So that’s what’s different. What you’re really asking though is what does it all add up to? Go back to the beginning of this article and remember that this software has been significantly rewritten. This is an exponential change and not necessarily just the next logical step; that’s why it’s 2.0 and not 1.6. Really, as similar as it is, the only thing that’s different is everything, and once you embrace that concept, you can move forward to judge it on merit alone.
I also mentioned above that Audition is now part of the larger Adobe Production Studio. If you are just using it in a radio production studio, it feels the same. Edits are the same, multitracking is essentially the same with a different mixer, CD recording is the same. The heart of what made it a good program is still there. You don’t notice any special features designed for the video guys, and I couldn’t detect any compromises for the new Suite. The Adobe Bridge software is the only clue that Audition is now part of something bigger. It’s a specialized software organizer for sharing and searching for files between all the programs in Production Studio. If Audition is the only Adobe software on your computer, you won’t be using Bridge for much of anything. You can use it if you want, or you can search for files through standard Windows features.
As an Audition user, what you will notice is that some processes are different. While you can still Export a mix, you cannot automatically mixdown a session to a file for editing. Instead, you can bounce down a session to a new track and then open the file for editing from there. From a work point of view this adds up to exactly two extra mouse clicks. With the effects rack on the master bus, you can add all your mastering effects, like the new multiband compressor, while you are still in session, saving that extra mixdown step and adding a better chance to hear the compression as you are mixing and adjust as needed.
You will also notice mixes are slower. Earlier versions of the software used background mixing, in effect premixing your entire session as you went, so when it was time to finish and mixdown, it was already done. 2.0 does not background mix, so it has to catch-up to where the background mixing was. In effect 1.5 was designed for absolute speed, while 2.0 is designed for absolute creativity and flexibility. The net time is pretty much the same; while the mix takes longer, you get to that point of mixdown faster.
I’ve talked to some Producers who have developed a work flow based on doing things as fast as possible. Everything has to be immediately at hand and must be as fast as possible. If that’s you, you may find yourself initially more comfortable on 1.5. It initially takes a conscious effort to understand what you are doing with 2.0, but it comes. I’ve found that I prefer using 2.0 for the way I work. I like the ability to adjust parameters through an effects rack in relation to other effects and other tracks, and I love the automation and especially the new Mixer window. I’ve had the chance to use both single and dual video monitor computer setups and cannot recommend dual monitors strongly enough, so that everything is viewable at a glance, and adjustments are directly accessible. On the single monitor, it adds extra steps switching back and forth to mixer from Multitrack.
If you’ve kept working on CEP 1.2 or 2.1 your upgrade path is now closed. If you are an Audition 1.0 or 1.5 user, there is an upgrade version, available as a download or on CD for $129. The full version, again as a download or on a boxed CD version is $349. A lower priced education version is available as well. All versions include a well written and quite usable manual (PDF or printed), and access to 4.7GB of uncompressed loop files. Most of these were previously available with earlier versions in a compressed file format, but there is a significant amount of new material as well, including music beds in radio friendly lengths. These are available for download, or on a data DVD, depending on which version you buy. Adobe will also give you a bonus when you activate the software, a downloadable VST compressor plug-in. It’s basically one band (set to full spectrum) from the multiband compressor, and modeled on a tube compressor. This sounds terrific and has quickly become my all time favorite software compressor, and it is very cheap in terms of processor asset allocation. Since it’s VST, it works in Audition 1.5 too!
So should you rush out and buy Audition 2.0? I like it a lot, but it’s really a question for you and your company. There is a fully featured 30-day demo available that you really should download and evaluate first — and not just a quick run through, really spend the whole 30 days and judge it both objectively and subjectively. You may have a company policy stating that your company will not use unsupported software. Soon the only support for 1.5 will come from the Adobe and Audio Master’s user-to-user forums. Unlike when 1.5 was released, this update is not necessarily a slam dunk, must have addition to your production arsenal. It’s an interesting difference, but something you have to adapt to. As I’ve said a couple of times now, it’s not the next logical exception of what came before it, but something new and exciting.
When you download and install Audition 2.0, it does not overwrite any earlier versions of the software. You can have the entire family tree of Cool Edit and Audition software coexisting quite happily on your computer. Your best choice might just be to have new and old versions, at least for a while. 1.5 for those times when you feel the need for some speed, and 2.0 when you are in your Creative Wizard mode. The funny thing is that after a couple of days playing with 2.0, I didn’t find the need to go back for speed, and only use 1.5 for revisions on older sessions.
With Audition 2.0, we can now see the future direction for this software under Adobe ownership. While it’s not all that far from previous versions, it’s not the exact same either. Think of it as a different lane on the expressway. Is it perfect? Nothing is. Some people live and thrive on the bleeding edge. I like to ride the forward edge of the wave. Some people will sit back and wait for the first update to Audition 2.0 before they make the jump. Some people will go elsewhere, while some will just stay where they are. All decisions are right for those that make them. The least you can do is to get the demo and decide what your best decision is.