Cooledit Pro / Adobe Audition alternatives

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by adriantoll, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. adriantoll macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2004
    I switched about a year ago, and haven't looked back, except that I haven't found a decent replacement for the most recent version of Cooledit Pro (now called Adobe Audition). This surprised me given Mac's reputation as being the best platform for creative work, but I suppose Cooledit inhabits a niche market between simple audio recording and fully-fledged MIDI / audio software.

    I've done quite a bit of looking around and testing of various software, and having seen a few queries about this on macforums I thought I'd share what I've found.

    1. Earlier versions of Cooledit Pro
    Earlier versions of Cooledit Pro were single track audio editing programs. If you're looking to replace this version of Cooledit Pro, take a look at either Peak or Peak LE from Bias ( ) There are plenty of other alternatives like Sound Studio (, and even free software like Audacity ( TC Electronics' Spark has been mentioned too, but that seems to have been discontinued. Bias Peak in particular has lots of options for cleaning up audio files if you want to take out tape hiss, and vinyl clicks and pops.

    2. Later multitrack version of Cooledit Pro / Audition
    This is the difficult one, and very much depends on what you want to do. There are lots of single track (that is, one left channel and one right channel) audio editing programs for OS X, but very few that mix multitrack editing with the simplicity of Cooledit.
    a) MIDI / audio programs
    There are a number of multitrack programs out there that you can also use to control MIDI equipment. However, you end up paying the extra for the MIDI capabilities that you may not want to use if you're simply looking for a straight Cooledit replacement. Examples are Logic (I tried Logic 6 and found it confusing compared to Cooledit, but haven't tried Logic 7, so I don't know how that compares), Protools and Cubase.

    b) Multitrack programs without MIDI
    The only one of these that I've come across so far is Bias Deck / Deck LE.
    This is the closest thing I've come to a replacement for Cooledit, but I have to say that if it's supposed to be a Mac version of Cooledit it's a very poor copy. To me it seems to be very limited in terms of its preferences, and on a more personal level I don't like the feel of the interface. I also haven't been able to do what I want to do (see below).
    3. Possible solutions
    I used Cooledit Pro to edit mix CDs, so what I'm missing is the ability to mix between tracks using amplitude (volume) rubberbands, then selecting areas of the timeline to mixdown to a separate audio file (using zero crossover so that there are no loud clicks between tracks), then burning those tracks to a CD with no gap between them.
    a) One possible solution I found is to drop all my tracks into Garageband, use the volume rubberbands to mix backwards and forwards between tracks 1 and 2, then export the whole mix to an .aif file. Then apparently you can mark tracks within .aif files and burn them to a CD. This is roughly where I've got to at the moment, but I haven't found a solution yet - I think this might be possible with Bias Peak / LE. Jam (of Roxio Toast and Jam fame) also seems to be able to do the whole thing without Garageband, although I'm not sure about whether it has the similar ability of Garageband to use exact amplitude rubberbands rather than a preset selection of transitions. This seems the most promising option for what I want to do.

    b) Use one of the more fully-features MIDI programs like Logic, Protools or Cubase - however, this means that if you're just looking for a Cooledit replacement you're paying for MIDI controller software that you don't need (particularly if you're just noodling about with MIDI, as you can do that with Garageband). This software is also more complex, and my experience with Logic 6 is that the workarounds for what I want to do are far too time consuming.

    c) The only other possibility that I can see is to use Virtual PC, and run Cooledit Pro on that. Apart from the relative slowness of running a PC emulator on OS X, and the memory requirements that this entails, this seems like a really rubbish cop-out when everything else has worked so well. I switched because I didn't like PCs - running a virtual PC on my Mac (although I use it for cross-browser checking when designing websites) feels very wrong...
    Interim conclusions
    So far I think that the clearest route for switching Cooledit users is this:
    a) If you're just interested in single track editing, i.e. you want to use a single recording and cut out certian bits, or digitise your vinyl / tape collection, use Bias Peak / LE or one of the many alternatives.

