Review of Sound Forge 7 through 9
A Great Audio editor for the PC
SoundForge Stereo Editing Software (Windows)
Sound Forge® software is an
award-winning digital audio editor that includes a powerful set of audio
processes, tools, and effects for recording and manipulating audio.
Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio (Windows)
|Sound Forge software is the professional's
choice for audio editing, recording, effects processing,
streaming content creation, and more. Now, Sony Media Software
introduces Sound Forge Audio Studio -- an easy-to-use home
version of our professional program. If you want to record
music, edit and restore audio, create streaming media, and burn
songs to CD, Sound Forge Audio Studio software is all you need.
What Forge is: There
are two products that bear the name Sound
Forge made by Sony. There is
Forge 9, which is the current
full version as of this writing, and Sony
Forge Audio Studio, which is an
inexpensive stripped down version of the real thing. Sony gives us a handy
comparision chart. If you are new and on a budget and simply want to
edit audio files, make acid loops and beats, rip material from cds, burn songs
to cd track at a time add basic effects then screenblast is a fine way to go.
If you are into mastering your audio material with 3rd party DX plugins,
making samples for digital samplers that support SCSI, want the Acoustic
Mirror, WaveHammer and Specrtum Analysis tools, you need the full version.
Both will import and save MP3, add audio to video files. This is a review
of the full version of Sound Forge 7 and 8.
Compare version 8 and 9
The basic layout of Sound Forge is user
customizable. Nearly every window is a docking window and you can snap
together the interface in many ways. Below is a shrunk down version of an
1152 x 864 screen on my second monitor. You can stretch the screen to
cover two monitors which is ideal if you want to see everything. Forge has
always been a robust PC program and you'll find all the latest Microsoft OS
features implemented splendidly, like right click contest menus, docking
toolbars, menu items where you expect them and fast and speedy file and
A screen shot of Forge 7 with a 3rd party
Vintage Warmer Plugin
Note that you can add Sound Forge to Sonar's
menu and use it directly from Sonar to edit Sonar's audio tracks. This is
a very cool feature.
What is new in Version 8?
There are two critical features added to Forge 8 that users have long been
wanting. 1. Asio driver support 2. VST effect support and 3. Full CD
burning. With Asio support you can use the drivers on low latency
soundcards and audio interfaces that use asio. This makes the application
a bit more snappy. However, it in no way affects the sound. As Forge
is not a multi-track recording application like a sequencer, it does not matter
if the audio is a half second late, other than you have to wait that half second
after hitting the "play" button. But still, it makes doing /B comparisons
a bit faster, so this is a good thing.
2. VST support is a big deal. This
basically lets you use a lot more plugins with Forge.
3. CD architect 5.2 is now bundled with Forge.
This allows full CD mastering, with full sub code editing. Its nice that
you can go back and forth between the applications with ease as you assemble
What is new in Version 9?
Soundforge 9 now offers multichannel editing and recording.
This is going to be a great feature for those who like to master and finalize in
forge. It will allow the addition of a few tracks for accents and extended
processing, something glitch artists should like quite a bit. It also
includes the mastering effects bundle by iZotope. Sony also
bundled in its Noise Reduction 2.0 plugin and its 5.1
AC-3 dolby digital export. All this stuff used to cost you extra!
(I know because I paid for them all). There is also a new multichannel
Spectrum Analysis tool. The version of CD Architect has not changed.
The Price is excellent for what you get.
|New in Version 8
- Customizable keyboard
- VST effect support.
- ASIO audio driver support.
- Data window scrubbing.
- Application scripting with
an integrated Script Editor window.
- Batch processing and
file-format conversion via the Batch Converter script.
- Ability to save a project
path in a rendered file and edit a rendered file's source project.
- You can now choose the
Ruler Format and Level Format for data displayed in the Statistics
- You can copy the contents
of the Statistics window to the clipboard for easy comparison of
- Integration with CD
- Macromedia Flash (.swf)
format importing. (ActionScript, motion video, and audio are not
- You can use the Display
tab in the Preferences dialog to adjust the icon color saturation and
- HDV™ project and rendering
templates (AVI, MPEG-2, and Windows Media Video) have been added.
Version History of Sound Forge
Native Platinum Bundle (Macintosh and Windows)
The Waves Platinum bundle
includes 25 processors and is the most complete line of professional audio
processors ever offered. Platinum combines the renowned Gold with new
Masters and Renaissance Collection 2 bundles. Waves audio processor
Plug-Ins are the quality standard for thousands of top audio
professionals. This collection combines many of Waves most sophisticated
technologies for sonic superiority.
Tweak: Waves Platinum
works great with Sound Forge
- I've been using Sound Forge since version 3,
and have happily updated the application at every opportunity.
SoundForge was already a great audio editor when I got on board. It was
one of the only PC editors that could send wav files to digital samplers over
SCSI, and could edit whole productions with cut and paste ease. Long
before plugins hit the scene, Forge had it's effects and processors ready
to do their magic to your audio.
- Sound Forge 4 was a total overhaul of
the interface, and allowed you to add on auxiliary features as options.
