Adobe Audition started life as a simple audio editor until Adobe saw that the big money was in music creation software. The program is now part of the Creative Suite line as a multi-track recording studio that offers all the refinement you expect in Adobe products but leaves beginners floundering in technical jargon.
First of all, be warned that this is a big download – 470MB to be exact – and the installation is also a long, drawn-out process so don’t be in a hurry to go anywhere when trying this. After the initial installation, Adobe Audition searches for compatible audio formats on your hard drive but asks you which file types you want to associate with it. This part is important to complete, otherwise the program would detect every single sound file on your hard drive – meaning your Adobe Audition library would be a jumbled mess.
The main interface is clean, with the active window highlighted by a red border. Each window is separated by tabs to keep the ‘File’, ‘Effects’, ‘Main’ and ‘Mixer’ sections separate and easy to revert to. If you don’t like the layout then Adobe has provided an ‘unlock panel’ option which allows you to detach and move these windows to a position of your choosing. You can save your own rearrangements as workplace templates according to the type of project you are working on.
To really get the most out of Adobe Audition, you’ll need a pretty good sound card. For those concerned with MIDI support, Adobe Audition doesn’t offer a great deal in this area and many users report this as one of the most confusing aspects of the program to configure.
To describe all the editing possibilities of Adobe Audition would involve going into the minute technicalities of audio composition and compression but there are four main modes to get to grips with. The first is ‘Waveform Display’ which displays the wave in graphical form. Second is ‘Spectral Frequency Display’ which graphically displays the frequency range with colours. ‘Logarithmic Display’ does exactly the same but obviously displays the wave as a Logarithm. For producing stereo-sound, there’s also ‘Spectral Pan Display’ and ‘Spectral Phase Display’ which enable you to get stereo sound perfectly synced.
The actual editing itself is performed using the time-honoured cut and paste functions common to most audio and video editing programs. You simply mark an in and out point and cut and paste the audio until it’s as you want it. However, the program is much more advanced than this as it’s able to detect beat patterns and rhythms and set in and out points accordingly. To use this function though, you’ll have to spend a long time studying the Help guide (which fortunately is very clear and detailed). You can also use a relatively new function in the audio editing field called ‘Frequency Space Editing’ which means you can edit certain frequencies of the sound rather than the wave as a whole. There are also of course a heap of effects that you can apply to sounds ranging from complex distortions to pitch bending specific frequencies.
As you can see, Adobe Audition is a very advanced program designed only for those who are serious about multi-track audio production. If you are looking for a simple sound editor, then this is way too advanced and will only leave you frustrated. If however you want to take your first few steps into professional editing, the extensive Adobe help guide will ensure that you get the most out of this rich and complex program.
Pros: Supports multi-track editing, Clean tabbed interface, Allows editing of frequencies
Cons: MIDI support complex, No ‘simple’ mode for easy editing, Long installation process