At a Glance
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Awave Studio doesn't waste a lot of effort on the niceties. The interface is clean and easy to figure out, but without a lot of handholding or visual frills. If you don't understand some of the more complex multi-file formats it handles, you'll need to study up a bit on those--but converting normal single file types is as simple as pie.
As I mentioned, the list of file types supported by Awave is immense--far too many to list here. But you can study it at the company's Web site or simply peruse the various types in the drop down list in the file open dialog. Which brings me to my only real interface gripe: There are so many file types that it can be laborious scrolling through them. There should be category filters such as "All phone types", All PC types", "All sampler types", etc. Most file types are supported natively but a few require that you install the accompanying codec pack and another .dll or two, all of which are available at the company's Web site.
Another trick the program has acquired since my last look is the ability to read samples and multi-sample instruments from Akai, Kurzweil, and Roland sampler CDs. If you're a musician and have a library of these that you'd like to convert for use or import by virtual sampling instruments like Gigastudio, Awave can do it. Alas, it doesn't support the E-mu CDs that I have in great number. Awave also allows you to edit multi-sample instruments in a number of formats as well as the individual samples.
Most users will be far more interested in converting single files to and from cell phone, portable media player, and PC media formats. I didn't find one common file type that's not supported and the program converted them all flawlessly. The Awave Studio trial is a bit unusual in that you may actually save a file with it--one file, to be exact. You must reboot after that before you can save again. This allows you see just what kind of job it does and for 30 days, actually get some use out of it.
p>Note: Awave Audio, which omits the multi-sample file support, is half the price of Awave Studio and a better fit for most users.
--Jon L. Jacobi