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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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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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So what's new with Audition CS 5.5?

The biggest item to note, obviously, is that Audition is now available for Windows and Apple OS X systems with feature parity on each platform.  (The only major difference between the two is support for Apple AudioUnit effects on OS X, in addition to VST support on both platforms.)

The audio engine has been re-written to take advantage of multicore CPUs and multithreading.  Our goal was to provide performance that was better than Audition 3 on all supported platforms.  Audition CS 5.5 runs great on the lowliest netbook, and unbelievably fast on the latest 12- and 16-core systems.  Almost every operation runs in the background, so when you're rendering a hardcore time stretch or performing a session mixdown, you can continue working on other files or sessions.  (Apologies to smokers who won't be able to justify taking frequent breaks anymore - at least not because of Audition.)  OS X supports Core Audio, so  you can use any supported hardware, or create your own Aggregate Devices if you need to mix-and-match hardware.  Windows continues to support ASIO with a new engine, and offers MME support as well.

All of our effects are channel-agnostic where applicable, so mono, stereo, 5.1, 7.1, 10.2, 82-channel, whatever you got.  They're all multithreaded as well, so they apply and process so nicely.  We've broken out the Audition and iZotope Radius time-stretch algorithms so you can choose which one to use.  (Auditions is faster and allows for gliding stretch, but may be prone to more artifacts, while iZotope's sounds beautiful but takes a heavy toll on your processor and patience.)  Many of the Diagnostic/Restoration tools are available as stand-alone effects or from within our Diagnostic panel which allows you to scan, preview, and repair transients with a lot more control than in the past.  Almost all effects and effects rack (including Edit View) are non-modal which means you can stack your effects, preview, adjust, and continue editing without committing your effects destructively until you're ready to do so.

The waveform editor adopted the best productivity aspects of both Audition and Soundbooth, offering the split-screen waveform/spectral view, on-screen fade handles and HUD amplitude control.  The "NavBar" view along the top of the editor panel shows you your entire waveform along with the current viewing range, selections, etc.  Restoration tools such as the healing brush have been improved, and all edits are recorded in a History panel so you can quickly jump back or forward in your edit history.  The Level metering has been improved and updates faster with new display options.  File and session properties are displayed in a dedicated panel with appropriate option parameters available for quick adjustments. 

The multitrack environment now allows you to specify your Master channelization in Mono, Stereo, or 5.1 modes, with additional options for bit depth and sample rate.  Effects can be added to tracks or clips with automation envelope control for both.  Automatic crossfades with new options, on-clip fade handles and volume and pan automation, and improved support for razor edits and slip editing.  Native 5.1 surround support with 5.1 panner integrated into the track controls with new Surround Reverb effects offer a lot of power for surround mixes.  The back-end player engine will make it almost trivial for Audition to support other surround formats in the future.  Background rendering has returned merged with Audition 3's Track Freeze functionality, so you can "freeze" a track, but continue modifying it without any other tinkering.  If you want to run resource-intensive effects, just flip the switch to quietly render these in the background and take more control of where your system resources are spent.

For Premiere Pro users, you can send one or more clips to Audition for editing, or share an entire sequence.  Premiere will create an interchange file with reference video and clips with arbitrary handle durations which can be opened on the same system or shared with another person for audio editing, mixing, mastering, or ADR.  Once the mix is complete, you can send the session back to Premiere in one of several ways: separate stems for each audio track, for each bus, or a complete mixdown in mono, stereo, and 5.1.  These final clips are inserted back into the Premiere sequence and remain tied to the original Audition session for additional edits.

In addition to native Premiere interchange support, Audition also imports and exports OMF and Final Cut XML sequences, so you can use Audition in conjunction with just about any other tool in your workflow.  Our OMF support is among the best I've used, and has handled some insanely complicated timelines with speed and grace.

New features include improved Batch Processing tools, Volume Matching (to a variety of profiles) of multiple files, multitrack Phase Metering, and recordable Favorites which can be applied individually or as a Batch Process.  Automatic session saving and an improved Crash Recovery system helps prevent loss of work in the (hopefully unlikely) event of a crash.  Effects and plug-in scanning is improved and makes it easier to blacklist troublesome effects or see what might be causing troubles.

So what's missing in Audition CS 5.5?

