Field Report: Adobe Audition CS6

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When we encounter things in life we find reliable, they are generally built on a long-standing foundation. Conversely, fresh-off-the-drawing-board products rarely produce perfect results right away. Years and years of agonizing over details and performance are what create excellence. Gathering end-user data containing compliments and complaints alike is what developers use as they better their product line. This is the case with one of the most recognized household names in radio broadcast production: Adobe Audition.

Adobe Audition CS6

Many of us remember Cool Edit from Syntrillium. It was born in the mid-1990s and was a forerunner in professional Windows-based audio editing software. Some years later it became Adobe Audition. Since then Adobe has delivered five renditions of Audition, and each has outperformed its predecessor markedly. Just more than a year ago, Audition 5.5 hit the market as part of the Adobe Master Collection. This unveiling introduced Audition to Macintosh users, turning the world of audio-editing-via-Mac on its head. However, some veteran Audition users may have discovered some unsettling operational features inside version 5.5. But fortunately, at the 2012 NAB Show, Adobe Master Collection 6 was unleashed, and with it a reworked, reinvented and recharged Audition CS6.

The horsepower

Not necessarily new to the CS6 release, but more fine-tuned is Audition’s multicore/multiprocessor optimization. This has effectively modernized Audition in that heavy processes and workloads are distributed simultaneously across as many CPU processors as are available on the computer. Tasks can be completed efficiently in parallel instead of sequentially. For example, a mastering effect can be batch processed in the background while the user continues to edit in another session (multiple sessions can be opened at once). Multicore processing also makes real-time effect rendering much smoother. Suppose an effect rack on a particular track is stuffed with reverb, compression, EQ and delay effects. Audition has the know-how to divide the workload, making editing smoother and less likely to freeze.

The inclusion of Audition in Adobe’s Master Collection is an effort on the part of Adobe developers to streamline workloads. Audio editing can be exciting and challenging, but many times it involves repeated keystrokes and processes day-in, and day-out. With that in mind, there is a long list of improvements found in Audition CS6 that are welcomed. The first item I was excited about was the ability to once again trim and delete audio (in waveform mode) while the file is playing. When a deadline is looming, the ability to simultaneously listen to and cut on a file is a must.

Performance at a glance
■ Multicore/multiprocessor optimization
■ Intuitive workspace
■ Media Browser for audio assets
■ Background batch processing
■ AES46-2002 Cartchunk metadata integrated

Another timesaver is the Media Browser window. Dockable anywhere in the workspace, the media browser displays all file folders and drives. When the folder is expanded all audio files therein can be clicked and previewed. If auto play is selected, the file plays when simply clicked. When the file is double-clicked, it opens in the waveform editor. In the multitrack editor, the audio file can be dragged into a session track from the media browser. Media browser is an improvement on the old task of selecting File-Open and navigating to the file for preview. CS6 puts all available audio files on the workspace, and a click away.

A close relative to the media browser is the Files panel, where files are not only auditioned, but file information is displayed. Information including length, sample rate, channel (stereo or mono), bit depth and format, just to name a few, are listed. The file panel also features a search toolbar that lets the user quickly locate a currently opened file. This is especially handy when a multitrack session is open that contains extensive amounts of individual audio files. It features five clipboards, meaning several snippets can be cut, copied and pasted from different clipboards without overwriting.

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