Adobe Audition Review (2023): The Audio Editor of Choice for Mac-Based Podcasters and Video Pros

As a Mac software expert with over a decade of experience, I‘ve watched Adobe Audition evolve into one of the most capable and refined audio editing platforms available today. What started life as Cool Edit Pro back in the 90s has matured into an indispensable tool for audio post production, podcasting, and restoration work.

In this in-depth review, I‘ll share what makes Audition a compelling option for Mac-based content creators, cover the latest features added in Audition 2023, and help you decide if it‘s the right fit for your audio workflow. Let‘s dive in!

What is Adobe Audition?

Adobe Audition is a comprehensive digital audio workstation (DAW) that excels at editing, mixing, and restoring audio content. While it can be used for music production to an extent, Audition‘s real strengths lie in spoken word content like podcasts, audiobooks, and dialogue editing for film and video.

First launched by Adobe in 2003 after acquiring Cool Edit Pro, Audition has continually evolved to keep pace with the demands of modern audio post production. Today, it‘s a key component of Adobe‘s industry-leading Creative Cloud suite, offering seamless integration with video editing tools like Adobe Premiere Pro.

Adobe Audition user interface
Audition‘s customizable UI shares the same design language as other Adobe Creative Cloud apps.

Popularity and User Base

Adobe doesn‘t publish official user numbers for individual apps, but Audition has a sizeable and passionate user base. In a 2022 survey of over 1,000 podcasters by The Podcast Host, Adobe Audition was the second most popular editing platform behind Apple‘s Logic Pro. 27% of respondents used Audition for podcast editing.

Audition‘s popularity is even higher among video editors who value its tight integration with Premiere Pro. According to a 2021 report from Postperspective, nearly 60% of video editors use Premiere Pro, driving adoption of Audition for handling audio post production tasks.

Top Features for Mac Users

So what makes Adobe Audition a compelling choice for Mac-based audio editors? Here are some of its standout features:

Best-in-Class Audio Restoration

Whether you‘re working with imperfect location audio, remastering legacy recordings, or cleaning up a noisy podcast, Audition offers some of the most effective audio restoration tools around.

The Spectral Frequency Display provides a visual way to identify and eliminate unwanted sounds. Intuitive tools like Paint Brush, Marquee, Lasso, and Spot Healing Brush allow you to surgically remove background noises and artifacts.

Adobe Audition spectral frequency display
Audition‘s spectral display and tools make it easy to identify and remove unwanted noise.

Audition also packs a comprehensive collection of tools for fixing common audio issues:

  • Adaptive Noise Reduction intelligently learns and removes background noise
  • Declip and Declipper restore clipped audio peaks
  • DeHummer eliminates electrical hum and interference
  • DeEsser mitigates harsh "ess" sounds and sibilance
  • Automatic Phase Correction fixes phase cancellation issues

These powerful, single-click tools can save hours of tedious manual editing and polishing, leaving you more time to focus on the creative side of your audio.

Unmatched Integration with Video Workflows

One of Audition‘s biggest selling points for Mac creatives is how tightly it integrates with Adobe Premiere Pro. You can seamlessly roundtrip audio between the two apps, making Audition a natural fit for editing audio for video projects.

Here‘s how it works:

  1. In Premiere, select an audio clip and choose Edit > Edit in Adobe Audition > Clip
  2. Audition opens with your clip ready for detailed editing
  3. Make your edits in Audition, then choose File > Save
  4. Your changes are automatically applied to the original clip back in Premiere

This smooth roundtripping makes it easy to divide and conquer – you can focus on crafting the story in Premiere while using Audition to perfect the sound. It‘s a workflow that fits naturally into any video editor‘s toolkit.

Audition can also import video, allowing you to work on your audio in the context of the full edit. The video follows along as you edit, keeping your sound in perfect sync.

AI-Powered Features

Recent versions of Audition have introduced several AI-powered features that automate tedious tasks and speed up common workflows. Here are a few of the most useful:

  • Scene Edit Detection: Automatically finds and marks cut points in spoken word content, making it faster to edit out mistakes and assemble a polished edit
  • Remix: Automatically rearranges any song to fit a specified duration – great for producing podcast intros and outros or fitting music cues to picture
  • Auto Ducking: Detects speech and automatically lowers the volume of background music in real-time, ensuring dialogue is always audible
  • Punch and Roll: Mimics the classic "tape-style" recording technique, allowing you to drop in and re-record sections hands-free using a keyboard shortcut or MIDI controller

These intelligent features showcase Adobe‘s leadership in using AI and machine learning to assist creative work. They work well in most cases, and even when further tweaking is needed, they provide an excellent starting point that can significantly speed up your editing process.

Essential Sound Panel

First introduced back in 2017 but refined in subsequent releases, the Essential Sound Panel is a standout feature for quickly polishing audio on a tight deadline. It provides a curated selection of common audio cleanup and sweetening effects organized into logical categories:

  • Dialogue
  • Music
  • SFX
  • Ambience
  • Loudness

Adobe Audition Essential Sound panel
The Essential Sound Panel groups common audio effects into task-specific categories.

Within each category, you‘ll find simple sliders and controls for achieving professional-sounding results without needing to be an audio expert. It‘s kind of like having a virtual audio engineer always on hand to help out.

The Loudness category is especially useful, providing one-click presets for ensuring your finished audio meets common broadcast standards like EBU R128 and ATSC A/85.

