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Audition installs cleanly as a standalone product or as part of the Adobe Video Collection suite. Along with the installation CD, you get a second disc with "loopology" content. This includes more than 5,000 high-quality royalty-free music loops, organized in 21 major categories from Classical and Blues to Techno and World, and also "moods" from Ambient to Lounge to Weddings. We appreciate the separate disc, since installing all these loops with the app takes up roughly 700MB of space.
Audition's interface, which has arbitrarily resizable and dockable windows, is a bit idiosyncratic, especially for users who are accustomed to other Adobe tools. However, compared to the previous iteration, version 1.5 is more accessible to novice users. You can mix up to 128 stereo tracks in Multitrack view and apply more than 50 audio tools and DSP effects. You can even import video clips and display thumbnails to help synchronize music and voice-overs.
Beat detection, tempo and pitch shifting, and vocal/instrumental channel extraction (for a cappella and karaoke) are just a sampling of the powerful audio-manipulation tools you'll find within Audition. You can also restore and sweeten individual tracks with filters and effects such as high-quality click/pop eliminators, noise and hiss reduction, time stretching, sample rate conversion, and even pitch correction (for fixing off-key notes). We're particularly impressed with the app's Spectral view, which isolates individual instruments and transients and permits full editing in the frequency space. All audio is processed internally in high-fidelity 32-bit and sample rates up to 10MHz.
All of Audition's effects provide a plethora of options that can be previewed in real time, or you can choose from presets for common uses. Additional packaged effects and filters provide quick enhancements, or you can save your own settings as Favorites. In addition, you can record custom scripts and convert groups of files with batch processing. Audition is also compatible with VST and DirectX plug-ins, as well as ReWire for seamless integration with other audio packages.
Audition runs smoothly through the entire process of audio recording, mixing, editing, and applying effects. In Multitrack view, it renders effects as they are applied (in a handful of seconds), then provides real-time playback. In Waveform view, you adjust effect options and preview them in real time, then Audition applies them to the audio samples (again, in a few seconds). In a complex multitrack production, you can lock tracks to remove them from the processing overhead. Adobe recommends using a Windows XP system running a 2GHz processor with 512MB of RAM; however, the application will run on 400MHz systems with 64MB of RAM.
More than 20 popular audio file formats and variations are supported for import, including WAV, AIFF, MP3, and WMA. A number of video formats, including WMV, MPEG, AVI, and native DV are supported as well. You can even use the Multichannel Encoder feature to transform any multitrack mix into a 5.1 surround-sound track. The new built-in CD-burning application is a bonus.
On issues related to installation and product defects, Adobe offers complimentary, but not toll-free, phone support for registered copies of current products, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific). Paid support is available for other issues, on a per-call basis or through service plans. The Adobe Web site also provides extensive tutorials, forums, and troubleshooting information.