Okay, so the multichannel features of Sound Forge 9 would seem only marginally useful to those of you not doing surround work. Here are a few other things that are included in the package, that you might find useful.

First up is Sony’s Noise Reduction plug-in. This is still offered as a separate product, with a suggested retail of about $280. It’s included gratis in Sound Forge 9, and this is a Good Thing if you ever have need to clean up audio. This plug does a yeoman job of cutting general noise and eliminating distortion. The latter is why I bought the plug a couple of years ago — I had a job where the VO tracks were highly distorted in places, and other plugs I tried only made things worse. In desperation I took a flyer on the Noise Reduction plug, at nearly full retail I might add, and was amazed. This baby can literally bring damaged tracks back from the dead, and more than paid for itself on that particular job. It handles broadband noise by profiling it, and when used judiciously is nearly inaudible. Did I mention it’s the only plug I’ve ever used that actually does a good job on distortion?


Also included in the Forge 9 package are the iZotope Mastering plug-ins. There’s an EQ with four bands of parametric EQ plus low and high shelving. The Mastering Limiter does its job, and comes with a “character” slider that governs the response time of the limiter. The Multiband Compressor has four independent bands of compression, and a cool display that shows each band working in a different (and neon) color. The Mastering Reverb, while my least favorite of the four plugs, is a capable algorithmic reverb with a couple dozen nice-sounding presets.

OzoneI’m a fan of iZotope’s plug-ins in general, and I find them to be light in the character department but still effective. They sound organic to me, and the Mastering Suite included here with Forge is no exception. iZotope gets $249 for their Ozone 3 plug-in, which contains versions of the Mastering Suite plus some other useful stuff, so I figure the Suite is worth about a hundred and a half. It’s all good and useful stuff, and definitely adds some value to the package.

Finally, it’s important to note that CD Architect is included, and it carries a suggested retail of about $112. While Architect is not my favorite CD program (that would still be the much pricier WaveLab), it does its job well and I wouldn’t kick it out of bed (!).


If you’re still using Sound Forge 5 or 6, then in my opinion the $150 upgrade is worth it for the plug-ins alone, even if you don’t want the multichannel features. If you’re looking to get into Forge for the first time, then all the extra goodies provide good reason to do it now.

But if you already own Forge and don’t care about the plug-ins, then the decision becomes tougher, particularly since the multichannel stuff is not compelling for those of us who produce spots and imaging only. The other enhancements mentioned above, along with improved keyboard customization and fancier color customization, might push you over the edge. But if budgets are tight you may just want to wait for version 10 to see what Sony’s engineers come up with.

Sound Forge 9.0 carries a suggested retail price of $399.95. Upgrades from Sound Forge Audio Studio and from Screenblast Sound Forge are $229.95, and the upgrade from an older version of Sound Forge is $149.95. For more information worldwide visit www.sonycreative