Sony have opened their Sound Forge editing software up to new horizons with support for VST plug-ins and the ASIO driver protocol, and improved its usability with batch processing and a new scrubbing tool.
Everyone needs a stereo audio editor. It’s not that you can’t accomplish many of the same tasks using your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), but it is a lot more elegant to use a hammer to drive in a nail than the flat side of a wrench. Just because it can be done, doesn’t mean it should be. For many sound jobs, a stereo editor is that hammer, making the given task easier and faster. Sound Forge was one of the first professional audio editors developed for the PC, and was last reviewed by Sound On Sound when version 6 appeared back in 2002. In the intervening years, Sony have bought Sonic Foundry’s entire line of audio and video software, including Vegas and Acid, updated them all, and have just released version 8 of Sound Forge. It is high time to take another look at this PC staple.
Three Of The Best
There is, of course, the usual laundry list of improvements, but three updates really stand out. Back in 2002, Martin Walker’s review of SF v6 lamented the disappearance of CD Architect, which had been included with previous versions of SF. Well, it’s back. Granted, CD burning is no longer the mysterious alchemy it was right after the millennium rolled around, when one was as likely to add to the toaster collection as get a playable CD. Still, CD Architect is a professional-grade tool and a step up from the software that comes bundled with every computer or CD burner these days; see the CD Architect box for more details. There is even an Export to CD Architect command in SF8, which automatically opens CD Architect and puts the sound files into the media browser.
The second major update in SF8 is ASIO driver support, which means no more switching preferences in your soundcard drivers to WDM, or having to listen to a sound file over computer speakers. If your system uses ASIO, SF8 can use the same soundcard and monitor chain as the rest of your computer music software. Sound Forge should have had this capability all along, so I’m not sure whether this is as much a plus as simply dispensing with an anachronism, but better late than never.
The third major improvement is VST plug-in support. Again, this should have been done before the dust settled in the battle between Microsoft’s Direct X plug-in standard and the universally accepted VST standard, but it is still a very welcome addition. Certainly SF8 ‘s included effects are not to be sneezed at, but most musicians and engineers have VST effects on their computer, ranging from the free sort found on the Web up to the ones that linger on your credit card. If you are anything like me, these effects include several favourite mastering tools. As one of the main reasons for having a stereo editor is mastering, finally being able to use these VST processors is a major plus for SF8. Before, I was forced to switch back to my DAW to apply my favourite VST finalising, which is not the quickest way to polish a track.
Pass : azzahra