Two long-time favorite audio editors have gotten big updates recently. BIAS updated the Mac-only Peak Pro at the Messe show with an upgraded UI, ducking, mastering and playlist tools. And yesterday, Sony announced Sound Forge 9, with multichannel features, new mastering effects, and other features. That was quick: Sound Forge 8 and Peak Pro 5 only recently came out. Here are the quick highlights:

Peak Pro 6 top features:

  1. New fades, volume envelopes, and editing tools for playlists and mastering
  2. Faster, RAM-based editing
  3. Loop creation tools
  4. Ducking DSP for lowering music in voice overs (hello, podcasters)
  5. Cross-synthesis, for mixing, convolving, vocoding, and modulation
  6. Updated interface, with global contrast controls (hello, Adobe suite on Windows), magnetic windows, new high-res meters.
  7. Integrates with iTunes, direct podcast uploads, and advanced playlist PQ support for those of you too pro to touch either iTunes or podcasts.

Meanwhile, on PC, Sony has beefed up Sound Forge. (Note that Adobe Audition, meanwhile, didn’t get a refresh in the new CS3 suite — though I don’t care, because Audition does everything I need it to.) The big feature: multichannel.

  1. Multichannel editing, processing, and recording, with drag and drop between channels
  2. Channel conversion, multichannel spectrum analysis
  3. Hardware meters with output gain control. (Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean they’re bundling lovely analog hardware meters in the package. You know what they mean.)
  4. New wet/dry mix and crossfade options for effects
  5. Channel Converter tool for multichannel files

  6. Upgraded UI and color customization. (Obviously something in the air.)
  7. Enhanced file support: multichannel, Windows Media File support, included MPEG-1, MPEG-2 QuickTime import, 5.1 Dolby Digital AC-3 export
  8. Bundled effects: noise reduction 2.0, mastering effects bundle from iZotope
  9. Vista-ready (though old versions I believe run just fine, too)

More commentary at

Decent stuff; mostly I think this comes down to which tool you prefer. There’s also new SWF file import in Sound Forge in an attempt to compete with Adobe, but since ActionScript and embedded video and audio are unsupported, that’s not much of an enhancement. The new Adobe suite will come with its own integrated audio tool which may do Flash audio design better.

The other question we’ve been asking around CDM is whether the increasingly complex wave editors out there are actually overkill, even for so-called “pro” work — many of us want a streamlined tool for wave editing; it’s why we go to the editor in the first place. We’ll be pulling apart some of these tools over the coming weeks, so stay tuned. In the meantime, what’s your waver of choice?

  • Wavelab FTW. 😉

  • Peak, akkk! (cringes)

    i heart Audiofile-Engineerings Wave Editor….bloat-free!

  • JDSampo

    Sound Forge. I'd like to say I did exhaustive research and comparisons before I picked it but the fact is that it was on sale. I really like it though 🙂

  • Dami

    I really love Adobe Audition. I was so used to Cool Edit (circa 1999) and that's what it has become.

    Tried Wavelab, sucks, tried Sound Forge, sucks too

  • endekks

    Can anyone recommend any good multitrack DAW app for OSX? I tried Audacity, but that just doesn't cut it for me. I really need to go in and edit waveforms, but in a multitrack setting – like good old Sound Edit 16. Or should I just wait for Audition for OSX?

    Hope you guys know something…

  • Mr.E

    It's Audition 2.0 for me… but I like to keep an interest in how Sound Forge is developing. As I understand it the multitrack stuff in SF9 is limited. And I still don't see the frequency spectrum editing in SF that Audition does – perhaps if it's there and I missed it, somebody could confirm that?

    One great thing about SF is that Sony seem very committed to it, with regular updates – something Audition really lacks.

  • @endekks: Ardour should be your first stop; open source, much more robust and stable than Audacity, and definitely focused on being a multitrack DAW. There's also a Mac version due of REAPER, which is probably closest to what you're imagining. Beyond that, Mackie Tracktion would also fit the bill, though a bit less orthodox than these others. Soundtrack Pro does multitrack editing, as well, but that's not necessarily its focus and it isn't available a la carte any more.

  • endekks


  • josh

    endekks, Deck is the multitrack version of the fabulous Peak Pro. Check out a free fully-functional demo [for 15 or 30 days] on their site.

  • Fugubot

    Sony plug-ins. Are they VST or proprietary? Anyone know if the new ones created by Izotope are VSTs? Thanks.

  • bliss

    Soundtrack Pro does multitrack editing but it doesn't import multichannel audio files for editing, nor does it export multichannel files, only stereo or mono files. The only editors on Mac that does that feature multichannel editing are Audacity and Wave Editor. You'd think that in this age of surround sound there would be more software audio editors on the Mac with this capability, especially of the stature and expense of Peak, but sadly there is not. I was hoping that Peak 6 would finally feature it, but, wrong!

  • Aren Downie

    Peak continues to disappoint… I wish Sound Forge was ported to OSX. I prefer Macs for everything else, but SF is one of the key reasons for me to keep a PC running.

    Peak v. Sound Forge = Danny Devito v. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Twins.

  • I think it's fair enough to mention Sound Studio on the mac. While the current version 3.5 is buggy (developers are hard at work on an update I think), SS allows basic wave editing that's quick and easy to use, as well as some bread and butter filters (EQ, Compression and all that) and can load AUs for everything else. Multitrack editing is, how should I say, charming, but only really useful for podcasts, and/or layering sounds atop each other. Unfortunately it lacks pretty much any metering.

    I mention SS because I had a hard time finding an OSX app that would provide the ease of use I had with Cool Pro / Audition, but wouldn't break the bank. I wanted something I instantly know how to use.

  • Rat

    Wavelab Wavelab Wavelab

  • so would this b a goOd program 4 editing music and video??? seems different from da last version

  • coollllllllllllllllllllll

  • terminal3

    Josh: Deck hasn't been updated in years. Really kinda useless with going-forward technology, and I doubt it's even on bias' UB porting radar.

  • pants

    Every so often I check up on the new AudioEditors for mac and always end up kinda disappointed. I just want something to edit basic multitrack audio for importing into other sequencers. Is that so much to ask? A OS X SoundEdit16. {sigh}…

    XO Wave is another one that looks promising for mac too… we'll see.


    What the fuck is the problem with finding a decent sound editing device on macs that you don't have to pay fuck loads o money?? this is the 21st century and everyone is scratching there balls waiting for someone to realise that it is needed, a make something.

    Peak in my eyes so far is shit! maybe the new one will be better! soundforge rules supreme as a cheap simple but bad ass programme, i've always expected this to be the least.

  • WEll well

    I suppose, when i comes down to the endless searching, Peak pro is the best i've search the earth not to spend too much money, but i suppose you have to take your hats off to the ones that are trying.

    PEAK PRO 5 or better 6

  • Jeff

    Yea, I don't know about you guys but I have been a Peak user since v 2 and although I am still waiting for multi-track, there is nothing close to it. Tried the others and they don't do it. Can't wait for 6, already got the pre-order!

  • ramesh