Audition, a favorite, previously Windows-only wave editor from Adobe, is coming to the Mac this winter. Adobe is touting native surround support, multi-channel effects, and performance optimizations; you can check out how the new tool looks at Adobe Labs. The public beta is due this winter. Interestingly, Adobe is pushing the video side of this more than audio, even though Audition is popular with audio users. The demos are hosted by video specialist Jason Levine, and “post production” is the phrase that keeps coming up.

The Mac is quickly becoming spoiled for choice with dedicated wave file editors, maybe enough that the half-decade-plus absence of Macromedia SoundEdit can finally be put to rest. WaveLab from Steinberg was announced back in March, joining the likes of BIAS Peak, Audiofile’s Wave Editor, DSP Quattro, Sound Studio, Apple’s Soundtrack Pro, and Audacity. Readers are divided on whether such dedicated tools are even needed, given expanded editing features in music and video programs, but those who do love them are very particular in their tastes. That means lovers of Audition on Windows, and people looking for more serious post-production tools to complement Adobe’s video offerings, now have some good news.

What made Adobe make the decision early? Well, I don’t know if you can chalk it up to a scathing review by my colleague Chris Breen for Macworld. But I do think the message he brought – that Soundbooth CS5 wasn’t quite up to pro tasks – was probably one Adobe was hearing from a lot of other people, too. Here’s how Chris opened his review:

When you think Adobe, the first thought unlikely to pop to mind is audio. And yet Adobe continues to include its Soundbooth audio editing application in the Creative Suite 5 Production Premium and Master Collection bundles and sells the application separately for $199. Compare the latest version of Soundbooth with its predecessor, however, and you can be excused for thinking that audio is not among Adobe’s priorities. Soundbooth CS5 is a meager update that fails to address the application’s most glaring shortcomings.

Ouch. For what it’s worth, while I think you’d have to be pretty nuts to buy Soundbooth standalone for two hundred bucks, it’s worth trying out if you own CS. It’s great for quick edits and podcasts and such, though I agree with all of Chris’ criticisms.

Windows users, though, very often do think of Adobe Audition as a close rival with tools like Sony SoundForge and Steinberg WaveLab on the PC. (Now, only SoundForge hasn’t announced a Mac port.)

So, to what can you credit Adobe’s ability to port the tool? Without knowing the specifics of Audition, generally with Adobe apps, you can thank the use of cross-platform libraries and some shared code between applications. That could also mean that the announcement of Audition for Mac is simultaneously good news for loyal Windows users – it means Audition is getting some attention, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Audition for Windows gets an update around the same time.

What I wouldn’t read into this is any larger conclusions about Windows-to-Mac porting, as Synthtopia does:

Adobe Bringing Audition To The Mac. Could Sonar Be Next?

I can answer that question: no. Cakewalk has told me repeatedly that, while they’re enthusiastic about supporting the Mac, SONAR is closely tied to Windows. A DAW is also a lot more complicated than something like Audition. Tools like Cubase (in its current generation) and Ableton Live were built with cross-platform support in mind; adding it down the road is a much harder task.

I don’t think anything about this landscape has changed. Developers who can do it easily are happy to be on both platforms, most of all a company like Adobe that makes cross-platform support part of their business strategy.

But as I said, even Windows users may wind up getting a refreshed version of a favorite audio editor out of this.

Stay tuned for when you can audition this tool for yourse— oh, jeez. That’s a terrible way to end this post. I apologize. Someone must have dropped a CS5 box on my head or something.

Updated: Jim Dalrymple at The Loop talks to Adobe about Audition. Notable – Audition for Mac is getting some of the great noise reduction features from the Windows release (as noted by readers in comments), as well as some of the more unique and effective tools in Soundbooth (Paint Brush, Healing):

An audio engineer himself, Levine said that Audition has a number of features that cannot be matched in other applications. Most notably, Levine said Audition’s noise reduction and restoration capabilities will be something to watch out for.

“There are plug-ins that can do noise reduction, but quite frankly, Audition is just better,” said Levine.

Audition will also feature some very familiar tools like a Paint Brush and Healing Tool. Photoshop users know these tools well and they work just the same in Audition, except with audio instead of images.

Adobe Audition coming to the Mac [The Loop]

  • 12bits

    any mac user already has a solution for "wave editing"

    this personally dosen't bring anything insane to the table where I'm suddenly uninstalling wave editor or sound studio or logic for that matter

    I wonder what the bloatware is like with this?

    — don't mean to sound like a crowd killer —

  • Radiophobic

    Audition is the best sound editor out there, hands down. This was one of the main reasons why I went back to windows after sinking $1500 on a mac. Still would have changed back even if audition was available for it, but it wouldn't have been as fast.

  • As someone who has done audio on both OSX and Windows operating systems for ages, I've never found an editor for the Mac platform that has held a candle to Audition for meticulous audio editing. As a multitrack it doesn't much stand out to me, but as an editor it never ceases to amaze in it's workflow, ability, quality and stability. Been using it since it was Cool Edit Pro. This is one of 2 essential pieces of software for which I'll always own a Windows machine, so now that list is down to one!

