Platform-Independent Documentation
The documentation applies to the operating systems Windows and macOS.
Help System
There are several ways of accessing the help system. The documentation is available online and most of it can be downloaded in PDF format from
In our documentation, we use typographical and markup elements to structure information.
Key Commands
Many of the default key commands, also known as keyboard shortcuts, use modifier keys, some of which are different depending on the operating system.
How You Can Reach Us
On the Help menu in WaveLab Elements, you find items linking to additional information.
Setting Up Your System
Before you start working, you need to make some settings.
Connecting the Equipment
Your system setup depends on many different factors, for example, the kind of project that you want to create, the external equipment that you want to use, or the computer hardware available to you.
Audio Cards and Background Playback
When you activate playback or recording in WaveLab Elements, other applications cannot access the audio card. Likewise, if another application uses the audio card, WaveLab Elements is unable to play back. The Windows MME driver is an exception from this.
Latency is the delay between when audio is sent from the program and when you actually hear it. While a very low latency can be crucial in a real-time DAW application such as Steinberg Nuendo or Cubase, this is not strictly the case with WaveLab Elements.
Defining Audio Connections
To be able to play back and record audio in WaveLab Elements, you must specify how the internal input and output channels in WaveLab Elements are connected to your sound card and which device you intend to use for audio playback and recording.
CD/DVD Recorders
For general instructions on installing internal or connecting external recorders via USB or Firewire, refer to the instruction manual for your computer or your recorder.
Remote Devices
You can use remote devices to remote-control WaveLab Elements.
WaveLab Elements Concepts
This chapter describes general concepts that you will use when working with WaveLab Elements. Getting accustomed with these procedures allows you to work more effectively with the program.
General Editing Rules
The common editing operations apply to any Steinberg product.
Startup Dialog
When WaveLab Elements starts, the Startup dialog opens where you can select which file or template you want to open.
Basic Window Handling
WaveLab Elements follows the basic guidelines for the Windows/macOS interface, which means that Windows/macOS standard procedures apply.
Selecting Audio
Almost all types of editing and processing that you perform in WaveLab Elements operate on the audio selection. There are numerous ways to make an audio selection.
At various places in WaveLab Elements, slider controls are available to change parameters. There are a number of ways to change the value of a slider.
Renaming Items in Tables
You can rename items in tables in the Markers window, and in the CD window.
File Browser
The File Browser window allows you to browse files from within WaveLab Elements. The Auto Play Mode is useful for speeding up the process of auditioning sound files.
Tab Groups
With tab groups, you can view the content of different files, tool windows, or meters at the same time, without having to navigate through different windows. Each tab group has its own content and tab bar.
Peak Files
A peak file (extension .gpk) is automatically created by WaveLab Elements each time an audio file is modified or opened in WaveLab Elements for the first time. The peak file contains information about the waveform and determines how it is drawn in the wave window or the montage window.
Companion Files
Companion files (extension .vs) contain Master Section presets and view settings for audio files. If this feature is activated when you save a file, the settings are recreated the next time that you load the file.
Processing Precision
WaveLab Elements can load audio samples in many formats but processes them internally as 64-bit float samples.
Workspace Window
The Workspace window provides an editing and playback environment for each particular file type. Each environment contains functions that are tailored to the specific purpose of each file type.
Audio Editor
The Audio Editor provides tools and functions for sample-accurate audio editing, high-quality analysis, and processing.
Audio Montage
In the Audio Montage, you assemble audio clips into a montage. You can arrange, edit, and play back clips on both stereo or mono tracks.
Podcast Editor
In the Podcast Editor, you assemble, define, and publish your podcast to the Internet.
File Tab
The File tab is the control center of WaveLab Elements. Here, you can save, open, render, import, and export files. It also gives you detailed information about your files and allows you to set up the WaveLab Elements preferences.
Info Tab
The Info tab provides information about the active file and allows you to edit the audio properties of audio files and audio montages.
Tool Windows
Throughout WaveLab Elements there are various tool windows available that allow you to view, analyze, and edit the active file.
Meter Windows
WaveLab Elements contains a variety of audio meters that you can use for monitoring and analyzing audio. Meters can be used to monitor audio during playback, rendering, and recording. Furthermore, you can use them to analyze audio sections when playback is stopped.
Slide-Out Windows
Slide-out windows are hidden in the frame of the Workspace window. When you hover the mouse pointer over the window name, the window slides out. It is hidden again, when you click anywhere else.
Docking and Undocking Tool Windows and Meter Windows
Tool windows and meter windows can be used as docked windows, as floating windows, or as a slide-out window. You can freely drag around the windows and dock them at various locations.
