I respectfully disagree Neil... Shouldn't an app claiming to make DVD-Audio discs as a feature be able to handle multichannel files, a staple of that format? I might agree if we lacked that option, and Steinberg wasn't selling it as a feature. But they are so that's kind of moot. Yesterday I tried dropping both interleaved and split multichannel files into the Montage, after the File editor failed to open them in sync. It was ugly and not great fun. I'm still not sure why "multichannel" montages exist, or at least how to use them (no help from the non-existent docs, and the help system doesn't make things easy to find).
Furthermore, while Cubase, Nuendo, Logic and ProTools are all great multichannel editors, most aren't very good at flexible deliveries (that's really what I do as a mastering engineer: deliver multiple files formatted for various consumer playback media and targets). They might be able to handle the processing and tasks by various kludges, but lack useful features like meta-tagging, text/delivery documentation, clip/object based processing, autospacing, and advanced fade handling. Some are necessities, some nice-to-haves, but all common in mastering daws.
One of WL7's unique and powerful features is it's terrific file editor. It can open/munge any mono or interleaved stereo file you throw at it, even broken ones. It doesn't require any voodoo or magic to add more channels to it's existing interleave-reading capabilities. But every mastering engineer who delivers files for DVD or gets sources from video houses REQUIRES some tool to edit/munge/tag interleaved multichannel sources, even if we process elsewhere. These grunt-level tools are distinct from DAWs, but already part of WL7's arsenal. All of this applies to analysis in spades - where is this functionality? Why is it missing?
Finally some of the competition already does this fairly well. soundBlade is actually pretty good at some multichannel work, as is Peak on mac (not sure about PC). So by most measures, WL7 does need to improve it's flexibility.
What's lacking across the board is smart handling and reading of multichannel files in even conventional formats. It would be an improvement to state what kind of multichannel files WL7 prefers. It would be sufficient for it to cover the basics: AIFF and WAV interleaved and split files (in the most-common/familiar .L/C/R and .1/2/3 configurations). And it would be ideal if we could accept most conventional formats and deliver to same, but I realize this might be something we get in a major revision down the line, 7.2 or later.
To me this looks more like an opportunity than a problem or bug. If WL7 handled interleaved multichannel files identically to stereo interleaved files it would have a real, compelling advantage over the competition. If nothing else it checks off a box/need when doing research on what to buy.
At any rate, in many modern mastering rooms multichannel has been around for quite awhile and shows no signs of going away as targets multiply. I see no functional benefits to using a multitrack DAW for mastering tasks, and they are incapable of doing many of the basic jobs that need doing. I understand that many here work in stereo-only world, delivering CDs and tracks for iTunes. At least a few of us have other unmet multichannel needs. Maybe Steinberg can win a few customers by addressing it, with the added sales and features benefiting all?