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Software Review: Adobe Audition 3 from Adobe Systems

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Adobe Audition 3 is the latest release of the comprehensive Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) production solution from Adobe Systems. It features a multitrack, mix/edit environment that you can use to create your own music, record and mix a project, produce a radio spot, clean up audio for a movie, as well as compile and edit a soundtrack. In fact it is your own personal recording studio.

What do you need to run Adobe Audition 3? You need to be running Windows on an Intel Pentium 4 – 1.4 GHz or higher, Windows XP SP2 or Vista, 512 RAM, 10 GB hard drive space, Microsoft DirectX or ASIO compatible sound card, and DVD-ROM Drive.

Adobe Audition started out as Cool Edit from Syntrillium Software in the early 1990's and was developed by former Microsoft employees Robert Ellison and David Johnston. Adobe purchased Cool Edit Pro v2.1 in May of 2003 as well as a large loop library called Loopology. They renamed it to Audition and version 1 was released in August 2003. This version, Audition 3, was released in November 2007.

Adobe Audition 3

So what is new with Adobe Audition 3?

• VSTi virtual instrument support – now gives you a wider range of virtual instruments that you can add to your production. Simply add a MIDI track host to your mix, choose an instrument, then record new audio in the Sequencer.

• Enhanced spectral editing – has made your frequency space editing more flexible with the new Effects Paintbrush and Spot Healing brush. Now you can make a free-form selection in frequency space and apply the effects in varying degrees to that selection. You now have a Marquee selection tool to zero into a specific area, and a Bitmap import/export option that will allow you to edit your audio in Photoshop to change minute details and optimize your audio file.

• Improved multitrack editing – gives you increased accuracy by editing clips that are grouped together. You can then trim and delete, split clips, and add fades across multiple tracks just by grouping clips. You can even mix down multitrack files into a single file for use as a new track.

• New effects – such as Convolution Reverb, Analog Delay, Mastering tool, and Tube-modeled Compressor. These along with 50 audio effects create new possibilities for whole different sounds.

• Radius time stretching from iZotope – will let you slow down or speed up an audio piece without changing pitch or you can change pitch without changing tempo by the use of the high quality time-stretching algorithm from iZoTope.

• Guitar Suite effects – will let you tailor your sound with analog-modeled guitar effects. Components such as Simple Compressor, Adjustment Filter module, Distortion Module, and Box Modeling module are built into Guitar Suite. Apply one effect or stack many together to create unique sounds.

• Top/Tail view – gives you an easy way to tweak the start or end of a loop or other audio file. It lets you zoom into the beginning and the end of a file to add precise fades while keeping the whole file in view.

• Noise reduction and phase correction tools – makes it easier than ever to reduce unwanted noise. There is even a automatic Phase Correction tool to calculate and apply the optimal delay for aligning channels of a stereo waveform.

• Faster performance – due to underlying code enhancements that take advantage of multi-core processors.

Adobe Audition 3

Adobe Audition 3 is a comprehensive product and is very ready for professional production work. It offers extensive MIDI features, a welcome addition, such that you can record audio straight into the Sequencer from external devices and use that in your mix. You are able to process your file for surround sound output, and add to that the amount of effects that are included is quite impressive, not to mention all of the other features that are included.

Then the inclusion of "Loopology," the collection of 32-bit, uncompressed, royalty-free audio loop files in over 20 different styles that range from funk, rock, jazz, and classical. Using these loops, you can put together great-sounding compositions and sound tracks without musical experience. Included are many types of instruments including drums, keyboards, guitars, dulcimers, and synthesizers. There are even 15- and 30-second music beds that can give you a jump start.

Adobe Audition 3

Most DAWs focus on the Sequencer operations and as such the editing and audio manipulation capabilities tend to fall short. This is one area that Adobe Audition 3 shines. Adobe Audition 3 is well balanced and makes for a more complete product by focusing on both aspects of production. With two distinct modes, you can switch between easily between the two. This is especially important if you find yourself the owner of both hats of audio production, you now only have to deal with one product, unlike with other solutions.

While at this state I would not call Adobe Audition 3 a revolutionary release (rather more of an evolutionary release), I do call it a welcome release. I would like to see more integration to the other Adobe products, such as adding dynamic links into Premier Pro, After Effects, Flash, etc. would be nice. If you need to do anything with regard to serious audio production, are a sound designer, musician, recording engineer, or other audio professional, or even if you want to learn more about music production and composition, then I very highly recommend Adobe Audition 3.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.