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BIAS Peak is an advanced audio-application designed to provide professional tools for editing and processing digital audio. Peak makes a superb addition to multitrack-audio applications, such as Digidesign’s Pro Tools. It also offers advanced sampler-support, and works directly with many popular MIDI sampling keyboards and rack-mount samplers. You can create audio CDs directly from a Peak Playlist using Adaptec Toast – which is bundled with Peak – or create full Red Book standard reference CDs using Adaptec Jam or Digidesign MasterList CD software. You can also use Peak ‘s RealAudio, Shockwave Audio Encoder, and MP3 encoding to prepare audio for streaming over the Internet. Other packages, such as Pro Tools or Logic Audio, are optimized for multitrack operation along with MIDI sequencing, while Peak is optimized for stereo or mono operations. So you do your multitrack work in one of these other packages, mix down to stereo, and do your final editing and processing in Peak prior to burning to CD. Peak is also useful for working on mono or stereo files at stages during the multi-tracking process. For example, Peak offers sophisticated tools for looping, including Loop Surfer, Loop Tuner, and Guess Tempo. The big news is the support for VST-compatible plug-ins, which are becoming a major format. Peak also supports Adobe Premiere-compatible plug-ins, but these are losing ground as a format for audio and music. The TDM edition of Peak supports Digidesign TDM and AudioSuite plug-ins, providing access to the wide range of high-end plug-ins developed for Pro Tools systems. To achieve certain effects, you may need to combine two or more plug-ins. You can insert up to five VST or TDM plug-ins to process audio, and you can use both VST and TDM plug-ins at the same time. It’s even possible to add an AudioSuite and a Premiere plug-in as well – for ultimate plug-in flexibility. Peak’s user-interface has been given a makeover, and is better for it. I particularly liked the snazzy new toolbar. Here, the tools reveal their purpose when you hover the mouse over any particular icon, and you can choose which selection of commands you want to have on the toolbar. Technical enhancements include support for a wider range of third-party SCSI cards and samplers, the addition of dithering capabilities, improvements to the Guess Tempo feature, the metering, and so forth.
The only real competition for Peak isTC|Works Spark. Peak has been around a year or two longer, although Spark is catching up fast and has some unique features. The improved user-interface in Peak 2.5 gives this package the edge for me when it comes to serious professional work.