Thursday, 8 November 2012

Triumph and Sound Forge - for Mac (first looks)

I've been a fan of Sound Forge on a pc for many years, and I really did miss it when I had to convert over to a Mac to keep using Logic as my main DAW (as Apple bought up Emagic all those years ago). I even kept a version of Sound Forge 6.0 on my old laptop that was meant to only be for simple digital office chores (still running xp), and SF always worked and did what it said on the tin. So, when that laptop finally went to digital heaven this year, Sound Forge was no more in my set up.

Sound Forge Pro 1.0 for Mac

So I was really quite excited when I saw that Sony Creative were going to release a version for the Mac - but I'm sad to say that I don't think I've ever been so disappointed with a piece of software. I really am very glad that I downloaded the trial vernon, as opposed to just buying it.

Sound Forge Pro 1.0 Mac
The problem is that even though Sound Forge Pro 1.0 for Mac looks the part, there is so little under the hood. Essentially, it feels like a "Sound Forge Lite" - but at the price point of a "Pro" version (from around £170).  There are certainly a nice set of plug-ins bundled with the software, but for those of us that already have a suite of plug ins and a DAW - especially ProTools 10.0 with the chaining capability in audio suite - there's not much there for us. There are the benefits of some of the Izotope RX and Ozone plug in's though; but it's a limited set.

There's also no facility for CD burning, which originally used to come as CD Architect, which I find somewhat ironic, considering how much the Sony website references it as being a mastering tool. It does includes certain elements of the Izotope's mastering suite - which I do highly regard as a powerful processor - but I don't know if these are the full versions of these plug ins; the visualisations are certainly not the same as the current versions from Izotope, so I suspect not. Especially considering Ozone 5 is currently available from Izotope on its own is around £170.

What unfortunately makes it worse, is that it's tricky to use - the intuitiveness that I was looking forward to has gone, not a single right mouse click option in sight. I can't zoom or scroll using the touch pad on my Mac book pro - never mind multi touch gestures. I can't seem to assign a single short cut key, and there are very few pre defined short cuts up for the menu functions. Even the batch processing that was one of the most useful features has gone. Thank goodness Izotope RX now offers that.

With so many other programmes now fighting in a similar market, I'm not sure who would spend the money on this; considering there are so many other options...from the completely free Audacity, through DSP Quattro (about £60) to the all new Triumph Software from Audiofile Engineering.


As I'm looking out for some Red Book compliant CD authoring software, it seemed uncanny that I received a promotional email from Audiofile Engineering this morning about a new app called Triumph, that is the new rewrite for their Wave Editor Software - and considering there is (once again) a free trial, I downloaded it to give it a go. And the difference to SFP 1.0 is staggering. Especially considering the price - currently $59.99.

Even though there is a bit of a novel working methodology with Triumph, I've really enjoyed using it. The functionality is what you'd expect, and the implementation of right clicks, zooms, flicks and scrolls, and assignable short cuts quickly makes working quicker.

Triumph is based on a principle of layers - I've still not completely understood the implementation of this yet - but essentially every segment of audio can exist on a layer, and each layer can have effects and processing applied to it (in some ways it feels like layers are somewhat analogous to tracks, but exist on a single timeline). So the processing is not actually rendered to a file until the layer is flattened. It's not got the built in plug-in set that comes with Sound Forge, but it runs all my AU plugins, and it also has links with Izotope, as there are similar noise reduction tools, but the mastering tools are not the same. The range of metering that is included is a really nice touch

There is provision for CD burning, but at the moment it feels a bit clumsy - but after just half a day using it, I'm prepared to think that could be me and not the software. What I certainly get the impression of is a well thought out, feature packed editing software - even if I've not worked out how to use the features yet! It's just different from things I've used in the past.

My one complaint is the manual. After going to the help button, it downloads it as an iBook into iTunes...but apparently Apple won't let us read ibooks on Mac Book I'm currently trying to work out how to get round this one! What I did find though was a series of screencasts from audiophile engineering on YouTube, that helped to demonstrate how to do things.

I've really enjoyed this half day with Triumph and I'm certainly going to keep using it during the trial period as I think it could well do exactly what I need - plus lots more.


8th November 2012