Let me start by addressing the comments that features were "removed" from Audition.  Nothing has been officially deleted from the Audition feature list, but there is a lot that was in Audition 3.01 that has not been updated and ported to the new codebase.  In some cases, a feature did not make it into CS 5.5 because it fell too low on the priority list, others could not be developed to our level of expectations within the timeframe we had or without negatively impacting other features that were deemed more important for this release.  When facing some of these difficult decisions, we had to assess whether the feature fell into the toolkit of the video and radio broadcast workflow that we needed to support immediately.  In certain cases, we had to determine if it was feasible to ask users to rely upon functionality built into their OS.  Finally, we refused to compromise on many of our favorite features and if we did not feel we could build the best implementation of a tool, it was often a better decision to focus our resources and efforts where they would do the most good.  We continue to re-prioritize our feature backlog on a weekly basis as we move onto developing Audition CS 6, and many of the initial feature work was determined by our pre-release users and the features they most missed with CS 5.5.

Some effects have not been ported at this time including Tone and Noise generation, Pitch correction (although Pitch Shifting is available through the Time and Pitch stretch tool,) Scientific filters, and Graphic Phase Shifter.  There are some new effects including a DeHummer, Surround Reverb, and Speech Volume Leveler.  We also continue to offer updates to several iZotope effects including the Tube-modeled and Multiband Compressors.

MIDI functionality has not been addressed with this release.  At this time we have not implemented MIDI-based hardware control, playback, or virtual instrument sequencing.  I don't think anyone on the team was satisfied with the VSTi composition environment offered in Audition 3, nor with the implementation necessary to integrate it with the multitrack environment, and I hope that if it returns in the future, that we can offer a robust, integrated solution that can stand toe-to-toe with other sequencers.  Controller support is probably the bigger loss with this release, but I believe what we've got planned for the future will make almost everyone very happy.

Another big loss is legacy session support.  One explanation for its absence was the difficulty in interpreting a one-to-one translation with Auditions new multitrack, effects, and uncompleted features.  Audition CS 5.5 will import as much as is applicable from an Audition 3.0 XML session, but big kudos need to go out to the forums own SuiteSpot, creator of AATranslator among other Audition-related applications, who has been working on a legacy session batch conversion tool which should release around the same time as Audition CS 5.5.  He has gone far and above the call of duty and is crafting an amazing solution.  I hope we are able to offer a comprehensive SDK in the future to allow our users to write their own tools and enhancements, customizing Audition to their personal needs.

As has been discussed in other threads, Audition CS 5.5 does not include the ability to burn audio CDs from within the application.

I sincerely believe that Audition CS 5.5 is an amazing application and with all due respect to the features that are missing when compared with previous versions, that this is possibly one of our strongest releases in speed and performance.  I hope that everyone will at least give the 30-day trial a chance when it is available for download in about a month.  The upgrade pricing is still $99 from any previous version of Audition, and for suite users, it's addition in the Production Premium suite should be very exciting.  If you find you are not able to use Audition CS 5.5 in your workflow, I hope that you'll let us know specifically what missing tools are most important to you as well as how the Audition 3 implementation might be updated to better suit your needs.  While I would love everyone to update - Audition CS 5.5 installs seamlessly alongside previous versions on the same computer - I understand that this release may not meet everyones expectations, and I hope you'll remain open to Audition CS 6 and continue to be an important member of the Audition community here and in other forums.

I met with several of you at NAB this week, and have a notebook full of requests and comments.  Everyone I spoke to was energized about this release and even the most skeptical visitors were impressed when they sat through a demonstration or had a chance to use it.  The stage demonstrations of Audition always filled every seat in our theater, overflowed into the surrounding aisles, and often spilled into neighboring booths!  It was excellent to hear the responses and get feedback from so many people about this tool we've been working on so hard for the last two years.  Keep the comments and suggestions coming so that we can create the best application for our awesome users.

Thanks!

Durin

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Explorer ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Can you clarify a point about pricing?

I have the CS5 Master Collection on Mac.

It appears that my choice comes down to buying the full stand-alone Audition for $349 or upgrading the entire suite for $549.

Since Windows users already had Audition in their "kitchen sink" suite, I was hoping there might be a special pricing option that would allow Mac users to bring their CS5 suites up to parity with what Windows users already had, for only a nominal fee.