    The FFT filter and time warping abilities make for some great sound design tools.

  • aje

    Audition is a superb programme, so this is good news for Mac users. As a longstanding Windows user of Audition I can see several enhancements to the programme in the videos they have posted on youtube, and I can't imagine they will deny their loyal windows userbase the benefit of paying for the new stuff!

    So roll on Audition 4.0 for all of us: once again, a truly superb piece of software, and really a "must-have" for anyone seriously into audio.

  • James

    Sure cooledit pro people will be happy. For me as a not really cooledit person, is it really the same? Well, there's a green waveform, but….,

    Anyway, all I can ever keep thinking is 'where's soundforge!'

  • This is great for Mac users, as long as the don't think they can use Audition as a multitrack DAW. I'm worried some people "step up" from GarageBand and try to use it to record their bands. I tried for years, and it just can't handle the track counts on any of my computers that other DAWs can. Makes no sense, especially with destructive editing.

  • @Will: yeah, it's odd that they make a comparison at one point to Pro Tools. Sometimes the marketing gets a little carried away. What's great to a lot of us about tools like Audition is that they *aren't* DAWs.

  • Cristian

    And let's not forget what Audition inherited from Cool Edit Pro: the best existing tool and algorithm for sound cleaning and noise removal.
    Best out there for rescuing sounds from vinyl.

  • Nothing comes close to Audition (since Cool Edit days) in terms of wave editing and lining up audio. Both the wave and multitrack views work smoother than anything else I've come across. Alongside any DAW (in my case Renoise + Bidule) it's immense. Doesn't even really need an update as the 7 year old version is almost flawless though they'll probably improve it in ways I can't imagine. Glad Mac users get a chance to use it too as it really is in a league of its own.

  • So long as the Wave Editor is at least as good as it was in the CEP and early Audition days(Last version I used was 1.5) then I will be purchasing this hands down. But I agree this is not a DAW, I already have one and this will be used strictly as a wave editor.


  • Audition is a DAW, and a capable one. People can and do make records with it. I like it best for off-line audio editing, but to say it's not a DAW is … confusing.

  • Well, technically anything that can do multitrack digital audio could be considered a DAW. But the comparison to things like Pro Tools doesn't make sense. Audition has a narrower feature set focused on audio editing workflows – and that's a good thing.

  • @Peter … I use my copy of Samplitude 10 SE for the sole purpose of audio cd burning. But I don't say it's 'not a DAW' and instead call it a "CD Burner." I think you might be confusing nostalgia for CoolEdit with the reality of what Audition 3 currently is. Like it or not, feature-wise and workflow-wise it's now much more comparable to Pro Tools than it is to Sound Forge. It stopped being just an "audio editor" at Cool Edit Pro.

  • This is very exciting news!

    As fond as I am of Wave Editor et al, no other program I've used comes close to the speed and efficiency that I achieved with Audition, which is definitely a DAW – I've recorded and mixed many projects with it.

    I was sad to leave Audition behind when I switched to Mac three years ago. Until then my workflow had been based on the combo of Audition and AudioMulch (also recently ported to Mac). I'm looking forward to returning to that way of working.

  • anechoic

    While I worked at Staccato Systems in the 90's we used Cool Edit Pro ALL the time for sound design and content development.

    It was the best audio editor I've used on any platform – hands down. Having said that, I've not used it since it was bought by Adobe and became Audition so I can't comment on bloat or feature creep.

  • amnesia

    I am still waiting for SoundForge for Mac. I can use parallels but it it was just for mac that would be brilliant

  • amnesia

    anechoic is that you Kim?

  • matt

    wow…he said ALL that without breathing…

  • beekicker

    @amnesia regarding Sound Forge: You’re going to be waiting until the bad place freezes over. The culture at Sonic Foundry (prior to its mostly being absorbed by Sony) was extremely anti-Apple/Mac. I think there were, at most, three Macs in the building vs. hundreds of PCs when I worked there.

    Since Sony aren’t exactly known for timely Mac support either, it probably won’t be happening. I agree. Forge is a great editor. Personally, I use Amadeus Pro on the Mac, and while I’m sure there are plenty of things Audition can do that it can’t, I’ll be just fine.

  • Sound Forge runs perfect under Parallels Desktop on my MacBook.

  • asdfman

    AND it's coming for the mac! That's right friends!


    Is he promoting the software, or the mac?

  • Chris

    So… Adobe refused to get Audition to the Mac for all those years and now it's coming and it's better than the PC version?

    I hope PC users get an update too. AA3 has been around for ages…

  • Duncan

    Like many others I would say this is great news
    Since getting a (rather expensive and otherwise flashy !) macbook i've searched in vain for an editor/multitrack tool that is anywhere as good as CEP / AUDITION , i've tried them ALL , NOTHING is close, NOTHING is as fast and accurate. Bootcamp Windows works with Audition OK but with no firewire support means that the in and out from an external card is useless. Like many this is why I keep an old Sony laptop running , just for one program.
    Shame that Syntrillium sold out to Adobe BUT this will make the mac finally usable for editing and audio restoration

  • Brian

    Hurray cool edit pro for mac finally! after what a decade!