Audition CS6 Preview – Effects: VST3, side-chains and much more
Audition CS6 brings significant improvements and new features to effects hosting and routing.
New to Audition CS6 – and, well. any Adobe product – is support for VST3 audio plug-ins. Steinberg has been at work updating the VST specification, and VST3 represents a stronger and more stable model for building and hosting plug-ins. For the user, this means both the application and the plug-in can be more stable and reliable because we’re able to communicate in a more consistent manner. VST2.4, while still dominant and pervasive for many audio plug-ins has certain limitations for developers. We believe the move to VST3 has started and expect to see many more plug-ins head this direction. VST3 will be available on both Mac and Windows versions of Audition CS6.
Audition CS6 offers the ability to run a side-chain input to some of your plug-ins when used in a track effect. The routing engine in and out of the effects host [see below] has been dramatically improved from CS5.5 and previous versions, and this brings with it side-chaining: the ability to feed the signal from one audio source into the input of an effect on a different source.
Simply insert a plug-in that supports side-chain input to the desired track. On the track that will act as your input signal, select the appropriate side-chain destination from your Sends view as you might any Bus. The routing engine will take care of the rest, adjusting the effect dynamics on one track based on the signal from the other.
In Audition CS6, we enabled the Dynamics Processing effect to support side chaining, which will allow basic ducking and input driven compression. There are many 3rd party effects and plug-ins that also support side chains for other interesting creative uses.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of side chains in general, take a look here for some more info.
Effects Channel Routing – No More Restrictions!
Audition CS6 introduces an entirely new way to manage effect channel routing. The challenge we were faced with was how to manage the large variety of 3rd party plug-ins that all present their audio channels differently, and often for very legitimate reasons. Some say they’re mono and stereo in and out. Some present themselves as 3 channels (the assumption being mono and stereo) in and mono/stereo out and it gets even more complicated for up-mix and down-mix effects (2 channels-in to 6-out, for example). The effects host in Audition CS5.5 was a good start, but this host required a matching presentation of channels by the plug-in. By changing our method of handling plug-ins, we saw immediate gains in compatibility and stability.
What does this mean to you? Well, for most, you won’t ever need to touch this part of the application nor will you likely notice much change if you don’t use 3rd party plug-ins (and this is a good thing!).
This new approach introduces a new channel router to each effect, is configurable per-effect, and is accessible in the upper-right corner of the effect window:
Here’s an example of what a stereo effect looks like in the effect channel router in the Multiband Compressor when they exist on a 5.1 track:
Quickly, you’ll notice that the “input” and “output” line up 1:1 (Left In goes to Left Out, etc). If I wanted the “left” to go out the “center”, I would simply select that in the “effect output” column. It should be noted this is a router/mapper only and does not allow creation of new channels unless the effect being used does this (e.g. up-mix). We also provided a “Reset Routing” button to get you back…just in case.
It cannot be understated how powerful this is, and even if you never use it, it represents a huge shift in how effects are handled and work in the application.
Improved Effects Scanner
Audition CS6 now includes an improved effects scanner that will scan VST and AudioUnits effects “out of process”. What does this mean to you? More stable scanning and fewer crashes during scanning of 3rd party plug-ins.
Our goal here was simple: reduce crashes caused by incompatible, buggy, or poorly coded plug-ins. We separated the scan from the main application and saw our crashes caused by 3rd party plugs drop dramatically. Now, if the scanner crashes, it simply reports back that it crashed, blacklists the plug-in, and continues scanning without needing to restart the application.
New Effects Menu Sorting: VST and AU Plug-in Menu Changes
In Audition CS5.5 the only view order of your plug-ins was “channel” type (e.g. mono, stereo, etc). Admittedly, this didn’t work as well as we’d hoped, so we changed it. If you just read above regarding channelization changes – you should if you haven’t – then you might have an idea of why we changed this behavior. Well to follow suit, we now allow you to sort effects by “vendor”, “category”, “vendor/category”, “category/vendor” or one giant list (no grouping at all). By default they will be organized by “category/vendor” as advertised by the plug-in developer.
In preferences you can select whichever grouping/sorting you like:
Save an Effects Rack as a Favorite
Audition CS6 introduces the ability to save any effects rack as a Favorite. This means you will now be able to recall that favorite and apply it immediately to a single file or use it in batch processing to change many files at once.