Steinberg SpectraLayers Elements 6: A wallet-friendly spectral audio editor
Steinberg has released SpectraLayers Elements 6, an inexpensive intro version of its SpectraLayers Pro 6 spectral audio editor. While SpectraLayers Elements lacks some features of the Pro version, it still offers the same concept of graphical spectral audio editing.
Steinberg SpectraLayers Elements 6
Like the Pro version, Steinberg SpectraLayers Elements lets you edit the audio frequency spectrum using common drawing tools similar to those found in graphics software like Photoshop and others. Not surprisingly, the Elements version does lack some of the more advanced features of SpectraLayers Pro. But all the basics are there, and this version looks like it could be enough for many users, myself included.
The most significant omission compared to the Pro version is the Advanced Selection engine, which lets you use complex selection shapes. Users of SpectraLayers Pro will have to make do without it.
While SpectraLayers Pro supports up to eight audio tracks, you’re limited to two tracks in SpectraLayers Elements. That’s still enough for dealing with stereo files. Another difference is the maximum number of undo steps, where SpectraLayers Elements falls short of the Pro version with eight instead of 64 steps. Other omissions include some advanced editing and processing functions, as well as selection and editing tools.
Now let’s talk about what SpectraLayers Elements does have: It offers the same ARA2 interface as the Pro version. This means that you can access its editing features seamlessly in any ARA2 compatible DAW, just like the Pro version. There’s also an AAX plug-in, which provides a connection between Pro Tools and the stand-alone version of the app.
Although it lacks some of the more advanced features, SpectraLayers Elements still allows you to edit the frequency spectrum of your audio tracks graphically. This not only lets you carry out surgical audio restoration tasks, but can also be a source of inspiration. Personally, I think I’d be fine with the Elements version for now. For a detailed comparison of the Elements and Pro versions, click here.
Price and compatibility
Steinberg SpectraLayers 6 Elements runs on Windows 7 or newer and macOS High Sierra or newer. On Windows machines, an OpenGL 3.3 compatible graphics card is required, DirectX 11 is recommended. The software costs EUR 79.99.