I have been looking for a good replacement for my SoundEdit Pro application for years.
I originally bought a Farallon MacRecorder for my Mac IIcx in the early 90s. The
SoundEdit Pro software that came with it was perfect for my needs. It was easy to
use with nice features, but not too feature laden. But the software no longer worked
when I bought a new PowerPC Mac. Now, I think I have finally found the replacement
that will run under OS X and I have new incentive to transfer some old LPs to the
Sound Studio 2.1 is an audio recording, playback, and editing application. It supports
stereo and monaural tracks in several file formats. Sounds can be recorded from various
sources or existing sound files such as audio tracks from CDs may be edited and different
effects can be applied. Sound Studio may be downloaded and used as a 14-day fully
functional demo. After 14 days, the ability to save files is disabled. The license
for the downloaded version is $49.99, or you can purchase the CD for $59.99.
This software was reviewed on a Power Macintosh G4 Quicksilver 867 MHz with 1.125
GB of RAM running Mac OS X 10.2.6 and Mac OS 9.2.2. A Griffin iMic was used for sound
- Mac OS 9.1 or higher
(Mac OS X 10.2.4 or higher recommended)
- QuickTime 4.1 or
higher (QuickTime Pro 5 recommended)
- 30 MB RAM available
- Audio input interface
The audio recording capabilities of Sound Studio are quite good with a few unexpected
extras. By default, Sound Studio records at a CD-quality 44.1 kHz sample rate, 16-bit
resolution, and stereo channels. The sample rate can be changed to several other
rates, the resolution can be changed to 8-bit (version 2.1.1 will support 24-bit
also), and the channel can be changed to monaural. This version does not support
multiple tracks, however. You can record from any Sound Manager compatible input
device (such as the USB iMic or iVoice II and Firewire DV devices). Recording is
disk-based, which means your sound files are only limited by the size of the free
space on your hard disk (up to 2GB). One of the features that I did not expect is
auto start/stop recording. Recording can be set to start and stop at a specific time,
for a specific length of time, or until the maximum file size has been reached. You
can also set the options to record when the sound level reaches a certain point and
pause or stop when the level goes below a certain point. These settings can be saved
and used again as a preset. Another nice feature is Sound Studio supports AppleScript,
and a few sample scripts are included to give you an idea of its functionality.
I found the audio editing capabilities to be extremely intuitive and easy to use.
The waveform display window shows the complete waveform overview with a boxed area
showing the relative position of the zoomed waveform below. The waveform can be zoomed
down to the sample level. Markers can be inserted at any point you want and will
be saved as an AIFF file. The markers make it handy to find certain parts of the
waveform and to select between two markers for playback, filtering, or editing. Standard
cut/copy/paste editing is supported with multiple undos to allow you to experiment
and easily get back to a previous point. Mixing is also supported; you can mix together
a sound clip into your current selection. The final levels of each sound clip can
be adjusted so one can be the background and the other the main sound. If you want
to discard all changes, you can use the Revert selection under the File menu to reopen
the last saved version.
For the type of sound editing I want to do, Sound Studio has quite a complete selection
of filters. Each filter dialog box has adjustable settings and you can click on the
preview button to try out the effect before applying it. The Dynamics filters include
a Compressor, an Expander, and a Noise Gate. For Equalization filtering, Sound Studio
includes a Graphic Equalizer that can be 3, 10 or 30 bands. Low Pass and High Pass
filtering is also available. Filters that manipulate delays include Chorus, Flanger,
Echo, and Reverb. The Volume adjusting filters include Amplify, Fade In/Out, and
Normalize. To repair sound files that have some curable flaws, the Repair filters
include Interpolate, Silence, and Swap Channels. Clicks and pops can be repaired
by silencing them or by interpolating the samples. Also, filters are provided to
remove DC offsets and to fix inverted signals. If you wish to find the hidden messages
in some songs, the Backwards filter can do the work for you.
The Insert menu has selections for inserting a Silence or you can insert a sound
using the Tone, Noise, and FM Synthesis generators. The Audio menu allows you to
Resample to different sample rates or adjust the pitch of the sound.
Below are screenshots of the Sound Studio Waveform Display window and Input Levels
window under OS X. The interface for the OS 9 version is basically identical. The
interface is elegantly simple with all the basic controls and information readily
available. I would like to see fast-forward and rewind buttons added. To start playing
at a specific point, just click between the two waveforms to select the starting
point. You can also just play the right or left channel by clicking on that waveform
when the pointer cursor shows an R or L. To select a section of the waveforms, you
can use the standard click and drag technique.
Sound Studio Waveform Display
Sound Studio Input Levels Window
The majority of use for this review was done under OS X, and I just briefly tried
it under under Mac OS 9.2.2 to verify that the same features worked under Classic.
Everything worked as expected and the application was extremely stable.
The following files formats are supported:
- Apple AIFF with marker
- CD Audio Track (requires
- Windows WAVE (.WAV)
- System 7 Sound
- Sound Designer II
- Dual-mono import/export
- QuickTime import/export
- Export as tab-delimited
Sound Studio does
not export to MP3 files, so you will have to use iTunes or another utility to convert
the AIFF file.
The Sound Studio Users Guide PDF file is included with the downloaded application.
It includes a Getting Started section, how-to tutorials, and a reference section.
Also included is a FAQ.html file that includes quite a comprehensive selection of
Sound Studio Frequently Asked Questions.
There is also a Help menu that will connect you to the Felt Tip's web site. There
are two selections on the menu, but only the "Go to Sound Studio Web Page"
Sound Studio 2.1 is a joy to use and a professional quality application. The user
interface is intuitive and uncluttered. Everything worked as expected, and the application
comes with a nice set of features and filters. Digital audio enthusiasts should definitely
give Sound Studio a serious look. I highly recommend it.
- Works with Mac OS
9 and OS X
- Easy to use, intuitive
- Solid performance
- Supports popular
- Users Guide PDF file
- Cannot save directly
to an MP3 file
- Does no support multiple
- No fast forward or
1/2 out of 5 Mice