Audition dropping features: Can Ardour overtake?

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ProfessorAl
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I received a copy of a topic from the Adobe Knowledge Base, outlining features that were slated to be dropped from the CS5.5 version of Adobe Audition; the company's audio editor:

http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/895/cpsid_89588.html

To my own dismay, many of these features are extremely relevant to my own job in radio production; not the least of which is timesqueezing. Adobe is recommending that anyone who does not want to give up the features of the earlier product (AA 3.0) should install both and use whichever is needed at the moment. A lot of users are not happy with that decision.

This may be a turning point for Ardour and her users - to position the program as a viable and affordable replacement for both Audition and its predecessor Cool Edit - IF the features are there.

I realize there is no version of Ardour for Windows, but with Audition crossing over to the Mac side of the street to broaden its base, I propose it may be a good time to explore going cross-platform. The more potential users who know about Ardour and its capabilities, the better.

Regards,
Alan Peterson CBT/CEA
Arlington VA USA

Benjamin Scherrer
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Hi,

thanks for your information, but as has been stated before here in the forums, the comparison between Ardour and Adobe Audition / Cool Edit Pro is misleading.
Ardour is a Digital Audio Workstation like Cubase, Pro Tools etc.
while
Adobe Audition / Cool Edit Pro is a sound editor like Audacity.

Even though the concepts may overlap at certain times, these are different concepts, e.g. destructive vs. non-destructive editing.

So recommending Ardour to former Adobe Audition users may very well lead to a lot of confusion which is then caused by the difference in these concepts.

Btw, I've been a happy user of Cool Edit Pro years ago, and unfortunately I've never been that happy with the highly praised alternative Audacity... But there are a lot of people out there saying it's great, it's probably personal taste.

Best
Benjamin

ProfessorAl
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Thank you for your comment, Benjamin, but I feel you are underestimating the capabilities of these programs and the realities of broadcast audio creation.

Radio production is hardly limited to the simple cut/copy/paste functions found in common editors. If that were true, we'd all still be using Fast Eddie. Pros who create audio for broadcast (such as myself) don't consider AA or CEP to be mere "sound editors" - to my way of thinking, that describes Sound Forge, Audacity or Waveosaur. Pros require full multitrack recording and mixing environments offering the same performance found in programs used to produce music, which is why we have used programs like CEP, SAW and ProTools over the years, even in the smallest of studios.

Minus whatever MIDI components are present in Ardour, the program is a competent performer when it comes to sophisticated audio-for-radio multitrack production, and at this point, is the closest thing out there to the commercial counterparts I've referred to here.

So again I submit to the Ardour community present here and now that, with Adobe preparing to cut features away from a program that has been a broadcast favorite since the mid-late '90s, this represents a golden moment to step up and offer a robust alternative, unencumbered by perceptions of what Ardour "is" and "isn't".

Or would you rather let Traverso get a foothold?

seablade
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Radio production is hardly limited to the simple cut/copy/paste functions found in common editors. If that were true, we'd all still be using Fast Eddie. Pros who create audio for broadcast (such as myself) don't consider AA or CEP to be mere "sound editors" - to my way of thinking, that describes Sound Forge, Audacity or Waveosaur. Pros require full multitrack recording and mixing environments offering the same performance found in programs used to produce music, which is why we have used programs like CEP, SAW and ProTools over the years, even in the smallest of studios.

Ok this is going to sound mean, so please don't take it personally.

The professionals I know that used Audition and CEP before it for broadcast fall strictly into one of two categories. 1. They use it because they don't need a full DAW, and understand there is a difference, and realised they don't need a DAW. 2. They use it because they don't need a full DAW and don't understand the difference.

In general a full DAW is going to be very confusing for many of the students I saw coming through the mass com department at the uni I teach at. They didn't need the power of ProTools, Ardour, etc. And yes I would agree that when discussing the strengths of CEP and Audition(The last version of Audition I used was 1.5, obviously I used CEP and CE2000 before it) vs Ardour, you are in two very different worlds. Audition/CEP was firmly the leader in my opinion in the audio file editor world, whereas Ardour rests in the DAW world.

Now obviously Adobe has tried to take Audition into the DAW world, and from what I have heard have not done well at it. On top of that the article you linked to makes me think they are butchering the strength of it as well as a file editor. Can Ardour fill the gap? To some extent yes. But it will never be as simple to use for most of what I have seen broadcast do, as CEP was, as they are geared to two very different purposes.

Personally I am also of the opinion that people should use what works best for them. For many people Audacity would be a better option than Ardour to replace what works for them from CEP. It isn't near to the same level CEP was in as far as a quality editor, but it isn't bad either. But CEP was not a DAW, and should never be confused with one really. Audition added in some DAW like features, but at least the first several versions were still horrible at it.

Now all this being said, does this mean I don't think Ardour could work? Not at all, but I do think that most people I saw editing down interviews or other basic things would be confused by Ardour and as a result would turn away on their own, and I can't blame them. I will also say that whether Traverso steps in and fills that niche or not(Unlikely for the same reasons I believe Ardour is a bad replacement for CEP) is a different topic all together and frankly is completely unrelated to Ardour.

So TL;DR version, I don't want to see Ardour target where CEP was in the market, they are very different functionalities and are better addressed by a separate program.

Seablade

For the record CEP/Audition was the only program I missed on Windows for quite some time when I switched to Linux full time with Ardour. It isn't that I couldn't do the work in Ardour, it is that Ardour wasn't (and isn't) the best fit for all the work, where CEP shined.

Benjamin Scherrer
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ProfessorAl, you're right that I don't really know about the realities of broadcast audio creation :) So you need to try Ardour out yourself and decide.

