My audio life started long before there were Macs. That’s an unfortunate side effect of being old. I collect Mac audio recording and editing apps.
There isn’t much I haven’t tried. Some I like. Some I loathe. Some I pay good money to use. Adobe’s on-again, off-again, love and hate affair with the Mac brings yet another audio app for Mac users. This one does audio post production.
My tools of the audio trade range from ProTools to Soundtrack Pro in Final Cut Studio. From Logic (before it was an Apple app) to MOTU’s Digital Performer.
All are a little different and all do one thing. Audio production.
What does Adobe bring to the Mac table with Audition?
Audition for Windows comes with a healthy price tag. We’re talking Adobe, right? That price tag brings a feature list longer than a California politician’s campaign promises.
Adobe’s entry-level audio app is called Soundbooth, which integrates with Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Flash Pro. Audition is a step up in price and much higher in performance and features.
Audio Features For Near Pros
I won’t be able to compare feature-for-feature Mac vs. Windows (not being tortured with a Windows PC), but I have some experience for comparison with Apple’s audio apps, Soundtrack Pro, Logic Studio and Express.
My first impression is that Audition looks and feels like an Adobe app. Any Adobe app. It’s that whole left brain right brain thing which makes one Adobe app look and feel pretty much like any other.
The Audition work space is made up of many components which can be rearranged, or undocked from the whole. Audition for Mac comes with dozens of audio effects and DSP tools. Volume, pan, and effects controls can be set and changes added to your mix in real time (and recorded).
Editing is straightforward and not unlike most Mac and Windows audio post production apps. A full range of audio waveform editing tools show up in right-click menus to improve work flow.
The user interface is somewhat sterile, almost unfriendly, at least from a long-time Mac user’s perspective.
The effects rack is menu driven and the pop up effects and filters, though numerous, pale in comparison to those in Apple’s Logic Express or Logic Pro. Utilitarian? Yes. Intuitive? No.
Audition just doesn’t break any new ground. Clips are mixed the old fashioned way—drag and drop for clips, dragging handles to control crossfades, select to drop in effects on a clip.
The I/O meter displays look like those from Digital Performer a decade ago.
Audio scrubbing worked smoothly and effortlessly on my aging iMac.
Audition for Mac supports native, multi-channel 5.1 surround sound, and a bunch of sweetening tools (not easy to find). I work with video audio and appreciate the noise reduction and restoration features in Audition (I love the de-hummer, de-esser, volume leveler tools).
Those are well done and provide better results than I get with Soundtrack Pro.
Soundbooth is Adobe’s entry level audio app, while Audition has prospered for years on Windows as a more capable audio production app. The Mac version feels competent, though not at all Mac-like, and substantially different than either of Apple’s Logic Studio or Express apps, or even MOTU’s Digital Performer.
In the end, Adobe simply added more features to Audition 3 and brought it to the Mac, first in beta form, to get Mac user input. It’s capable and feature laden, but doesn’t break new interface ground. Thinking Different is not Adobe’s style.
For now, not bad, but nothing much that’s new and different, either in interface, work flow, or built-in tools. If you’re into audio production, give Audition for Mac a try. It’s a beta release, so caveat emptor and all that.