Yes, you have to use Presenter to create the audio or video so it can create the SWF file properly along with the audio data.
Heyward is correct. The short version of the answer is that Presenter has to build the presentation in Flash using server rules. Thus cannot make local file path calls, which is where the audio would reside if in PPT. So, you should be able to open the Import Audio tool and there should be a button for importing the PPT audio. Keep in mind that this will not keep your timings created in PPT, but is easily fixed in the Sync Audio tool.
Not sure what you are talking about with the Presenter Audio recorder, as once you know how it works, recording audio is no harder (possibly easier) than doing the same thing in PPT.
As to why doesn't it translate the info from PPT? Well, it is an Adobe product living in a MS product. So, MS writes the rules as to what the visibility and integration can be with their tools. So you are seeing the result of two software houses in one place. Is it perfect? No, but it is a pretty wonderful tool to use. I say that as a user of Presenter for the past 6+ year. The biggest thing that I see is people have false or unreasonable expectations of the tool itself. It all comes down to honestly knowing what it will and won't do, and the best practices for getting it done. If needed, you may want to look at a traditional class for Presenter. It's amazing what you can learn, and learn to avoid, if you are set up to succeed from the beginning.
Feel free to PM me if you want, as I do teach Presenter, or there are plenty of great resources out there if you need them.
I agree with Heyward and Jorma.
However, in general the audio inserted/recorded via Powerpoint plays, though timing etc. will not be honoured for sync'ing. I just tried it and I can hear the audio. What is the version of Powerpoint you are using? Also, do you see in all the presentations or on some specific ones? If you can send me one such presentation (firstname.lastname@example.org), we can look into this.
I will send you a sample of the PPT/Presenter/Audio soon.
I found few scenarios where it will not work -
1. When the imported audio is in the format other than WAV and MP3. Presenter supports only these two formats. However, this is specific to "imported" audio. The "recorded" audio should be fine as Powerpoint keeps it in WAV format only.
2. If some editing is done on the audio (through Powerpoint options only), then also it does not make to the published SWF as currently Presenter is not able to understand the editing done in PP.
3. If more than one audio is inserted, then SWF does not play the audio.
4. If you put the audio in PPTX file and then save it as PPT, then it does not work. However, in this case PP itself removes the audio from the Presentation and it is not a Presenter issue.
I will wait for your file. In the meantime, can you please confirm me that your case is not falling into any of the category above.
I have imported .wav files, created animations, and used the syncing tool. When I publish to my computer, I don't get any audio and the animations are going really fast and looping. What am I doing wrong?
I rebooted and exported to a new folder (instead of overwriting previous files) and it seems to be working now.