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Software Review: Adobe Master Collection – Soundbooth CS4 from Adobe Systems

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This is the eighth in a series of reviews that will cover what is contained in the Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) Master Collection. When Adobe released CS4 last fall, they not only released single version products, but also six separate suites of products. They are Design Premium, Design Standard, Web Premium, Web Standard, Production Premium, and Master Collection. You can go online to compare what is contained in each version. The goal of this series it to define what each product does and provide information of what the new version brings to the table.

What do you need to run Soundbooth? On PCs you need a 1.4 GHz or faster processor, Windows XP SP2 or Vista; on Macs, a multi-core Intel processor, Mac OS X v10.4.11 – 10.5.4 (Leopard); on both you need 1GB RAM, 2 GB for HDV and HD playback, a 1280×800 display with a 32-bit video card, 10 GB hard drive space for installation, and a DVD-ROM drive.

Soundbooth  CS4Adobe Soundbooth is a digital audio editor from Adobe Systems. It is a product for creative professionals who work in film, video, and other media. It is a program where you can create any kind of audio for video. It has a simple work flow that is very easy to use.

So what is new with Soundbooth CS4?
• Multitrack support gives you more flexibility by giving you more tracks. Because sound for visuals can comprise a variety of different elements like sound, dialog, and effects, you need more tracks. In CS4 you can now assemble all of the elements of a complex soundtrack into a final audio mixdown.

• Adobe Sound Document is new for CS4 and enables nondestructive audio editing so you can always return to the original sound files. The Adobe Sound Document (ASDN) can be shared with Adobe Flash CS4 Professional, Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, and Adobe After Effects CS4. By taking snapshots of your work, you can easily recover to an earlier point in time.

• Automatic volume matching allows you to equalize volume levels with a specific file easier than ever before. This can be particularly challenging when recording speech where multiple speaker's voices are captured at differing levels. You can even use this feature to match the volume of multiple clips to each other or to a single reference volume.

• Volume key framing will let you adjust the volume of your dialogue and sound-effects tracks or adjust the volume of your audio over time. This is especially helpful when recording podcasts. You can record directly into a track, dub vocals, and improve the quality and sound of your voice.

• MP3 compression preview allows you to preview the sound quality at whatever bit rate that you select and see the file size before you save it. In this way you can save time and effort before you commit to specific settings.

• Better integration with Flash CS4, Premiere Pro CS4, and After Effects CS4 gives you a much better editing workflow. You can round-trip all of your assets and this will save you time and effort.

• Dynamic Link workflows eliminates the need for intermediate rendering by creating a direct link between new or existing assets in select Adobe CS4 components. This is you can open sequences from say After Effects in Soundbooth without intermediate rendering.

Soundbooth  CS4• Better editing now includes instant cut, copy, and paste functions as well as on-clip editing tools such as trim, fade, and volume control. With one click you can fix, boosts or otherwise modify audio assets.

• Looping tool enhancements lets you increase your creative options and saves time though the use of automatic beat detection for loop creation. Beats are displayed as orange lines so you know exactly where they are.

• Additional Soundbooth scores are customizable, pre-existing content that is available in Soundbooth. There are other free Soundbooth scores available online as well so you don't need a recording studio or other music software to create soundtracks for your projects.

• Speech Search is the technology that turns spoken dialog into text-based metadata to make your video searchable. Now by turning any spoken word into a keyword that points to a clip where the word is spoken, gives you the ability to find any clip much easier.

• Creative Pro Online services are online communities that will help you share with others in the community. You can work with clients, get inspiration from peers, or share with others.

 Soundbooth  CS4Overall, I like the changes that Adobe has been making with Soundbooth, but you have to keep in mind that it is aimed for the video/design professional who does not want/need the advanced capabilities of a full blown professional audio editor, but still needs more advanced features along with ease of use.

That said, I think that Soundbooth CS4 really hit the mark at addressing the needs of its intended audience with the multitrack editing, volume matching, Adobe Sound Document, enhanced editing, and other new features. All of these added functionalities make for a must-have upgrade for film and video editors, as well as those who work in a form of creative media.

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About T. Michael Testi

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

    Looks great!