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]