BIAS Peak 2.04

BIAS PEAK 2.04(Mac; $499)As Alchemy and Sound Designer II faded from the audio software marketplace several years ago, BIAS Peak stepped in to fill the


(Mac; $499)

As Alchemy and Sound Designer II faded from the audio software marketplace several years ago, BIAS Peak stepped in to fill the void for Mac users seeking a powerful 2-channel digital audio editor. Before long, Peak had become the proverbial 600-pound gorilla of stand-alone audio editors, as its popularity spread throughout the music and post-production industries. Now, with the release of version 2.0, this user-friendly gorilla has a brand-new suit!

The latest version of Peak sports a jazzy new user interface with customizable, dockable toolbars; user-definable display colors; bigger and better VU meters; zoomability right up to the single-sample level; and a dedicated QuickTime window with video/audio scrubbing. As you might expect from a pro-level program, Peak comes with a truckload of powerful editing tools, including a Pencil tool that lets you clean up clicks and bad splices, a Loop Tuner for close-up editing of loop points, and an automatic Crossfade function for blending edit transitions. You can even select left or right channels separately for independent editing.

In version 2.0, Peak has greatly expanded its reach to the outside world. The program now supports 24- and 32-bit files as well as Premiere, AudioSuite, and TDM plug-ins. (The program comes bundled with Waves' Easy Waves plug-in package to get you started.) Peak also supports playback and recording with Digidesign hardware. Supported file formats now include RealAudio, Shockwave, Ensoniq PARIS, and MP3, in addition to AIFF, SDII, and others. The newly enhanced Batch Processor makes it easy to modify piles of files, and Peak's broad sampler support lets you exchange data with most popular hardware samplers.

Peak's extensive editing and processing capabilities make this program hard to beat, but its powerful Playlist truly establishes it as an essential program for pro-level audio work. Peak's Playlist lets you adjust crossfades, gaps, and individual gain settings, and you can apply up to four real-time effects to each Playlist entry. The big news, however, is that you can now synchronize the Playlist to incoming SMPTE time code for triggering sound effects and music cues from video playback. That should make sound designers and post-production workers happy, but there's more. You can now burn CDs directly from the Playlist by running Peak in tandem with Adaptec Toast (included with the program) or by exporting the Playlist as a Jam Image file.

All in all, Peak has evolved into a truly impressive program. Its customizable user interface, long list of editing and processing tools, widespread file format support, and SMPTE sync capabilities make this audio editor a surefire winner.