Command Bar
The command bar of file windows allows you to create, open, and save files, and undo/redo changes. You can also use the text field to quickly find and access open files, and to trigger keywords.
Status Bar
The status bar at the bottom of the screen of the Audio Editor and the Audio Montage window shows information about the active window using the units specified in the rulers.
Context Menus
Throughout WaveLab Elements, various context menus are available. These menus group the commands and/or options that are specific to the active window.
Time Ruler and Level Ruler
In the Audio Editor, you can display a time and a level ruler in the wave window. In the Audio Montage window, you can display a time ruler in the montage window.
Managing Tabs
A tab is a container for a file in WaveLab Elements. You can open several tabs, but only one can be active at a time. The Tabs context menu offer tab related options.
Activating Full Screen Mode
Resetting the Default Workspace Layout
Opening Files
Value Editing
At various places in the program, numerical values can be edited by using a combination of text fields and knobs.
Drag Operations
WaveLab Elements makes much use of drag-and-drop techniques to perform various operations, some of which can only be performed this way. These are referred to as drag operations in this documentation.
Undoing and Redoing Actions
You can undo and redo as many steps as you like. The only limitation is the available hard disk space.
You can create presets to save commonly used settings. WaveLab Elements provides a selection of factory presets that can be used by most dialogs.
Recently Used Files
All files that you have recently used in WaveLab Elements are saved in a list. This helps you to gain fast access to recent projects. You can open recently used files via the File menu.
Save and Save As
You can save file settings that you regularly use as templates. Templates are useful when creating new audio files, audio montages, or podcasts.
File Renaming
You can rename a file and update all references automatically. For example, if you rename an audio file named India to Sitar, all open files that reference the file India are updated to reference the file as Sitar.
Deleting Files
You can delete the active file from within WaveLab Elements.
Temporary Files
WaveLab Elements creates temporary files to store intermediary results of the audio file processing and for the undo/redo functions. You can specify where WaveLab Elements saves its temporary files and the processing precision of temporary files.
Work Folders vs. Document Folders
WaveLab Elements distinguishes between two types of folders: work folders and document folders.
Exporting to SoundCloud
SoundCloud is an online platform for uploading and sharing your audio recordings. You can export an audio file from WaveLab Elements to your SoundCloud account.
Copying Audio Information to the Clipboard
You can copy information about the name and location of the selected audio file, including any selection information and cursor position. This information can be pasted into an external text application.
Setting the Focus on the Current File
If you are editing inside a floating window or a tool window and you want to switch the focus back to a wave/montage window, you can use the Set Focus on Current File option.
This chapter describes the methods for controlling playback and transport functions.
Transport Bar
With this command bar you can control playback of an audio file or audio montage, navigate between various positions in an audio file or audio montage, and open the Recording dialog.
Starting Playback From the Ruler
You can use the ruler to jump to a position and start playback from there.
Using the Play Tool
This tool allows you to play back from any position on one or both stereo channels.
Playback Scrubbing
Playback scrubbing helps you find a specific position in an audio file, by restarting playback repeatedly when you click and drag on the time ruler during playback or when using the Play tool.
Scroll During Playback
You can determine how the view should be scrolled in Play mode.
Playback in the Audio Montage Window
Playback in the Audio Montage window works the same way as in the Audio Editor. However, there are some things to note.
Audio File Editing
Audio file editing refers to opening, editing, and saving audio files.
Wave Window
The wave window displays audio files graphically. Here, you view, play back, and edit individual audio files.
Audio Editor Tabs
The tabs in the Audio Editor give you access to the tools and options you need to edit audio files.
File Handling in the Audio Editor
Changing the Audio Properties
You can change the sample rate and bit depth of audio files.
Metadata consists of attributes that describe the audio contents, for example, the title of the track, the author, or the date the track was recorded. Depending on the file format of the selected audio file, this data varies.
Silence Generator Dialog
This dialog allows you to insert silence or background noise in an audio file.
Bleep Censor
The bleep censor allows you to replace a part in an audio file with a tone to cover a swear word, for example.
Waveform Restoration with the Pen Tool
The Pen tool allows you to redraw the waveform in the wave window. This can be used to quickly repair waveform errors. The Pen tool can be used if the zoom resolution is set to 1:8 (one pixel on the screen equals 8 samples) or higher.
Audio Analysis
WaveLab Elements provides you with a comprehensive set of tools for analyzing your audio and for detecting any errors.
