Expanded export options in Audition CS6

A week or two ago, some Audition users at a major entertainment company (we wish we could say who, but we can’t!) got in touch with us with some questions about whether the new version of Audition could support a legacy workflow. Not surprisingly, the answer was “yes!”—so we thought we’d share the info, in case some of you have similar questions.

These folks create audio that gets played back on a number of different devices, some of which have specialized requirements—and they needed to be able to export raw PCM files from Audition. Audition 3 supported this capability—but Audition CS5.5 did not.

Happily for these customers—and maybe you too—one of the areas we focused on for Audition CS6 was expanding the range of file formats we support for both import and export. Now you can import and export any format supported by the open source libsndfile library (http://www.mega-nerd.com/libsndfile/), which includes a whole BUNCH of audio file formats, from the esoteric to the widely-used:

  • *.au
  • *.avr
  • *.caf
  • *.flac
  • *.htk
  • *.iff
  • *.mat
  • *.ogg
  • *.paf
  • *.pcm (There it is! Easy to miss on such a long list.)
  • *.pvf
  • *.rf64
  • *.sd2
  • *.sds
  • *.sf
  • *.voc
  • *.vox
  • *.w64
  • *.wve
  • *.xi

Of all of these formats, the ones we got the most requests to add support for were FLAC and OGG—so to make them more visible, we gave them each their own line item in the export format drop down. It’s all the same under the hood, so doesn’t matter which route you choose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, we added support—for the first time ever—for importing and exporting *.mp2 audio files, which is still widely used as a standard in radio. And we also added support for the fabulously-named Monkey’s Audio format, *.ape.

Need to work with WMA and WMV files? They’re supported through the Dynamic Link Media Server, which is turned off by default to keep performance zippy. To turn it on, go to the Media & Disk Cache pane of the Preferences dialog, and check the Enable DLMS Format Support option. We’ll go into more detail about DLMS in a future blog post about expanded video format support in Audition.

So, let’s say you’ve picked libsoundfile as your export format. The next step is customizing your export settings: click on the Change button next to the Format Settings display area, then choose whichever format you need; you can also choose  from a variety of encoding options.

Questions? Comments? Ideas for topics you’d like to see us cover? Let us know.

Not using Audition CS6 yet? You can download a free 30 day trial, or just go ahead and order a full copy or upgrade!

Audition is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, so you can subscribe once and get access to Audition CS6, Photoshop CS6, and all of Adobe’s other creative tools.

Audition CS6 update patch re-released. Please read.

Earlier this week, Adobe Update Manager may have informed you that an update was available for Audition CS6.  This update contained a new bug that broke the Dynamics Processing effect.  We have prepared a new update which is available via the Adobe.com website.

If you have not yet updated Audition CS6, or have previously updated to the 5.0.1 build 6 patch, please download the latest 5.0.1 build 7 update from

Details about the patch and the bug fixes it contains can be found here.

Thank you for your support and please notify us if you experience any troubles downloading or installing the update.

Interview with the creator of the Automatic Speech Alignment feature in Audition CS6

Brian King is a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering, and for the last several summers he’s worked as an intern in Adobe’s Creative Technologies Lab, an internal “think tank” where some of the technology that makes our products work like magic is developed. Brian’s research led to the hugely popular Automatic Speech Alignment feature, also known as Rubbadub, which he initially previewed at Adobe’s MAX conference in 2011.

To use the feature, you need two selected clips in a Multitrack session. Choose Clip > Automatic Speech Alignment, confirm the settings in the dialog box (below), and click ok. Using what seems like magic, the replacement audio lines up perfectly with the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this interview, Brian talks about how the technology underpinning this feature works.

Ellen:  Brian, what got you interested in your area of research, digital signal processing?

Brian: I started playing guitar when I was in second grade, and I’ve always loved music and technology. Digital signal processing really fuses my two passions.

Ellen: Since you’re almost finished with your PhD, you must be writing a thesis. What’s the topic?

Brian: It’s on single channel source separation. Let’s say you have a number of people talking in a room at the same time—you can use this algorithm to extract individual voices.

Ellen: That sounds useful!

Brian:  Yeah, definitely.

Ellen: You’ve been working on features in Audition for a couple of releases now; the big one for CS6 was Automatic Speech Alignment. How did you get started solving that problem?

Brian: We wanted to make ADR easier. Let’s say we’re shooting a hit movie and we get a great take in terms of performance, but the audio is really noisy. What studios typically do is bring the actors back into the studio and have them overdub their lines, then manually align the new audio with the original performance—it’s a process known as automatic dialogue replacement.

