Test Drive: WaveLab 7 for PC and Mac

by Steve Cunningham

Like so many other businesses in the 21st century, the audio software business is changing. In some ways audio software has become something of a commodity, as the differences between Pro Tools and Audition and Sound Forge and Wave Editor and Twisted Wave are not measured by sound quality; they all sound good, and only dogs can hear the differences. What differentiates them is their workflows and user interfaces. Once esoteric DSP-based software has become commonplace. Heck, you can record, edit, and mix on an iPhone if you’re so inclined.

In an effort to differentiate themselves, some companies are going cross-platform. Cockos was smart to introduce Reaper in both Mac and PC formats; Adobe introduced Audition for the Mac in an effort to steal some Pro Tools thunder; Avid’s defense was to remove the hardware requirement from the already cross-platform Pro Tools software. Steinberg, went cross-platform a while ago with Cubase and Nuendo. Now the company has granted a long-standing wish of mine by releasing its WaveLab 7 stereo editor in both Windows and Macintosh formats. This is a big deal for me personally... I kept a Pentium 4-powered Windows XP box around for a long time just to run WaveLab.

WaveLab 7 is available as a “full” version, with all the bells and whistles I’m used to, and in a slightly cut-down but still useful version called WaveLab 7 Elements (more about those below). In addition, both versions have been updated from version 6 in several ways having to do with workflow, and so far I like ‘em. Let’s have a look.