Live sequencing tracks from a laptop: Part 2 (Adobe Audition)

30 Oct

My mind goes back to when I was living in Chicago, in the fall of 1999.  A somewhat reluctant convert to the Windows platform (from an Amiga 3000- can you blame me?), I was consoled to see a flood of programs appear in what was a very innovative time for computer-based music applications.  There were several multi-track recorders available, and they were all pretty great as far as I was concerned- and allowed the luxury of playing back giant .wav files, when I had been used to stretching tiny samples as far as I could in mod tracking programs.

When it came to recording & playing back several simultaneous tracks, there was a standout application for me- Cool Edit Pro.  Something about it felt familiar, and it was extremely stable on my ‘awesome’ hardware at the time (I think it was a celeron 300a overclocked to 450 MHz).  I remember testing how many takes I could layer on top of one another in Cool Edit Pro and still play back without a hitch.  I got up to over 40 simultaneous before I quit- unable to see anything but flawless playback with nary a pause or click.

Flash forward to 2003- Adobe buys Cool Edit Pro and rebrands it as Adobe Audition, now in it’s third version.  My first inclination was to bounce all of my song parts to .wav files and play them back through Audition.  What could be simpler than a bunch of .wav files, right?

I tend to stay loyal to brands once I know/trust them, but I am sorry to say- Audition in 2010 performs much worse than Cool Edit Pro did in 1999.  This is nearly inconceivable to me, as much as hardware has advanced along with OSes and driver capabilities.  How I can get glitches, pops, and dropouts with a respectable sound card, 4GB or more of ram, and fast CPU’s?

I know better than to make a statement like this based on one hardware configuration.  I have used Audition since it was released in 2003, across no less than five distinct systems with plenty of ram, fast CPU’s and better-than-average sound cards.  Adobe has added several features to the program, but overall it has more glitches- and is just not as stable- as it once was.

For editing tasks, I will still turn to Audition because it is a capable editor.  But for live multi-track sequencing, as much as I wanted it to work- Audition is just not stable enough to use.

The quest for a multi-track sequencer reliable enough for live performances goes on.

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