Workflow? New to WL, Not to Mastering

Hello, I’m brand new to WL - just bought WL8, but I’ve mastering for years, originally in Sonic Solutions. I’ve also been a Nuendo user since 2003 or so. I’ve found the workflow in WL difficult to grasp and I’m not sure whether the manual or the program itself is at fault or it’s just that I don’t work well with electronic text files (probably both), but…it hasn’t helped me much.

The way I see it so far you have the following hierarchy:

Audio Files (and the Audiofile Editor or Sample Editor in Nuendo)
The Audio Montage (Project in Nuendo - God I would kill for some consistency between these products)
In the Montage we have clips and something called super clips that I haven’t used yet.

Then there’s the plug-in workflow/signal flow: The bezier line automation appears to PRE - clip plug-ins. Splitting any clip that has a plug-in on it already automatically doubles the number of plug-in instantiations and DSP allocated (bad for UAD). This is a serious limitation of clip editing/clip plug-ins - to the point that it almost makes plugs at this level not worth using.

Then there are Track Plug-ins. To use this we are committed to having one song per track. Not a big deal but the constant vertical zooming is a bit annoying. There is a gain/pan control for the track that I guess is post-Track Plugin?

Then - and this was confusing - there is a “Master” plugin section, that is different from the “Master” plugin section in the “Master Channel” on the left. This “master plug-in section” is hit by all the tracks. There is no input trim before the plugs? RIght? (something I use on the master channel in Nuendo quite a bit) - THEN…there is the Master Channel that appears on the left. These plug-ins are used for “rendering”, correct? But - they also sit in the signal flow before audio hits the master faders. Everything in the Master channel is not saved with the Audio Montage by default. Is there a way to do this? I can’t imagine actually using anything in this master channel that I would need to have to recall separately from the AM.

My problem is, there doesn’t appear to be any automation in Wavelab (short of the line/volume & pan editing). So the only way to make changes within a song is at the clip level, which, if you make a lot of changes pretty quickly puts you in an untenable situation with DSP resources. If I’m mastering, I’m using my best stuff. I’ve got UAD ATR-102, Manley Massive Passive, UAD Precision EQ, Maybe a Maximizer, a bus comp… If I want the attack on the bus comp to slow down for a temp change in the music, or a bass boost to roll down for a change in the arrangement, I HAVE to be using clip-based plugs, right? Is there a way to do this that doesn’t involve printing (rendering) my effects? And if I split clip to isolate a chorus - I’ve instantly tripled my plug-in allocation. Right?

Can the track volume be automated? Is there anyway to automate volume post-plugins?

Again, I’m new to WL so I apologize if this information exists, but I’ve searched “automation” in the manual and gotten nothing. I see “effect envelopes” - again, unique terminology, but this appears to only be discussing the send level?

“You can automate the effect send level for split mode clip effects by using effect envelope curves.”

I don’t know what a “split mode clip” is (it isn’t hyper-texted to a definition) and I can figure out what envelope curve is, but…it’s only the send level? what about plug-in parameters?

I’m just trying to figure out how I’m going to set up my next mastering session. Where to put the plug-ins? If I’ve put them on tracks and then all of a sudden need to make a minor adjustment in the middle of a song, I’m screwed. If I put them on clips, and then run out of DSP…also screwed. When mastering in Nuendo - I normally hit the UAD ATR-102 first - get the tape emulation which often seriously reduces the amount of EQ and compression I need. But I never need to adjust that…but if it’s on a clip and I cut the clip 6 times…I have 12 UAD ATR-102s for no reason.

Any help in figuring out to make the best use of this architecture would be greatly appreciated.


EDIT - I see the gain fader on the “master” plug-in in the Effects window is adjustable between pre/post plugs. That’s nice. I still don’t see a way of automating it though.

WaveLab is not much developed on the side of automation. What is easily automatable is the clip volume and pan, through envelopes.
WaveLab is very clip oriented. But if you have many clips using the same plugin on a track, you can place the plugin on the track, not at the plugin level. Also, if you don’t want to use the “external” Master Section, use the Master plugin section, saved with the montage.

Hello Pier,

there’re a some Tutorial Videos on Youtube you should check out. I believe some of the aspects you mentioned are well covered in these videos. Indeed, WaveLab has a different workflow compared to Nuendo, but we will try to make it more consistent with the updates to comes.


Thank you both. A user on the Nuendo forum recommended a video series that I do plan on watching.

I’ve been managing by creating a workflow that bends to the needs of the WL architecture - so using corrective EQ at the clip level and dynamics plugins at the track and master level.

