Long‑established multitrack audio editor SADiE (Studio Audio Disk Editor) has just been updated to version 6. This latest version, due to be launched around the middle of September, is probably the most significant update the DAW has received in quite some time, v6 being the first incarnation that can run on your PC without the need for any special hardware (though it can still use products like SADiE’s LRX2, should the ultra‑low latency and built‑in DSP of such solutions be required).
Upon opening, SADiE 6 will scan your computer (presently, it only works on 32‑bit versions of Windows, from XP to 7) for the presence of SADiE hardware, and, if it finds some, will work in much the same way as previous versions. In its absence, however, it will work with either ASIO or WDM drivers, making use of whatever audio interface you have installed. The fact that SADiE 6 will work with ASIO drivers means that the software’s powerful audio‑editing abilities can now be used with the vast range of ASIO‑compatible interfaces on the market, many of which are significantly cheaper than SADiE’s solutions, and are, on the whole, more suited to smaller‑scale operations that don’t require the behemoth I/O counts offered by SADiE boxes.
Furthermore, SADiE’s newfound WDM compatibility means you can use the DAW without any extra hardware attached at all (assuming an onboard sound card is present), so you can get editing and arranging with no more than a laptop and a pair of headphones.
Another first for SADiE is that it now comes in a variety of flavours, each tailored for a different market. Radio Producer, for example, is the most ‘basic’ (in relative terms!), as it doesn’t feature video support or surround‑sound capabilities, though it does include other functions essential for producing radio shows, such as printable EDLs (Edit Decision Lists) and a PQ editor. Next up is the Post Suite, which adds surround sound and video support, plus extra synchronisation features. The Mastering Suite version allows you to create and import DDP files, includes real‑time sample‑rate conversion, allows PQ list printing, and features Prism Sound’s SNS Noise Shaping, in addition to flat dither (which comes with all versions). And finally, Sound Suite includes all the features found in the other editions, and so is suitable for any of the above tasks. An easy‑to‑read chart of the features available in the different versions can be found on SADiE’s web site.
Prism Sound (who bought SADiE in 2008, and have continued to develop and support it since) were able to give SOS a demonstration of version 6, running on nothing but a Sony Vaio laptop and its internal sound card. SADiE’s audio‑editing capabilities were highly impressive, and though clearly aimed at the post‑production, mastering and broadcast markets, as opposed to the strictly music‑oriented DAWs we are perhaps more familiar with, it has some powerful facilities that could easily find favour in the recording studio sector. The Trim Editor, for example, is an intuitive tool that allows you to quickly and accurately change splices, including crossfades and clip start and end times, for either single or multiple audio tracks (while this can be accomplished with most DAWs and audio editors, its implementation in SADiE is one of the most elegant we’ve seen).
Recording in SADiE can be done in one of two ways. Foreground Record mode works in much the same way as most other DAWs: you select a channel, arm it, and hit the red button. The waveform will then continuously update in the EDL view until you hit stop. Background Record is slightly different, however: you select the inputs you want to record, make sure you’re in Background Record mode, and the audio will be written to disk, but won’t appear in the EDL. Instead, it will show up in the Clip browser (a window that shows you all the files associated with your current project) as an audio file with a duration that constantly increases until you stop recording. At any point while you’re recording, you can drag that file from the browser into the EDL, where the end of the clip created will coincide with the point at which you dragged it from the browser (though recording will continue until you hit Stop).
This neatly brings us to perhaps SADiE’s most unique feature: the ability to perform edits on audio while it is still being recorded. Anything you can do to audio clips while not recording, from simple cuts to complex edits and crossfades, can be done to audio as it’s being written to disk, when in Background Record mode. Even in Foreground Record mode, however, you can still perform simple cuts, which means you can chop out duff notes, or isolate well‑performed sections, before the take is even over, thus saving a lot of time. This has huge benefits not only for music, but also for speech‑recording tasks, as with all the best elements of a take identified by the time recording has finished, overdubbing can begin as soon as the first take is complete.
Like most modern DAWs, all editing is non‑destructive, but SADiE handles editing decisions in a somewhat unusual way: an unlimited number of EDLs can exist within a single project, which means that for a given recording session, you can (for example) keep crowd noise edits in one EDL and commentary edits in another (in the context of sports broadcasting), and then compile the final show from the best edits of each EDL, in a third EDL — which sounds complicated, but is in practice very useful for focussing on one specific task at a time.
Pricing for the four different versions of SADiE is as follows: £1459 for the Radio Producer edition, £1795 for the Post Suite or Mastering Suite, and £2195 for the comprehensive Sound Suite version. Upon release, there will also be discounts for existing SADiE customers, as well as for students. For more information, check out the SADiE web site, below.