Review: Wave Master
Increasingly, especially with the decent cameras onboard and super HAAC microphones, Windows Phones are becoming good all-purpose capture devices. We've seen a barrage of video editors, it only makes sense that we'd now see some decent audio editors too. Wave Master is fully featured and well worth a look, below.
Wave Master is still fairly new to the Windows Phone scene and launches for the Windows Phone 8.1 platform, with its extra file and media APIs. As the name suggests it's a 'WAV' audio editor and compositor, recording audio in lossless format and then merging tracks along with imported WAV material from local disks or OneDrive. You can cut, copy and paste sections as needed from track to track, and the whole thing gets rendered when played back.
The concept is simple(ish) and it mainly works as advertised, though I can't help but want more, as detailed below(!)
Audio can be recorded from any audio sources registered with Windows Phone - I thought I'd try the top end and was reviewing Wave Master on the Lumia 1520, with its four microphone array. Three options appeared in the application - 'Surround Microphone' appears to be a composite of the various mikes, in mono, while 'Microphone' will be the main phone mike, and, most interestingly, 'Microphone Array' is a stereo source, using mikes at either end of the phone. Happily, the defaults for all of these are 'High' (quality) too.
Projects can be named, saved and re-opened later, so you don't have to do 'one time' editing as in previous apps and Windows Phone incarnations. A typical use might be to record a couple of live audio tracks (e.g. ambient sounds or music of some kind) and then overlay imported pre-existing audio fragments - I imported one such from my OneDrive and all three resulting tracks played back in perfect time, with the on-screen display keeping up with the playback position.
There's no VU meter or other volume indicator when recording, maybe this is something the developer could add in a future version?
Each track appears as you'd expect, with a stereo layout of the waveform and with a swipeable timeline across the screen - though unless I'm missing something, there's no way to collapse (i.e. zoom out) the timeline, to see the whole track, so I'm not sure Wave Master would be very practical for long projects (say over five minutes), due to all the swiping left and right that would be needed. A selection bracket is always available for any selected tracks, you just drag (or tap) the end markers as needed, though the actual playback marker has to be dragged from its current position - being able to tap somewhere to set playback position would have been nice too. Again, for a future version?
The basics of audio editing are all here, though, with move (i.e. along the timeline) functions as well as cut/copy/paste. The extra toolbar in the UI gives playback, undo, re-do functions as well as 'select all' and 'select none'.
The bottom section of the UI can be switched to show 'effects' instead of tools, with an impressive set out of the box (and more planned, according to the developer). Just select the audio you want to affect, tap the 'effect' tool and then adjust the parameters of the effect as needed.
Note in particular the 'amplify' effect, which can be used to adjust relative volumes of (sections of) each track in the timeline - there's even a 'fade' effect, handling graceful fade-outs for you...
With audio being a lot faster to process and render than video, Wave Master seems fast at exporting (to MP3, WAV or .AAC) and a breath of fresh air - it's certainly a must have tool for anyone planning to capture and mess around with audio on the move. And reasonably priced too, at £1.50 in the UK Store - cheap for such a seriously useful tool.
Reviewed by Steve Litchfield at