Game Changer? Introducing Adobe Audition CS5.5

On April 11th 2011 and pretty unceremoniously Adobe Systems Inc. decided to release the long awaited upgrade to the Adobe Audition line going from Cs3 to Cs5.5

Version 3 was released 8 November 2007 so its been nearly 4 full years since any upgrade to the application has been made. In the middle Adobe decided to dumb the application down and release it as Adobe Sound Booth an application that at best gave you 50% of audition’s full capabilities.

So why is the article called Game changer? and what’s so special about this Audition release?

Warning, Boring History Lesson

Adobe systems made its name with the creative suite series, photoshop, illustrator, indesign, flash etc.

Their software in many ways is unequaled in quality and usability. In fact I used Adobe illustrator to design the Voice Emporium logo on the top right hand side of the article’s header image. And I used Adobe photoshop to lay it all out.

Adobe has always worked methodically to eliminate its competition and gain a bigger market share. It happened with their acquisition of Macromedia, a company that had made several innovative products that made adobe look bad. Flash was probably the main Macromedia product that caught adobe’s eye and caused the take over … but if you look closer there are a whole bunch of other elements that benefited adobe in that move.

1. They eliminated the biggest competitor to Adobe (Macromedia).

Corel (canadian as they may be) do not pose any threat to Adobe Systems and as a funny story… during my days in toronto when I worked for the CD manufacturer who made Corel’s installation CDs and packaging we were asked by Corel to use their software to design the layouts for their software CDs and boxes… their software was so convoluted that we just used the  Adobe softwares and played dumb about it.

2. During my freelance days as a graphic designer in Toronto there was a prerequisite of knowing how to use the Trinity of design software standards… back then the standard was photoshop / illustrator and Quarkexpress.

Quark has always been a thorn in Adobe’s side… and with the acquisition of Macromedia they could decommission Macromedia Freehand and concentrate on creating a monster product to replace Quark… they did that with Indesign and now the industry standard is Photoshop /Illustrator and Indesign in the publishing world.

3. Freehand was a combination layout and illustration software and with the acquisition of Macromedia they could remove that thorn  from their side, and take it off the market which would allow them to sell two programs to replace it… illustrator and indesign… more apps means more money.

Now if you didn’t already know this Adobe Audition started life as Cool Edit Pro… a software I was using back in 1998 and which was years ahead of its time. Adobe acquired from Syntrillium Software in May 2003 for $16.5 million.

Where Credit is Due

Adobe has improved the software since 2003… no really they have… some tell me that it is quickly becoming the industry standard in radio stations in North America.

But there was always a small issue with it that retarded its growth.

It only worked on PCs.

With the release of Adobe Audition 4 (named CS5.5) Apple Macintosh users have become part of the family. The new Adobe Audition now supports both PCs and Macs and has further streamlined its work process to fit the needs of recording artists … be they musicians or VO professionals.

Not Everything Was Ported

According to to Wikipedia:

According to Adobe Systems, Audition CS5.5 was rewritten from the ground-up to take advantage of parallel/batch processing for performance and make it a platform-agnostic product. Audition CS5.5 now works on Windows and Mac platforms. Over 15 years of C++ code was analyzed, and many, but not all features of the previous Audition 3 were ported and/or enhanced. Among the missing features are tone/noise generation; pitch correction; scientific filters; graphic phase shifter; MIDI-based hardware control, playback, and virtual instrument sequencing; and legacy session support. Unlike all the previous versions, this is the first version to be available as the Mac version as well as the Windows version

What does that mean for Pro Tools

Well it means one of two things:

1. they either discontinue their Pro Tools for PCs because its so buggy and people hate it or they..

2. They improve it and make it as smooth an experience as the adobe audition is on both platforms.

Now it is understandable that Audition started life as a PC native application since the folks who started that project at Syntrillium Software where both ex Microsoft employees. So their backgrounds where strongly focused on the PC (x86) platform.

Pro Tools has dominated the recording industry for years but has only shined on the Mac Platform and its pathetic performance on PCs has made Macs the standard in most recording studios.

But people are always looking for cheaper hardware, and with the constant technological advancements that are happening professional recording equipment for the Prosumer (I heard this somewhere and it made allot of sense to me) is becoming more and more affordable.

Adobe Audition costs around $349 and for this upgrade I paid $99. I got the full software without limitation … meaning it did not have any limitations on its functionality.

You don’t need a dongle or a USB attachment to get this software to run on your system and you don’t need to be an expert to configure it.

Does this mean that just like Adobe was able to quietly remove Quark from the Trinity of graphic design production…. they will slowly gain more of the market share in the recording industry… and possibly replace Pro tools in the mid to low end recording facilities?

Who knows… but although they were quiet about the release of this new software… it doesn’t seem like they will be quiet about making it succeed.


1 Comment


  1. I used Adobe Audition 3.0 on my PC for some time. I made the move to Mac last September and Parallels allowed me to continue to use Audition. Adobe came out with the Audition for Mac Beta and the rest is history! I have never used anything else and love the ease of use of the software. The price may be steep to some, but it is software that you simply can’t afford to not have. You may be very used to another package and that is great. If you don’t have one of the big packages of audio software, its time to give Audition CS5.5 a strong look!