Sound Studio 3.5.5 Review

The Mac has more than its share of capable sound editors, but until now, not one has stood out to us as a go-to tool for everyday tasks. Sound Studio 3.5.5 finally fills the role of the long-abandoned and much-loved Macromedia SoundEdit 16 (which never made it to OS X).

Sound Studio is an easy-to-use program for recording, editing, and applying effects to digital audio that can be used for everything from podcasting to digitising old tapes and records.

Sound Studio 3 records audio in either stereo or mono and takes advantage of Apple’s Core Audio to provide low-latency recording. Sound Studio can start recording automatically based on timers or audio levels, or begin when you push the Record button.

The program is a two-channel (stereo) editor that presents a waveform along a timeline in a single window, which you can zoom into or out from. Equalizers and filters get their own Inspector windows for adjusting parameters. You can perform simple cut-and-paste edits or apply markers to split a file into multiple files.

You can apply crossfades, adjust the equalisation, and jazz up your productions with natural-sounding delay, chorus, flanger, echo, and reverb effects. You can also clean up old recordings and repair clicks and pops either by interpolating samples or silencing them.

The backward/reverse audio function will even help you decode those satanic messages hidden on your heavy metal albums. It’s also possible to layer sounds to create multi-track recordings. We were less impressed, however, with the program’s pitch- and time-shifting tools, which left noticeable artefacts on the recordings.

Version 3’s marquee feature is its support for Audio Units (AU) plug-ins. AU plug-ins are filters that go far beyond what’s included in the box to provide higher quality versions of the same effects and other effects that take you into more musically expressive territory.

Sound Studio can also be extended with pre-built automated workflows that provide batch processing capabilities, such as the ability to stitch together multiple audio files, automate the addition of intro and outro audio across multiple files, clean up noise, or apply equalizers, reverb, and band-pass filtering.

More established producers will bemoan Sound Studio’s lack of support for their arsenal of VST plug-ins. And musicians won’t be able to rely on the limited pitch- and time-shifting tools included in the program to correct their off-key singing or playing.

OUR VERDICT

Sound Studio 3.5.5 is an easy-to-use tool that fits smoothly into your daily workflow without requiring a degree in audio engineering.

A full demo of Sound Studio 3 is available at http://www.freeverse.com/apps/app/?id=5012.

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