Will we ever get a proper manual?

It has been a while since Wavelab 7 was released and we are yet to see a proper user manual.

I am sorry to say that, but W7 is a completely new program compared to W6 and I find myself truly embarrassed to be searching for things I could do on the spot in W6. Sometimes I don’t even find what I’m looking for and let me assure you, the help system does not “help” at all!
I still find myself going back to W6 for fast workflow although w7 has a lot of killer features that I love.

It is unacceptable for a beast of a program like wavelab not to have a manual even in PDF form.

So, any plans?

There is a WaveLab 6 to 7 FAQ, please have a look.

I downloaded the pdf.

Sorry to say that Philippe, no big help… :frowning:

If I had to guess about the topic, I’d say “Not before WL8.”

I honestly don’t think The Powers That Be get it. Philippe apparently sincerely believes the online help is very useful, while Steiny/Yammy seem hung up on the print costs and don’t believe a well-written, illustrated, and cross-linked PDF replaces or improves on the online help system. If the corporate overlords recognized the problem they’d “announce” a manual was in the works to shut down these constant and loud complaints. Since that hasn’t happened, I can only assume they’re in deep denial.

As a new mac user, I can say I’d have given up on the app before the end of 2010 had it not been for the WL6 manual, which at least provided a decent overview of the platform, if not a useful reference to the current features. As you note it’s different enough that these things don’t line up well, even in fairly simple areas like disc burning.

I bought the app to see if I could use it for two classes I teach at UCincinnati, one in the College Conservatory of Music, the other in the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning. In terms of features and functionality WL7 meets my needs and would be a terrific educational tool. But due to the extreme cost, and lack of a decent manual I cannot in good conscience require students to buy it. The manuals for Logic/Waveburner, Adobe Audition, ProTools, DSP Quattro and every other app I use include tutorials, illustrations, plus in-depth content on DSP and operations. Logic/WBP is not as good for doing mastering, but it’s miles beyond WL7 as a teaching tool, because I can require students to RTFM before they force me to demo simple, common functions. I don’t think Steinberg will sell many legitimate “edu” seats (though many advanced students will take advantage of the price for their hobby), because it’s lack of documentation is unique in it’s price-range.

As a mastering tool for my “day-job”, I’m rarely tempted to use it because I can’t fully grok the app through the microscope that is the online help system. When it came out there was a lot of buzz and interest. Since launch, that enthusiasm’s been damped in the field, as users figure out there’s no documentation for a really deep app. At this point there are no threads on the forums catering to audio pros that don’t mention this shortcoming.

IOW, I think the manual situation is going to pinch off sales sooner than later. Even so I don’t see Steiny/Yammy stepping up to the plate because they seem to be in complete denial that a problem exists. Without acceptance of the problem, there can be no solutions.


I’m afraid you’re right. What’s strange though, is that Cubase 6 does come with an in-depth full manual - be it not on paper. So if it was a corporate decision to not have a WL7 manual, the least we can say is that Steinberg is very inconsistent in this field. Very unfortunate.

Luck, Arjan

There is no denial that the documentation could be better. We’ll take into account the feedback we have had on the subject, for the future. The documentation is not something small to change, espescially when you consider it is made available in 6 languages. Also, there are more third-party material coming.

I’ve just received notification of a second delay (another month) to the availability of the book I’ve ordered…

I know what it takes to write a good manual (because I’ve had to do it in the past, and as a software developer, not a technical writer), but a formal announcement that a manual will (or will not!) be produced for WL7, however long it takes, would make such a huge difference to how people view the issue - at present all that can be seen is a company with its head in the sand (not you PG - you’re in a difficult and embarrassing position, I would say).


The more difficult it is for Steinberg to make a good WL7 manual the more proof this is that it is necessary to be done.
Steinberg could start with a manual in English, most people will get along with this. Then give this manual to 5 different competent translators and you are done.
As much as I love WL7 as much I don’t understand Steinberg’s hesitation in this point. The WL6 manual is a good starting point for any technical writer. The effort for a proper WL7 manual would be rewarded many fold for Steinberg, also financially.
I have been thinking already to write a manual on my own and earn good money with it, but I just don’t have the time…I also think that it is not ok to rely on third party documentation which might or might not come, where nobody can be sure about the quality.
As others already mentioned: Even the announcement of a proper manual would already make many people less upset.


But you (your team, Steinberg, tech writers) etc - had 3 years (while WL7 was being incubated) to get this together and you let three years coast by and the best we get is some two bit FAQ pdf and the online help?