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Audition has not been a part of any Creative Suite release for Windows.  It was a part of a Windows-only Video Production Suite which predated the CS line.

I'm not entirely certain what the policy is in this situation, but I don't believe there is a Suite-to-Point Product upgrade path for Audition or any other Adobe application.  I'll look into it, though.

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Explorer ,
Apr 15, 2011 Apr 15, 2011

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I had thought my Windows-using example was from CS5, but I checked with him and found out he got Audition (version 2) with

Adobe Creative Suite Production Studio Premium some years ago.

Did you find out anything more about details of Mac pricing? Are my original assumptions (either full price for stand-alone or upgrade price for the suite) correct?

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 15, 2011 Apr 15, 2011

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JSpragens wrote:

Did you find out anything more about details of Mac pricing? 
Are my original assumptions (either full price for stand-alone or upgrade price for the suite) correct?

Our product manager hasn't gotten back from NAB yet to confirm, but from the documentation I have I'm almost certain this is the case.  The upgrade paths right now are for any previous stand-alone version of Audition or Soundbooth, or as part of an upgrade to the Master Collection or Production Premium Creative Suites.

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New Here ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Awesome update, Durin. Count me in as an early adopter for the new Audition.

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Participant ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Just a reminder to those who need to convert sessions between different CEP or AA versions, Suite Spot has a nice free utility for it called Ses2Sesx.

http://forums.adobe.com/thread/836498?tstart=0

http://www.aatranslator.com.au/ses2sesx.html

There is of course Suite Spot's awesome AATranslator utility for converting between other DAW applications too.  AATranslator  may not be as pretty as ProConvert but AATranslator is a better app in my opinion and won't take such a huge chunk out of your wallet.

http://www.aatranslator.com.au/

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Participant ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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Hi Durin,

Thank you for the very detailed post.  Sounds like a lot of exciting enhancements are coming our way.

Some suggestions for CS 6...

1) Although AA is a good sounding DAW, how about it becoming best of breed.  I am not too unhappy about the absence of the CD-burning functionality if it returns in CS 6 as best-of-breed.  Compare it to other DAW's.  I recently looked at the trial download of another DAW and AA seemt to fall short here, not that that DAW is necessarily the standard to beat.  Provide a burning capability that is truly suitable for mastering.  (It's not just AA that has a challenge ahead with write functionality.  The same can be said for Encore).

2) Re-establish AA as a leader in innovation.

3) Can some of the effects and tools be made more visual and or more "intelligent", rather than number oriented, than they currently are?  By intelligent, I mean that the software becomes more analytical and can optionally suggest settings, as opposed to presets".

4) I don't know the true market for something like this, but I definitely am interested in something that would make video and audio clip synchronization easier than it currently is.  (I record audio off-camera and manually sync the clips since I don't utilize time-code synchronized equipment).  For that matter, it would be great if there were time-stretching algorithms that are non-linear.  Where one could specify that begin and end-points are in sync (for audio and video, or audio and audio) and AA could mathematically analyze based on length of clips and.or other factors, how things need to be stretched to keep them in sync.

5) Provide some tools that would make it easier to use audio clips recorded by more than one recorder simultaneously and don't maintain syncronization.  That is, the clips start in sync, but due to clocking or other issues, fall out of sync before the recording is complete.

6) Incorporate sampling tools in AA for things like EQ, etc.

Steve

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New Here ,
Apr 14, 2011 Apr 14, 2011

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"4) I don't know the true market for something like this, but I definitely am interested in something that would make video and audio clip synchronization easier than it currently is. (I record audio off-camera and manually sync the clips since I don't utilize time-code synchronized equipment). For that matter, it would be great if there were time-stretching algorithms that are non-linear. Where one could specify that begin and end-points are in sync (for audio and video, or audio and audio) and AA could mathematically analyze based on length of clips and.or other factors, how things need to be stretched to keep them in sync."

Hi Steve C2,

A company called Singular Software has already invented and published a program that does exactly this called Plural Eyes, which is compatible with Adobe Premiere CS4 and CS5.

www.singularsoftware.com

Hope this helps,

-Rick

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LEGEND ,
Apr 15, 2011 Apr 15, 2011

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"For that matter, it would be great if there were time-stretching algorithms that are non-linear. Where one could specify that begin and end-points are in sync (for audio and video, or audio and audio) and AA could mathematically analyze based on length of clips and.or other factors, how things need to be stretched to keep them in sync."

