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Review: Adobe Audition 3.0 (Bonus) - EMusician

Review: Adobe Audition 3.0 (Bonus)

In previous versions of Audition, Adobe provided the ability to edit audio in the Spectral Frequency view, and this has been one of my favorite features ever since. A chair squeak or a cough during a performance may not be particularly visible in a standard waveform display, but it sticks out like a sore thumb when you view a frequency spectrum. You then select that artifact and zap it out of existence.
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This online bonus material supplements the Adobe Audition 3 review in the May 2008 issue of EM.

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FIG. A: Audition''s Effects Paintbrush lets you apply precise adjustments to audio artifacts in the frequency domain. The more opaque the painting, the stronger the effect.

Spot Removal

In previous versions of Audition, Adobe provided the ability to edit audio in the Spectral Frequency view, and this has been one of my favorite features ever since. A chair squeak or a cough during a performance may not be particularly visible in a standard waveform display, but it sticks out like a sore thumb when you view a frequency spectrum. You then select that artifact and zap it out of existence.

Version 3 enhances this capability even further by offering an Effects Paintbrush and a Spot Healing brush. The Effects Paintbrush (see Fig. A) provides a variable brush size and opacity (the brush''s opacity determines the strength of the adjustment). Repeated brushstrokes over the audio in question also increase the opacity. Once you''ve painted your audio artifact, you can decrease its level with a gain knob that appears for this purpose.

The Spot Healing tool is even easier to use and is intended for small changes. You simply wipe the tool over the audio artifact, and Audition immediately blends it away using the surrounding audio information. If you''ve ever used the Spot Healing tool in Adobe Photoshop, you''ll feel right at home here.

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FIG. B: Audition''s Top/Tail mode shows you the beginning and end of your audio alongside the normal display. The top and tail can zoom independently for precise editing.

Speaking of which, you can export the spectral display as a bitmap, edit it in Photoshop (or any image editor), and then reimport it as audio. Experimental music enthusiasts will enjoy this feature, because they can hear what that picture of Grandma Mabel sounds like when interpreted as audio.

Audition has other editing enhancements as well. Now you can make marquee selections in the Phase and Pan displays (as you could previously in the Spectral Frequency window). This lets you move, copy, or delete portions of your audio in the left/right or audio-phase dimensions.

The gain knob that appears with the Effects Paintbrush actually appears anytime audio is selected in the Edit view. This makes it easy to raise or drop the level of an audio passage. The knob resets to zero each time you operate it, which is great for repeated incremental changes.

Rounding out the new editing improvements is a Top/Tail mode, which splits the Edit view into three panes: on the left is the start of the audio, in the middle is the entire file, and on the right is the end (see Fig. B). The top and tail sections have zoom controls that are independent, letting you make precise edits to the start and end of your audio (while keeping in context with the rest of it). Playback controls let you hear just the tops and tails or everything.