Adobe Audition and Audacity are Digital Audio Workstations, or audio editing programs that allow you to record, edit, mix, enhance, and export audio files. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but both have their uses.

What Can Adobe Audition and Audacity Do For You?

Audition and Audacity can both be used for audio editing, sweetening, mixing and recording. Audition is very powerful and can be used to repair sound or score feature films with its libraries of thousands of sound effects. Audacity is simpler to use and it is a favorite of sound hobbyists and Podcasters because of the easy-to-use interface and the fact that it is free, open-source software.

What is Adobe Audition?

Audition is a favorite with Video Editors and Podcasters because it can do so much and it has many convenient presets. Because Audition is an Adobe product, the work screen will be familiar to you if you work with other Adobe applications like Premiere Pro or After Effects. Many of the keyboard shortcuts and much of the terminology will be familiar to users of Premiere Pro and it’s inclusion means you have a very powerful audio editing application included pretty much for free. 

Waveform or Multitrack Editing

There are two methods of working in Audition, waveform and multitrack editing. Waveform editing is destructive, meaning it permanently changes the file you edit. You can use the waveform editor to splice together audio clips, edit volume, remove noise, or perform audio sweetening on a file by file basis.

The multitrack editor is the non–destructive composer of the application. It allows you to layer multiple audio files together to create music, podcasts, or fix up the audio for your video files.

Essential Sound Panel

One of the most popular features of Audition is the Essential Sound Panel. Essential Sound includes many preset values and it helps beginners get started with sound editing. Experienced professionals appreciate Essential Sound, too, because it helps them automate their workflow. Essential Sound breaks audio into four parts: dialog, special effects, music, and ambient sound. You can work on each part of a clip separately.

  • Dialog - Dialog is obviously the speaking portion of the file. Audition can make some voices louder, change the sound quality, or match the dialog tracks so all of the voices are equal. One especially useful feature is the automatic noise reduction tools which can quickly eliminate harsh background noise.
  • Music - Music lets you add a sound track under the dialog or fix the music that was playing when the file was recorded. Effects like Normalize help to balance the sound across all of the tracks.
  • Sound Effects - Sound effects can be added to the clip and this is where Audition really shines. Essential Sound offers libraries of sound effects that can be added to the audio to support the story the video is telling. From a creaking door to footsteps on the stairs, sound effects round out the narrative.
  • Ambient Sounds - Audition lets you reduce ambient noise that you don’t want or add sounds that you do, such as the murmur of voices and the clink of cutlery in a restaurant setting or street sounds like car horns and engine noise. Essential Sound lets you craft exactly the audio tracks you want.

What is Audacity?

Audacity is an audio editing program that can be used to record audio live or mix audio from different tracks. You can import, edit, combine, and export audio files, as well as transcode the format. Audacity’s multi track editing allows you to work with multiple files at one time.

The tool bar is organized like a tape or CD player, so the user interface is familiar and friendly. It is easy to pick up and get started with projects. Audacity is especially popular with Podcasters because it is easy to use and free. Audacity works with Windows, Apple, and Linux systems.

Essential Features of Adobe Audition

Video Editors use Audition to repair the sound on video projects. Adaptive Noise Reduction reduces hiss and cleans up vocal tracks. Spectral Analysis locates and removes isolated noises like doors slamming, phones ringing, dogs barking or garbage trucks backing up. Editors also sweeten the sound by adding to it with background music, sound effects and ambient sounds.

Podcasters also use Audition. They can record straight into multitrack with each actor on a separate track and set gain levels appropriate to each person’s voice. This is useful for recordings of roundtable discussions. Podcasters also use sound effects and add music to their recordings.

Essential Features of Audacity

Audacity can record live audio through a microphone or import digital sound files. You can work with more than one device at a time and record more than one channel at a time. Audacity includes many presets and synchronizing features to allow you to automate some functions, but it is nowhere near as powerful as Audition.

Audacity has two big selling points: it is easy to use and it is free. While you can watch some tutorials and dip a toe into audio editing with Audition, with Audacity you can actually watch a couple of tutorials and create a podcast. It doesn’t have nearly the capability of Audition, but for what it does, it works very well. The fact that it is free also works heavily in Audacity’s favor. If you are on a tight budget, Audacity is a good choice.

History of Adobe Audition

Adobe Audition began as an audio program called Cool Edit in 2000 from Syntrillium Software. Adobe purchased Cool Edit and Cool Edit Pro in 2003, changed the name and released Audition in 2003. In 2004, Adobe released version 1.5 that included video editing features and an integration with Premiere. The current version is number 14.2 and was released in May of 2021. 

History of Audacity

Audacity was developed by Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg at Carnegie Mellon University. The original release date was May 28, 2000. The current version is 3.0.0.

How to purchase Adobe Audition and Audacity 

Adobe offers a monthly subscription to Audition with a 7-day free trial available before purchase. This allows you to try it before deciding if you want to pay for it. For a few dollars more a month, you can get the full Creative Cloud, which includes storage as well. The cost of a monthly subscription to Audition is $20.99. A monthly subscription to Creative Cloud is $52.99 and comes with more than twenty other Adobe applications, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and more.

Audacity is free. There is no studio or professional paid version.

How to Learn Adobe Audition and Audacity 

If you are starting out as a beginner with audio editing and mixing and your project is simple, Audacity will work well for you. If your goal is to change careers and become a Video Editor or Motion Graphics Designer, it is worthwhile to learn Adobe Audition and enrolling in a course will help you get started faster.

You can choose between in-person classes or online instruction. Some people prefer in-person learning, but that isn’t always available, so online classes are an option. Live online classes with a remote instructor run very much like in-person classes. They meet at a set time and you can interact with the instructor to ask questions and get help if you need it. The instructor can even take control of your monitor—with your permission—to give you extra help if you need it. You can choose a part-time or a full-time schedule during the day, in the evening, or on weekends. You can also choose where you attend class, from work or home, and you won’t have to look for parking. 

When you are preparing for a career change, signing up for an intensive course like a bootcamp or certificate program gets you going quickly. The courses are structured to give you a portfolio of work when you complete all of the course assignments, and this is helpful in your job search. Bootcamps and certificate classes last from several weeks to a few months. When you are finished you will have the skills you need for your new career.

It’s easy to learn video editing and start a new career. Check out Noble Desktop’s video editing courses. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online video editing courses and attend from anywhere. Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other courses in video editing in your area.