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Adobe Soundbooth

By | July 6, 2007

Hey everybody, Ken Walker here, and can you believe it? I am releasing this week’s podcast right on time! And, let me tell you, this week’s show is chock full of good, wholesome podcasting info. You might not know, but Soundbooth has been released. Soundbooth is a new product from Adobe that is geared more towards simple audio production and they tried to incorporate some nice features, along with making them real easy to use, viagra österreich rezeptpflichtig. Well, I downloaded the trial, I went through everything, or at least almost everything, and this week I’ll share what I found. There were lots of good things and there were a few bad things, stay tuned and you’ll see what they were.

This week’s show is a screencast so if you’re watching on a video capable device, you’ll be able to follow along and see what I’m doing.

If you heard an episode that I had awhile ago, I mentioned the coming release of Sound Booth, and from their promotional hype, it looked real interesting and sounded like it might be great for podcasters. So I was pretty excited when I found that it had actually been released and I could download a demo.

What I found was a pretty impressive list of improvements that I’d honestly like them to incorporate into Audition, and hopefully they’ll do a little of that in the next major release of Audition. I doubt they will though because Sound Booth supports the Mac OS, not including Power PC versions, so that means the code for the app is very different than the code for Audition. So, chances are, it’s not just simply porting things over to Audition, but it would be nice if they could rework Audition to include some of these features. Let’s look at the good features first, which by far are more numerous than the bad.

First of all, I really liked the way you can fade the volumes in and out. You see these icons at the beginning and end of the wav file? You can click and drag these back and forth to fade your audio, and you can drag up and down to adjust the envelope or shape of the fade. Best of all, you get real time graphics that represent what’s going on. I love this feature.

This is akin to the hot scrubable volume levels, just select a section of audio, and this dB level appears here, where you can click and drag to scrub through the volume, again, with real time graphical representation. Very nice.

Since we’re talking about volume, another neat feature is this instant Louder button. The first time you click it, the selected audio is normalized to -.5 dB. If you click it after that, the volume is amplified by 3dB, except if it’s already at -.5 dB, in which case it is hard clipped. Obviously you wouldn’t want to go overboard with that, but it is a nice button.

There are some other neat things like the way the noise reduction works and the Rumble filter which does a pretty good job, but what I really like is Autoheal!

You know what I’ve been wanting in Audition for a long time? I use Photoshop a lot and for a long time, Photoshop has had the ability to fix little imperfections in pictures by sampling the pixels around the bad spot, and it’ll heal that bad spot. So you can remove things like moles or pimples or whatever. I thought, ‘You know, why can’t they do that with audio?’ Well guess what, now they do.

Auto heal lets you select a region of audio, and I’m gonna go into spectral view, and I’ll play this file and you’ll see we’ve got a foreign sound. I can select that area, and click Autoheal. Sound Booth analyzes the surrounding audio and heals it seamlessly, very nice.

I used to have to do this same thing in Audition, but I’d have to just remove the offending sound, and that made it sound sometimes, hollow in that region. Auto Heal fills the area in and does a pretty decent job at it.

If you want to change the duration of your audio narrations, it’s got some pretty good algorithms for doing that, and it will work more aggressively on silent sections which will help your audio, especially voice, not sound so chipmunk.

There features are all pretty nice, but what is probably the absolute best thing is Auto Compose. Wait till you hear what this does.

With music beds, one thing is that you pretty much have to pick a stock bed which will be at a stock length, usually like 15 seconds, 30 seconds, a minute, 3 minutes, etc… And if you had, say a 45 second promo, you’d have to either stretch a shorter clip, or shrink a longer clip, or do some fancy looping or something.

Well, with Auto Compose, you select from the included scores, which I only got one with the demo, I don’t know how many you get in the full version, and you can specify the length that it runs. It takes care of making it all fit into that length.

It doesn’t stop there though. You have the power to adjust what is called Intensity. This is, essentially, how many instruments are included in the mix. If you raise the intensity, you’ll have more instruments playing harder, if you lower it, you’ll only have a few softer instruments.

Something that’s really neat though is that you don’t just have to set the intensity for the whole song, you have keyframes that you can adjust and you can have the song start out mellow, and then build up to very intense, at a specific location, then go back down to mellow! Now that is pretty neat.

You can do the same thing with the volume and with the amount of synthesizer that is in the mix. I see this feature going a long way fast.

And incidentally, it’s real easy to make loops in Sound Booth, I won’t demo it in this video, but it is a fairly simple process.

So, those are some of the high points, things that really hit me as intuitive and nice. So what about the bad points?

Well, there really aren’t a LOT of bad points, but to me they are BIG bad points. First of all, absolutely no video editing at all. Now, I didn’t really expect that there would be, because after all, it’s called SOUND Booth right? But, since it’s geared towards doing video projects, adding music or reworking the audio in a video, I had hoped there might be some basic editing. Cutting video or transitions or something.

And the second bad point, which is by far the real kicker, there is no multi-track support what-so-ever! In my preliminary review that was based on their marketing hype, I mentioned that they didn’t mention anything about multiple tracks, and my fears were justified. In fact, I haven’t even found a way that you can work with multiple audio files on the same timeline, so you can’t even have your Auto Compose score and add several small audio clips playing back to back, and mix all that down together. I mean, Lame with a capitol L.

That means that mixing in commercials would be impossible. Now, I think they’re trying to compete with things like Garage Band but not having multi-track is going to absolutely kill them. If they added that though, they would probably get a big share of the market because so many of the features are very nice. They need to add some support for enhanced podcasts, and they’d completely take over.

Since we’re focused on podcasting here, I’ll tell you where this app would fit in. If you typically sit down and record your podcast, then you just want to edit it, as a whole, then save it as an MP3, you’re fine. You could even add the Auto Compose score and give it a pretty nice sound, although, I’m not sure you could have a separate intro and outro for the score.

Also, if you do a screencast like this one, you could record your video, edit it in another app, like Camtasia Studio for example, and then you could bring in the edited video and work on the audio, which is what I did for this episode.

If you do commercials, or have an interview that you have to mix in, or anything more complex than just sitting down and recording the whole podcast at once, it’s not gonna work for you.

So there you have it, you can decide for yourself if it’ll do what you want. Download the free trial at adobe.com, and I’ll put a link in the show notes.

I’m Ken Walker, you’ve been watching The Podcasting Blog. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send me an email. podcasting@seocompany.ca.

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