Adobe Soundbooth CS5 review

The replacement of Audition by Soundbooth in the CS3 iteration of Production Premium caused a minor outcry. But for most video editors, its audio cleaning abilities were actually easier to use and therefore it provided more of what they wanted and less of what they didn’t. Keeping this theme of streamlined simplicity, with the CS5 version Adobe hasn’t altered much, providing just a few usability tweaks.

Soundbooth already had support for multiple tracks, but CS5 makes them easier to handle. The global resizing ability facilitates working with lots of audio layers. Grabbing the margin between tracks and dragging it up and down contracts and expands their height, so you can get an overall view or focus on a specific waveform as required. Previously, you would have had to scroll up and down. There’s also a new Split Clip command when you right-click, which cuts the audio file in two at the timeline marker.

Adobe Soundbooth CS5

However, the expanded library of sound effects and customisable scores available via Resource Central will be the most welcome enhancement, even if it’s not specifically a new feature for Soundbooth CS5, merely coinciding with its release. There are now more than 10,000 sound effects and 130 scores, many of which are both free to download and royalty-free to use. You can also now drag and drop sound effects straight from Resource Central once you’ve downloaded them, rather than having to import them separately afterwards.

Looped scores are integral to using Soundbooth for incidental background music, but while there are now more options their functionality hasn’t changed since CS4. Although you can adjust the parameters of the scores, they also aren’t as configurable as some loop-based soundtrack creation systems, such as Sony’s Cinescore. You can drag the start and endpoints to lengthen or shorten the duration of the score; the sections within will expand uniformly to match.

Each score includes a selection of parameters, which can be varied globally in Basic Editing mode, or more finely adjusted in Keyframe Editing mode. These configuration options let you tailor the mood to suit your video production. Since you can import Soundbooth ASND files directly into Premiere Pro CS5, soundtracks can be tested against visual components, and then loaded from the timeline back into Soundbooth for adjustment.

Overall, though, of all the video-related Adobe apps, Soundbooth CS5 is the least altered, and it remains 32-bit as well. The usability tweaks will make a little bit of difference when handling more complicated multi-track mixes, and the extra scoring options will be a boon to the corporate video crowd. But otherwise it’s identical to the CS4 version.


Software subcategoryVideo editing software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes

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