Global Analysis
In WaveLab Elements, you can perform advanced analysis on your audio to identify areas with specific properties. This helps you find problem areas such as glitches or clipped samples. You can also check general information, such as the pitch of a sound.
3D Frequency Analysis
Using the 3D Frequency Analysis, you can view an audio file in the frequency domain.
Offline Processing
Offline processes are useful for a variety of editing purposes and creative effects, for example, if the computer is too slow for real-time processing or if the editing requires more than one pass.
Process Tab
Applying Processing
Processing can be applied to a selection or to a whole file. For some operations processing the entire file is necessary.
Gain Dialog
In this dialog, you can apply a gain to change the level of an audio file.
Level Normalizer Dialog
In this dialog, you can change the peak level of an audio file.
Envelope Dialog
In this dialog, you can create a level envelope which can be applied to a selected range or a whole audio file. This is useful if you want to even-out loud and quiet parts or create a sophisticated fade in or fade out, for example.
Fades in Audio Files
A fade in is a gradual increase in level and a fade out is a gradual decrease in level.
A crossfade is a gradual fade between two sounds, where one is faded in and the other faded out. You can automatically create a crossfade when pasting an audio section into another.
Phase Inverting
Inverting the phase turns the signal upside down. The most common use for this function is to fix a stereo recording if one of the channels has been recorded out of phase with the other.
Reversing Audio
You can reverse an audio file or a part of an audio file as if playing a tape backwards.
DC Offset
DC offset means that there is a too large DC (direct current) component in the signal. This most often occurs due to mismatches between various types of recording equipment.
Time Stretching
Time stretching is an operation that allows you to change the length of a recording without affecting its pitch.
Pitch Shift
Pitch shift allows you to detect and to change the pitch of a sound, with or without affecting its length. This is useful for fixing an off-key vocal note in a live recording, or for tuning the pitch of a kick drum sample to fit a particular song, for example.
You can change the sample rate of a recording. This is useful if the file that you want to use in an audio system was recorded at a sample rate that this system does not support.
Audio Montage
The audio montage is a multitrack non-destructive editing environment that allows you to arrange, edit, play back, and record audio clips.
Montage Window
The montage window is where you assemble your audio montage. This is where you view, play back, and edit audio montages.
Audio Montage Tabs
The tabs in the Audio Montage window give you access to the tools and options you need for editing audio montages. For example, you can edit the envelope curves and fades in clips, make zoom settings, analyze the audio, and render the audio montage.
Signal Path in the Audio Montage
The audio signal passes through the various sections of WaveLab Elements in a certain way.
Creating New Audio Montages
Audio Montage Duplicates
You can create duplicates of audio montages.
Creating an Audio Montage from an Audio File
You can export audio files to an audio montage, including all markers that you have set in the audio file.
Import Options for Audio Montages
You can import audio files and Audio CD tracks into your audio montage.
Missing Files Dialog
This dialog opens when you open an audio montage, and some audio files that the audio montage refers to cannot be found. You can then search for the files or select a replacement.
Assembling the Audio Montage
You assemble your audio montage by adding tracks and clips.
Rearranging Clips
You can freely arrange clips in the montage window.
Clip Editing
All clips are displayed in the CD window. In this window, you can edit and rearrange clips and drag them into the audio montage.
Track Activity Indicator
The track activity indicator shows the volume level for audio tracks. It is located on the right side of the track control area in the Audio Montage window.
Envelopes for Clips
For clips in the audio montage, you can create envelopes for level and fades, and for panning.
Fades and Crossfades in Audio Montages
A fade in is a gradual increase in level and a fade out is a gradual decrease in level. A crossfade is a gradual fade between two sounds, where one is faded in and the other faded out.
Effects for Tracks, Clips, and the Montage Output
You can add VST effect plug-ins to individual clips, tracks, or the output of an audio montage. Clip effects affect individual clips only, track effects affect all clips on a track, and the montage output affects the whole audio montage.
CD Window
The CD window displays the clips of the active audio montage, and lets you write the audio montage to an audio CD.
Mixing Down – The Render Function
The Render function allows you to mix down the whole audio montage or a region of it to a single audio file.
Loudness Meta Normalizer
This tool is a key mastering component to ensure that all songs get the same loudness and to prevent clipping. It allows you to adjust the loudness of each clip in the audio montage so that they all have the same loudness. It is also possible to adjust the loudness of the audio montage mixdown as well as the loudness at the Master Section output.
Notes Window
This window allows you to enter notes about the current audio montage session.
You can record audio in the Audio Editor and in the Audio Montage window.
Setting Up the Recording Dialog
Before you start recording, set up the Recording dialog.
