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Soundtrack "Pro"
Old 23rd July 2005
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Exclamation Soundtrack "Pro"

I went ahead and shelled out the $99 to try out the new Soundtrack Pro app. I thought I'd use it on my iBook G4 (1GHz, 768MB) for some light editing work, sound design and whatnot. Well, I can tell you that there's very little "pro" about it.

First of all, it's slow. Like, GarageBand 1.0 slow. Basic stuff like copying and pasting clips of audio can take several seconds. Waveforms draw slowly when zooming, and not at all while recording. The interface in general is inexact, kinda stupid (doesn't follow the user), and sluggish, faders lag terribly. Also, the most basic needs of someone working professionally with audio are completely missing. Metering, for instance, whether recording or playback, is minimal and not even graded, and there are no statistics. Scrubbing is a joke.

The noise reduction functionality is very limited and comes with pronounced garbling - pretty much useless except for like constant, narrow-band noise. "Ambient noise print" could have been kinda cool, except inserting it is totally manual. Automatically replacing silence with the noise print is something I kinda expected. Same thing for the silence analysis; you can find the silence, and it turns red, but you can't remove it unless you manually select it (no snapping to it either) and hit delete.

On my machine I get frequent freezes. The interface, cursor and all, locks up for a couple of seconds, then playback stutters *errk* stut-ters (damn you, automatic smilies!), even after stopping and pressing play again, for about twenty seconds, then it's back to normal. Having said that, I managed to record for one hour straight without a glitch, although drawing the waveform afterwards took minutes and the size of the file appeared to choke almost every function.

This is not (entirely) because of using an underpowered computer. If you check out the discussions over at Apple.com, users on dual 2.5GHz G5's are complaining about the same issues. The 1.01 update didn't do much.

So, just a word of warning for those of you who are working with FCP and expect something similar out of STP. Expect beta performance and a crude (but promising) interface, and you might still be disappointed. A shame, really. Especially in the context of that otherwise excellent bundle of programs.

$99 isn't much and I'm sure I'll get my money's worth someday. (Hey, it comes with loads of Logic fx and 8GB worth of loops (expanded ST1.2 library) and sound fx, plus Compressor 2). For now, I'll leave it installed and perhaps even use it now and then, but I'd rather claw my own eyes out than rely on this for "pro" work, especially for video/film, where you often need to work with lots of clips and edits.

uosdwis

PS. Note to Walter Murch: genius or not, perhaps you should actually try something before you endorse it.
Old 23rd July 2005
  #2
Lives for gear
 
Ruudman's Avatar
 

Note taken.
I'm not in for more beta's at the moment


ruudman
Old 23rd July 2005
  #3
A $100 upgrade on a $300 program seems a bit stiff, too... I've come to expect about a 15-20% upgrade charge... 33% may be 'realistic' in terms of the costs of maintaining and extending the program, as well as making up for first-time buyers who don't bother to upgrade -- but it looks a bit on the mercenary side.

I wonder how much they charge for customer support?
Old 24th July 2005
  #4
Lives for gear
 
T_R_S's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1

I wonder how much they charge for customer support?
Free just walk into an Apple Store. San Francisco has a new are called The Studio they have been very helpfull.

From the Web Site

Support
In the United States and Canada, new registered users of Soundtrack Pro receive 90 days of complimentary software installation support via telephone. In addition, Apple offers a range of support options, including AppleCare Professional Video Support, which provides one year of direct access to Apple’s Professional Application Support team.
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