Considering that Cubase and Nuendo both intentionally leave out mastering features, presumably to encourage users to buy WL, it would really be helpful if there was more consistency between them, not to mention the flexibility (what attracted me to Nuendo in the first place) would also be very nice. Much like Samplitude, what’s available in WL is impressive and the ability to assign plugs to clips is very impressive, but for the same reason I went with Nuendo over Samplitude for production work, WL seems too limiting in its architecture. It forces a certain workflow that is not one I would normally choose or that even certain plug-in were designed for - ie - you normally want to use Tape Saturation first, but never change it, etc. It’s an inherent issue with clip-based plugs. Samplitude suffers it too, but…samplitude has the automation (although not nearly as good Nuendo’s). Snapshot and dynamic automation of plug-in parameters at the track and master level would solve the issue for me (tall order I know) :slight_smile:.

Thanks again for your attention.

What I think you call “snapshot” can be achieved with super-clips.

Super-Clips definitely cut down on DSP and the number of plugin instances open if you are spliting clips to make plugin “moves”. One downside is that it’s making rendered files, using up disk space. But it does allow you more flexibility in operating on many split clips with many plugins given your UAD or other limits. Actually Super-Clips is a very cool concept I never would have thought to ask, (with the ability to go back and modify the underlying effects) and maybe worth the disk space of the renders, but ultimately it seems Automation is probably more practical as Pier suggests. PG, one thing Pier mentioned, the clip level envelope pre or post effects - that used to be selectable with a right click in Wavelab 6. Is that no longer available? (clip envelope pre or post effects)? I don’t see it anywhere.

the clip level envelope pre or post effects - that used to be selectable with a right click in Wavelab 6. Is that no longer available? (clip envelope pre or post effects)? I don’t see it anywhere.

It’s there:

Being new to WL8 this is a good example to me of the need for Steinberg to possibly offer a document that would give us users good examples of workflows that we could use for Mastering. The documentation as it stands is more a collection of technical explanations of all the features but it does not tie things together for us. If there are other 3rd party books or videos that would do this then maybe someone could post them on this forum. From what I have seen there are only a few and they are on older WL versions and are weak on mastering and more about editing. Given the new features and changes there seems to be a need for some new tutorials.

Thanks, PG. I did take this course but I found it focused mostly on editing wave forms and was weak on mastering.

A document of mastering workflow scenarios from Steinberg, or possibly an addition to the user guide, would be fantastic. It could be a step by step scenario of going from a mix file to a mastered file with creation of a DDP or CD burn. I posted my start at figuring out a workflow in the Mastering Lounge the other day, hoping people would add their ideas. Noone has reponded yet :frowning: I’m wondering if these worflows are secrets that people are not willing to share as there does not seem to be much on this forum on this topic. That is why I was glad to see Hopetown’s post.

Do you think that this is a reasonable request?

Hi Pier,

I’m a SoundBlade/SSHD user as well - you’ve sussed out my workflow: I try to manage relative gain and tonal adjustments at the color level, compression/color at the track level, and limiting/polish in the master section of the montage. A good way to think about it:
sB EDL editing/plugs/level is similar to Montage clip editing.
sB Desk editing/plugs/level is same as Montage track editing.
sB Master Section is same as Montage master editing.
Finally, sB’s Master Fader is functionally similar to WL8 Application Master Section, minus the ability to insert plugins and do real-time SRC.

The limitations you refer to with UAD are real, superclips are best defense, but ultimately this isn’t very different than sB – each EDL, desk or master instance you insert consumes essentially same DSP as in WL8. If you use Sonic hardware, ConsoleConnect offers similar functionality to the Master Section of WL8. Seems like a wash with the workflow above. It’s worth noting there are terrific native plugs, limited mostly by their reliance on sketchy technologies like iLok, and most modern computers can run more than most projects require. I use UAD stuff, as well as Metric Halo +DSP tools all the time, but I’ve found native plugs that do the same things as well (MH offers a “Production Bundle” of native tools, and while Wave’s tape sims can be a little cartoony for my tastes, Slate’s VTM is a match for UAD sonically, and AirWindows tool suite is superior in some respects, so I don’t feel terribly limited by this in either WL8 or sB

Mastered for iTunes workflow is not natively available in WL8 because it doesn’t support AUs, so that’s an issue for me. When that matters I rely on TruePeak to keep me in-bounds, and check the files with the droplet at the end. This changes my use of the master section a bit though… I keep files destined for that ingest at native resolution, and rely on Crystal Resampler for src (otherwise I’m resampling in RX2 batcher non-realtime), which I place ahead of my peak-limiter du jour in the application master (as distinct from the Montage master). I really wish Crystal was available at the Montage level but I’ve not figured that one out.