Dropping Markers During Recording
When you are recording, you can click the marker buttons to add markers to the recorded file.
Recording Dialog
In this dialog, you can make recording settings and start recording an audio file.
Master Section
The Master Section is the final block in the signal path before the audio is sent to the audio hardware, to an audio file, or to the audio meters. This is where you adjust the master levels, add effects, resample, and apply dithering.
Bypassing the Master Section
By default, the Master Section is active. You can bypass it for each file individually or globally. If the Master Section is bypassed, only the Playback Processing pane of the Master Section is active during playback.
Master Section Window
In this window, you can apply effect plug-ins, adjust the master level, apply dithering, and render the audio file or audio montage.
By rendering the effects using the Render function in the Master Section, they become a permanent part of a file. So instead of performing all processing in real-time during playback, you can save the audio output to a file on disk.
Saving Master Section Presets
You can save all settings that are made in the Master Section as a preset. This includes which processors are used, which settings are made for each one of them, and the dithering options.
Monitoring Background Tasks
When rendering, you can monitor the process, and pause or cancel tasks.
A dropout most likely occurs when your computer does not have the processing power to handle all used effect processors.
Markers allow you to save and name specific positions in a file. Markers are useful for editing and playback.
Marker Types
Markers Window
In this window, you can create, edit, and use markers while working on an audio file or audio montage.
About Creating Markers
Markers can be created during playback or in stop mode. You can create specific markers if you already know what you want to mark, or create generic markers.
Deleting Markers
Markers can be deleted in the wave window or the montage window, and in the Markers window.
Moving Markers
You can adjust marker positions in the wave window and the montage window.
Navigating to Markers
You can jump to the previous or next marker using the corresponding marker buttons.
Hiding Markers of a Specific Type
For a better overview, you can hide marker types.
Converting Marker Types
You can convert markers of a specific type to another type.
Renaming Markers
You can change the names of markers.
Selecting Markers
There are several ways to select markers.
Selecting the Audio Between Markers
You can select the audio between two adjacent markers or between any two markers. This allows you to select a section that has been marked.
Binding Markers to Clips in the Audio Montage
In the Audio Montage window, you can bind markers to clips. By doing this, the marker remains in the same position relative to the clip start/end, even if the clip is moved or resized in the audio montage.
How Marker Information is Saved
WaveLab Elements uses MRK files as a way to save information that is independent of the file format. However, to make marker information exchangeable between applications, WaveLab Elements also saves some information in the Wave headers.
WaveLab Elements contains a variety of audio meters that you can use for monitoring and analyzing audio. Meters can be used to monitor audio during playback, rendering, and recording. Furthermore, you can use them to analyze audio sections when playback is stopped.
Meter Windows
Meter Settings
You can set up most meters in the corresponding settings dialogs. For example, you can adjust the behavior, scale, and color of the meters.
Resetting the Meters
You can reset the display of some meters, for example, the Level Meter.
Level Meter
The Level Meter displays the peak and average loudness/decibel levels of your audio file.
The Spectroscope shows a graphical representation of the frequency spectrum, analyzed into 60 separate frequency bands, represented as vertical bars.
The Oscilloscope offers a highly magnified view of the waveform around the playback cursor position.
Writing Operations
To start the CD/DVD writing process, you must have completed all CD/DVD writing preparations.
Write Audio CD Dialog
In this dialog, you can write your audio montage to an audio CD.
Erase Optical Media Dialog
In this dialog, you can quickly or fully erase an optical disc before writing.
About Writing Audio Montages
You can write audio montages to an audio CD.
Data CD/DVD Projects
A data CD/DVD project can be used to compile and write a data-only CD, DVD, Blu-ray, or to write to ISO image. You can enter a name for your disc and change the disc file structure before writing your data to a CD, DVD, Blu-ray, or ISO image.
Audio CD Formats
This chapter provides you with background information on the CD format, to help you better understand how to create your own CDs.
This chapter describes various operations that are related to looping. Looping is used to simulate the infinite or at least very long sustain of many instrumental sounds. WaveLab Elements has tools for creating smooth loops, even for the most complex types of sounds.
Basic Looping
Looping a sound allows you to repeat a section of the sample indefinitely in order to create a sustain of unlimited length. Instrumental sounds in samplers rely on looping organ sounds, for example.
About Refining Loops
The Loop Tweaker tool allows you to refine a region of audio for seamless looping. Use the Loop Tweaker to tweak an existing loop selection so that it loops perfectly or use it to create a loop from material which is not perfectly suited to create a loop.
