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electronic MUSICIAN

Download of the Month: Acon Digital Media Acoustica

By Len Sasso | April 1, 2005

Acoustica (Win, $34.90 download, $49.90 CD) from Acon Digital Media (www.acondigital.com) is an audio editor whose extensive feature set belies its modest price. Version 3.2 adds a host of new features that include automatic noise reduction, automatic track splitting, metatag editing, dockable windows, region markers, and many new keyboard shortcuts. Upgrades for current Acoustica users are $19.95, and a fully functional 30-day demo version is available at Acon's Web site.

Acoustica supports most common PC audio formats, including WAV, WMA, MP3, OGG, and AU. It imports audio tracks from the popular video formats MPEG, AVI, and WMV, and it rips audio tracks from CDs. Because it supports DirectX, you can process audio using plug-in effects. Acoustica also offers basic CD burning, allowing you to create tracks from any audio region as well as from audio files on your hard drive.

Most surprising in an audio editor of this price are Acoustica's analysis and editing tools. In addition to the typical, editable time-domain display, Acoustica offers standard spectral analysis and a combination frequency- and time-domain spectrogram. Among its editing tools, Noise Reduction and Click Removal are standouts. Automatic noise reduction does a statistical analysis of an audio file to determine its noise profile, and then applies its noise-reduction algorithm based on that. If the file happens to have an area consisting only of noise, you can create a better noise profile using that. Automatic Click Removal is great for restoring old vinyl recordings.

Acoustica's effects include dynamics, EQ, delay, reverb, flange, chorus, pitch shifting, time stretching, and an outstanding harmonization effect. Harmonization creates chords with as many as four voices from monophonic material, and produces interesting if somewhat unnatural effects with polyphonic material (see Web Clip 1). Acoustica is so well-thought-out, easy to use, and cost-effective, it's hard to think of a reason not to give it a try.

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