As you can imagine that can be a really tedious process because if the actors don’t get their timing exactly right it’s not going to line up with the original video and it’s going to look like an old Godzilla film or Kung-Fu movie.

Ellen: Because the lip movements don’t match what you’re hearing?

Brian:  Exactly. Typically the actors have to record each phrase of dialogue dozens of times to get the timing as close to the original performance as possible, and then a poor studio engineer has to take all of these multiple takes and somehow find the best snippets to fuse into a coherent phrase, which is both time-consuming and kind of tedious.

So given a noisy, original dialogue recording that was taken out in the field and a high quality overdub that has no noise but really bad timing, I developed a method for automatically stretching and compressing every instant of the overdub so that it matches the timing of the original recording.

Ellen: You say every instant—how much time is that?

Brian: Right now it’s set to about every 15 milliseconds, so it’s small enough that it’s imperceptible. I think (laughter). A typical video frame corresponds to about 33 milliseconds, so 16 milliseconds is approximately one-half of a video frame.

Ellen:  How do you identify the signal that matters in the original recording with all of the ambient noise?

Brian: What I’ve been working on for my Ph.D. is source separation, but for this I’m using a matrix factorization method, where you learn the important features or spectral characteristics of the audio.

Ellen:  So you build a fingerprint of the existing audio first?

Brian: What we do is identify specific spectral characteristics of the original dialogue. For example, if I say “Hello,” and you say “Hello,” a human will understand we are both saying the same words, but we can tell if it’s me saying it vs. you saying it, because my voice has a lower pitch, or maybe I have slightly different timing or other vocal characteristics.

So this feature learns the vocal characteristics of the speaker or the actor from the overdub clip, and it also learns the timing of that clip. Then when we compare it to the noisy clip, it knows what to look for. It finds the same features in the noisy clip, and for everything else that doesn’t match it says, “Oh, well that’s noise. Let’s ignore that.”

Remember Highlights magazine, which you used to find in dentist offices when you were a kid? You’d see this picture, and there’d be all of these hidden things in it. That’s kind of what the method that I developed is doing: the overdub recording shows you exactly what you’re looking for, kind of the hat in the picture. Then when you get to the noisy recording, it’s as if all of those pictures are still in there but hidden with all sorts of other things. Since you know what you’re looking for, you’re able to find it easily and accurately.

Ellen: Once the pieces that match are identified, what happens?

Brian:  That’s taken care of by a dynamic time warping algorithm, so that’s fairly simple.

Ellen: A dynamic time warping algorithm? That doesn’t sound that simple!

Brian:  Well, it has three stages. The first finds the important features: “These frequency characteristics at this point match these characteristics at this other point.”

Then, it figures out how to align those two points temporally. If the overdub is faster than the original, you want to stretch the overdub to slow it down, but if a word in the overdub took twice as long to say as that same word in the original reference recording, then you would compress it instead.

Then the third part of it is synthesis. Once we know how to shrink, compress and expand each instant, then we simply synthesize a new signal.

Ellen: Any tips for working with different clip lengths?

Brian:  The best way to use this tool is to synchronize two clips at a time, and to work with relatively short, phrase-length snippets that have natural start and end points. You definitely wouldn’t want to take a two hour long movie and then try to align two hours of overdubbed dialogue.

Ellen: What’s the optimal length?

Brian: Anywhere from a few words to a paragraph. In most spoken dialogue there are natural breaks that are really easy to identify. “Here’s the beginning of this piece of dialogue. Here’s the end.” Just use those natural breaks. You don’t have to go mid sentence or anything.

Ellen: So if you have a long clip, your recommendation would be to break the original noisy clip into smaller segments and then replace each small piece of dialogue?

Brian: Yes.

Ellen: What happens if the lengths of the clips aren’t roughly the same length? Say you’ve got a 12 second original piece and a two second replacement clip for a phrase or two of dialogue in the middle of that longer piece.

Brian:  It’s all or nothing at the moment, so if you try to align a very large clip and that doesn’t work then you can try breaking it up in to smaller pieces and playing around with the parameters.

Ellen: What happens if the words don’t match?

Brian: That’s an interesting question. It tries to align them as best as possible. We’ve seen situations where it’s the same actor and the same dialogue, but maybe he said, “This will be great.” Then in the overdub he says, “This’ll be great.” You have that “wi” gone, and in that case when it stretches it says, “Well, all right there are no kind of frames corresponding to the wi sound, so we’re just going to take the wi in the overdub and make it as fast as possible,” and kind of almost shrink it to nothing so that we can kind of get the rest of the alignment to happen as best as possible. In that situation, it can sound kind of funny because you will have a natural cadence and then you’ll have this really short piece when you listen to it and think, “What the heck happened there?” Often in those cases, Audition is trying to match something that wasn’t there in the first place.

