1 2 3 Previous Next 192 Replies Latest reply on May 15, 2012 10:48 AM by Paul_Ferguson

    Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition

    _durin_ Adobe Employee

      Good morning Audition fans.


      As promised, I wanted to share the news and state of Adobe Audition as well as answer your questions about the new release and what the future holds. 


      First, Adobe announced the release of CS 5.5 Monday morning to coincide with our presence at the NAB convention in Las Vegas, NV.  Among the updates to the other applications in the Production Premium suite, the big news from my perspective was the inclusion of Audition into the Production Premium and Master Collection suites.  Soundbooth, the previous audio tool offered in the Suite, has been discontinued.


      Next, a little bit of history:  Adobe purchased Syntrillium 8 years ago in order to provide an audio solution to their video and broadcast production users.  At the time, Premiere Pro was a Windows-only NLE and Cool Edit, now Audition, was a great fit in the original Video Suite.  However, as Adobe recognized the value in the Suite model for users and the bottom-line, the other applications were updated to support Apple and Windows users.  The Audition team looked at the 15 years of legacy Windows code and were not confident the application could be ported quickly enough to satisfy the CS release schedule.  As an audio editor was necessary in the suite package, we created Soundbooth which was a simple audio editor built on top of Premiere Pro's media playback engine.  This enabled the team to provide value to the Suite, but the limitations of a playback engine crafted to handle large video files was not ideal for detailed audio production.  As a tool to assist with basic audio editing and restoration needs for a primarily video and motion graphics audience, it did find a userbase who appreciated the simplicity and ease of use, although leaving audio professionals and more savvy users wanting more.


      Immediately after each release of Soundbooth, the team continued working on Audition but it was apparent that Adobe did not need two audio tools in production and the more popular application was absolutely Audition.  We made the commitment to build Audition as a fully cross-platform solution and replace Soundbooth in the line-up, offering the power and fidelity of Audition without making the transition for Soundbooth fans too jarring.  For at least the past 7 years that I've been with the team, the most-requested feature has unequivocably been "Bring Audition to the Mac!"  There are numerous on-line petitions and forum threads demanding this happen.


      So we've spent the past two years re-writing Audition from the ground-up, preserving or updating our core DSP, modernizing the code to take advantage of current hardware and operating system technology, and emphasizing increased productivity and speed with every feature.  Updating or completely rewriting 15 years of C++ code takes time, and we recognized rather quickly that we were not going to reach feature parity with Audition 3.01 with this release.  We continuously prioritized our feature database based on our visits with customers big and small, and our awesome, secret, pre-release team.  Our core userbase has always been broadcast - radio, podcast, and video - and our focus for the CS 5.5 release was to build a platform that supported those workflows but remained open and flexible enough that expanding the application to support other audio users would be simple and straightforward.  As we approached the end of our development cycle, I think everyone on the team and in our pre-release program recognized how strong this application is and will be moving forward, even if some of our pet features did not make it into this release yet.


      In the next post, I'll describe what's new in Audition CS 5.5, what didn't make it into the application yet, and what we hope to accomplish in the next release.  As I mentioned before, Adobe has publicly committed to a more open release schedule with a major release approximately every 24 months with an additional mid-cycle release.  Not only will this allow us to bring more features to you more quickly, but will help with any hardware updates and purchasing decisions our users may encounter.  Additionally, and currently Audition is not part of this program yet, Adobe is offering installations on a subscription model with all upgrades rolled into the cost.  It will be interesting to hear feedback from our users how this solution works for their needs.

        • 1. Re: Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition
          _durin_ Adobe Employee

          So what's new with Audition CS 5.5?


          The biggest item to note, obviously, is that Audition is now available for Windows and Apple OS X systems with feature parity on each platform.  (The only major difference between the two is support for Apple AudioUnit effects on OS X, in addition to VST support on both platforms.)


          The audio engine has been re-written to take advantage of multicore CPUs and multithreading.  Our goal was to provide performance that was better than Audition 3 on all supported platforms.  Audition CS 5.5 runs great on the lowliest netbook, and unbelievably fast on the latest 12- and 16-core systems.  Almost every operation runs in the background, so when you're rendering a hardcore time stretch or performing a session mixdown, you can continue working on other files or sessions.  (Apologies to smokers who won't be able to justify taking frequent breaks anymore - at least not because of Audition.)  OS X supports Core Audio, so  you can use any supported hardware, or create your own Aggregate Devices if you need to mix-and-match hardware.  Windows continues to support ASIO with a new engine, and offers MME support as well.


          All of our effects are channel-agnostic where applicable, so mono, stereo, 5.1, 7.1, 10.2, 82-channel, whatever you got.  They're all multithreaded as well, so they apply and process so nicely.  We've broken out the Audition and iZotope Radius time-stretch algorithms so you can choose which one to use.  (Auditions is faster and allows for gliding stretch, but may be prone to more artifacts, while iZotope's sounds beautiful but takes a heavy toll on your processor and patience.)  Many of the Diagnostic/Restoration tools are available as stand-alone effects or from within our Diagnostic panel which allows you to scan, preview, and repair transients with a lot more control than in the past.  Almost all effects and effects rack (including Edit View) are non-modal which means you can stack your effects, preview, adjust, and continue editing without committing your effects destructively until you're ready to do so.


