Teaching Examples

Favorite audio editing software
December 7, 2006, 1:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

With so many reporters and photojournalists gathering audio today, what software do they use when it comes time to edit? Mac users have GarageBand, of course (part of iLife). What other audio tools are you Mac lovers using?

Everyone can use Audacity (100 percent free) — it works on Windows, Mac OS and Linux; You can convert just about any audio file to MP3 by opening it in Audacity and then Save in the MP3 format. To do so, you must download and install the (free) LAME MP3 encoder (instructions are here), which works with Audacity. There are several tutorials for Audacity.

Windows only: Adobe Audition (list $350; download a free trial version) has evolved from Cool Edit Pro, and it’s a robust, feature-rich program. I can teach the basics of using Audition in about 15 minutes, but I’ve only used about 10 percent of the program’s capabilities. It has an awesome multitrack interface.

Windows and Mac: Pro Tools from DigiDesign (a division of Avid) gets rave reviews from serious audio geeks, but I have to confess, their product line totally confuses me. Pro Tools 7.3 runs on the Intel Macs.

Windows only: Sound Forge (list $300) and Sound Forge Audio Studio (list $70) from Sony (formerly from Sonic Foundry). I have Sound Forge Audio Studio at home; it’s very easy to use, but it does not do true multitrack editing. I’ve never used the full-blown Sound Forge, so I can’t compare it with Audition — but it appears to be very similar.

I’m eager to hear what you use, whether you like it, and why. Please post a comment if you are editing audio.

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9 Comments so far
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I use Soundtrack Pro, which is part the the killer suite of programs that come with the Mac-only Final Cut Studio. It is still an early version, but I find it does everything I could ever want in a sound editor. It also is integrated with Final Cut Pro 5 so I can round trip my sound files between programs seamlessly. For anyone that is Mac based, Final Cut Studio gives you everything (except Flash) to produce effective multimedia.

Soundtrack Pro also comes with thousands of music loops (Garageband on steroids) as well as ton of special effects loops. I find these are great when I an doing a historical piece and need some ambient sounds such as biplane sounds or a steam whistle etc.

The only bummer for people is that Soundtrack is only available as part of Final Cut Studo which costs a cool $1300.00 bucks. Ouch.

Comment by Colin Mulvany

Thanks for your awesome comment, Colin! That’s very helpful! I know Final Cut is expensive, but it’s clearly the way to go after you outgrow iMovie, yes?

Comment by Mindy McAdams

I am using Soundtrack Pro like Colin.

I find much more powerful than Audacity (I love the normalization script in STP) – although I have Audacity on my laptop as well for the conversion into .mp3 files like to wrote about in your post Minday.

And, like Colin mentioned, it works seemlessly with all of your FCP projects.

And before I acquired the Final Cut Studio that COlin wrote about, I could only afford the Soundtrack Pro package.

So unless something has changed over at Apple, I was able to buy Soundtrack Pro as a stand-alone package AND I qualified for a student discount on that app.

I think I remember the Soundtrack Pro app (stand alone) was $175 for students.

This may have changed and it might only be offered now as a part of the FCP studio package, but worth checking into.

Comment by joseph hollak

We have been using a variety of audio editing software at UBC. We’ve found it is to be a little buggy. Garageband is great for mixing as it is simple and easy to use. But for editing and more complicated mixing, we’ve been using Soundtrack Pro, which has everything you need in an audio editor. The negative side is the price as it is part of Final Cut Studio which costs megabucks.

Comment by Alfred Hermida

Come on, where are my Windows readers? Sheesh, not everyone has a Mac!

Comment by Mindy McAdams

We use Audacity on Windows and Macs a ton. We also have a couple Macs with Pro Tools.

Comment by dmchenry

I looked at Soundtrack Pro online, and it seems that it is not available separately from Final Cut Studio — which is Mac only. If it is, I couldn’t find that info.

The interface looks complex, but apparently it matches the interface of Final Cut Pro.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

I’m stuck on a PC at work and have Audition…not my favorite at all. Interface isn’t real intuitive…and features are hard to find…i.e. rough learning curve when you are trying to teach other people to use it, which I am often doing.

Learned using Pro Tools, which is ok.

The Final Cut Studio is awesome if you have a mac…otherwise, I have to push for Audacity or Cool Edit for ease of use when doing basic editing on the PC…

Comment by Anonymous

Unless you’re mixing music or theatrical or broadcast entertainment, I can’t see spending money on any audio software. Audacity is all you need for 99 percent of anything and everything on the web.

Comment by Media Blog

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