Sorry but I do not see how the tech writers or whoever was assigned to this project could sit around watching you code for two or three years and NOT have the ability to have a manual ready? I mean - could the manual creation process ever be any better. With that kind of time to prepare - WL7 should have had the best manual available.

Furthermore - the more changes you bake into the app now is simply going to make the manual creation process even more difficlut down the road.

If I had any say in this at all - I would have my tech writers make a copy of the WL6 template, reorg it to fit the WL7 mindset/process and get cranking on this thing. Waiting for more huge updates to come down the pipe is not going to make this any easier.

On a personal note - I am 6+ months into WL7 now and I am still stumbling around like a total noob. I have never felt more as lost in an app as I do when using WL7. I definitely play it super safe now…I get in and get out for my work without venturing anywhere that will cause me to get lost…

The only real “help” I can say mattered in the last long while came not from the vendor but from the Ask Video WL7 training and it’s great…but having to buy more stuff to learn an app that has no real documentation is a cruel joke. And as I mentioned before - I am a Windows guy (who had WL before for years) and I am still totally lost most of the time. The Mac guys must be sticking pencils in their eyes when first starting out…


I’m a “casual” user of WL - not like those here who use it daily or depend, for successful work, on being able to use it speedily without too much thought. I’m still on WL6. Sometimes, it’s been so long since I last did a particular kind of task with WL that I have to remind myself how to do it - if a quick poke around the menus doesn’t remind me, I look at the manual.

I don’t really know whether I’d benefit from the new features in WL7. But I might consider upgrading - both to keep in touch with what’s current, and to continue to support the product.

However, the absense of a real manual (paper or pdf) puts me off upgrading. From what I’ve read on this forum, WL7 is different enough to need a re-think and re-learning. Rightly or wrongly, I’m wary of trying without a proper manual.

I switched from Bias Peak to WL7 on the Mac and the learning curve almost drove me back. I’m constantly frustrated at the lack of a proper manual and did have to pay out of pocket for the ASK tutorials which are indeed great.

However, a $500 program as complex as Wavelab should include proper documentation including a printed manual. The fact that it doesn’t is both insulting to its users and prevents the application from gaining more market share by alienating its own customer base.

It’s not rocket science, If you make a complex software application then printed documentation is expected, especially if this software is aimed at a professional user base. I need to using this software on client projects and not be wasting my time trying to find answers that should have come in the manual.

Steinberg, Phillipe, Wavelab 7 is an amazing piece of software but the lack of a manual is both frustrating to users and scaring off potential customers which therefor means you are losing sales. Its really that simple and not a good business plan.

I would have thought that the best person to write a WL7 manual would be PG. I know that he has said that he writes software not documentation, but who else would know all of the fine details of how the product works?

I used to have a software company (sold it two years ago) that wrote complex royalty accounting software for the Music Industry (remember that?!) where I wrote 95% of the code - and all of the documentation because I was the only person who could possible know all of the ins-and-outs of every function. This was written as I went along when each feature was still fresh in my mind, not after the whole project was finished. It worked for me.

I am very surprised that a similar approach was not taken in the case of WL7.

BTW, I still use WL6 - I returned my copy of WL7 un-opened as soon as I realised that it did not come with effective documentation.


Also, I’m more than willing to write a Wavelab 7 guide if the finances prove viable.

Apologies - but another 100 dollars US?

Gotta say - I am into this as about as far as I am willing to go at this point. With the price point of this application - NOT to mention the complete (and totally foreign) remake of the entire interface and application itself - a complete new manual on how this thing works is an absolute requirement - not a request.

Truly appreciate the offer - but we already have enough “guides” at the point - and none of them are of any real use or value.

Only a 600+ page bound hard copy manual in the format I am used to seeing from Steinberg will fit the bill for me. That kind of project would require a team of writers and lots of resource to do properly. Definitely not a one man job…


I have been using a lot Music and Video Software from day one,Pro16 etc.
99.9% of these had manuals, but they also worked in "trational software " format.

By this I mean, you could click around and find what you were looking for, even without refering to the manual.

I have owned Wavelab since version 4, and I include that in the"tradional software" format.

Wavelab7 has changed all that. I think I am getting the hang of it, then I get lost.

What we need is the “Run in Wavelab 6 Combatability Mode” feature.

Very expensive software, no manual. What a disgrace.