I would suggest a lockable sync marker within a clip that you can then stretch/shrink the clip from by moving the start and end points to match the video.

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Participant ,
Apr 15, 2011 Apr 15, 2011

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Hi RY,

Thanks.  I didn't consider this approach and I will be sure to try it.

Steve

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Participant ,
Apr 15, 2011 Apr 15, 2011

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Hi Rick,

Thanks for the tip.

Steve

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Engaged ,
Apr 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011

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Hi Durin - you describe Audition CS5.5's speed, arising out of its ability to take advantage of multi-core systems.  Nice.  But is it a 64-bit application now?  I'd like to get a Lexicon plugin (currently 32-bit) to use with Audition, but Lexicon are planning to release a 64-bit version fairly soon.  I'm wondering about compatibility, now and in the future.

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011

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The CS 5.5 release of Audition remains a 32-bit application, although we are building it internally as 32- and 64-bit native applications.  The decision was made to remain 32-bit for this release for several reasons:

* A general lack of 64-bit VST plug-ins

* The need to support existing legacy effects in sessions

* A rather minimal improvement in performance and processing for audio (as opposed to video which greatly benefits from accessing more memory)

* A large existing userbase on older and legacy hardware who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their systems at this time.

* The increased testing hit which would draw time away from feature development for this release

As we get closer to feature parity (and beyond!) to Audition 3, and as our users on older hardware are given time to prepare, I would expect us to release Audition as a native 64-bit application.  It will require updated agreements with many of the partners we license with as well, so it's not as simple as "flipping the 64-bit switch in the compiler."  It will allow Audition to sit a little bit better in the Production Premium suite, and if we approach virtual instrument sequencing in the future, 64-bit memory access allows for loading ENORMOUS sample libraries into RAM.

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Participant ,
Apr 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011

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Hi Durin,

I was wondering if you could answer a few questions, please.

1) There are some third-party plugins (Vongengo is one example) that are available in 64-bit.  Does one need to use the 32-bit plugins?

2) Regarding the following

* A large existing userbase on older and legacy hardware who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their systems at this time.

* The increased testing hit which would draw time away from feature development for this release

As we get closer to feature parity (and beyond!) to Audition 3, and as our users on older hardware are given time to prepare, I would expect us to release Audition as a native 64-bit application.  It will require updated agreements with many of the partners we license with as well, so it's not as simple as "flipping the 64-bit switch in the compiler."  It will allow Audition to sit a little bit better in the Production Premium suite, and if we approach virtual instrument sequencing in the future, 64-bit memory access allows for loading ENORMOUS sample libraries into RAM.

2) Wouldn't the odds of the userbase being willing to upgrade increase with a compelling feature set?

3) Since Premiere Pro is 64-bit and some third-party plugins are 64-bit, what kind of integration can AA CS 5.5 users expect with PrPro running 64-bit plugins and AA CS5.5?

4) For users that might need to keep AA 3.0.1 for certain functions when they upgrade to CS 5,5, are there any ramifications between moving back and forth between 5.5 and 3.0.1?  Has any testing been done on this and is there a recommended workflow?

Thanks,

Steve

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Adobe Employee ,
Apr 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011

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Hi Steve C2,

1. Yes, 64-bit plug-ins are not compatible with 32-bit applications (and vice versa.)

2. A significant portion of Audition's userbase is in the radio industry, and those folks will be the first to agree that hardware upgrades are about the last thing considered in any budget discussions.  In order to ensure continued support for these folks, Audition needed to continue to support Windows XP 32-bit, and work well on older, single-core hardware with limited RAM.  In any case, I wouldn't expect any customer to update their hardware in order to use Audition, rather I would hope they might consider it to make the experience better.

3. With CS 5.5, there is no plug-in compatibility between Audition and Premiere Pro.  When sending a Premiere Pro sequence to Audition, you have the opportunity to render effects prior to sending them or to ignore them completely.  When Audition moves to support 64-bit platforms, I'd expect to see a much tighter integration between Audition and Premiere and the ability to easily share effects.

