Archives Preservation Software — 12 July 2012

Just a reminder about how dependent we are on commercial entities and how precarious that dependency can be.  So, for the past 15 years, there has been a dominant mac-based, professional stereo audio editing system.  Peak, by Bias, has been the best stereo audio editor for Mac available.  Recently, the Nunn Center boldly switched over to Macs for audio and video editing.  Investing a great deal in our stereo editing capability, there was one logical choice, Peak.  So, after digitizing hundreds of hours of audio, I logged on to update the software.  Typing in the URL for Bias (http://www.bias-inc.com) I received this abrupt message:

So, no  email notification, they just ceased operations.  Now, I am scrambling to change our audio editing software for the Nunn Center. So here is what I am thinking:

  • Music industry standard Avid’s ProTools. Amazing software for music production, way overkill for digitizing mono and stereo audio cassettes.  Still, ProTools has been around forever (Ive been personally using it since 1997 and love it for recording and production) and it probably won’t disappear like Peak.  My abandonment issues from the Peak experience is drawing me to industry standards.  Avid recently made ProTools hardware independent which is awesome.  In the past, ProTools could only be used with Digidesign or Avid’s hardware.  Now it is universal.  Very steep learning curve so training students each semester will be a major pain.
  • Then there is the free option, Audacity.  Audacity is free, but compared to higher end options its interface is rather clunky.  Still, it may not be pretty but it gets the job done.  I know the home recording user community is decent but not sure the user community in the professional archive or music studio communities.
  • One exciting stereo editing option is Steinberg’s WaveLab which has been around forever but was just recently released for Mac.  The full version of the software has incredible mastering capability and they have built in restoration plug-ins.
  • On the low-end, there is Amadeus Pro available for $59.95 in the Mac App Store.  It has batch conversion capability and handles a variety of formats

So I am leaning toward Steinberg’s Wavelab.  It has an education version so we can get an amazing deal on software with amazing capability for much less.  There is also an “express” version for only $99.  Ok, so I will be calling Stewart at www.Sweetwater.com this week and beginning the process of replacing Peak.  Anyone else healing from the Bias’ betrayal and shopping for a replacement?

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Douglas A. Boyd

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