Ellen: So this feature doesn’t do anything to help with overdubbing in a completely different language?

Brian: Not yet! But we’ve been looking at it.

Ellen:  Are there any uses for this feature that may not immediately apparent?

Brian: I know some people have used it for aligning different music tracks. I experimented a little bit with just aligning vocals. For example, I overdubbed myself singing a couple of different rap parts, and it was able to align those really well.

We also aligned some different guitar parts that should have the same timing. Instruments that have strong attacks like guitars, cymbals, and high hats work really well. Softer stuff didn’t really work that well, but it could work for aligning back vocals in some cases—it would really depend on the characteristics of the sound.

Wrap-up

We chatted with Brian about a number of other things he’s been working on—but unfortunately, can’t talk about them yet! Between the fabulous developers who work on Audition and our internal research teams, we’ve got a great roadmap for Audition. But we’d love to hear from you about difficult and time-consuming problems you think our research teams might be able to help solve—so please, leave your comments or get in touch by submitting a feature request.

Not using Audition CS6 yet? You can download a free 30 day trial. Or just go ahead and order a full copy or upgrade! 

Audition is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, so you can subscribe once and get access to Audition CS6, Photoshop CS6, and all of Adobe’s other creative tools.

Adobe Audition CS6 (5.0.1) update patch released

UPDATE (July 20, 2012):  Due to an issue discovered after the 5.0.1 build 6 patch was released, the Audition team has pulled this update and released a new 5.0.1 build 7 patch, available at the download links below. 

Today we released an update to address several bugs in Audition CS6. Many were minor workflow issues, but a few could cause Audition to crash under certain circumstances.

  • Download the patch installer directly from adobe.com:
    • Windows: http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5419
    • Mac: http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/detail.jsp?ftpID=5418

 

Bugs fixed in Adobe Audition CS6 5.0.1 update:

  • APE files with metadata inserted by other editors cause Audition to crash (Windows)
  • If previous session directory no longer exists, Audition leaves the Folder Location field empty
  • Multitrack fades no longer respect the fade type preference.  (Worked in CS5.5)
  • Audition may crash when users choose to create unique copies of selected MT regions
  • Playback stutters when creating a unique copy of a clip while right-click dragging
  • Channel Mix settings not honored on export when not exposed in dialog
  • EUCON Soft Key set contains keys that do nothing
  • Session Tempo broken on systems using commas instead of decimal points
  • Bounce to New Track > Selected Track bounces AFTER passing through track output
  • If a favorite was recorded on subset of channels, the favorite will fail if those channels are disabled
  • Sending a stereo bus side-chained to a mono track may crash the application
  • UAD-2 plug-ins missing from Windows Effects menu
  • Audition may crash on launch when CoolType encounters certain installed fonts (Mac)

Audition CS6 and Audio plug-ins

Audition CS6 added support for VST3 plug-ins, rounding out our support for all of the major plug-in formats (we also support VST and AU). Note that VSTi and DirectX effects are not supported in Audition CS6.

This release also introduces an under-the-hood change that may not be as obvious—but that helps make using 3rd party plug-ins in Audition more predictable.

Most audio apps scan for plug-ins on launch, but in our experience—given the enormous range of plug-ins out in the world—that can be a problem. If one plug-in crashes, the whole application comes down, and the resulting troubleshooting process is not a lot of fun.

In Audition CS6, we’ve separated scanning for plug-ins from launching the app. As a result, start-up times for Audition are super quick. And because plug-ins are scanned separately, we’re able to isolate and disable any that are causing trouble.

How do you scan for 3rd party effects? Simple: choose Effects > Audio Plug-in Manager. In the VST Plug-in Folders section of the dialog, specify the folders where your 3rd party effects are stored, then click Scan for Plug-ins. Most of your effects will simply then be available, but any that fail to scan correctly will simply be listed as disabled. If you add new effects, all you have to do is click the Rescan Existing Plug-ins option.

One last note about plug-ins for Audition: because the app is currently 32-bit, only 32-bit versions of 3rd party effects are supported. We’ve been happy to see the top tier effects companies like WAVES and iZotop release 64-bit plug-ins, and would love to hear what you think—so please leave a comment!

Feedback? Let us know!

Not using Audition CS6 yet? You can download a free 30 day trial.  Or just go ahead and order a full copy or upgrade!

Audition is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, so you can subscribe once and get access to Audition CS6, Photoshop CS6, and all of Adobe’s other creative tools.

