Categories Menu

Posted by on Nov 5, 2012 | 14 comments

Sound Forge Pro MAC Review

A long time standard of most Windows-using audio professionals, Sound Forge Pro has finally come to Apple OS X. While there have been functional audio editors on OS X for a long time: Wave Editor (now Triumph), the ill-fated BIAS Peak, Adobe Audition and even Audacity but these don’t seem to have the name recognition and user-numbers that Sound Forge has held among all audio professionals.

Many Sound Forge fans (including myself) were hoping this new Mac port would be Sound Forge Pro 10 with OS X style buttons. Instead, Sound Forge Pro MAC has been touted by Sony Creative as “Built on a clean slate for OS X, Sound Forge™ Pro Mac provides a contemporary application environment that’s perfect for recording, editing, processing, and rendering broadcast-quality audio master files.”  Sound Forge Pro MAC seems to be an entirely different application than Sound Forge Pro 10, which could explain the different version numbering conventions as well as different price-points.  (Windows version = $374.95 and OS X version = $269.95).

All that said, this new MAC version does look pretty. It looks like an OS X application and seems to behave like one as well. While playing around with it I have access to all of my Audio Unit and VST 2’s, and there are little differences/improvements I have seen so far over SF 10 such as Fade-ins/Outs having their fade types right in the submenu is super cool (although having to go into a menu at all is tedious).  Also the Media Browser which by default is on the left side of the screen is cleaner and nicer than SF 10’s Explorer. Be warned: Pro MAC requires OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, which may be a deal-breaker for some Snow Leopard holdouts.

Media Browser open on the left

The list of features missing from Pro MAC vs Pro 10 is quite extensive: no batch editing, no key command assigning, no crop ability, no surround output, no auto-regioning, no video support, and even a lack of editable toolbars. I have heard this app compared it to an Alpha version of software as opposed to release. I have also read about the app crashing frequently, which I also experienced.  One issue I had was I brought in a 96/24 .wav, saved it as 44/16 and then Sound Forge would not play it, followed by multiple crashes.  I got a consistent crash on trying to play other files saved in the same manner even on reloading the entire app and file(s). Oddly, the same task works just fine in OS X running Sound Forge Pro 10 through Windows 7 from Parallels Desktop.

I also noticed mono tracks are only played through one speaker which is not terribly ideal or expected.  In addition I was able to get a consistent crash when simply dragging a stereo wav from Finder into waveform view on top of a mono wav (normal function I have done many times in Sound Forge Pro 10).  Upon reopening my progress was oddly saved.

Another big difference between the two versions I noticed was in the variety (or lack thereof) in saving options. For example: saving MP3s. The Windows version has 42 presets ranging from 20 Kbps/8,000 Hz to 320 Kbps/48,000 Hz whereas OS X version has only 11 presets ranging from 96 Kbps/44,100Hz to 320 Kbps/48,000 Hz with no customization options for anything lower than 32k sample rate and 96k bit rate. While perhaps not everyone needs to save MP3’s at low-quality bit rates like I do for some Flash games; Sound Forge is the program that does that for me.

Sound Forge Pro MAC also doesn’t seem to have any way to save .OGG format, or many other formats for that matter. Pro MAC has 13 format options whereas Pro 10 has 28. While no one will mourn the loss of Real Media 9 format; no options for .OGG or .FLAC is a let-down (it can’t even read .OGG or .FLAC files, among many others including video formats).  Also seemingly missing are a few of Sound Forge Pro 10’s built in Effects like Delay, Flange, Pitch, and even Wave Hammer. Some of these options still exist in the same menu we’re all used to, many are populated with AU plugins you already have like Apple’s AU Pitch and third-party plugins like Waves, etc.

List of plugins open on the right.

All that said, parts still feel like Sound Forge. Time and Event Edit modes are still present, although hidden in a menu as opposed to selectable on the toolbar. Sony Creative also hasn’t gotten rid of Pencil Mode, Regions, or the iZotope Mastering Effects Bundle. The Plug-In Chain feature is still present and can be used with all of your plugins as well as the iZotope Restore and Repair tools that comes with SF Pro MAC.  Most functions are where you expect, and it is pretty easy to pick up Sound Forge Pro MAC the first time if you have had previous experience in Sound Forge Pro 10.

I would have liked this review to be a bit more in depth and cover some more of the features, but anything I want to try either cannot be done in this app, or it simply crashes.  As I have spent more time in Pro MAC the more unstable it seems to have become, to the point of some files consistently crashing the app when imported, whereas others of the same type, and sample rates, created at roughly the same time on the same recording device work just fine.

I saw this box a lot during my review.

Like many OS X users, I had high hopes for Sound Forge Pro MAC and have been seriously let down. The surprising number of features this app does not have is rather unfortunate and does a disservice to Sound Forge as a brand.  Personally I will keep updating my review copy from Sony Creative Software and hope missing features get added back in.  I cannot however recommend Sound Forge Pro MAC to even an amateur or beginner working with sound. There are way cheaper and more stable options for OS X and even the possibility of simply using Sound Forge Pro 10 on a separate partition or emulated.  Sound Forge Pro 10 is a wonderful application with a vast number of professional users, perhaps one day Sound Forge Pro MAC will catch up and be a viable tool in their workflow. Unfortunately that day is not here yet.

