Acon Digital's Acoustica (not to be confused with the company Acustica Audio) is a powerful audio editing, podcast creation, mastering, and audio restoration editor. The company also offers excellent plug-ins (that can run as VST, VST3, AAX, AU, or within Acoustica). Invariably an Acoustica processor has rescued a session, so I had to write this review.

When the earth cooled, we routinely ran multiple DAWs to assemble the tools necessary for audio production. For example, Digital Performer assumed you would employ an external editor, building a send-return routine into their engine. Harking back to that practice, Acoustica Premium includes Transfer, an AAX plug-in that makes audio handoff between Pro Tools [Tape Op #126] and Acoustica simple. Need to spectral edit a mouth click? Don't trust the pencil tool in Pro Tools? Transfer it to Acoustica for waveform cleaning instead. The audio spots back to the proper location when you're done. As a time-saving, non-disruptive workflow, I couldn't be happier. Every Pro Tools jockey I've coerced into demoing Acoustica has purchased it because of how seamless application handoff is.

The Premium Edition includes extended processing tools, with the same audio restoration algorithms as the stand-alone Restoration Suite. The Remix tool can split a mix into up to five stems – convincingly! (Hey, give me some paint, and I can create a landscape. But doing it is one thing; being convincing is another). The resulting stems are pretty useable. I had particular success with a singer playing an acoustic guitar. The artist obsessed over the demo that surpassed the feel of their studio version. But the balance was problematic – a resonance afflicted some notes, and there was a fret issue. The extracted stems provided the power to address these issues without harming the other material. For example, the vocal stem revealed a room echo that was muddying up everything. Without the Remix tool, I would've been unable to help for harming the guitar. Time Stretch and Transpose tools have been around for a while, but Acon Digital's algorithm is strong in this area. Have a cymbal decay cut off by an overzealous edit? Try Acoustica's Time Stretch tool, update the fade-out, and you're set. One of the four new algorithms (free for Premium users) includes Extract:Dialogue, which automatically isolates dialogue from a range of common noise sources. More targeted noise reduction is possible with DeWind:Dialogue, DeRustle:Dialogue, and DeBuzz:Dialogue. These tools afford an ability to tweak problematic tracks for spoken word, live recordings, break downs, and hip hop.

Acoustica is a cross-platform Mac (now with native support for Apple Silicon), or PC with a GUI that is pleasing and easy to look at for long hours. Customer support is swift; often, the Acon Digital's owner responds. Stability has not been a problem. I can think of only one instance of a crash – but that was caused by an external VST in my effects chain. I'm out of words here, but any of Acon Digital's stand-alone plug-in suites can compete with bigger-known titles. I unhesitatingly recommend Acoustica for its quality results. And goodness, the price is a massive bonus.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More