Back then, the Acoustics Modeler, Spectrum Analyzer, Noise Reduction were all
options that had to be purchased separately. (Today, all but the noise
reduction plugin are standard features).
- With Sound Forge 5 the application let
you use variable bit depths from 8 bit to 32 bit float and any sample rat from 2
to 192 kHz. The Acoustic Mirror was added, which is similar to the
new convolution reverbs we see today. Track-at-once CD burning was added
as was cd ripping. A new Wave-Hammer compressor/limiter was added
to SF's now DX-compatible effects.
- As Forge went to version 6 we were given
the ability to define plugin chains, critical to mastering. You
could chain up your favorite mastering plugins, define parameters and save the
whole chain as a preset. What is cool here is that as you master more and
more songs, you can try your old plugin chains from other songs to get instant
results, re-tweak to taste, and you are done in half the time.
- As Sound Forge went to version 7 even
more features were added. An explorer window was added for drag and drop support
for loading, pasting and crossfading files. The Spectrum Analysis
window was dramatically improved, much faster and usable. Effects,
in addition to volume and pan, could now be drawn in with envelopes,
much like you can in Cubase and Logic. Extensive record and playback
meters were now included, with automatic clip detection. The program is
much faster and lighter feeling, compared to version 6, a joy to use.
- Perhaps the best feature was the added ability
to make project files. When saved as a project, the project could
recall all the plugins used and would load the wave file and plugins exactly
where you left them at save. Improved undo history would now recall past
the last save. This is a huge benefit for those mastering their songs.
With many other audio editors you have to re-load the plugins 1 by 1 and reset
them all by recalling presets.
Version 7 Notes
Personally, I think Sound Forge is the best
audio editor/mastering encoder on the planet. Version 7 was robust. If Forge
ever crashes on you, you will find that crash recovery files were created.
Its editing functions are simple get powerful. You can cut and paste audio
snips from any file you have open with just the mouse. Just highlight,
click and drag it to a new window. I love that when making acid loops.
You can add effects to even tiny audio regions, and with creative editing and
effecting you can do some strong re-arranging of a song at the pre-mastering
stage. And when it comes time to do the Master, you have your
plugin-chains waiting for you. It's easy to get into a "way of working"
with Forge that lets you drive from your unprocessed stereo mix to final master
efficiently. If you have a major plugin package like the Wave Native Gold
or Platinum collection, you will find ways to organize them into meaningful
lists so you can find them. The more plugins you have, the more important
Example of Sound Forge's Plugin Manager (my
The most obvious competition is Steinberg's
Wavelab. If you have Cubase are into VSTs this may be the way to go.
It also offers full CD Mastering, while Forge requires it's CD Architect
application to do this. However, if you are using Sonar and using audio
clips and acid loops, Sound Forge fits right in. There is nothing on the
Mac platform that can rival Sound Forge. Peak 4 probably comes the
closest, but in Peak there is no way to save songs as a project, making
mastering more of a chore. (Peak is, to be fair and balanced, perhaps the
fastest audio editor ever made). If you are doing video/audio/surround
work in Vegas 4 or 5 you will find Forge can be called up from any track to do
detailed editing and processing. If you are into making samples for your
hardware sampler (Emu, Akai, Kurzweil formats are included as presets), you'll
be thrilled seeing samples pipe back and forth over SCSI to the sampler and
My experience with Version 8
I find that only a few of my plugin chains
developed in Forge 7 work in Forge 8. Its too bad. 7 was rock solid,
but didn't have asio, which is practically required if using an emu sound card
(whose wdm drivers are not as robust). Overall, I find the application
less stable than it needs to be. Forge used to be known for practically
"bulletproof" PC execution. I am sorry to say my experience is to the
contrary. In May of this year they released Version 8a with over 20 bug
fixes. They need to keep those coming. The problem does not affect
newly created plugin chains. So my advice is don't throw away version 7 if
you need 8 if you have lots of material mastered with plugin chains. If
you are a new user, this won't matter.
I don't have V9 yet. Since I already have all the new
features (from buying them separately) except multi-channel recording, I'll
probably pass this time. But you should know Version 9 offers a
tremendous value. CD Architect alone is worth the price of admission
Soundforge 9 now offers multichannel editing and recording. This is going
to be a great feature for those who like to master and finalize in forge.
It will allow the addition of a few tracks for accents and extended processing,
something glitch artists should like quite a bit.
Soundforge 9 Click the pic to enlarge
Tweak's Articles Sampling
INDEX of Sampling And Sound Development
Secrets of Sampling
Using your Hardware Sampler Creatively
How to Burn a Sample CD Rom
Surviving SCSI Hell
Resources for Emu Hardware Samplers
Connect your Hardware Sampler to your PC
Emulator X2 Soft Sampler
Working as a Sound Developer
Build your own Soft Synth with SoundFonts
Downloadable Sounds at zZounds
Audio for Video and Film
Review of Sound Forge
Tweak's Sample CD Roms
Tweak's Synth Patches for Select Synths
Convert your ESI banks to EOS
Zoom H4 Review
Samplers Price List