Magix Sound Forge Pro Mac 3 by Diogo C
Product: Sound Forge Pro Mac 3
Developer: Magix Software
Requirements: macOS/OSX 10.9+
Price: $557 (Canadian Dollars - MSRP, $299 intro offer)
DRM: Serial Number
The scope: After three years Sound Forge is back to the Apple Mac platform, now with Magix behind its development after taking over from Sony. Version number three brings this trusted and popular audio editor to new Macs, and besides reviving the familiar audio editing environment it adds a few new tools as well. Before we head any further, let’s start with the fact that Magix kept Sound Forge pretty much the same way it always was, with the same window layout and menu organization, so rest assured, it’s pretty much the same software as it ever was. Sound Forge basically revolves around two main operation modes: Time mode and Event mode. On the first you’ll have the usual destructive editing i.e. cut or manipulate sections of the file, while on the second mode you can chop the audio files into different sections and rearrange their order as you can on a DAW. Other highlights are batch processing and CD burning: Batch processing is available, allowing for multiple parts of an audio file to be exported as multiple files, and a disc-at-once disk burning feature enables the user to quickly send all open files to a Redbook standard master CD or add markers to a single file to create multiple CD tracks from it. Since the new plug-ins from Magix and most notably iZotope are one of the major new feature for this new version, so here goes a quick highlights of some the new processors:
iZotope RX Elements: Here we have the famous RX audio editor with spectrogram capabilities and four modules/plug-ins. First module I’d light to highlight is Vocal De-noise, which is optimized to reduce noise from voice recordings with minimal losses but that can also act as a regular noise reduction tool. Second one to note is the De-clip, which can do wonders to audio material hurt by clipping or overloads. Then we have De-click, which is a flexible module that can handle both short high-frequency clicks and also low-frequency “thumps” as well - it also makes for a good tool for dealing with mouth-related artifacts and pops from bad microphone handling. Last but not least there’s a De-hum module, which is basically a set of high and lowpass filters with a series of notch filters between them and can mitigate material affected by electrical humming, line noise but it can also act as a regular filter/notch-EQ for general purposes.
iZotope Ozone Elements: A style/preset-based plug-in for quick mastering, combining EQ, compression, limiting and other mastering tricks in one easy to use tool with only a few controls. Please read our review for further insights.
Magix Wave Hammer: A wide-band compressor, maximizer and brickwall limiter that’s very useful not only to pump up the volume but also to iron out wild peaks or even the levels on an unruly program material.[/LIST]
The familiar editing environment and Magix Wave Hammer
Sound quality: Nothing to complain here, it’s a bit-transparent audio editor with destructive and non-destructive editing, format conversion (sample and bit rate conversions handled by iZotope 64-bit SRC and MBIT+Dither), good time-stretching/pitch-shifting algorithms (including Zplane élastique) and a decent set of bundled plug-ins with the introduction of the iZotope’s RX and Ozone Elements. Speaking of the latter, I think it’s a great move to bring third-parties on board and the decision to incorporate some tools from iZotope was definitely a good one, so hopefully in the future we can see more developers on board and also some more of Magix’s own plug-ins as well. If there’s little to complain in terms of quality there’s not much to say about new and innovative processing, which is kind of expected given the fact that the software is being relaunched under a new ownership, so it’s best to have it running in stable fashion before getting fancy, which is exactly what Magix did.
Ease of use: Most users will feel comfortable, all audio editors take their fair share of time for us to build a workflow but that will come rather fast. Old users will immediately feel like they’re home here, as the interface and menu layout remains the same. It’s simple to use regardless of where one comes from, so there shouldn’t be any big hurdles and if any questions comes up the provided documentation should be enough to answer most of them, as it covers all functions and features in satisfactory fashion with clear and concise explanations. It’s important to note that it can import and export to a ton of different formats, so life should be easy when receiving/sending the appropriate files - check all formats below. Also important to note that it’s very light on system resources, with fast loading/rendering times and great stability on macOS Sierra.
Features: As stated before, having a bunch of new features is not the premise here, but Magic managed to deliver some useful features such as the AES/EBU-compliant metering and automatic volume levelling tool, improved clipping detector and support for popular video formats for importing audio from video files. Dynamic rendering is another welcome addition, as it saves us a lot of time by not requiring plug-ins to be rendered when burning CDs. In the time-saving department the “export regions” feature is also worth of note, allowing for multiple bits of a file to be rendered into multiple files with a single click. The “mastered for iTunes” real-time auditioning is also worth mentioning as this should help those mastering for such format, but it’s also worth remembering that iTunes only represents a portion of the audience, so Spotify and YouTube codecs would also be nice to have at some point. Once again, kudos to Magix for including RX and Ozone elements, both are great to have around. Overall it’s a good feature set that is more than sufficient to successfully revive the software, nothing groundbreaking or super innovative but it lays a good foundation for future iterations even though it doesn’t feel old or dated in any way. If there’s one feature that I’d take if given the chance is object-oriented processing, as seen on Magix’s own Samplitude, and applying different plug-in chains to each portion of the audio would be an amazing thing to have.
Bang for buck: The intro price of $299 (Canadian Dollars, MSRP) is a reasonable price point and somewhat in line with the competition, although it’s more expensive than some of the alternatives. After this promotion is gone it gets a bit too salty at $557, which should raise eyebrows since it’s necessary to purchase PC and Mac versions separately if cross-platform work is required. This is something that I really hope Magix changes at some point, merging the two versions into an unified software.
Recommended for: mastering engineers, dialog editors and media professional in general looking for an easy to use and very capable audio editing software for their Apple computers.
Supported import/export file formats are listed below - important to note that Sound Forge Pro Mac 3 can record audio with up to 24-bit/192 kHz of resolution and open/save files up to 32 and 64-bit float/192kHz. It can also open/save Sound Forge Pro (for Windows) projects and it offers integration with SpectraLayers Pro 4: