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Audition CS 5.5 and the future of Audition

Adobe Employee ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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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.

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replies 192 Replies 192
Adobe Employee ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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I haven't meant to give the impression that CS 5.5 is a preview release.  If we felt there was not a significant group that would be able to accomplish their audio tasks with this release, we would have waited for CS 6.  For those Audition 3 users who cannot live without pitch correction or clip grouping or control surface support and will only consider an Audition with those features, then the wait for that release will be the same as it would be had we not released CS 5.5.  I hope we've been honest and straightforward about this.  If not, let me emphasize that Audition CS 5.5 will not have every feature available in Audition 3, and if you find that it does not suit your particular needs, please let us know exactly what is missing that prevents you from upgrading and using it so that we can do our best to make certain these areas are addressed and improved for CS 6.

(And I'm not making a judgement on that perspective!  Believe me when I say that there was much agony and passionate arguments made for every feature that did not make the cut for this release.  There was NO ONE on the team who dismissed any of these tools as unimportant.  When it came down to the wire and we needed to decide whether to spend developer time on, say, Clip Grouping vs. CD Extraction, we had to look at everything from development and testing time, ranking in feature surveys and forum/pre-release requests, and whether an alternative, if less elegant, solution existed.)

We want to make the best audio editing tool on the market.  We want to offer a value for our users that they don't get with other applications, or complement the tools they already use to increase their productivity.  Adobe has committed to releases on an 18/12 month cycle, meaning 18 months following an n.0 release, expect an n.5 release, with the next n.0 release 12 months later.  CS 5.5 ships mid-May, which puts CS 6 on a tentative release for May 2012.

Thanks for the feedback and the encouragement moving forward.  I hope you'll still take a look at the trial version and see where it might help improve your productivity or what areas we could focus upon that would make CS 6 a killer release for you.

Durin

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New Here ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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Thanks, Durin.  Guess I already made my votes clear on features for release 6.

And now the wait begins.

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New Here ,
May 05, 2011 May 05, 2011

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It was with great expectations that my studio was looking forward to up-grading to Audition CS 5.5.  But I have the same issue as my Chicago colleague on the not retaining clip grouping (an editing issues).  You are Adobe, you just about invented the concept of grouping in the graphic world!  I can't tell you how many times that I have used the clip grouping feature to "lock down" some very complex edits.  But,  an even bigger issue is having no control surface support (production/work flow) in AA CS 5.5.  I work in a studio where the DAW is controlled by an   Alpha Track transport  from the booth and all edits and adjustments are from a control room.  This allows talent to start/stop recording their own tracks and allows the engineer to focus on any adjustments.  This process has had a very positive impact on our production work flow and has saved us time and money. Because of our dependence on this transport control strategy we cannot up-grade to 5.5 at this time.  As an aside, I spoke to Frontier Designs, the OEM of Alpha Track, and they had had no contact with Adobe and were finding out about CS 5.5 along with the rest of us.  Don't you guys cooperate with the hardware community as part of your beta program?  Sorry for a bit of a rant on this, but I'm just disappointed that my studio can't have access to all of the great features that you described in CS 5.5 because of AA 3.0 features that were not included in your build for CS 5.5.  I continue to be a loyal Adobe supporter but no longer a happy one.

Jim L

Chicago

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New Here ,
May 05, 2011 May 05, 2011

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Those are exactly my two issues.  No clip grouping = more mistakes and a great deal more tedium; no control surface support = impossible to use AA in my studio setting.  I am my own engineer, and I cannot perform from behind my desk.  Having the Tranzport at my fingertips makes it all possible.

Durin, need any more votes? 

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Adobe Employee ,
May 05, 2011 May 05, 2011

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Nope.  We were well aware these were two of the bigger uncompleted features and that their lack would prevent many existing users from upgrading to CS5.5.  But given the choice between not releasing anything until CS6 or releasing 5.5, I happily stand by the decision.  Audition HAD to undergo the re-write.  The backend and tools needed to be examined and updated for new hardware.  If this development team wanted Audition to get the full support of Adobe's resources, we had to move to a cross-platform solution and be part of the Creative Suite family.  There were internal development and scheduling taxes that needed to be paid, but it would pay off in the long run.