Training resources for Audition CS6

With the release of Audition CS6, some great product training has been released. Here’s a roundup of resources you should check out if you want to learn more about Audition.

Did I miss anything? Please let us know by adding a comment.

Work in video too? Check out similar resource listings for After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Handy new editing features: Skip Selection and Trim to Time

It’s been a while since we’ve posted, and we thought it’d be fun to start showcasing some of the features we delivered in Audition CS6. Today’s focus: Skip Selection and Trim to Time.

Both of these are features that Audition 3 users likely know and love, in large part because they help you work faster. But like so much with Audition CS6, we took those feature ideas and made them better. If you’re not using them today, check them out.

Use the Skip Selection option in the Transport Controls area to preview edits quickly and easily—in both the Waveform and, for the first time, Multitrack views. When this option is turned on, Audition skips over any selected portions of a clip or clips. You can finesse the selection as needed, and once you’ve got it right, simply delete the selected area by right clicking and choosing Ripple Delete > Time Selection in Selected Clips. It’s a good idea to turn Skip Selection off if you’re not using it to preview edits.

Want to control how long the pre-roll and post-roll plays when using Skip Selection? In Audition 3, you had to set a numeric preference. Now it’s easier and way more intuitive—just move the playhead to wherever you want the pre-roll to start, such as a pause between phrases in spoken word content. That sets the pre-roll, which the post-roll matches—and Audition will continue to use this duration until you specify something different.

Trim to Time was called in Adjust Boundaries in Audition 3. Use the Time Selection Tool to select the parts of a clip (or clips—you can select across as many tracks as you like) you want to use, then choose Clip > Trim to Time Selection (or press Option or Alt T). As you’d expect, you can always go back and un-trim the clips.

That’s a quick review of just two handy editing features—stay tuned for more!

Not using Audition CS6 yet? You can download a free 30 day trial (http://adobe.ly/IrXfBa). Or just go ahead and order a full copy or upgrade! (http://adobe.ly/HVJawr)

Adobe Audition CS6 available now!

We’ve been so busy with the launch this week that I noticed we hadn’t made a formal announcement to Inside Sound that Adobe Audition CS6 is available now!  You can download the free 30-day trial by visiting http://adobe.ly/IrXfBa

Colin also provided a very good overview of Audition CS6’s pricing, upgrades, and details about Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions on our User to User Forum.  I wanted to share them here, lightly edited, since I know many of you don’t visit the forums that often.  Please share any questions in the comments or on the forums.

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Audition CS6 Product Launch – Upgrades, Subscriptions, and Purchase Info

Creative Cloud and Subscriptions. Before you dismiss, I would encourage you to check it out namely because it, at the heart, is a different method of using Adobe’s software. For some it will make perfect sense and be the right fit for how you work, what you can afford, etc. For others, perpetual license (how we’ve always sold Audition and other products) is just fine and you can stick with that.

It’s important to be crystal clear on this “cloud” stuff: getting Audition (or any other Adobe application) via subscription/Creative Cloud does not mean it’s running OVER the Internet or is web browser-based. It means you get a subscription authorization using your Adobe ID login and download your software from our site (as if you bought it as per normal.)  The install process will then authorize your login against your subscription. It’s that simple. There has been some confusion and concern with folks thinking you’re running the application “in the cloud” (i.e. connected at all times to the web) and that’s not the case.

 

Availability and “Try before Buy”:

If you have doubts about Audition CS6…PLEASE *TRY BEFORE YOU BUY*, we have 30-day trial versions available as always from the product website on Adobe.com. Please download and try it first before clicking buy. Getting a refund is a pain and we just want you to be a happy user. We have been trying to get out as much info as early as we can on this forum, our blog, twitter, etc. about what is in the release and what’s not.   There is a full 3-version feature comparison matrix available at http://www.adobe.com/products/audition/buying-guide-version-comparison.html

Creative Cloud Membership:

  • Get ALL Adobe’s desktop products including Audition CS6 and a few other interesting things like online storage, preview, sharing, etc for $49.95/mo (Yes, that’s basically Master Collection + more for $50/mo). And I believe there’s an introductory price of $30/mo (for one year) good until end of August.  For some this is huge. If you use nothing but Audition, we get it, go ahead and head to the next item, but if you want to do other things like use Premiere Pro, After Effects, and/or Photoshop Extended too, this is worth looking at…
  • Go here for more info: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud.html

Audition CS6 Perpetual:

  • Full = $349.00 USD
  • Upgrade Audition CS5.5 to Audition CS6 = $75.00 USD
  • Upgrade Audition 1.5, 2.0, 3.0 to Audition CS6 = $149.00 USD
  • Upgrade Soundbooth CS3, CS4, CS5 to Audition CS6 = $149.00 USD

Audition CS6 Only Subscription (i.e. not Creative Cloud or Suite):

  • Month to Month Audition CS6 = $29.95/mo USD
  • Yearly Audition CS6 = $19.95/mo USD

Students/Education:

  • Some of you noticed Audition’s educational pricing went away this past year (along with that pricing on many other products), Well there will be a Creative Cloud Subscription plan for you which will give basically EVERYTHING we make. Check out the Creative Cloud link below…  It’s $29.99/month.

