February 28, 2020
Score 9 out of 10
I first used WaveLab back when I was going to college for audio engineering. I ended up becoming a software developer, but I have still found a use for WaveLab over the years for various projects. When I worked at Amazon.com, I used WaveLab to edit voice clips for an automated phone system. At Bluefire Productions, I use WaveLab whenever the need for audio editing comes up, particularly when I need a realtime FX chain (e.g., compressor, EQ, reverb). That need does not arise frequently, but when it does, I can quickly get whatever audio-related tasks done that we need, whether it's editing customer development interviews or audio clips for a rich-media EPUB3 interactive ebook.
- Realtime FX Chain - This is the big one for me. I always had both WaveLab and Sound Forge (along with some other audio editing programs, and using Pro Tools at school). Of the two, I preferred Sound Forge for its user interface and hotkeys, but I preferred WaveLab for its realtime FX. The ability to easily chain FX together and tweak them on the fly while the audio is playing is enormous for me.
- Speed - Quite simply, saving a huge file in WaveLab is orders of magnitude faster than in Sound Forge. To this day, I don't know why that is, but it's just faster. Opening and saving files is a breeze in WaveLab, while in some other audio editing programs, it can take 30 seconds or a minute for a large file.
- User Interface and Hotkeys - I've always struggled with the UI in WaveLab, and even after all these years, I am just much faster in Sound Forge. I used to have a job as an audio editor, where I edited hundreds of hours of interviews. By using the "Mark" feature, I could easily cut out silence, "ums" and "ahs," and other audio artifacts in Sound Forge. I struggled to do the same in WaveLab but was never able to work even a fraction as quickly.
- Built-In Audio Processing - I much prefer Sound Forge's built-in audio tools like time-stretching, normalization, compression, and so on. WaveLab has many of the same tools, but I have not found them to be as easy to use, and in some cases, nonexistent (relying instead on a VST plugin).
Read Jonah Dempcy's full review
WaveLab is well-suited when you want to apply a lot of VST FX processing to audio, or do a real-time recording and be able to hear how the FX processing sounds as you're recording. It is an excellent tool for recording in the studio. However, it lacks the sophisticated multitrack capabilities you find in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), instead of focusing on the features of an audio editor. It is also great for quickly opening, editing, and saving a lot of files because of how fast it is.