WL7 was not quite as speedy and fluid in my workflow compared to soundBlade, but the new metadata editor, superclip functionality, and changes to the effects implementation generally have made WL8 a strong match, and I use it frequently. In fact I sometimes even bum out when I have to reopen old sB projects that jump through hoops WL8 has removed. :wink:

Thanks! I will read up on them.

Oh, I did watch the Audio Montage video on Groove3. Mind-numbing :slight_smile:. Didn’t teach me anything I hadn’t figured out already. I will watch the editing video too as I purchased an all access pass. Oh - actually I learned one thing, that you can put the volume envelope after the clip plugins. That was helpful.

Hi Lawrence,

ME’s can be very guarded about their “secrets” :slight_smile:. My view is I’m looking at concrete functions that either can’t be done (or I haven’t figured out how to do them yet) or run counter to the design of the plug-in…whatever. Ultimately what I would like is flexibility as different projects might call for different workflows.

There’s an inherent problem with clip-based plugins which is that if you are cutting clips to make changes in settings, A) you are doubling your DSP allocation with every cut and B) what if you only want to change SOME plugs but have others remain static. What if you want to instantiate a new plugin at the clip level after you’ve made cuts that you want to go across all your cuts? The bottom line is that using clip-based plugs is kind of a clunky solution that would be much better solved with a robust snapshot automation. I’m sure there are steep technical hurdles though as I don’t know of any DAW that has really implemented such a system well. Sonic classic had a great combination of snapshot and dynamic automation but it didn’t allow third party plugins. The feedback I’ve seen on Soundblade is that it is unstable with them and I"m not sure if they have maintained the same quality of automation from classic. It was VERY handy for mastering though.

I’ll be taking Philippe’s advice and seeing if super-clips can solve some of this.

Thanks so much for sharing Daved! I’m still looking at whether I’m not better served just mastering in Nuendo and using WL for delivery only. We’ll see. I want to get it 100% under my fingers before I decide not to use it. I know I can do what I need to do in Nuendo and the reason it’s taken me so long to pick up WL is that frankly I was annoyed that they didn’t include delivery in Nuendo considering the price. I mean, I put Nuendo into CD Frame TC and just manually edit a CUE sheet and then burn with Image Burn. All around I feel like SB is not handling this end of things well at all when taking the entire product line into account, but I’m here now, I’ve paid for WL. I’m gonna see how it feels. I’ve already knocked out an album and an EP on it. I have more coming this week.

And YES! The bit about resampling in the master level only, I can live with it I suppose. It seems like the intention was not for real time use. What I really need is a pref to always save the Master section with the AM. Does that exist?

Daved - regarding UAD. Yes, im really more married to them for mixing. They’re mostly too colored for mastering with a few exceptions. Ive heard good things about the Slate tape emulator although it seems silly when Im very happy with the UAD Ampex.

Im considering loading up on some more Voxengo and Fab Filter stuff just for mastering. Bundling the Curve EQ was a stroke of brillance at SB. Id forgotten how much i liked their stuff.

The master section in WL is global and therefor not automatically saved with every montage or audio file. But in WL8, there’s a separate ‘master section’ included in each montage. So now we have clip effects, track effects and master section effects in one place - and dedicated to the current montage. You have to be careful though, since the global good old master section does also remain in the audio chain.

Arjan, thanks, I got that part. Its a drag though because certain plugs only exist in the master channel and dont exist in the AM master section. The Resampler, the Sonnox plugs.

Really, its a very poor architecture. The “Master Channel” is really a muddled mix of a redundant master channel that already exists in the AM, and what really should be an entirely separate (from the monitor chain) “offline processor”. That 2nd part has no business living in the monitor chain, BUT if it IS going to be in the chain, then it needs to be able to be saved with the AM.

Imagine if the master channel of Cubase wasn’t saved with the project.

Oh, but you can save it with the montage, just not automatically. As it says on p.435 in the manual: “To store a current setting in the Master Section as part of an audio montage, in the Audio Montage workspace, select Edit > Store Master Section preset inside montage.”

Concerning the ‘poor architecture’; it may look like that for someone starting at WL8, but a master section separate from audio files or montages can be very useful in various uses. Since we now have the new separate master section inside the montage, some of it may seem redundant, but in my view it only makes the program more powerful.

Ah! That was my question. Thanks!

Part of the problem is that its not 100% redundant :slight_smile:. Really, the offline system needs to be out of the monitor chain. What are some uses you have found? As far as I can tell my default will just be to save the master ch with the AM.

Oh, but you can save it with the montage, just not automatically.

Yet, this is possible. Look at this option:

  1. Saving actually happen when you save the montage.
  2. This is a per-montage option.
  3. Restoring is never automatic