AF’s Weblog

December 15, 2008

Test: BIAS Peak Pro XT6 Review

Though there are many audio editors for PC, the Mac world looks mainly to DSP Quattro, soundBlade, Audacity, WaveBurner or Peak (a non-exhaustive list), whose features range from “very basic” to “very sophisticated”. No wonder then that this software update of Peak Pro XT 6 (the extended version) by BIAS has been eagerly awaited.

Overview
Of the three versions, LE, Pro, and Pro XT 6, it’s the latter that was installed and tested. With Pro XT 6, BIAS has consolidated its editor, SoundSoap 2 and SoundSoap Pro cleaning software, version 1.2 of its Master Perfection Suite (which explains the price difference between the Pro version at $599 MSRP and the Pro XT at $1199 MSRP), and the Peak Production Pack. This pack includes a library of sounds (a little over 1 GB) by Sound Ideas, Shortwave, Serafine Sound FX, PowerFX, and Hollywood Edge, plus a $100 Broadjam coupon, a limited version of ONE sample player, the SFX Machine LT multi-effects (light version), 32 VST MDA plugins, Reveal LE and SoundSoap LE (identical to the full versions, but that only work within Peak), JackOSX (0.74), Soundflower (1.2.1) and WireTapPro (1.3.4). Take a look at the comparisons between the three versions here.

The software has to be authorized via the internet by entering the serial numbers into the BIAS Authorization Manager. Once that is done, it will be immediately validated. You can authorize two computers, and the BIAS Key is no longer necessary (you regain a USB port …). At startup, there’s a surprise: the GUI has been redesigned. From the dominance of gray in version 5 we go to a dark gray-black look (by default, which be can changed), and buttons now feature a simulated backlighting which highlights an icon when the mouse pointer is rolled over it. The windows are “magnetized” with a default position that can be recalled.

Let’s take a closer look…

Conclusion

ddp 2

BIAS delivers an editor that’s very complete, plus a sound and software suite that’s just as comprehensive, which explains its price. It’s true that we’ve become used to getting more for our money with the likes of Apple’s Logic Suite for example, but we must not forget that this is far from the norm … Plus you have to take into account the loops and effects (excellent quality), the various included plugins which perfectly fulfill their role (starting with native Peak plugins), EQ with different Freq versions, Sqweez compressor, multiband compressor Sqweez-5, and Reveal, all of which are very well designed. There’s not enough space here to talk about them, but they deserve their own test.

With perfect stability, Peak provides worry-free processing of batch files. There are practically no bugs, but note, however, the sensitivity of the Preview feature, which must be handled with care (better not rush things). In fact, I have only encountered a single problem with a batch processing and saving files as .WAV from a batch of files in AIFF in which some files contained accents and special characters (which didn’t pose a problem with Peak 5). Contact with BIAS failed to reproduce the problem on their side …

Another point that can be a problem but which, BIAS says, would be corrected in a future update: when you open files, that weren’t created by Peak, for the first time, the software changes the modified date, even if there is no editing. This may cause problems in managing backups with Time Machine, Super Duper or other CCC …

In short, Peak is still unavoidable, even essential to any Mac users treating many music files in any format, or wishing to prepare playlists regularly, regardless of their destinations. If the XT version seems too expensive, the Pro version offers a comprehensive editor, without the Master Perfection Suite and SoundSoap Pro.

Plein de fenêtres

Comprehensive audio editor
Many DSP functions
Ideal for sound design
Many audio formats
Cache in RAM
Native editing in most compressed formats
Envelopes (volume, plugins, etc..)
Playlist management
Import/export to SMIDI hardware samplers
Quality of sample rate conversion
Quality of dithering
DDP2.0
Vbox 3
VST and AU support
Video
Virtual instrument support
Convolution reverb included
Comprehensive Pdf manual
Almost bug-free
Comprehensive XT Suite (Master Perfection Suite, SoundSoap Pro)
Doesn’t use a USB dongle

Changes the modified date of files as soon as their opened
Sample rate conversion very slow on Mac PPC
Pitch shift and time stretch algorithms (despite the progress made …)
Ram cache for 16-bit files only
Sensitive preview feature
Problems with batch conversion containing certain characters

Read the full review of BIAS Peak Pro XT6 Review here.

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