Photo: Dean Chalkley
XO Wave (free) and XO Wave Pro ($95) are digital audio editors that emphasize ease of use. Their design focuses on CD mastering, scoring for picture, and Podcasting, but you can do multitrack recording and mixing as well. The Pro version sports a 64-bit engine, allows more simultaneous effects, hosts AU plug-ins, exports in all QuickTime-supported formats, and writes CD subcodes (ISRC, MCN/UPC, CD Text). A free Linux version, XO Wave Open, is also available from the company Web site (xowave.com).
XO Wave makes burning your own CDs and mastering them for professional reproduction about as easy as it can get. It will even let you start with an iTunes playlist, which is great for making custom CDs of your favorite tracks. You have two ways to create a CD mastering session (a necessary first step to burning a CD). You can simply launch a new session and do everything manually, or you can use XO Wave's CD Mastering Wizard to guide you through the necessary steps. If you haven't created Red Book-compliant music CDs, the Wizard is a great way to start because it creates the appropriate gaps and markers. Once your session is set up, you use the Memory Locations manager to edit CD Text (Pro version only) for the individual tracks. When everything is to your liking, XO Wave creates a CD Master folder with all the information it needs to burn a CD. Another wizard, which you can invoke immediately or in a later session, guides you through the burning process.
All audio editing in XO Wave is nondestructive. It loads the audio files into a session folder, automatically creates regions as files are dragged to and adjusted on tracks, and performs any necessary DSP in real time. You don't get all the bells and whistles found in high-end DAWs, but you can accomplish most audio tracking and editing tasks. A new, free update with improved effects, major GUI improvements, middle-side support, advanced automation, and batch processing is due out in the near future.