Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 10 review

£45
Price when reviewed
As music-production and video-editing software becomes increasingly sophisticated, the humble audio editor risks being redundant. Why boot up another application when your main one does everything you need? It’s true that Sound Forge Audio Studio has few functions that aren’t covered by Sony’s other creative software.

However, because it works directly on files rather than by importing to and exporting from a timeline, we frequently find ourselves calling on its services for various tasks: stereo recording, truncating files, format conversion and sample-level surgical edits are just a few examples.

This update is business as usual. Supported audio resolutions are up from 24-bit, 96kHz to 32-bit, 192kHz. There’s support for AAC files for both import and export, too. Most of the other new features are refinements to the interface, such as the ability to dock floating windows and use tabs to jump between them.

The Vinyl Recording and Restoration Tool sees modest improvements but its ability to clean up recordings remains basic compared to dedicated software such as Magix Audio Cleaning Lab. The only new feature that’s not a workflow improvement is the Resonant Filter effect. This same effect failed to impress us when we met it in Sound Forge Pro 10. It’s prone to digital distortion, and the linear rather than logarithmic frequency control makes it difficult to fine-tune settings.

Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 10

Sound Forge Pro 10’s improved time-stretch and pitch-shift algorithm, Elastique Pro, hasn’t made it over to this cut-price version, even though it is included in the consumer-oriented Studio versions of Vegas and Acid. It seems daft having to import a file into Vegas or Acid in order to change the pitch or tempo, and then export it back out again, but the difference in quality means it’s an inconvenience worth bearing.

Other frustrations are the inability to chain effects and the lack of high quality mastering effects for sprucing up finished mixes – a task the software is otherwise perfect for. We don’t expect the same quality of effects as offered in Sound Forge Pro, but something approaching it would be welcome.

At £45, it’s a tad expensive for what is ultimately a supporting application, and a pared down one at that (the full-fat Sound Forge Pro 10 is much more powerful but costs £309 ex VAT). Expect the price to fall when boxed copies arrive the UK, though.

If you’re also shopping for some video-editing software, consider Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 10 Production Suite, which bundles the consumer versions of Vegas and Sound Forge and costs £69 from Amazon. In that context and at that price, Sound Forge Audio Studio makes a lot of sense.

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