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Adobe Audition 1.0

Powerful audio editing, recording and looping ability with a video twist By Frank Moldstad
Click to see annotated Multitrack screen
One of the first things you notice about Adobe Audition is its extensive loop creation ability, which is so entertaining that it sucks you in like a video game. But when you finally stop to investigate the rest of the program, it's apparent that Audition is a versatile professional audio recording and editing environment that could hold its own in most any situation.

The former Cool Edit Pro was purchased by Adobe last May from Syntrillium Software, and it appears to have found a good home. Although Adobe renamed it and tagged it with a version 1.0, this PC-only application brings with it the attributes of a mature program, including stability, an extensive toolset and a clean, intuitive interface.

Audition can record up to 128 tracks, and individual files can be edited down to the sample level at up to 192kHz. The program includes support for 24-bit/96kHz DVD-quality audio. Recording, editing, and mixing is done at high-resolution 32-bit quality, using any sample rate up to 10MHz -- including 44.1kHz, 88.2kHz, 96kHz, and 192kHz.

More than 45 DSP effects and tools are included with Audition, among them EQ (dynamic, graphic and parametric), limiting, chorus, reverb, noise reduction, delay, envelope follower and distortion. About half of them can be used in real-time during playback, and the rest have real-time preview capabilities.

And did we mention that Audition also has extensive looping capabilities? Although it's a blast to play with, the looping functionality is a seriously powerful asset to Audition. You can quickly create foot-stomping grooves for soundtracks, music beds, or use it as a sketch pad for composition. A content CD called Loopology ships with Audition, and it includes more than 4,500 royalty-free audio loop files in over 20 different musical styles. Assembled as an on-line resource by Syntrillum and Cool Edit Pro users over the years. it's a collection of diverse patterns and beats by percussion instruments, keyboards, guitars, basses, brasses and reeds. Adobe also maintains this resource online at

Audition with Premiere Pro
By Charlie White
Even though Audition just joined the Adobe stable of applications, it appears to be a quick learner -- it blends into Premiere Pro without batting an eye. If you've created an audio file in Audition, to use it in Premiere Pro all you have to do is mix it down into a .wav or Windows Media audio (.wma) file, import it into Premiere and place it on the timeline. The fun starts when you want to go back and edit that file while you're working in Premiere.

In order to do this, you first have to be sure that the "edit original" capabilities are enabled in Audition. This is no big deal; it's just a matter of going into Audition, choosing Options/Settings, clicking the Data tab, and then selecting the elegantly named (just kidding) "Embed Project Link Data for Edit Original functionality" checkbox.

Meanwhile, back in Premiere, right-clicking on the audio file you'd like to modify lets you choose Edit Original in its drop-down list, and this is where the fun begins. Click Edit Original and Adobe Audition opens, giving you a choice of launching the Audition multitrack session in which this file was created, or Inserting this file into Audition's edit view. Picking that first choice quickly opens your session the way it looked before you mixed it down and imported its resulting file into Premiere Pro. Now, it's as if you never did that, and it lets you change whatever you'd like. Clicking the second choice inserts the file into Audition's edit view, where you can add effects, mix in extra tracks, or whatever you'd like.

When you're done, you mix down that file, naming it the same file name you used before, go back into Premiere and when you listen to your audio clip, sitting there in the same place you left it in the Premiere timeline, it includes the changes you just made.
But in order for Audition to really fit with the Adobe family of video products, it needed one more thing: the ability to exchange "edit original" files with Adobe's video programs, Premiere Pro and After Effects. Adobe's primary addition to Audition 1.0, this function works very smoothly (see Charlie White's sidebar at right). Although the Adobe video apps, especially Premiere Pro, have capable audio editing toolsets, their integration with Audition takes audio manipulation to a new level for video and motion graphics productions.

This ability takes on added significance with the need to create high-resolution DVD-quality audio and 5.1 mixes, which Audition handles via a built-in multichannel encoder. Audition also supports 19 standard file formats (WMA, MP3Pro, Amiga, .wav, AIFF, etc.) and has strong SMPTE master/slave capability.

For basic use, Audition is straightforward and intuitive -- you can just jump in and start recording or editing if you have a basic understanding of other audio, or even video, editing programs. When you do need the manual, however, it's a good one -- a well-organized 375-page book with extensive descriptions of every feature.

The Modular Approach
Audition is comprised of two basic modules: one for multitrack recording and one for
editing. You can switch back and forth between them instantly by clicking the waveform icon at the top left of the window. In the Multitrack view, you highlight a file and hit the icon to get to the Edit view, and click it again to return. This is a nice organizational structure that streamlines your workflow without presenting obstacles. Even though switching back and forth might sound cumbersome, it's a snap once you get used to it.

For security, all edits and effects that you apply are done to a copy of the file until you save. That means if you get lost in an overly ambitious editing or effects experiment, you haven't done any harm to the original file. Just hit undo, or close the file and reopen it, to get the original back.

Applying Fade Out in Edit View (Click for larger view)
In the Edit view, you can do intricate editing to one mono or stereo file at at time. When you're done editing, click the icon again to return to the Multitrack window. The editing features are deep for just about anything you'd want to do. You can apply Zero-Cross edits for smooth transitions between clips (left to right, right to left, etc.), fade in/out, apply various effects, or even view a frequency or phase analysis of a waveform.

As mentioned before, Audition's powerful editing tools let you perform microscopic surgery all the way down to a specific audio sample. With this kind of control, you can do a wide variety of precise edits -- lower the volume or change the pitch on every other sample, or delete 64th notes if you want.

The Multitrack view is where you'll spend most of your time when recording or building loops. Each track has panning and volume controls in the interface, plus record, solo and mute buttons. Right clicking pops up a Track Properties window, with basic information about your sound card output and record selections and Audition settings such as stereo/mono, internal bit rate (default is 32-bit), effects, volume and EQ. Clicking the record button enables the track for recording; to start recording, you hit the main record button in the transport. After you've recorded, you can right-click the waveform for extensive options, including editing, looping, mixdown, splitting and envelope adjustments to the volume, panning and effects.

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Related Keywords:Adobe Audition, Cool Edit Pro, Syntrillium, review, audio recording, editing, DSP effects, looping, Loopology, soundtracks

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