Cantabile live VST host by offering “Per-Window Resolution Scaling.” Each loaded plugin is scaled readably. This completely resolves the issue for all plugins tested so far. TopTen took the time to develop this solution because they realized that solving the problem at the host level means users will be happy in using all their plugins in Cantabile.

It could be the same for WaveLab, but it would require time and resources to implement.

Stating the issue another way:

As-is, there are numerous widely-used plugins that will never be acceptably readable/usable in WaveLab on a 4K+ monitor while keeping the WaveLab UI sharp and crisp. These plugins are important to many audio professionals. This problem has been solved by other DAW and VST host developers. If Philippe doesn’t want to spend time/resources to address this issue in WaveLab, fine; but it will continue to inhibit use of WaveLab in studios that utilize 4K+ monitors and many popular 3rd-party plugins.

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After posting a similar request in January 2021 in WaveLab, Plugins and HiDPI on Windows, I have just seen this new conversation and completely agree that HiPDPI support in WaveLab should be looked at again to get the support for HiDPI and the handling of plugin scaling up to at least the same level as Cubase now has.

Given HiDPI support was first added to WaveLab in 9.5, and we have pretty much the same limitations as originally listed for 9.5 in WaveLab 11, surely the work done in Cubase to get the HiDPI support much more reliable and consistent for plugins can be shared with the WaveLab team to help address this issue?

I also must admit that I was frankly shocked by some of the “4K is bleeding edge and not needed” and “just use 1080p” by some comments here, which came over quite agressively. As explained many times by the author and others, 4K is absolutely well-established technology which is used widely, and there are plenty of DAWs out there on Windows that cope perfectly well with HiDPI monitors with operating system scaling.

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