Podcasting choices: Audacity or Adobe Audition?

    January 31, 2006

When I started podcasting, I used the free cross-platform audio editor Audacity as my application of choice for recording and editing audio.

This is a common route that many people go when they start out podcasting.

Audacity is very good and easy to use. Good enough, in fact, for many people to stick with it. Not just for podcasts, either – it’s good enough to be one’s primary audio editor. And a new version was announced last month with some fixes and new features.

The main negative I had with Audacity, though, was that I found the learning curve quite steep on understanding precisely how to use many of the program’s features. There are some good online tutorials and documentation, though. It is free after all.

This lack of easy-to-understand help was one of the main reasons why I decided to purchase Adobe Audition 1.5 for Windows earlier last month. Having used the free 30-day trial, I knew this was the one for me. The help is excellent, making it relatively easy to understand some of the things you can do with audio that can be difficult to grasp if audio editing isn’t something you routinely do as part of your job or profession. Audition also lets you do things with audio files that either you can’t in Audacity or I never was able to figure out how.

For instance, with Audition you can easily set the exact bit rate and sampling rate of an MP3 file when you come to export your audio to that format. So let’s say I’ve recorded audio as a high-quality stereo WAV file, or mixed a number of individual audio files which have different bit and sampling rates (a common activity with my podcast), I can set those rates precisely to, say, 64Kbps and 44.1Khz respectively and export the content to a mono MP3 – typically what you’d want for a vocal podcast. This gives you a good balance between good-quality audio reproduction and file compression.

Today I saw that a new version, Adobe Audition 2.0, is now available. Version 2 has some very interesting new features including a built-in compressor.

If ease of use, powerful features and lots of help are what you need, then this could be worth the rather hefty price tag – over 400 from Adobe’s European online store. Quite a price jump from 1.5 which I recall was less than 300 (I didn’t pay anywhere near that, though, for 1.5 as I bought my copy via the Amazon.co.uk Marketplace). At about 150, the upgrade price to 2.0 from 1.5 is less eye-watering.

Adobe also offers this new version on a free 30-day trial. You get the fully-functional package to try for this time. Once your time’s up, it just won’t run any more.

Trying it out is definitely worth doing if you want to see for yourself whether Audition is right for you.

You can learn more about audio recording software for podcasting in Todd Cochrane’s excellent book, Podcasting: The Do It Yourself Guide (I reviewed the book last July).

Neville Hobson is the author of the popular NevilleHobson.com blog which focuses on business communication and technology.

Neville is currentlly the VP of New Marketing at Crayon. Visit Neville Hobson’s blog: NevilleHobson.com.