We've already begun development for CS6, and it's moving along quickly.  I can't share much just yet, but hardware controller support should be far beyond what we offered in the past.  There might even become a new market for those old Red Rovers that have been collecting dust...  And if you've got the budget for those fancy decks, the support should be phenomenal.  File format support will be improved and expanded, more original effects will be ported and improved, with new analysis and restoration tools available. 

Thanks again for the frank and straightforward feedback.  While the occasional insults are easy to dismiss in a relatively anonymous online forum, it's awesome that there's such passion for what we've been doing and what's to come.  And if I need a little pick-me-up, I can just head over to Twitter where the comments have been very positive.

Durin

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New Here ,
May 05, 2011 May 05, 2011

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RED ROVER - yes, I still have one!!!  And now I know what to do with it. 

Thanks, again, Durin - sorry if this all seems very glass-half-full sometimes.  I guess the good side is that so many of us feel passionate enough about AA to actually be up in arms over the details.  A lesser product would be greeted with yawns or deafening silence.

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New Here ,
May 05, 2011 May 05, 2011

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Durin,

Thanks for taking my flack on these 2 important issues (clip grouping and control surfaces).  Is there any way that I could get involved in a CS 6.0 beta?  Finally, (this is a bit self-serving as I am a Frontier customer) who should hardware vendor like Frontier speak (contact) to for plug in specifications for CS 6.0?  I'm sure that other forum participants have their favorate control surface vendor and probably have the same question and want to make sure that their vendors are in the 6.0 beta loop.

As soon as my 2 items are contained in CS 6.0 I will be a happy camper and first in line for the new AA.

Regards,

Jim  L'Allier

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Guest
May 06, 2011 May 06, 2011

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_durin_ wrote:


Thanks again for the frank and straightforward feedback.  While the occasional insults are easy to dismiss in a relatively anonymous online forum, it's awesome that there's such passion for what we've been doing and what's to come.  And if I need a little pick-me-up, I can just head over to Twitter where the comments have been very positive.

Having a vocal (but sometimes quite rude) user base forces good companies to evolve representatives that are pretty much the best of their breed. Rather than pasting boilerplate corporatese "we value your input"-type of answers, they're more inclined to post substantive, respectful posts that tell some hard truths. I've seen this done successfully in the World of Warcraft forums, and it can create an unprecedented level of brand loyalty when done right.

In my book, Adobe is now firmly in this column, mostly thanks to the levelheadedness of the Audition team. Keep up the good work, guys.

Twitter version: @Adobe omg u guys total pros xxoo #winning #bff #auditionrox

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Guest
May 14, 2011 May 14, 2011

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Agreed. I've definitely added some frustration expressing posts, especially after the difficulty I faced in getting my money back for this upgrade after experiencing it's utter redundancy in my workflow. But Durin seems to make a great effort to at least acknowledge the specific concerns the community brings up - which is breathe of fresh air compared to the phone reps.

So, for the record, here's a quick list of the MUST-HAVES for Audition to continue to be the DAW I use as a recording studio engineer and music creator:

  1. Group Clips
  2. Control Surfaces
  3. Metronome
  4. Looping with time stretch / key change
  5. Midi VSTi support (though I could probably at least get by without this one)

Aside from Midi VSTi support, that list of features is crucial for me to be able to utilize the software. Of course, greater file support would make the transition more bearable too. In general, I made use of many of the features of 3.0, and I believe restoring those features first and foremost should be top priority. Despite how much I've loved the feature developments of past releases, any new features at this point would merely be more things I'd love to have, while the old features are something my actual livelihood currently depends on.

I look forward to the opportunity to make use of what would otherwise be exceptionally great improvements to this program. Thanks for hearing my input.

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New Here ,
Apr 19, 2011 Apr 19, 2011

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I generally do not comment on big corporate forums, but this time I decided to participate. I hope my opinion will be taken into account.