          The waveform editor adopted the best productivity aspects of both Audition and Soundbooth, offering the split-screen waveform/spectral view, on-screen fade handles and HUD amplitude control.  The "NavBar" view along the top of the editor panel shows you your entire waveform along with the current viewing range, selections, etc.  Restoration tools such as the healing brush have been improved, and all edits are recorded in a History panel so you can quickly jump back or forward in your edit history.  The Level metering has been improved and updates faster with new display options.  File and session properties are displayed in a dedicated panel with appropriate option parameters available for quick adjustments. 


          The multitrack environment now allows you to specify your Master channelization in Mono, Stereo, or 5.1 modes, with additional options for bit depth and sample rate.  Effects can be added to tracks or clips with automation envelope control for both.  Automatic crossfades with new options, on-clip fade handles and volume and pan automation, and improved support for razor edits and slip editing.  Native 5.1 surround support with 5.1 panner integrated into the track controls with new Surround Reverb effects offer a lot of power for surround mixes.  The back-end player engine will make it almost trivial for Audition to support other surround formats in the future.  Background rendering has returned merged with Audition 3's Track Freeze functionality, so you can "freeze" a track, but continue modifying it without any other tinkering.  If you want to run resource-intensive effects, just flip the switch to quietly render these in the background and take more control of where your system resources are spent.


          For Premiere Pro users, you can send one or more clips to Audition for editing, or share an entire sequence.  Premiere will create an interchange file with reference video and clips with arbitrary handle durations which can be opened on the same system or shared with another person for audio editing, mixing, mastering, or ADR.  Once the mix is complete, you can send the session back to Premiere in one of several ways: separate stems for each audio track, for each bus, or a complete mixdown in mono, stereo, and 5.1.  These final clips are inserted back into the Premiere sequence and remain tied to the original Audition session for additional edits.


          In addition to native Premiere interchange support, Audition also imports and exports OMF and Final Cut XML sequences, so you can use Audition in conjunction with just about any other tool in your workflow.  Our OMF support is among the best I've used, and has handled some insanely complicated timelines with speed and grace.


          New features include improved Batch Processing tools, Volume Matching (to a variety of profiles) of multiple files, multitrack Phase Metering, and recordable Favorites which can be applied individually or as a Batch Process.  Automatic session saving and an improved Crash Recovery system helps prevent loss of work in the (hopefully unlikely) event of a crash.  Effects and plug-in scanning is improved and makes it easier to blacklist troublesome effects or see what might be causing troubles.



          So what's missing in Audition CS 5.5?


          Let me start by addressing the comments that features were "removed" from Audition.  Nothing has been officially deleted from the Audition feature list, but there is a lot that was in Audition 3.01 that has not been updated and ported to the new codebase.  In some cases, a feature did not make it into CS 5.5 because it fell too low on the priority list, others could not be developed to our level of expectations within the timeframe we had or without negatively impacting other features that were deemed more important for this release.  When facing some of these difficult decisions, we had to assess whether the feature fell into the toolkit of the video and radio broadcast workflow that we needed to support immediately.  In certain cases, we had to determine if it was feasible to ask users to rely upon functionality built into their OS.  Finally, we refused to compromise on many of our favorite features and if we did not feel we could build the best implementation of a tool, it was often a better decision to focus our resources and efforts where they would do the most good.  We continue to re-prioritize our feature backlog on a weekly basis as we move onto developing Audition CS 6, and many of the initial feature work was determined by our pre-release users and the features they most missed with CS 5.5.


          Some effects have not been ported at this time including Tone and Noise generation, Pitch correction (although Pitch Shifting is available through the Time and Pitch stretch tool,) Scientific filters, and Graphic Phase Shifter.  There are some new effects including a DeHummer, Surround Reverb, and Speech Volume Leveler.  We also continue to offer updates to several iZotope effects including the Tube-modeled and Multiband Compressors.


          MIDI functionality has not been addressed with this release.  At this time we have not implemented MIDI-based hardware control, playback, or virtual instrument sequencing.  I don't think anyone on the team was satisfied with the VSTi composition environment offered in Audition 3, nor with the implementation necessary to integrate it with the multitrack environment, and I hope that if it returns in the future, that we can offer a robust, integrated solution that can stand toe-to-toe with other sequencers.  Controller support is probably the bigger loss with this release, but I believe what we've got planned for the future will make almost everyone very happy.


