For more than 25 years, mastering engineer Bill Wolf’s GRAMMY® award-winning work has brought out the best in many iconic musicians, from the Grateful Dead to Willie Nelson to Bruce Springsteen. In this video, he invites us into his studio in Alexandria, Virginia, and describes the many WaveLab features he uses regularly.
“WaveLab is my first choice for mastering,” he says. “I’ve used it for thousands of projects. It allows you to take a mix to a final product, whether it be for podcast, streaming or CD, and it’s one of the few programs that allows complete control.”
“The audio engine in all Steinberg products has always been a leader,” he adds. “I still think it sounds better than any playback engine I’ve heard.” Beyond its superior sonics, Wolf is a big fan of WaveLab’s functionality. “The audio montage allows you to isolate a clip within a song and process it individually, using individual plug-ins or stacks of plug-ins that can be recalled and used again later if the same problem occurs.”
Wolf also appreciates that WaveLab offers the ability to insert analog gear. He typically does preliminary sculpting in the Master section before dithering the digital audio to 24-bit and sending it out in the analog domain for additional outboard processing. He also relies heavily on the built-in WaveLab metering, including the loudness meter, which he uses for checking peak and RMS levels, as well as the bit meter. Wolf often references the WaveLab phase scope as well. “It lets me know about out-of-phase material on the sides,” he explains. “If something doesn’t sound right, it will show up there.” In addition, he’s a big fan of the WaveLab spectrum editor, which he uses often to ‘de-squeak’ guitars, selectively removing the sound of the player’s fingers scraping across new strings.
“WaveLab has been an essential part of my mastering career,” says Wolf. “I certainly recommend that any up-and-coming mastering engineer try it out, listen, and look at all the possibilities it offers.”
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