We're been studying Classroom in Book (CIB) lessons since Photoshop 4 almost 16 years ago. Since we work with all of Adobe's Master Collection, CIB is a means for us to brush up more than a place to start.
Adobe's had the Audition (Au) CS6 app since 2003 as a Windows-only product. When Adobe released their not so popular CS5.5, Soundbooth was gone and Audition 4 was in its place. When CS6 was released, the suites and the Creative Cloud subscriptions met with a huge response and suddenly creative professionals got to know Au. The difficult part of that success story is that getting to know Au is no small effort. It's extremely powerful. The PDF manual, which Adobe supplies, is no more complete for Au than they provide for any of their apps. So, for about a year and a half we have been applying our knowledge of Soundbooth to Audition, which is quite limiting.
That changed the day we received "Adobe Audition CS6 Classroom in a Book."
CIB is normally aimed at beginners. This first Au edition apparently assumes that anyone using this app may be in unfamiliar territory but the average Au user in not a beginner with Adobe DVA (digital video audio) apps. So, for someone like ourselves, this CIB is very comfortable. Because of our dire need to know more about Au, of all the CS6 CIBs, this one is our most cherished.
Craig Anderton, who wrote this CIB, has a long history with audio recording for the music industry, so the book takes a refreshingly different direction than other CIBs. That is clear from the first chapter, which discusses audio interfaces, something which is probably foreign to those of us coming into Au from other CS6 apps. It's important to mention that Premiere Pro (Pr) directly interfaces with Au so many video postproduction people will back and forth between the two apps. And, that sets the stage for who uses Au. Not all Au users are mastering the next Grammy award winner. Nevertheless Craig approaches this CIB with a keen sense for the breadth of his audience.
If you're completely new to the audio side of DVA, carefully prowl everything in the typical CIB second chapter on the Au environment. But, don't let yourself become over confident. With time, subsequent chapters will reveal that there's far more to it than what this chapter just covered.
Should you be on our level, when it comes to professional audio production, you'll think that the third chapter is mis-titled as "Basic" Editing. Admittedly, we had never heard of "zero-crossings" until we got to page 49, even though it's been staring at us on one of the pull down menus. Equally, we have discovered our own methods of reducing artifacts, from our Soundbooth days, but pages 55 and 56 showed us a better, more professional way.
Chapter four sounds like it's going to bore you sleep, "Signal Processing," but that's only if you have no idea what it means. Unlike the CIBs which are filled with pretty graphics this chapter is a laundry list of much needed understanding. It's our new desk reference until we've mastered Au and committed all of this to memory.
Audio restoration, in chapter five, is where you begin to see how much creativity goes into audio production. If you're used to Photoshop, you'll feel right at home grabbing the Lasso tool and instead of selecting a region of someone's face you draw around where there's a cough on Au's colorful spectral frequency display. It's very rewarding.
From our theatrical background, we're familiar with traditional audio boards for mastering. Since we pop in and out of Au, as needed, we have done next to nothing with mastering. Therefore, chapter six is an absolute delight. This is where Au turns your computer screen into a mixing board. To that point, we do all our work in Au with a Wacom Cintiq. The Cintiq is a combination display and pressure sensitive Wacom tablet. It allows us to manipulate the Au controls with a stylus and devote a MacBook Pro to being a second display. With Au, you'll want to spread out over two displays.
The late, great Todd Pankoff, a friend who was a meticulous director and postproduction editor and excelled in conceiving projects, taught us all about "sound design." We never heard of the term before it came out of Todd's mouth. When we saw that chapter seven was entitled the same, we were convinced that this book was a must-have. Think of sound design as something akin to how an illustrator has a specific style and then apply that concept to audio.
To date, all our work with Au has been in postproduction, meaning all our audio has already been captured during video production. When we are about to complete a project, we often find somewhere which requires a voice over. We must confess to knowing it can be done in Au but we'd go back to our familiar production techniques. The eighth chapter on creating and recording files convinced us to rethink that workflow as being less time efficient. From now on we'll record directly into Au.
We are familiar with multitrack editing from Pr but chapter nine clarified that we do not know quite enough to do the terrific work we'd like to do. The chapter starts out assuming that you know nothing about integrating a few audio tracks into a finished project and walks you through professional workflow. If you're new to it, you'll complete the chapter feeling empowered. This is followed up by a brief chapter on multiple tracks in the Au mixer mode.
Chapters eleven and twelve begin to take the book in the direction of Au for music. If that's not your intent for Au, do not be fooled and skip them. In those pages are some very professional techniques for editing which can be applied to any project.
The thirteen chapter on recording with the multitrack editor is important for anyone working with any form of postproduction. The lesson not only provides instruction but clarifies some of the jargon associated with audio recording. This helps you to understand what audio professionals are talking about. This springboards you into chapter fourteen on automation. This contains many very professional techniques. Study this one carefully.
At this point you might feel as if you have learned so much about mixing that there's nothing another chapter can possibly teach you. You'd be wrong. This one not only takes you through some uses of Au's features but lays out how musical recording comes together and the roles the various parties play in making it. Even if you never plan to do such a thing, but love music and how it's made, you'll smile your way through this chapter.
Again, the chapter on scoring audio to video is a joy. If you've seen clips on how composers for Hollywood films lay music into a movie you'll be fascinated with how this works between Au and Pr.
Finally, though it's appropriately called an appendix, which sounds quite boring, pages 271-282 are a set of visuals with text descriptions of each Au panel. If you're using Au CS6 CIB as a desktop reference, until it's committed to memory, as we are, you'll greatly appreciate this addition.
It's only fair to note that this is not the usual 400 page CIB volume. It's closer to 75% of that page count, but it doesn't feel as if we have been cheated out of anything. We are left feeling as if we have taken a very thorough tour of Au and our work with the app, from here on out, will be far more efficient and with greater quality. If that's not worth $37 dollars, we don't know what is.
We give it a solid five stars.