Looping Audio Which Is Not Very Well Suited for Looping
Sounds that constantly decay in level or continuously change in timbre are difficult to loop. The Loop Tone Uniformizer allows you to create loops from these kind of sounds.
Sample Attributes
Sample attributes allow you to define settings for an audio sample before loading it into a hardware or software sampler.
Importing Audio CD Tracks
You can read audio tracks from regular CDs and save them as a digital copy in any audio format on your hard disk.
Import Audio CD Dialog
In this dialog, you can import one or more tracks from an audio CD.
Importing Audio CD Tracks
Searching Track Names on the Internet
You can search for information about your CDs using the FreeDb database of CD information.
Submitting Track Names to the Internet
You can submit information about an audio CD to the FreeDb database of CD information.
Ultra-Safe Mode
Sometimes, a small bit of a CD track is not properly retrieved which results in unpleasant clicks and pops in the audio. This depends on the quality of your CD drive. To solve this issue, you can activate the Ultra-Safe Mode in the Import Audio CD dialog options.
Converting Audio CD Tracks to an Audio Montage
WaveLab Exchange
You can use WaveLab Elements as an external editor for Cubase Pro, Cubase Artist, and Nuendo, and vice versa.
WaveLab Elements as External Editor for Cubase/Nuendo
You can open Cubase/Nuendo events in WaveLab Elements. This allows you to use the editing capabilities of WaveLab Elements and apply them to Cubase/Nuendo events.
Cubase/Nuendo as External Editor for WaveLab Elements
When you are working on an audio file or clip in WaveLab Elements, you can open the project of the audio file in Cubase/Nuendo. This allows you to correct issues that you have identified during mixing and correct these issues in the audio file in Cubase/Nuendo.
Podcasting is a method of distributing multimedia files over the Internet, for example, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers.
Podcast Editor
The Podcast Editor is divided into two panes. The upper pane shows the information for the feed or an episode, depending on the item that is selected in the list below. This is where you can add files, Internet links, or textual information to the podcast feed and its episodes. The lower pane shows an item list of the basic feed and all episodes that are included in the podcast.
Global Podcast Options
Some additional options are valid for all Podcast Editor tabs.
Creating a Podcast
There are several ways to create a new podcast feed or episode.
Setting Up a FTP for Podcast Publishing
To be able to upload a podcast to your FTP server, you must enter the FTP server details first.
Publishing Podcasts
You can upload a podcast from within WaveLab Elements to your FTP server.
FTP Settings Dialog
In the FTP Settings dialog, you can manage all required information for the podcast upload process.
Checking the Podcast
After creating and publishing a podcast, you can check if the upload was successful.
Customizing means making settings so that the program behaves and looks the way that you want it to.
Customizing the Wave Window and the Montage Window
You can set up the wave/montage window by adjusting colors of waveforms, background, cursor lines, etc., and changing the look of the ruler and other window details.
Customizing Shortcuts
In WaveLab Elements, you can control many functions via shortcuts to speed up your workflow. You can edit existing shortcuts and create new shortcuts.
Customizing Command Bars
You can hide or show individual command bar buttons. This way you can customize command bars by removing unwanted commands.
Plug-in Organization
WaveLab Elements comes with various plug-ins, and additional plug-ins can be added. To retain an overview over the plug-ins that are relevant to your project, you can organize your plug-ins in groups.
Touch Bar (macOS only)
The Touch Bar at the top of your keyboard gives you shortcuts to the WaveLab Elements functions. The Touch Bar changes automatically based on where you are in WaveLab Elements and offers a subset of the available options. You can customize the Touch Bar according to your needs.
Configuring WaveLab Elements
You can configure WaveLab Elements according to your needs.
Global Preferences
Global Preferences are preferences that apply throughout WaveLab Elements. Before you start working with WaveLab Elements, it is recommended to edit these preferences according to your needs.
Audio Files Preferences
This dialog allows you to define settings for editing in the Audio Editor. However, these settings also effect other parts of WaveLab Elements. You can choose defaults for editing and playback, adjust the visual appearance of the waveform displays, and determine how WaveLab Elements works with audio and peak files.
Audio Montages Preferences
This dialog allows you to set up general parameters for all audio montages or for the active audio montage only.
Synchronizing WaveLab Elements Settings on Several Computers
You can make some reference settings available to other WaveLab Elements installations. These settings can then be used by other WaveLab Elements workstations to keep the settings synchronized on several computers.
Multi-User Settings
If you use multiple WaveLab Elements stations in your studio or in your school, for administration, etc., you can set up one WaveLab Elements station to be the master station. The shared preferences and presets of this station can then be used by other slave stations.