XO Wave is now discontinued
as we prepare to bring you the next generation
Digital Audio Workstation called
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.
XO Wave: Effects
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
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: . If you are already editing an effect, you can use two other
buttons to insert effects before () or 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,
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
button allows you to edit the effect in the effect editing area
of the current window. Clicking the 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 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.