Adobe Audition CC in Review

September 22, 2013 9:47 pm

Tags: Adobe, Audition, Creative Cloud

"The benefit of [Audition CC] being 64-bit is that it maximizes the use of resources on your computer. In particular, it maximizes the use of system memory, or RAM..... So, it's quite a big deal that this application is now 64-bit"
-Maxim Jago on Audition CC




I've been using Adobe Audition for almost a decade. From its first appearance in 2003, I've used Audition to design sound, restore audio and edit voice tracks for many animated films. I've always enjoyed using Audition and the application has steadily improved over the years. Many times I've been tempted to switch to other sound programs because of some new effect or audio process, but Adobe has always had such an ease of use, powerful sound manipulation and perfect sync with other Adobe products, that it just didn't make sense. Why move to another program, when Audition already does everything I need it to do, and then some?

Audition works very well for me and for many videographers, sound designers, media professionals and podcasters. However, users are now faced with a major change, not in the quality of Audition as a program, but in how the program is delivered to the user: Adobe's Creative Cloud.




Audition and the Creative Cloud

Anyone who follows audio and video software knows by now that Adobe has moved to a subscription "cloud-based" delivery system for their software. This means that while the previous version of Adobe's software (CS6) is still available to purchase outright, all new versions of the software are now only available via a licensed "subscription" model through the Adobe Creative Cloud. A more elaborate explanation of the new Creative Cloud system is available at Adobe's website here, but the gist of it is you are now renting the program by month instead of buying it outright and owning the physical product.

I'm not going to go in to the pros and cons of whether Adobe should have moved their suite of applications into the cloud, but I do want to say that while it's a fundamentally different way of buying/using your Adobe software, the actual installation and interaction with it is, from my point of view, a much faster and easier experience and the subscription pricing is a good deal. Still, there are many consumers who are upset about the move and I understand their frustration.

You can see the full breakdown of how Adobe is offering their Creative Cloud applications here. I personally chose to upgrade from CS6 and now pay $29.99 per month for all of Adobe's most popular programs. For me, the benefits of the updates in Audition CC, Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC alone are worth the monthly rental fee.

Installation, after a few clicks to set up payment methods, is extremely simple for Audition CC. I was up running within 15 minutes after signing up and paying the first month's fee. You do have to have an internet connection for the initial installation, but after that you can work offline for up to 90 days. And you don't have to install all of the Creative Cloud applications right away. There's a full FAQ on the Creative Cloud here, which should answer any other questions you might have outside of this review.


Audition CC has new pitch controls


Audition CC

The main focus of this version of Audition is to complete the restoration of features from Audition CS3, upgrade the sound restoration and multitrack tools, and generally tighten up the Audition workflow. Here is a short list of what's been added and upgraded to Audition CC:

  • New 64-bit Architecture – Finally, Audition is now a 64-bit application and can make use of those extra cores you've got in your CPU. No wonder the application just pops while I'm working with it.
  • Enhanced Sound Restoration and Sound Removal Tools – The new Sound Removal tool is truly fantastic. Now I can remove sounds that I would have given up on in previous versions.
  • Visual Preview of Effects – Past versions of Audition would let you hear the changes you want to make to a sound, but in Audition CC you can SEE the wav form of the change using the new Preview Editor.
  • Excellent New Pitch Control Tools – Pitch Shifter and Pitch Blender allow you to change pitch over time with great control and precision
  • Updates to Multitrack Functions and Workflow – Finally, the Multitrack has gotten a nice update with the ability to assign different colors not only to each clip, but each track. Other improvements include making it easier to adjust a clip without having to go to the main sound editor, the ability to merge clips in one click and a much simpler method of silencing sections of a clip.
  • Export Directly to Sound Cloud – I love Sound Cloud and this is a good update for me.
  • Loudness Radar – You can now adjust the loudness of your tracks or sounds based on human hearing instead of Auditions meters. Many hearing models are included.

These are only the highlights of the new Audition CC. A full list of changes and improvements are available from Adobe here. There's also an excellent series of videos Adobe has created for Audition CC. You can watch them here.


