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In-depth Feature:  Emagic Waveburner Pro 2.2
Trevor Curwen writes: .

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The Plug-ins bundled with the Waveburner Pro are a useful cross section of mastering tools. There's a basic compressor, a multiband compressor, Fat EQ similar to that in Logic Audio, denoiser, stereo width enhancer and a limiter. Plug-ins can be called up in any serial combination to separately work on individual regions and on the overall mix.

Plug-ins in action

The multiband compressor has four bands and is a serious mastering tool for tightening up the sound with a host of adjustable parameters, likewise the five band Fat EQ which is capable of some severe tonal shaping. It's great to have this amount of power at your fingertips but the inexperienced user could easily overcook it and get out of shape, making a bit of a pig's breakfast of things, fortunately though, there are some presets provided for different musical styles and generic tweaks that can serve as a useful starting point to show the way forward.

The Denoiser is a useful tool especially when transferring old cassette and vinyl recordings to CD but again it does need careful setting up to usefully reduce any noise without creating any unwanted audio artefacts. Subtle use is also a prequisite for the stereo width enhancer which takes selectable midrange frequency bands and pans them alternatively left and right, it is intended to create fake stereo from mono sources which it does reasonably well but it can also 'widen' existing stereo.

Waveburner Info
  • Support of FireWire and SCSI CD writers
  • Red Book compatible
  • Full PQ Editing
  • CDTEXT Support
  • Recording Function
  • Internal 32-bit floating point resolution
  • Conversion to the 16-bit audio CD standard with 'POW-r' dithering by POW-R Consortium LLC
  • Real-time conversion to 44.1kHz
  • Non-destructive editing within the Waveform Window of Tracks, Pauses, Indices, Level, Fades and Crossfades
  • Audio in track pauses
  • Tracks with multiple audio files
  • Multiple tracks from one audio file
  • First track number larger than 1 possible
  • Supports Copy Prohibit, Pre-Emphasis, ISRC number and UPC/EAN code
Supported Data Formats
  • AIFF, SDII (also split stereo), MP3
  • Up to 24 Bit/96 kHz
  • Disc image export/import
  • Export the Tracklist as text file

A limiter may well be the final essential link in the chain and this one is easy to set up with a lookahead facility, clear metering and soft knee operation if required. Any excessive level caused by plug-in usage will not actually show on a region's colour-coded level line, but Emagic have thought this one through and provided a level meter can be called up in plug-in form as a visual guide to warn you of any possible clipping.

The extent of plug-in use, will of course depend on the processing power of the host computer and heavy use can use up the available resources to such an extent that the actual eventual CD writing process can be severely compromised or be simply not possible. There is a workaround for this, however, in that there is a bounce procedure whereby the whole CD can be recorded as a Disk image with all the edits, fades and effects made permanent thus freeing up the processing power to allow a CD to be cut with no problems. Individual regions can also be bounced separately in the same manner.

Waveburner Pro is a brilliant program for pulling your tracks together and turning them into an album that is an homogenous whole from start to finish, where each song relates to the next rather than being just a collection of tracks. With the excellent graphical interface, operation is very intuitive and such tasks as trying out different running orders till you get the right one is a doddle. Being able to add mastering effects is the icing on the cake. The included plug-ins are on the whole workmanlike and powerful but the fact that other VST plug-ins can be utilised opens up a whole world of possibilities for the user. Anyone who makes music on a Mac ought to have this installed.

Waveburner Pro List price £259 / $299

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