    b) If you want to make mix CDs like me, make the mix in Garageband and export the whole mix as an .aif file (particularly if you're using AAC files (see below)) and find a way of splitting that file into separate tracks, then burning them to CD. You could also use Jam if you're not picky about exact shapes of amplitude envelopes when you're mixing one track into another.

    c) If you use MIDI equipment, have a look at the more serious (and expensive) Logic, Protools or Cubase.
    Be very careful about file formats that the software works with - I've digitised my whole music collection (about 19,000 tracks) with AAC using iTunes. However, because of the relatively recent arrival of AAC not all programs can import it - Logic 6 doesn't do this, whereas Logic 7 does.

    This is all a very personal view and my knowledge of things like MIDI and audio editing is not professional. I'm very interested in any comments that people have on this, particularly about exact control of amplitude envelopes in Jam, as I'm still not satisfied with the options that I've got, and given the number of questions about Cooledit replacements on macforums I think this is something that many people (including current PC users) would be very happy to have a definitive answer to...
  2. SAdProZ macrumors 6502


    Mar 19, 2005
    Washington, DC
    same here

    I have posted same-topic threads both on macforums and a number of audio forums. I've gotten replies such as, "what can cool edit do that logic cant?". You seem to be the first person i have come across that shares this dilemna. Cool Edit/Audition was built for me, atleast thats how I feel, and every other piece of software I have come across just does not compare.

    I have dabled in Cubase SX, Logic 6, Logic 7, Digital Performer, and Ableton Live 4. I primarily make hip hop, so I use Reason to make the instrumental, then Cool Edit to import the instrumental and lay vocals ontop (sometimes up to 40 tracks). Or I would use cool edit to edit wav's, maybe clean things up or create perfect loops. Going between Reason and Cool Edit was perfect. Cool edit was simple, and didnt get in the way of my creative process. And Ive found nothing that compares. The closest thing is cubase but it just doesnt make as much sense, and forces me to think about the software rather than the music. Logic even more so. Why there isnt an intuative audio program for mac (other than garageband) is beyond me. There were a trillion for pc that never went anywhere, yet where readibly available should i be in search for options.

    Anyway, I have decided to just use cubase and let it get in the way for a bit until im used to it. There really is nothing you can do but complain or develop your own software. I sure as hell cant develop software so I'll stick to complaining. :cool:

    PS. When you heard that Adobe bought Cool Edit Pro, did you, like me, assume they would bring it to the Mac? Those bastards!
  3. adriantoll thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 17, 2004
    Good to have at least one brother in arms :)

    I've found that Garageband doesn't import protected AAC files. So you can't directly import any files except, errrrrrrrrrrr, files you bought from Apple. As if Garageband is going to be used by serial file sharers to distribute music illegally - all you need to do is burn a CD then reimport, or use Bias Peak / LE / Express to export copies of the file. I actually found Garageband really buggy in terms of amplitude rubberbanding and song length anyway, so I wouldn't want to use it even if it could import .m4p files.

    I've now tried Jam, but although this is sort of close to Cooledit for making mix CDs, it's still not what I want - it only lets you use certain shapes of amplitude rubberbands, which isn't any good when, for example, you want to fade something in over 30 second then fade up rapidly to full volume for 2 seconds.

    So I'm still on the hunt - I think the next thing I'm going to try is going into the Apple Store on Regent Street and ask them about whether Logic 7 Express would be able to do what I want. It's about the same price as Cooledit, if not a bit cheaper, so perhaps my earlier post about MIDI software being more expensive was a bit off the mark...

    As for Adobe Audition, I knew it was starting to go wrong when they said they weren't making any more Mac versions of Premiere. That might be to do with them not wanting to go head-to-head with Apple, who produce quite a bit of their own software for their own hardware and market them together, like Logic and Final Cut. But that's another discussion...
  4. SAdProZ macrumors 6502


    Mar 19, 2005
    Washington, DC
    If you'd like, download Logic 7 Express demo from and try it out.
    Here's the direct link.

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