Audition CS5.5 review

Adobe has finally brought Audition, its multitrack audio recording and editing tool, with mixing, mastering and sound-processing capabilities, to the Mac. It’s the digital recording studio for your desktop.

Users familiar with the Windows version will recognise that its core functionality and features are all present. But this version shows signs of an extensive rewrite, with a brand new, very fast audio rendering engine, an overhauled interface, under-the-hood changes to hardware configuration and round-trip integration with Adobe’s video editing tool Premiere Pro.

Bringing a familiar look and feel of other Adobe production tools, the revamped interface is a massive improvement over Audition 3. The previous Windows-only incarnation was based on CoolEdit Pro, an audio-recording tool that was popular on the platform for a decade. A race to bolt on new features gave the program a cumbersome and cluttered workflow. Audition CS5.5 fixes that, making it easier to switch between views, work in multiple modes simultaneously, and add live effects on the fly.

For long-term users, the most impressive addition will be the rewritten audio processing engine. Intensive effects no longer take minutes to apply to large files. Its now a matter of seconds to strip extraneous noise from a file, add compression or complex room emulation.

Recording, mixing and mastering

Adobe seems aware it’s entering a competitive digital audio solutions market. Apple’s own Logic and Cubase are leaders in studio-based production, not to mention Avid Pro Tools’s audio production. To that end, there’s now support for open export formats for exchanging soundtrack sessions between other DAWs and video production packages.

Video production is even present in the mastering sections, with improved 5.1 editing support using native audio tools. Our only gripe is with so much emphasis on video soundtrack creation it would be easy for audiophiles to overlook Audition in other contexts.

OUR VERDICT

Adobe Audition is the real standard for audio production in digital media. An ideal tool for video and game soundtrack creation, radio, podcasting and music, it’s a natural addition to Creative Suite whose inclusion is long overdue.

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