You can now change the track color


Using Audition CC

Since I do a good deal of sound design for animation, I use the multitrack in Audition for the bulk of my work. Audition CC has done an excellent job of improving the multitrack workflow. I can now organize my effects, voice tracks and music tracks by color, which saves me a lot of time as I hunt through the literally hundreds of tracks in my sound design. I also found the ability to bring in several clips at once and either set them on one track or spread them out to multiple tracks using keyboard shortcuts to be extremely helpful. Bringing in a dozen footsteps and laying them out on separate tracks saves time in my workflow. Plus, once I get the footsteps synced, I can now combine all of the clips into one main clip by simply right-clicking and selecting "merge selected clips."

I tested the new sound restoration and pitch adjustment updates to Audition CC and found that not only are they very powerful, but, again, I'm saving a lot of time and getting my work done faster. Irregular noise and noise with reverb have always been difficult to remove from recordings (especially poor voice recordings). Audition CC is the first version of the application that has allowed me to remove particularly nasty noise problems. I was able to remove irregular background noise (children playing) from a voice recording that I had worked on for hours in previous versions of Audition. This alone is worth the upgrade for my own sound projects.

Although I wasn't able to test every aspect of the new Loudness Radar function in Audition CC, I'll be starting a big sound design project in October and you can bet I'll be exploring using human hearing models when I adjust the loudness of my final mix. My initial tests indicate it's going to be a very helpful tool as I often struggle in determining loudness for a mix.


The new Loudness Radar effects are excellent


Final Thoughts

With Audition CC, Adobe has fine-tuned an already excellent application. Without a doubt, this version of Audition is the best I've ever used. It's faster, more responsive and the general workflow is much improved. A lot of thought went into this version of Audition and it shows. The new additions to the program are spectacularly good. In fact, it was hard to pull myself away from the program to write this review, they are so much fun to work with.

Adobe still has to add midi functionality to Audition, something that is long overdue. And I wish they'd solve the problem of not being able to create folders for clips, like you can in Premiere Pro. Plus, users of 32-bit VST files are going to have to figure out how to get them to work with Audition CC's new architecture. But, these are relatively minor quibbles. Audition CC is a highly efficient and powerful sound editing/mixing application that is also a lot of fun to use.

Adobe is the first big company to fully embrace a cloud-based, subscription model for their applications. Unfortunately, they've introduced the model in a clumsy fashion. Rather than giving consumers only two choices for software rental (one application or all applications), why not provide a wider variety and different price points? By giving consumers a better series of choices, it could have softened the inevitable bump that has come with this new software rental model. Perhaps this is something that will come in time with Adobe.

That said, Adobe has done a good job of making the switch to cloud-based applications smooth and painless. This makes for big changes in updates for programs like Audition. Rather than one big new version, updates will come as they are completed. No more cycled release patterns. That's a good thing for consumers and for Adobe as well.

I'm very pleased with Audition CC and am enjoying the updates to all of Adobe's suite of applications, especially Premiere Pro and Photoshop. I pay $29.99 monthly for the entire suite and this is at a special discount Adobe is offering CS6 users to upgrade. At the end of a year of use, the price goes up. At that point, I'll re-examine my cloud experience and decide if I want to continue or not. But, if the cloud experience with Audition CC continues to be as good as it is now, it's a no-brainer to sign up again.

Audition CC has my highest recommendation, while the Creative Cloud part of it is simply recommended, with some reservations, as there is room for improvement in pricing and application choices.


Adobe has an excellent help section for Audition CC


Notes and Info

Audition CC is available at the single-application subscription rate of $19.95 per month or at the Complete Plan rate (which includes all of Adobe's most popular applications) for $49.95 per month. If you have registered copies of Adobe suites CS3 thru CS6, Adobe offers a special year-long rate of $29.95. After a year, the rate goes up to $49.95 per month. Offer expires on December 3, 2013. Full details here. There are plans for Teams and Business and plans for Education as well.

Audition CC is available for the PC and Mac operating systems. The main page for Audition CC at Adobe is here. A trial version of Audition CC is available once you sign up for a free Creative Cloud membership right here.

Minimum specs for using Audition CC can be found here. I am running a windows 7, 64-bit system that's about 3 years old, so it's mid-range. I experienced zero crashes or slow-downs with Audition CC. In fact, there was a small update for the program that came while I was writing this review. The Adobe updater, which you download to your computer desktop, makes it ridiculously easy to update (or install) any program you need/want from the Adobe Creative Cloud.

My thanks to Adobe for inviting me to their excellent presentation at Raleigh Studios in August. I've also found their help system and Adobe TV to be most useful.

Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.




September 23, 2013

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