I really second Seablade's post and add that Ardour almost certainly is able to do what you want, but it might be more time costly - or even faster. I started recording with the multitrack feature of CEP and it somehow worked. When I discovered a DAW (at this time Cubase VST), I realized that it served my needs and fitted my workflows way better than CEP. It was really a difference like day and night. Cubase and Ardour are the same programs in comparison to this difference. So for me it's hard to believe that the difference in (mainly) workflow design does not make a difference to someone. I'd be happy to realize that I'm wrong, but I think generally people shouldn't be told that a DAW could be an unproblematic alternativ for something like AA or CEP, unless a DAW is what they've always wanted ;)

Best
Benjamin

lowen
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To chime in, Ardour is quite capable for broadcast production work in the typical broadcast workflows. In those workflows, it is rather possible to use Audition as a DAW, and to use Ardour in virtually the same way you'd use Audition. But I say virtually the same way; you can think of it the same way, but it actually does the job differently.

And I've used both, to do identical broadcast tasks (bedding, trimming, etc) and Audition does fine for most of those things, and works similarly to Ardour used for the same things. I've done multitrack with both, and both work fine for that use.

So, ProfessorAl, you can use Ardour quite easily for these sorts of things just as you use Audition today.

But also note that there is at least one radio automation package running on Linux (Rivendell) and that Ardour can integrate into that environment without a lot of fuss; Windows compatibility isn't necessary for that. But you might be in luck: the commercial Ardour branch 'Mixbus' by Harrison has listed in the documentation that a Windows version is 'coming soon' (quoted from a FAQ item in the Mixbus 2 manual, page 76). Now whether 'vanilla' Ardour will even have a Windows port....

Or you can just use Traverso (or other); the power and beauty of open source and free software is choice.

seablade
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To chime in, Ardour is quite capable for broadcast production work in the typical broadcast workflows. In those workflows, it is rather possible to use Audition as a DAW, and to use Ardour in virtually the same way you'd use Audition. But I say virtually the same way; you can think of it the same way, but it actually does the job differently.

And I've used both, to do identical broadcast tasks (bedding, trimming, etc) and Audition does fine for most of those things, and works similarly to Ardour used for the same things. I've done multitrack with both, and both work fine for that use.

Yea it isn't a question on whether Ardour can be used for such a task or not, but rather is it the best tool due to its workflow. As you said they both can do the same tasks, but how you do them is very different, and Ardour (And indeed most any DAW) tends to be a more complex workflow.

Let me ask something, in what area of broadcast do you work? TV or Radio? When you say broadcast to me, It means all that and even some hybrid work(Documentaries etc.) between broadcast and film. In general I find DAWs more suited to TV work, and that may be where the confusion comes in in this conversation, as for radio work, which is where I typically found Audition and especially CEP being used.

By the way ProfessorAL where at do you work in Arlington? I am down the road from you(Richmond) and always interested to keep up with folks that use Ardour near me(Or at least in the same state:).

Seablade

lowen
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Let me ask something, in what area of broadcast do you work? TV or Radio? When you say broadcast to me, It means all that and even some hybrid work(Documentaries etc.) between broadcast and film. In general I find DAWs more suited to TV work, and that may be where the confusion comes in in this conversation, as for radio work, which is where I typically found Audition and especially CEP being used.

Typically radio for me.

In my broadcast production workflows, there really wasn't that much difference the way I did things in Audition and the way I do things now in Ardour/Mixbus. But I wasn't using Audition as a pure wave editor, I was using it more like I use Ardour now, just with slightly modified workflow.

But it's also been a long time since I've used Audition (like you, last used 1.5), so my memory is a tad hazy. I do remember doing lots of rote processing, done as batched pieces rather than using real-time processing; same results, different method. I also did frequent backups of the original sources, much like I do with Mixbus even today.

But I also consider a DAW to be any digital audio workstation; the old Synclavier qualifies in that aspect, as does one of the nicer standalone boxes I used briefly, Orban's Audicy. Destructive versus non-destructive is a subset issue; destructive editors are essentially still DAW's, for all their flaws.

But 'what is a DAW' is somewhat subjective it seems. After getting used to the methods of Ardour several years back, I'm preferring Mixbus, but, honestly, it's more about the sound I can get with Mixbus over anything else I've tried, and I have Ozone.....which by itself can't match what Mixbus does rather easily. Ozone makes nice spice, and a great mid-side processing plugin with multiband everything for seasoning.... but Mixbus is the guts of the sound here.

In terms of workflow, I find Audiofile's Wave Editor (somewhat of a misnomer, as it can be just as nondestructive as Ardour, or just as destructive as Audition in non-multitrack mode, depending on how you 'drive' it) to have just about the smoothest workflow that fits both styles of working. But the Wave Editor 'layers' paradigm takes some getting used to. But for its price... and for full DDP 2.0 export and import...and it meets almost all of Bob Katz's requirements for a mastering DAW as listed in his book Mastering Audio.... it's nice. It's also Mac-only.

However, one of the big reasons CEP and Audition have such a foothold in radio broadcast has to do with the metadata chunks in the WAVE file more than anything else; CEP first and then Audition have support for the 'CartChunk' (AES standard AES46-2002) for radio station automation, music scheduling, and traffic/billing systems. With BSI Simian, for instance, you do your production in Audition, enter the appropriate metadata in the right place, and Simian's database grunt, SoundHound, grabs that information and inserts it in the broadcast log database with separation and artist data (things like ISRC, etc). Ten years ago or a little more, when BSI had WaveStation instead of Simian, when you bought WaveStation you got a bundled 'LE' or 'SE' copy of CEP (later CE2000 was bundled, I think). So Syntrillium initially got the foothold, and Adobe has for the most part held on to it.