IMPORTANT CHANGES IN UPGRADE POLICY YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Adobe’s new policy (announced last year sometime, I don’t have a link handy) is to only allow perpetual upgrades from 1 WHOLE version back and one 1/2 version back instead of the “3 version back rule”. While the product teams do not set any pricing or upgrade policy, we can certainly make a case for our customers and in this case we noticed the 3 version back upgrade policy was off the table for Audition (i.e. the proposal we saw was to only allow upgrade from CS5.5 and 3.0). We know and respect that many folks did not take this upgrade in CS5.5 who are still on version 1.5 or 2.0, so we fought hard to get a special exception for Audition. There is a caveat…Next release, we have to give up the exception so be aware: if you’re on v1.5 and you want to upgrade, do it this release. If you absolutely love v1.5 or v3.0 (or Soundbooth) and will never change no matter what we do going forward, then we’re fine with that too (really, we on the team know some of you just love 1.5) but we wanted to be clear the upgrade window is closing for you this release.

 

Reference Links:

More info on Creative Cloud Here: http://www.adobe.com/products/creativecloud.html
Audition Product Page: http://www.adobe.com/products/audition

 

Legacy Import and Machine-Specific Preferences in Adobe Audition CS6

The team is making their way back from the NAB show in Las Vegas, so our posts might be a bit brief over the next few days while we unpack and recover.  We wanted to touch on some new functionality in Audition CS6 that isn’t glamorous nor based on patented DSP algorithms, but has the potential to reduce setup time and minimize user confusion on shared workstations.

LEGACY PREFERENCE IMPORT
Audition CS6 supports importing preferences, keyboard shortcuts, favorites, effect presets, and metadata display settings from an existing installation of Audition CS5.5.  Some of you may remember a function in Cool Edit Pro and early versions of Audition whereby you would drag-and-drop an old settings file onto Audition and it would import the preferences.  This “secret” feature remained but went largely unsupported in later releases of Audition, and was not re-implemented for CS5.5.

CS6 removes the need to discover arcane secrets and hidden files, and simply asks permission to import legacy prefs on first launch if it detects and existing installation of Audition CS5.5.

(Note: The dire warning about never having another opportunity to import is a bit of bluster.  If you hit cancel or decide later that you’d like to import the legacy preferences, you can delete your existing CS6 preference directory and launch Audition to be prompted once again.)

MACHINE-SPECIFIC PREFERENCES
A brand new feature for CS6, and one that came directly from user requests, enables IT admins to configure shared systems on managed networks to override roaming user hardware settings with appropriate settings for each machine.  Historically, Audition saves the last used hardware device in the user preferences.  Typically, these will be local and only used by the machine in question, but for users in some larger environments, their Windows user profiles are roaming which means they can logon to any computer on the network and their application settings data will follow them.  This works great when a user wants their preferred desktop layout or effect presets wherever they work, but starts to introduce problems when the last system they used had an RME audio interface, but the workstation they just logged into has an M-Audio FastTrack, for example.  Audition can’t find the RME device and prompts the user to reconfigure which for many users might as well be a pop quiz on quantum mechanics.

Now, administrators setting up a shared machine may install a pre-defined hardware configuration on a per-machine basis and override any existing user preferences.  Savvy users may ignore the pre-defined configuration or change their device as before, if necessary.  This bit of trickery is accomplished in a very simple manner: The Audio Hardware, Audio Channel Mapping, and Control Surface preferences have been broken out into a separate file, MachineSpecificSettings.xml.  When an admin has properly configured an installation of Audition on a new workstation, they can locate this file in the default user preferences folder and copy it to a shared location:

Mac OS X: /Library/Preferences/Adobe/Audition/5.0/
       Windows 7/XP (32-bit): /Program Files/Common Files/Adobe/Audition/5.0/
       Windows 7/XP (64-bit):  /Program Files (x86)/Common Files/Adobe/Audition/5.0/

This feature is enabled by default, but if Audition does not find the global preference file, it falls back to the user preference.

 Please feel free to ask questions in the comments, or visit our User Forum discussion at http://forums.adobe.com/thread/991843