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Important Notice: XO Wave is now discontinued as we prepare to bring you the next generation Digital Audio Workstation called Xonami. This site remains available for anyone who purchased XO Wave in the past. However, please keep in mind that as discontinued software:

  • This site may not contain up-to-date information.
  • Technical support is discontinued, though we will do our best to continue to provide email support, especially to anyone who purchased recently.
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XO Wave offers a wealth of effects options, from basics such as EQ and compression, to more exotic effects such as pitch shift. In addition to its built-in effects, you can use a wide range of Audio Units in XO Wave Pro. This tutorial will walk you through adding and manipulating effects.

Adding and Editing Effects

Adding effects in XO Wave is easy. Both the Edit window and the Mix window have a button for adding effects: Add Effect. If you are already editing an effect, you can use two other buttons to insert effects before (Insert
	Effect Before) or after (Insert Effect
	After) the current effect. Clicking either of these icons will open a window that allows you to add an effect. The first item in the window is a pop-up menu which allows you to select which effect you want to add. For example, to add a Butterworth Filter, use Select an effect:EQ:Butterworth Filter. The next item lets you select where on a given track you want to insert the effect. For example, if you want the effect to be the first effect on the track, select 1. For it to fall second, select 2. The last item in the window lets you choose which track to put the effect into.

Once you have selected your effect, position, and track, click OK. Some effects may require more information before they can be created, but most will just be inserted into the track. You can edit the effect parameters when the it appears at the bottom of the window, or you can edit the parameters of another effect by clicking on one of the buttons next to the effect name in the Track Control Panel. For example, clicking on the Edit Effect button allows you to edit the effect in the effect editing area of the current window. Clicking the Edit
	Effect In New Window button will edit the effect in a new, dedicated window.

Users of XO Wave Pro can also add Audio Unit effects. Audio Unit effects are a special type of effect that can be shared by a variety of programs. To add an Audio Unit, simply select Audio Unit from the Select an Effect pop-up menu in the window described above. XO Wave will show a window to select which Audio Unit to use, and let you adjust the way the effect displays itself in XO Wave. For each effect parameter, you can have it shown in the Channel Strip, optionally hide it from all views, and select a color to use for automation curves. You can also limit the height of the effect, which is useful when screen space is limited and you'd rather scroll through parameters than sacrifice screen real estate.

Note that because XO Wave uses a multi-process architecture, it does not support the custom interfaces created by most Audio Units. In most cases, this will make little or no difference, but in some cases, it may prevent the Audio Unit from working perfectly or at all. To help users get the most out of Audio Units, we've created the XO Wiki, and a special tech note which offer further information on using Audio Units with XO Wave.


If you want the parameters of a given effect to change as the session plays back, you can use a feature called "Automation". From the track control panel, click the Select
	Automation button to activate a pop-up menu from which you can select the desired effect. Using the various tools, selectable from the Tools section of the toolbar, you can manipulate the automation in various ways.

Use the bar at the bottom of the Edit window to help you figure out which parameter you are editing and by how much. Also note that the "active" parameter is yellow while the rest are a light gray. The active parameter can be adjusted using the trim tool.

In general, you can use as much automation as you want with XO Wave's built-in effects and you will not create discontinuities in audio playback. Please be aware, however, that many Audio Units are not as forgiving, so it is a good idea to use automation sparingly with Audio Units, and always listen to the results to be sure you don't hear an unexpected pop or a clicking sound at your automation point.

XO Wave's Effects

XO Wave divides effects into several categories to make it easier to sort through all the options. Here, we briefly describe each category and effect offered by XO Wave. Some effects require more explanation, and links for further information are provided where needed.

  • Audio Unit Effect: XO Wave Pro and XO Wave Free users will be able to add Audio Unit effects using this option, but only XO Wave Pro users will actually have their audio processed by the Audio Units. Mac OS X 10.4 offers a range of Audio Units that are built right into the system, and a huge number of additional Audio Units are available -- many of them free. To find out more about Audio Units, see the Audio Unit section of our XO Wiki as well as our Audio Unit tech note
  • Basic: These effects provide the core functions of XO Wave. These effects are so basic, such as volume and meter, that you may not even consider them to be effects, but XO Wave does. This is useful because it allows you to do things such as put meters anywhere in the signal chain, and use several volumes on a single track.
    • Aux Send lets you "split" a signal, sending a copy to another track. The most common use for this is using a single reverb for several tracks.
    • A Meter allows you to monitor the signal level at any point in the signal chain.
    • Volume allows you to add gain to a given track.
  • Delay: These effects use a delay line to produce their sounds. While you may not always think of them as delay based, they all require a delay line produce the desired result.
    • Basic Reverb creates an ambiance by simulating the sound of an environment such as a room or hall. Reverbs work by mixing delayed versions of the signal with the original signal.
    • Pitch Shift, logically enough, changes the pitch of a signal. For example, if you wish to change the key of a song, you can use the pitch shifter to do it. The pitch shifter in XO Wave also has features for eliminating vocals, mixing the original signal with the pitch-shifted and possibly delayed version of the signal, and feeding the pitch-shifted signal back into the pitch shifter, making it a great chorus effect as well.
  • Dynamics: These effects alter the dynamics, or changes in volume, of the signal. This is useful for reducing volume extremes, bringing out details, eliminating overly sibilant vocals, and more.
    • Compressor/Limiter: A Compressor/Limiter is one of the most import effects used in audio. To learn about compression in general, see our tutorial Using Compression. To learn how to use XO Wave's Compressor, see Using XO Wave's Compressor.
  • EQ: These effects use tiny delays to increase and decrease the levels of certain frequencies.
  • Special: These effects don't fit well into any other category, or perform an unusual or special function.
    • Envelope Generator: This effect can be used to create an envelope, which is a signal that tracks the dynamics of your audio, and use that to control virtually any other parameter in any other effect. This is most commonly used for ducking, which is the automatic reduction of the level of one signal based on the intensity of another signal. For example, a podcaster might use ducking to reduce the level of the music while they are speaking. However, ducking is only the beginning: this effect can also be used in conjunction with other effects to create dynamically controlled effects such as auto-wah, or a special purpose reverb that only responds to loud sounds. The possibilities are limitless.
    • Gain Matrix: A swiss army knife of gain, this effect combines a variety of useful utility functions with a few that are more esoteric. It has presets for channel re-mapping, mid-side encoding and decoding, phase inversion and stereo image width control. It also has a manual mode which allows complete control of the gain and phase from each input to each output and a master gain control which allows +/- 48 dB of gain.
    • Noise/Dither: This effect can be used to add noise to a signal. This might be used as part of a special effect or if you want full control over the dither added to your signal.
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