The matter is that Audition is often used by DSP engineers who do not deal with music/radio/broadcasting/etc, but work with sound and audio analysis in scientific purposes in process of DSP algorithms development, and in audio quality validation for different industries (voice communication, speech codecs, automotive, pro-/consumer, etc).

These people silently use this tool and never appear at music communities/forums/etc., so Adobe team may not know about them. But you can see these people in every audio department of every company somehow involved in audio.

Adobe Audition (and previously Cool Edit) is the only and the ultimate tool for these professionals. Such scientific features of Audition as filtering, signal/noise generation, extended spectral analysis, sample-precise editing, etc . are not replaceable by any other software. Other software editors are not suitable for these operations since they are designed mostly for music and simply do not have such extended tools that are absolutely necessary for the purposes described above.

Lack of such tools as tone generation, noise generation, scientific filtering and others will not allow these engineers to upgrade. By the way, many of them are still using Cool Edit Pro because it is faster than Audition.

I hope Adobe team cares about all its users and will take my scribble as a note in further development of Adobe Audition which is the greatest audio software.

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Engaged ,
Apr 19, 2011 Apr 19, 2011

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Alex, as a long-time user of the software and member of related communities, I think I'll stick my nose out here to thank you for breaking your silence. and making a great point (and politely!).  Did you see the other thread concerning the release?  Durin invited feedback from the user community directly, as well as through a survey.  Perhaps you could get the word out to as many users you know as possible to let their voice be heard through this survey link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/auditionfeedback

Meanwhile, AA3, or even 1.5, are great products for many things, and there's nothing wrong with sticking with them if they get the job done!  However, it's been a long time since I've done a job in 1.5 that I thought was faster.  But I know there are definitely some slicker spots.

Good success to you, and thanks again for posting your point of view.

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Guest
Apr 19, 2011 Apr 19, 2011

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I also think Alex has made a very important point. Those of us who test and maintain audio hardware also need the reliable test tools that the software traditionally provided.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 20, 2011 Apr 20, 2011

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Hello,

Will the new Audition 5.5 be able to take advantage of any I/O card installed on the system (Blackmagic, AJA, Matrox, etc) that will allow the video to playout to a client monitor?

Thanks

Ray

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LEGEND ,
Apr 21, 2011 Apr 21, 2011

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Unfortunately no it won't. This has been on the requested feature list for some time as many of us working in sound post need external video playback.

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 21, 2011 Apr 21, 2011

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Thats a real shame that Audition will not be able to playout video through a dedicated I/O card. That effectively eliminates it for any serious client session work relating to video post-production. Unless you like them looking over your shoulder at a small video clip on the screen. This is one of the main reasons why I never used Audition for much more than a Swiss army knife for file processing. The program is very nice and offers a tremendous bang for th buck. Not sure why Adobe is really advertising round tripping to Premiere Pro if there is no support for the same I/O hardware that is likely to be already installed on the system and being used with Premiere Pro. Hence the "Pro"

Hopefully this is a high priority for version 6. If it is please contact to beta test that functionality.

Ray

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 21, 2011 Apr 21, 2011

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Ray, please contact me at audbugs@adobe.com and we can discuss this further.

Thanks,

Durin

Adobe Audition

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New Here ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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Dear Durin,

though you didn't comment on this my reply, I still keep hoping that it will be taken into account. I think the number of Audition users that I'm talking about in my message cannot be ignored by Adobe.

Thank you,

Alex.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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Alex Radzishevsky wrote:

I think the number of Audition users that I'm talking about in my message cannot be ignored by Adobe.

How many is that?

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New Here ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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I didn't count everyone of them personally yet, but according to my experience (working as audio engineer and developer in voice communication industry) - they are thousands. You can visit any company that deal with voice communication, audio sw/hw validation, etc. and you can see most of the engineers using Audition or its predecessors.