4. The only problems you should run into when using Audition 3 and CS 5.5 simultaneously would be if both apps were attempting to access the same ASIO device.  Audition 3 allows you to run multiple instances of the application, but CS 5.5 does not.  You can, however, open multiple sessions at once so this should be less of a concern.

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Participant ,
Apr 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011

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Hi Durin,

Many thanks!

Steve

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011

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_durin_ wrote:

4. The only problems you should run into when using Audition 3 and CS 5.5 simultaneously would be if both apps were attempting to access the same ASIO device.  Audition 3 allows you to run multiple instances of the application, but CS 5.5 does not.  You can, however, open multiple sessions at once so this should be less of a concern.

I should point out that I haven't tried this directly with the rest of the CS, but the usual situation with ASIO and more than one app running is that it is only a problem if the apps are trying to access the same ASIO streams on a device - having two apps addressing the same card generally works fine, as long as the sample rate is the same. The no-no is trying to address two sound devices with ASIO - that it can't manage at all. So for instance with my E-Mu 1820m, it's only the ASIO streams that are actually allocated and in use that you can't use with another app.

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Participant ,
Apr 25, 2011 Apr 25, 2011

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Hi SteveG,

Thanks.  Also, one thing that I don't think I made clear in my questions - perhaps either you or Durin or anyone else who knows can answer.

When I was talking about workflow between AA 3 and 5.5, what I had in mind was that one probably would close one of the AA's before doing some work (one example is the AA 3 Scientific Filter).  Since the Effects Rack has been replaced, I thought that maybe VST-based effects, depending on when and where they are executed, might have unintended side-effects if one goes back and forth between versions.  Of course, I don't know the answer.  But, I thought it would be a good idea to the answer in advance.

Steve

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 26, 2011 Apr 26, 2011

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They shouldn't be any interaction at all between two versions of Audition running at the same time - and if I get a chance later on I'll check that this is indeed the case. As long as the two different versions of AA don't try to access the same ASIO streams, they should both run fine simultaneously, assuming your audio device can cope with that. Dunno what that would do to your processor load though - and there would be no guarantee of any sort of a decent performance!

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Explorer ,
May 25, 2011 May 25, 2011

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Does Audition open "Adobe Sound Documents" from soundbooth? How do I burn a CD with tracks now?

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Engaged ,
May 25, 2011 May 25, 2011

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Hi, Avid.  Unfortunately Audition CS5.5 doesn't open Soundbooth documents, but in all fairness, no version of Audition ever has.  These programs have always worked nicely together installed side-by-side, so keep your newest version of Soundbooth on your system to retain that ability.  (I've even gone so far as to export tracks one at a time to separate waves for further editing and mixing in Audition, though Soundbooth does what it does well enough that normally I wouldn't try that.)

There are many discussions here for what's been set aside for the time being to get Audition CS5.5 released for both Mac and PC.  If you're interested in the whats and the whys, please stroll through some of the recent large threads here.

CD burning is not yet there, obviously.  Until a future update/upgrade, you'll need to save your audio to wave files and use other software, whether that be an earlier version of Audition, Nero, Roxio, CDRWIN, or whatever, to burn it to a disc.

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New Here ,
Jul 01, 2011 Jul 01, 2011

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This may seem a bit anal but I'd like to be able to select the "key frames" in the automation lane and enter an exact numerical value, sometimes the ol mouse just doesn't cut it.

I too am hoping for control surface integration AA3 allowed me to use my iTouch

AND I would like to be able to licence my laptop in addition to my pc so I can work in the field. (or did i miss something)

So far I like the new features of CS 5.5 ie.paint brush, a cleaner look, efficient use of CPU etc...

Don't like some of the features of AA3 missing but am leaning toward the upgrade.

CD burning is "take it or leave it" for me as I tend to push my clients toward mp3 format...CD's IMHO are going the route of 8Tracks!

Thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 01, 2011 Jul 01, 2011

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tilted lab wrote:


AND I would like to be able to licence my laptop in addition to my pc so I can work in the field. (or did i miss something)

You can do that bit now, just the same as you could with Audition 3. When you purchase it, you are allowed two activations, the proviso being that you don't use both at the same time. Yes, the idea is that one's for a desktop machine and the other for a laptop.

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