What we really need is a Wavelab that doesn’t spawn windows like it’s 1996 or assumes that everyone on the planet is using 3 monitors. Every new release that I can see from ANY competitors (whether it’s an editor or multitrack DAW or whatever) seem to ALL be moving to a nice tidy unified singular window interface where all the key views are some sort of “tabbed” page (Logic Pro, Audition, Sonar, Studio One for example) which make working (for me anyway) a natural and easy to understand process.

I have been test driving the new Audition…and while it has a ways to go (considering it was a complete re-write)…I found myself up and cutting audio in literally minutes after completing the trial install due to it’s wonderful interface. Everything is exactly where it should be and operations (whether single file or multitrack) are a joy to move between. I have no manual, looked at no help files and but was very surprised how natural it felt - and this from a guy who has never really used Audition in any form previously.

WL7 - on the other hand - even when one finally grips the vibe of the Switcher etc…is actually severely disrupting my flow since the view I am working on completely disappears, along with ALL the tabs, windows and everything else when a mode is switched in and out.

For me (obviously still a huge fan) of the singular window concept - the way some of the other players are doing this so well now - I am sure that my WL ownership will be limited.

Finally - I am not sure what sort of future this UI has but I stand firm that it’s disjointed and seemingly “windows flying everywhere” concept is a very strong reason why folks are so annoyed about no manual…it’s my primary reason.

It’s obvious that this is the reason that v6 (and prior) was so much easier for me to grasp.


Yep same here, though I could live with a pdf in a printable (A4) format. Plus - and I find this very important: a manual should come from a manufacturer. How can any self respecting company rely on third parties to write the instructions to use their software? And however much work it still may be: Steinberg is the only one in posession of a very good template to start from: the WL6 manual.

Luck, Arjan

Unfortunately, what really needs to be done with WL at this stage, is what Microsoft finally realized in their Office Suite applications starting with version 2007.

Rather that upgrading software for the sake (and profit) of just a new “bells and whistles” version, Microsoft actually sent folks out into the “field” to observe how people actually work with the MS-Office applications. They then came back and streamlined a number of processes, pop-up menus and “right clicks” to facilitate the typical user’s workflow. In other words, the evolved very user-based “focus group” improvements into their applications to streamline workflows for the users!

And, although there has been much gnashing of teeth regarding some these abrupt changes in Office, once one figures out what’s been changed, one gets very spoiled, especially as my “day job” uses the 2007 version, and I have 2003 at home (can’t quite afford the upgrade to the newer suite of Office 2010. :cry: ). The new features make it much easier to use and does improve my productivity.

I doubt if the radical alterations in WL were exclusively Philippe’s idea. He’s far too brilliant a programmer to write software for “software’s” sake! It’s far more likely, someone at Steinberg decided that a new interface for WL was “in order” with regards to selling a new revision, and so it came to pass. A very nicely designed “automobile” interface was “refitted” with a “jet airplane” interface. Definitely more “bells and whistles”, but the added complexities simply don’t facilitate workflow of the program… which was the primary reason for WL’s acceptance worldwide.

Everybody’s entitled to goof up every now and then! But it is hoped that folks at Steinberg learn their lesson well with WL, and don’t pursue updates for the sake of more “bells and whistles”. Yes! Improve the tools, expand the sophistication, but at the same time don’t increase the complexity to the user to the point where a complete re-learn of the system is required without a good deal of justification. Arcane software is very quickly “obsolete” software!

My biggest complaint with WaveLab 7 is that although I can dock windows in the tabs to keep the workspace in order, their sizes have not been harmonised to make them usable in the space available for the tab when docked.

They’ve done that for ever; it’s never worked.

They then came back and streamlined a number of processes, pop-up menus and “right clicks” to facilitate the typical user’s workflow.

Ha ha! And the result is software that requires more clicks and mouse movements to do the same job than the previous version did, and also leaves less of the screen available for documents or whatever. And don’t get me started on the things they’ve done to Explorer in Windows 7…


PS: I am not just being a grumpy old man here; I spent 25 years writing software for people to use, and the last 15 years supporting people who have to use what they now get lumbered with.

I think the major drive behind WL7 was to have a Mac version of the program, and probably that also was the reason it took so long. And when starting to program from the bottom, the logical thing is to rethink the whole concept. Now some things I do see as an improvement, and some are much much worse (no right-click functions to select areas in a wave window for instance). Whatever one thinks of the new concept, I think one thing is really unacceptable: Not having proper manual.

Luck, Arjan