Adobe Audition 3.0 is a professional-grade digital audio-editing program, with tools that will be essential to recording and mastering engineers, musicians and even forensic scientists.
Adobe Audition 3.0 has now developed to the point it can be considered a full Digital Audio Workstation with a virtual studio mixing desk interface.
For effective but affordable digital audio editing in Windows, the first choice for many years used to be Cool Edit Pro from Syntrillium Software. Then the program was sold to Adobe in 2003, who renamed it Audition 1.0. Since then, Adobe has been steadily adding more features and refining the interface, so it now closely resembles the rest of its professional production applications, such as its video suite Adobe Premiere.
New in version 3.0 of Adobe Audition are virtual instrument integration (VSTi), a new multitrack interface and new effects and loops.
One of Adobe's major additions to the audio-only Cool Edit was video synchronisation. Even before Adobe relaunched Cool Edit as Audition, there was some multitrack capability for multichannel audio. This has been expanded further in Audition, so that it can take on surround-sound film soundtrack mix duties. And even without discrete surround feeds to work on, Audition can extract phase information from a stereo recording to derive a 5.1-channel mix.
Adobe Audition 3.0: graphical views
Besides the usual linear timeline view of audio waveforms, Adobe Audition 3.0 has several graphical views based on, for example, spectral frequency or spectral pan display. And they are more than just accelerated iTunes Visualiser-like effects, as they can be exploited for precise restoration work, using cut-and-paste and healing tools, not unlike those found in Adobe's graphical apps.
Among the plug-in effects included are noise-reduction facilities, but as always these must be used judiciously to avoid mechanical or watery sound mixes.
Where Cool Edit used to stand out from competing non-linear editing audio editors was in its high-quality sample-rate conversion and bit truncation capabilities. Sample-rate conversion is achieved with fill pre- and post-filtering in order to reduce unwanted aliasing distortion.
While not exactly intuitive to use - this is a pro app which assumes knowledege and experience of the tools of the trade - the interface of Audion 3.0 is relatively easy to navigate.
Preset workspaces go a long way to helping to present the tools and palettes relevant to the job in hand, whether capturing live audio, mixing, or mastering to CD.
Also beware of compatibility issues with Vista SP1 64-bit, which requires some additional patches to install.
Adobe Audition 3.0 may not be the cheapest but it remains a top-notch audio editing program. More than just a MIDI controller and audio program, it lets you graphically and colourfully see deep inside the inner workings of music and audio samples, while helping create pro-grade audio output.