Powerful Multitrack Editing

While Audition is best known for its audio restoration chops, it‘s also a very capable multitrack editor. You can record, edit, and mix complex projects with up to 128 stereo tracks at sample rates up to 192 kHz.

One of Audition‘s strengths is its non-destructive, effects-based approach to mixing. The Multitrack view includes an intuitive track mixer for balancing levels, panning, and applying real-time effects like EQ, compression, and reverb. All your mix moves are saved in the session file, so you can easily revisit and tweak your mix later.

Audition supports a variety of popular plugin formats including VST, VST3, and Audio Units, so you can bring your favorite Mac plugins into your editing sessions. There‘s also excellent support for hardware control surfaces – I use a Mackie MCU Pro and it integrates seamlessly.

Unique Tools for Podcasters

In addition to its general audio editing capabilities, Audition includes several tools tailored for the booming podcast market. One standout is the Multitrack Template Editor, which allows you to set up a reusable template with tracks for your intro music, host microphones, remote guests, sound effects, and so on.

When you‘re ready to start a new episode, just create a new multitrack session from your custom template and everything will be preconfigured and ready to go. This can be a huge time saver for shows that follow a consistent format.

Audition also offers handy built-in effects presets tuned for common podcast processing tasks:

  • Clean up dialogue with a single click using the Podcast Voice preset
  • Simulate the sound of a phone call using the Phone Receive preset
  • Add some depth and space to your vocals with the Radio Announcer preset

For podcasters who frequently collaborate remotely, Audition integrates with Premiere Pro‘s Productions feature, enabling cloud-based collaboration. You can share Audition sessions with other team members, even if they use Windows, and work together in real-time.

Performance on Mac

Adobe has made significant strides in optimizing Audition‘s performance on Mac in recent versions. The app runs natively on Apple Silicon Macs and now supports up to 128GB of memory on macOS compared to 32GB on Windows.

In my tests on a 2021 16" MacBook Pro with an M1 Max processor and 64GB of unified memory, Audition absolutely flew. I was able to work with large multitrack projects and stack up a dozen or more CPU-intensive effects without any hiccups or noticeable latency.

On my older 2018 Mac mini with a 3.2 GHz Intel Core i7 and 32GB RAM, performance was also solid. Audition consistently outperformed other DAWs like Logic Pro and Pro Tools when it came to rendering and exporting complex projects.

It‘s clear that Adobe has put in the work to ensure Audition delivers snappy, responsive performance on modern Mac hardware. As Apple continues its transition to Apple Silicon across the entire Mac lineup, Audition is well-positioned to take advantage of the impressive CPU and GPU gains those chips deliver.

Price and Value

Like other Creative Cloud apps, Audition is only available as a subscription. You can get it for $20.99/month with an annual commitment or $31.49 month-to-month. It‘s also included in the full Creative Cloud All Apps plan for $54.99/month.

There‘s no denying that Audition carries a premium price tag compared to some other audio editors. A perpetual license for Apple‘s Logic Pro, for example, costs just $199.

However, Audition‘s deep feature set and Adobe integration arguably justify the expense for users who will take full advantage of them. The time saved through Audition‘s intelligent tools and its seamless roundtripping with Premiere Pro can easily cover the subscription cost for busy editors.

For more casual users, Audition‘s price may be harder to swallow, especially when capable alternatives like GarageBand (free) and Hindenburg ($95 one-time) are available. But if you‘re already paying for a Creative Cloud subscription, adding Audition to your toolkit is well worth considering.

The Bottom Line

Adobe Audition logo

After putting Adobe Audition through its paces in my own work and carefully assessing its merits for Mac-based audio editors, my conclusion is clear:

For podcasters, video creators, and audio restoration specialists using Macs, Audition is the premier tool for the job.

Its combination of best-in-class noise reduction, a full-featured multitrack environment, and seamless integration with video editing workflows is simply unmatched. Audition‘s thoughtful, single-track editing interface is also ideally suited for the detailed work of crafting the perfect voiceover or cleaning up dialogue.

While Audition does fall short as an end-to-end music production environment, that‘s not really what it‘s designed for. Think of it more as a specialist tool optimized for spoken word content, audio post for video, and restoration and cleanup.

If those are your primary use cases, you‘d be hard-pressed to find a more effective tool than Audition, on Mac or any other platform. The app‘s maturity, deep feature set, and the performance optimizations Adobe has made for Apple Silicon all make it a top contender for Mac-based audio work.

Potential drawbacks to be aware of include the lack of track freezing/bouncing, a sometimes overwhelming array of menus and options, and a few lingering UI quirks here and there. But those feel like minor nitpicks against Audition‘s substantial strengths.

For many audio pros, the decision of whether to adopt Audition will hinge on its price and subscription-based model. If you don‘t expect to use it regularly, the ongoing cost may be hard to justify compared to Logic Pro or a free tool like GarageBand.

But if you work with audio day in and day out, Audition is absolutely worth the premium. Its unmatched feature set, reliability, and Adobe integration can easily pay for themselves in saved time and improved results.

Ultimately, Audition is a bit of a specialized tool – if you‘re a podcaster, dialogue editor, video creator, or anyone else who lives and breathes spoken word audio, it‘s hands-down one of the best solutions out there.

And with the performance advantages of native Apple Silicon support, Audition is now an even better fit for Mac-based audio workflows of all kinds.

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