          Another big loss is legacy session support.  One explanation for its absence was the difficulty in interpreting a one-to-one translation with Auditions new multitrack, effects, and uncompleted features.  Audition CS 5.5 will import as much as is applicable from an Audition 3.0 XML session, but big kudos need to go out to the forums own SuiteSpot, creator of AATranslator among other Audition-related applications, who has been working on a legacy session batch conversion tool which should release around the same time as Audition CS 5.5.  He has gone far and above the call of duty and is crafting an amazing solution.  I hope we are able to offer a comprehensive SDK in the future to allow our users to write their own tools and enhancements, customizing Audition to their personal needs.


          As has been discussed in other threads, Audition CS 5.5 does not include the ability to burn audio CDs from within the application.



          I sincerely believe that Audition CS 5.5 is an amazing application and with all due respect to the features that are missing when compared with previous versions, that this is possibly one of our strongest releases in speed and performance.  I hope that everyone will at least give the 30-day trial a chance when it is available for download in about a month.  The upgrade pricing is still $99 from any previous version of Audition, and for suite users, it's addition in the Production Premium suite should be very exciting.  If you find you are not able to use Audition CS 5.5 in your workflow, I hope that you'll let us know specifically what missing tools are most important to you as well as how the Audition 3 implementation might be updated to better suit your needs.  While I would love everyone to update - Audition CS 5.5 installs seamlessly alongside previous versions on the same computer - I understand that this release may not meet everyones expectations, and I hope you'll remain open to Audition CS 6 and continue to be an important member of the Audition community here and in other forums.


          I met with several of you at NAB this week, and have a notebook full of requests and comments.  Everyone I spoke to was energized about this release and even the most skeptical visitors were impressed when they sat through a demonstration or had a chance to use it.  The stage demonstrations of Audition always filled every seat in our theater, overflowed into the surrounding aisles, and often spilled into neighboring booths!  It was excellent to hear the responses and get feedback from so many people about this tool we've been working on so hard for the last two years.  Keep the comments and suggestions coming so that we can create the best application for our awesome users.




          • 2. Re: Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition
            JSpragens Level 1

            Can you clarify a point about pricing?


            I have the CS5 Master Collection on Mac.


            It appears that my choice comes down to buying the full stand-alone Audition for $349 or upgrading the entire suite for $549.


            Since Windows users already had Audition in their "kitchen sink" suite, I was hoping there might be a special pricing option that would allow Mac users to bring their CS5 suites up to parity with what Windows users already had, for only a nominal fee.

            • 3. Re: Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition
              _durin_ Adobe Employee

              Audition has not been a part of any Creative Suite release for Windows.  It was a part of a Windows-only Video Production Suite which predated the CS line.


              I'm not entirely certain what the policy is in this situation, but I don't believe there is a Suite-to-Point Product upgrade path for Audition or any other Adobe application.  I'll look into it, though.

              • 4. Re: Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition

                Awesome update, Durin. Count me in as an early adopter for the new Audition.

                • 5. Re: Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition
                  RonNovy Level 2

                  Just a reminder to those who need to convert sessions between different CEP or AA versions, Suite Spot has a nice free utility for it called Ses2Sesx.





                  There is of course Suite Spot's awesome AATranslator utility for converting between other DAW applications too.  AATranslator  may not be as pretty as ProConvert but AATranslator is a better app in my opinion and won't take such a huge chunk out of your wallet.



                  • 6. Re: Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition
                    Steve C2 Level 2

                    Hi Durin,


                    Thank you for the very detailed post.  Sounds like a lot of exciting enhancements are coming our way.


                    Some suggestions for CS 6...


                    1) Although AA is a good sounding DAW, how about it becoming best of breed.  I am not too unhappy about the absence of the CD-burning functionality if it returns in CS 6 as best-of-breed.  Compare it to other DAW's.  I recently looked at the trial download of another DAW and AA seemt to fall short here, not that that DAW is necessarily the standard to beat.  Provide a burning capability that is truly suitable for mastering.  (It's not just AA that has a challenge ahead with write functionality.  The same can be said for Encore).


                    2) Re-establish AA as a leader in innovation.


                    3) Can some of the effects and tools be made more visual and or more "intelligent", rather than number oriented, than they currently are?  By intelligent, I mean that the software becomes more analytical and can optionally suggest settings, as opposed to presets".


                    4) I don't know the true market for something like this, but I definitely am interested in something that would make video and audio clip synchronization easier than it currently is.  (I record audio off-camera and manually sync the clips since I don't utilize time-code synchronized equipment).  For that matter, it would be great if there were time-stretching algorithms that are non-linear.  Where one could specify that begin and end-points are in sync (for audio and video, or audio and audio) and AA could mathematically analyze based on length of clips and.or other factors, how things need to be stretched to keep them in sync.


                    5) Provide some tools that would make it easier to use audio clips recorded by more than one recorder simultaneously and don't maintain syncronization.  That is, the clips start in sync, but due to clocking or other issues, fall out of sync before the recording is complete.


                    6) Incorporate sampling tools in AA for things like EQ, etc.



                    • 7. Re: Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition
                      xrickrockx Level 1

                      "4) I don't know the true market for something like this, but I definitely am interested in something that would make video and audio clip synchronization easier than it currently is.