Adobe Audition 3

May 1st, 2008 Desktop, Software, Tech

You’ve got to love Adobe’s new marketing, giving all their products little designations that look like elements of the periodic table. Adobe Audition’s chemical symbol is Au (the chemical symbol for gold, if you’re interested), and it’s their tool to create, mix, master and manage music production.

Unlike Adobe’s flagship products, it’s not available for Macintosh but Windows only. It may be because Adobe won’t even both trying to knock Apple’s own products off its operating system (GarageBand and Logic Studio), or it could be Apple realising how silly it would look letting a competitor beat programs that were built for its system and locking those competitors out.

Whichever it is, Adobe Audition is the most comprehensive music tool available that we’ve seen available for Windows. Like most digital editing tools, if you’re new to the area you’d do better to play around with a low-level sound editor for awhile to get the hang of what you’re doing or the dials, switches and knobs of the virtual mixing board can send you cross-eyed.

The Audio restoration and healing tools let you import an old recording from a vinyl LP or other analogue source and clean it up. They contain a selection of things called ‘Click/Pop Eliminator’, ‘Noise Reduction’ and ‘Hiss reduction’ to name a few, which allow you to make global adjustments to reduce vinyl noise or adjust them as you go along the track. And it’s here that one of Audition’s coolest tricks actually comes from elsewhere in the Adobe canon. Just like in Photoshop, you can use the spot healing brush to touch up the waveform view to take out extraneous hisses or pops. The restoration tools also have an automatic ambient noise adjuster called Adaptive Noise Reduction that treats background noise from that in the music itself to passing cars and the like.

Mixing music is done through the usual tracks arranger, where you control the duration, characteristics and positioning or sounds, and you can create your own through the MIDI based loops of instruments — several thousand of them.

Audition lets you work through an external mixing board if you’re old school, or if you’re more digitally inclined you can create and save all your effects. As most sound mixing software seems to be doing, there’s a 5:1 speaker design plug-in which lets you play your video clip one frame at a time and design your sound mix around it.

The editing of tracks is deceptively easy. It looks complicated when you see the mouse drag funny looking vector lines everywhere in demos, but you can click and drag to treat all sorts of characteristics like fade, grouping tracks together if need be to apply the changes to them all. In fact, it feels more click and drag-based than most major sound editing tools. That sounds kind of silly to say (most modern software is click and drag based), but it’s as if someone at Adobe sat down and decided to make as much as possible actionable through just dragging your mouse. You won’t realise how advantageous that is until you’ve been using it for awhile, and for the price, it’s every bit as powerful as the high end pro suites.

RRP: $485 (upgrade $135)

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