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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This suggestion of a "silent army" of Audition users, as well as some missteps in the past where features were removed (on purpose or accident) to the outcry of a small number of users, leads me to start recommending enabling the anonymous usage reporting tools in Adobe applications.  While Audition isn't doing much with this feature yet (The Adobe Product Improvement Program link found under the Help menu), I think we'll enable it for more tasks and actions with CS 6.  It's a completely opt-in, anonymous means of collecting how much time is spent in certain views, what effects and features are used most often, and where trouble spots might exist.  For users who may otherwise never visit forums or send us an e-mail, it should offer them an unobtrusive means of letting us know what is important to them. 

For the more paranoid among us, myself absolutely included, I am not aware of any sneaky intent or personal data being shared.  And of course, it won't work on systems that are detached from the internet. 

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New Here ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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Durin,

I agree that adding this feature may help Adobe to better understand its customers and their needs.

You can consider my above message about "silent army of users" as written report.

The users I'm talking about are using Audition in audio development and audio validation process.If it can help, here is a brief list of features that are used by them on a daily basis (including myself, each and every day): spectrogram view, spectral analysis, statistics, scientific filters (high pass, band pass, low pass with configureable filter type, cutoffs and order), tones generation (especially with different start/end points, for example to generate sweep tones), noise generation (BTW, could be extended, I think), sample rate/bit resolution/channels conversion, mixing, subtraction, sample-precise editing, batch processing (can be definitely improved by adding scripting). All these functions make Audition absolutely not replaceble by any other tool. MatLAB and Audition - is the ultimate tool chain.

If you say that scientific filters and tone generation are not available in 5.5 - it means that I personally will not be able to use it. The same with many of those who I'm telling you about.

I hope you got my point, and I hope it will help you to make your product only better.

Alex.

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May 24, 2011 May 24, 2011

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Alex Radzishevsky wrote:

All these functions make Audition absolutely not replaceble by any other tool. MatLAB and Audition - is the ultimate tool chain.

Perhaps the workflow for these users should be split out into another thread.   As a fellow MATLAB user, I'm curious to know how other people are using MATLAB and Audition together.   You probably didn't notice it, but Audition can now open MAT4 and MAT5 (*.mat) files directly.   Although you need to have the variables named a certain way.

So how about we start a new thread for

Audition in audio development and audio validation process.

such that your colleagues in this area can also chime in where it isn't in a thread that is already too long to read.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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_durin_ wrote:


And of course, it won't work on systems that are detached from the internet. 

Which is, of course, most of the serious DAW users.

I'm still not convinced about some of these numbers of users in areas that aren't generally considered to be major markets. Since Adobe control all the sales of Audition directly, they must surely have some sort of an idea as to where they've been sold...

If we assume for a moment that the proportions of users who frequent forums (and we are talking long-term here) represent anything even vaguely like the usage spread, then I'd say that whilst game developers and people who work in the comms industry certainly show up, they certainly weren't anything like a major group. From what we see, it's radio users, podcasters and individual users doing restoration work and sometimes multitrack audio recording who form the backbone of users. One hidden group that we do know about (and they keep quiet about this deliberately, because it's embarassing to them for some strange reason) are the people using Audition for Mastering purposes - it gets used quite a lot for that, one way or another.

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Engaged ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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Ha! That's because part of the mystique of being a mastering engineer is in having a ton of expensive, specialized gear that the hoi polloi either don't know about or can't afford, and Audition doesn't fall into that category - it's too affordable. 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 27, 2011 Apr 27, 2011

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therealdobro wrote:

Ha! That's because part of the mystique of being a mastering engineer is in having a ton of expensive, specialized gear that the hoi polloi either don't know about or can't afford, and Audition doesn't fall into that category - it's too affordable. 

That's certainly one reason. The other one they mutter about is that it doesn't seem right to use an app for mastering that had its origins in shareware. The one thing that they will admit though is that if you are doing sample rate conversions, Audition is as good as it gets. Especially if you are doing a lot of them, as in sample library creation, because you can batch them. Or at least you could - I haven't tried this on the new version. But that does remind me of something else that hasn't been mentioned up to now - there's a new dither option now as well. More details later, unless Durin gets there first...

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