Price: 139 . 1409 . 599
Pros: AutoComposer; visual healing with Spectral view; on-clip editing controls; task-based workflow; numerous real-time effects.
Cons: Intel Mac and Windows only; use limited to video and multimedia workflow- no specialist audio tools.
Soundbooth is not a replacement for previous creative suite component Audition - that still exists as a standalone product aimed at professional audio engineers. Rather it’s an audio clean-up and score creation application with some rather neat features for video editors and multimedia professionals.
Workspace presets are available for editing audio to video or for editing a score and you can also save your own or reset the workspace to default at any time. Soundbooth features an array of panels including the Tasks panel for quick access to common tasks, such as Create A Loop or Change Pitch And Timing.
Each task has it’s own dedicated set of tools, which is a nice touch. There’s also the effects rack, where a large amount of audio filters can be assigned to tracks either individually or stacked for cumulative effect in real time. Apple’s Soundtrack Pro offers similar stackable filters for audio sweetening, but it looks like Soundbooth has the edge in the amount of effects available.
A large part of the interface is given over to the Editor panel, which offers two views. The Waveform view presents a close up version of the traditional amplitude peaks and valleys of the audio track, ideal for identifying a particular spoken word or problem noises like doors slamming.
The latter can be cleaned up in a rather unique fashion using the other view. This, the Spectral Display, turns the Editor panel into a colourful depiction of the amplitude, with darker colours representing lower values and brighter shades, like yellow, depicting high amplitude. To eliminate an unwanted noise, within the Tasks panel is the Remove A Sound setting, which offers selection tools similar to those found in Photoshop.
Once you’ve identified the problem sound, it’s a case of highlighting in on the Spectral View with the Lasso tool then clicking Auto Heal. This visual fixing of sound is very similar to Photoshop’s Healing Brush and is just as useful a tool for postproduction work.
Bridge CS3 plays a major part in Soundbooth. Not only can you browse audio assets such as scores and sound effects on your drives (clicking them plays a quick preview), but the assets in Bridge can also be used as a basis for AutoComposer, one of the major features in Soundbooth. We were able to drag in a score from the Wedding samples folder, reference a movie on the hard drive, then drag the score’s handles to fit the action. It may need some tweaking to fit the mood, but as a starting point this is an excellent way to avoid the cost of a composer.
The close integration with CS3 is continued in the new versions of Premiere Pro and After Effects, where you have the option to click on an audio track and choose to edit it in Soundbooth. Once editing is complete, the track is updated automatically in the video application.
You can also create animation cues for Flash for event navigation and scripting. To do this you insert markers while playing, recording, or editing audio and after specifying their parameters from within Soundbooth, export them to XML or within FLV files for use in Flash.
At this fairly low price the standalone Soundbooth represents good value for those working in prosumer video. If you’re after the CS3 integration it’s worth buying as part of Production Premium, but for pro audio production, you’d be better with Audition or similar.