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Manchester Based Audio Studio. Sound Design | Voice Over/ADR | Foley | 5.1 Mixing | Pro Tools | Education | Sound Effects Libraries

REVIEW: Acon Digital - Acoustica Premium

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Recent technological advancements have revolutionised the tools available for a sound designer to add to their arsenal. Digital audio editors are incredibly important tools. Offering audio editing, restoration and manipulation in one piece of software. However, they can often be accompanied by huge price tags. Enter, Acoustica by Acon Digital. Acon offer both a Standard and Premium edition of Acoustica. Today on the 344 Audio blog, we’ll be looking at the Premium edition.


Acon Digital's Acoustica is a digital audio editor that allows you to edit, restore and manipulate audio.


Company: Acon Digital

Product: Acoustica Premium

Price: £160

Our Rating: 4.8/5


Overview:


Acoustica is Acon Digital's all in one audio editor. Packed to the brim with excellent audio editing features, effects plug-ins, and restoration & mastering tools (Restoration Suite 2, Mastering Suite). Some of which demonstrate the benefits of Acon’s admittedly impressive deep learning algorithms. The latest 7.4 update also added DeBird, DePlosive: Dialogue and DeClick: Dialogue plug-ins, and Dolby Atmos functionality (Upto 7.1.2) into the Premium edition. With both editions gaining the Rotate Phase tool. Proving once again why Acon are a company to keep your eyes on in the near future.


In their own words:


”Acoustica is our solution for audio editing, post-production, podcast creation, mastering and audio restoration – with no compromises when it comes to audio quality and workflow. Whether you choose the fully featured Premium Edition or the budget friendly Standard Edition, you will get a fast and intuitive audio editor with an extensive set of high-quality processing tools and support for all common plug-in formats.”




Key Features & Benefits


Upon loading you’re greeted with a layout similar to that of Izotope RX. The essential toolbar, clip editor and level meter take up the top half of the window. Underneath this you’ll find a fully customizable section, made up of smaller modules. The default layout includes a media file browser, processing chain, loudness meter and spectrum analyser. All of these can be removed, swapped with other tools, re-sized or simply re-arranged. However, aside from a lack of colour, some of these options could be slightly more user friendly. After removing a module by mistake, it required some searching through the user manual to get it back. All in all, a great addition that grants users incredible customization and workflow enhancement options.


Due to the vast amount of tools included and use cases Acoustica Premium boasts, we’ll be covering only the elements we would use in audio post-production scenarios. Acoustica's functionality as an editing software is something we were impressed with more than expected. Our DAW of choice is Pro Tools, so naturally shortcuts are a huge part of our workflow. After a short amount of time testing which shortcuts work in both software’s, we made some surprising discoveries. You’re able to perform all the basic editing functions well, with the extra ability to spectral edit and also work with multitrack source material. Acting in a similar way to shuffle mode in Pro Tools, once you’ve made an edit in your audio file, any content remaining after the edit point will automatically shift to the end of your previous edit. Not only that, but it seems to smooth the transition between the 2 points to some extent, before any manual crossfades are needed. We tested the editing features out on an unedited podcast episode, and heard no artefacts as a result of any edits we made.


You will find a mind-blowing amount of tools included with Acoustica for the price tag. One thing we love about Acon Digital after reviewing 2 of their products (Deverberate 3 and Extract:Dialogue), is their approach to designing plug-ins. It’s clear they value functionality and end results more than flashy, overcomplicated U.I or features. And this is a trend that continues with Acoustica. The noise reduction offerings, including a bunch of Dialogue specific variations such as DeClick:Dialogue and DeBuzz:Dialogue (even a DeWind: Dialogue plug-in is included!) all do their jobs fantastically. Needing minimal changes to controls after just a few minutes dialling in your desired settings, quite often leaving us with the most natural sounding results of any noise reduction tool.


Provided your DAW of choice has ARA2 support, the new ARA plug-in allows the editor to be integrated into your workstation, with complete functionality. For Pro Tools users, an AAX plug-in is included. Allowing the transfer of audio clips for processing from Pro Tools, to Acoustica, then back into your session. It’s also worth noting that both Standard and Premium editions of this software come equipped with an EBU R-128 compliant Loudness Meter.



What It's Useful For


Digital audio editors generally have a wide range of use cases. With the release of Acoustica’s 7.4 update including the caption editor feature (aimed at video production or content creators), it’s clear that Acon are testing the waters outside of strictly audio. Whatever the future holds for their products, we can see a future with them at 344 Audio and for our students. We would use Acoustica as part of our workflow for dialogue, podcast, and field recording editing.



The Bottom Line

Deciding on audio editing or restoration software can be an overwhelming investment. Not only is there a huge number of options on the market today, but a large amount of crossover between what stand alone software and DAW’s can offer us. Not to mention, ‘industry standard’ products being recommended for no reason other than that. We believe that Acon Digital’s Acoustica is one of the best choices available now. As a company, they have a great track record of investing time and money in the right areas of product development. The integration of A.I algorithms has already boosted the efficiency of their tools, with the future potential of deep learning, future Acon products could be a cut above anything else on offer. The value for money is also excellent. Offering most of the features and functionality of the most expensive products out there. Often, to the same, if not better standards. A feature we would love to see in future updates is an offline loudness analyser to compliment the already included real-time meter. Acoustica Premium is available as a stand alone plug-in, VST, AAX and AU.


For more from Acon Digital and the purchase information for Acoustica follow these links:


 

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