14 Comments

  1. Mmhh, not so good news I suppose. I’f waited year for this Update to the Mac.

  2. As I told Sony in my email to them; Sound Forge Mac is an abomination.  Aft 15 years of using Sound Forge on the PC, it didn’t take me long to see how subpar this Mac version is.  Anyone expecting the PC version, should stay far away.  Actually, everyone should stay far away, there are so many other tools out there with more feature and stability.  And as I told Sony, I feel that I threw my money in the trash when I purchased this software.

  3. Thanks for the headsup! Have been looking forward to this product for 16 years, but hesitated to buy until I saw a review. Glad I did!

  4. Yeah, I searched forever to find a replacement for Sound Forge on Mac and never found one that really fit that bill. I fell in love with Audition lately though. It has everything I wanted from Sound Forge PC and more. My friend had a beta of SF Mac and said I’d be highly disappointed. Seems he was right.

  5. It just doesn’t make much sense at all. Sony spent money to develop a new software that no one wanted and priced it lower? They could have saved all that money, ported it, slapped on a higher price tag and everyone would have been happy.

  6. well i expected a lot more from this considering how wonderful the software is on the PC. .the fact that it doesn’t even run on Snow Leopard is itself a big letdown, not to mention the two versions (PC/Mac) are different so no way you can purchase one and install on any computer. .
    maybe the next version would be better.

  7. Kind of a shame, the loop tuner function is the most-used tool I’ve come across, and I’ve yet to find a utility on Mac that can do loop editing as accurately and efficiently as SF10 on Windows.

  8. Good review!
    As a long-time SoundForge user on Win, I highly expected this MAC version to be as good as the Win version. Sound Forge is the only reason why I still can’t completely move all my workflow to Mac.

    After 15mins of trying SF-Mac, it did let me down. I encountered same issues as the reviewer, Jack Menhorn, did. Lack of customizable MP3 export option, frequently crash while import/save in different sampling rate/bit depth. I also encountered a few more issues those seriously effect my editing workflow;

    - “volume..” has been dropped from Process menu. So how can we easily adjust the volume level while editing!

    - no “Repeat (F4)” in Edit menu. This is such a handy function to repeat the process without going though the menu again and again.

    - can’t use scroll wheel on a mouse to adjust sliders in effects. Kind of pain! clicking and drag or clicking and put the value cause editing way slower.

    I downloaded the trial version and now it’s been expired. If Sony improve something in the next update, how can I evaluate this software again to see if it’s worth to purchase?

  9. Not much to add that hasn’t already been addressed here. I want to hear something from Sony, and hope this is a “version 1″ type situation. Give me my batch processing and scripting and you will get me back. For now, I will reboot my MAC to my Windows partition to use Sound Forge just to restart to MAC OS again, like I have been for years. :-(

  10. Why no mention of Steinberg’s Wavelab for Mac OS X?
    I’ve seen so much audio editor reviews that do mention Sound Forge but not Wavelab and it has been out far longer than Sound Forge

  11. Glad I read this review!  Real shame, as I was hoping for the “real” SoundForge for Mac (a la Sonic Foundry style).  SoundForge was the best game in the business before Sony bought them (though I must admit, Sony did help SoundForge “rise from its ashes”).  …and no support for Snow Leopard?   No thanks.  I’m sticking with BIAS’ Peak.  Just upgraded to Peak Pro 7  a few months ago and have not had a single crash since.  Worked great on Leopard – just upgraded to SL and it’s continued to perform flawlessly.

  12. I’d like to echo and amplify a comment of Wit’s, above:  The early builds of SFP Mac have been disappointing, and the fixed-time demo policy is incredibly shortsighted given the need for bug fixes and the plans for significant new features in updates (according to developer posts on the Sony SFP Mac forum).  If Sony wants those of us who find the early builds unsatisfactory to reconsider, they need to adopt a more rational demo policy, e.g., by resetting the demo time with each update, or by providing a somewhat crippled demo (e.g., limited saves) instead of a time-limited demos.

  13. I have SF 10 Pro. I t was working great but just recently it has gone the way of the trash can. It crashes all the time. It will not even open up a sound file. Great software when you are in the business eh?  Junk.

  14. Eh bien à vous lire, ce n’est pas le moment de faire achat de ce logiciel
    On va attendre qu’ils aient finis leur travaux d’écriture concernant ce logiciel
    On peut penser que si ils ont commencé, ils finiront leur boulot
    Donc pour le moment position d’attente

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Sound Forge Pro Mac Review | The Audio Podcast - [...] review online. Posted in 78, [...]
  2. Triumph – Review (and giveaway!) - [...] audio editor. There was a lot of hope pegged on the release of Sound Forge Pro Mac, but we …
  3. ASSG – 2013 : Our Top Posts - [...] Sound Forge Pro MAC Review [...]

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>