Installation of Audition 2 is straightforward, but does require you to go through a pesky online authorisation process. The Loopology clip collection still comes bundled with the application, but must be installed separately.
A video training DVD is also included, though this covers the entire Production Bundle, so only a limited amount of the content applies directly to Audition. However, it will still be of help to new users and should give more experienced ‘Audition-ites´ a feel for all the new features they now have at their disposal.
Audition runs in one of three modes. Edit mode provides full destructive editing functionality on a single audio file (right down to the level of individual samples), while Multitrack mode enables loop construction and the use of real-time effects. Finally, there´s CD mode: this can be employed to construct and burn a complete audio CD from a number of separate audio files. Taken together, these three modes ensure that Audition provides an end-to-end audio workflow.
When you start Audition 2 for the first time, the most striking and visible change is the all-new user interface. Generally speaking, this is far more flexible than that of its predecessor, and offers greater consistency with the other applications in the Production Studio bundle. Workspaces can now be used to store and quickly recall different window layouts associated with specific types of tasks (similar to the screenset concept found in some sequencers), and the mixer window is much improved. That said, screen redraws can be slow when it´s visible.
Audition´s audio engine has been fundamentally revamped for version 2, and is no longer based on a behind-the-scenes offline rendering process (essentially, all operations used to be immediately ‘frozen´). While this approach made sense at a time when hard disks struggled to run a large number of audio tracks in real time, the new engine will be welcomed by everyone who´s running an up-to-date computer - ie, 99% of potential users. Essentially, it smooths the application´s workflow by reducing the lag between making an adjustment and hearing the end result. On the downside, however, there´s no CPU/disk meter, so you have no idea how close your system is to collapse.
The new audio engine supports ASIO, enabling low-latency performance with compatible soundcards. It´s now possible to set up send channels to share effects between several tracks, and input devices can be monitored in real time. Adobe have even added plug-in delay compensation, which helps to prevent timing problems when using plug-ins that suffer from inherent internal delay. The effects rack has been revamped, a mastering rack has been added, and tracks using effects and EQ can now be frozen to free up system resources for use elsewhere.
As you´ll probably have gathered, the re-write of the audio engine is a pretty major one. Fortunately, it still seems to be as stable and dependable as ever. This release also includes a number of editing improvements. There are now two scrubbing cursors (tape emulation and shuttle), and the spectral view is much improved (it now includes a logarithmic frequency option and a free form lasso tool for selectively operating on specific audio events).
The new and powerful automation system offers all of the usual record/playback modes, and finally, Audition 2 now supports the Mackie Control, permitting supremely comprehensive hands-on control of the mixing process (providing you have said hardware, obviously). However, it should be noted that Audition remains a very audio-centric application and only offers very limited MIDI sequencing support. There´s no editing functionality in this area and no support for soft synths.
Audition 2 is certainly an impressive upgrade to an already heavyweight app. The new real-time mixing engine represents a huge improvement over its predecessor, and the excellent audio-only workflow has gone from strength to strength. All of these things help to justify the hefty upgrade price that v1 users are being asked to pay.