Peak Pro XT 5
Three versions of BIAS Peak, the leading application for stereo recording, editing and mastering, are available for the Mac. For professional users, Peak Pro XT 5 bundles Peak Pro 5 together with SoundSoap, SoundSoap Pro and the Master Perfection Suite – a collection of signal processing plug-ins for mastering, analysis and sound design. If you don't need all that, Peak Pro 5 is available on its own, or there's Peak LE 5 – the ‘lite' edition.
SoundSoap, the fastest audio-cleaning solution on the market, lets you clean up noisy recordings with one click. SoundSoap Pro is divided into four sections that focus on removing hum and rumble, clicks and crackle, broadband noise such as hiss, and ‘gate out' noises in between the desired content. This takes a little longer to set up, but the results compare well with much more expensive products from Waves and others.
The Master Perfection Suite plug-ins are so good that most professional users will go for the XT bundle even if they don't need SoundSoap. PitchCraft is a real-time pitch correction/transposition plug-in that can also be used for creative effects, such as creating harmony parts from a single melody line. Repli-Q matches the EQ of one source to another. With a stereo mix equalized for delivery in a compressed file format such as MP4, Repli-Q can help repurpose it for CD or DVD. Other applications include voice-over matching where an original take recorded in one environment and an overdub recorded in another need to match.
To help you ‘see' what's going on, the Reveal plug-in combines seven tools in a single interface – Oscilloscope, Peak and RMS Power History, Spectrogram, Pan Power, Spectral Analysis, Lissajous Phase Scope, and Peak and RMS Level Meters. When you need to make changes to the sound, you can use SuperFreq, a set of powerful equalizers similar to the Waves Q series. GateEx lets you ‘gate out' signals below an assignable threshold and its integrated downward expander helps to reduce any remaining unwanted content. Two multiband compressors, Sqweez-3 and Sqweez-5, help make mixes sound even punchier.
Peak Pro 5 now has all the features needed for professional pre-mastering and CD preparation, including ISRC entry, writing CD track indexes, PQ subcode editing and CD-text. Many record labels require mastering engineers to deliver pre-masters in the DDP format. BIAS offers an optional extension for DDP file export – positioning Peak Pro 5 as a cost-effective, non-hardware-dependent DDP-authoring solution.
I put Peak to work batch-converting WAV files to MP3s to put on my website. It couldn't have been easier. Entry-level users will quickly appreciate the benefits of using Peak LE for compiling tracks to burn to CD and there are so many useful tasks that Peak Pro XT can take care of that professional users will find it totally indispensable.