Forget what they say. Hearing is believing.
A few months ago, I happened to see a social media post from Adobe Labs about a new audio tool they were working on. It sounded intriguing, so I signed up for the beta to see what all the fuss was about.
And then I completely forgot about it.
Fast forward to today, and you can imagine my surprise when a welcome email for Project Shasta arrived in my inbox. Oh yeah. I vaguely remember signing up for this. So I head over to the website to try it out.
Wow. Just Wow. Let me explain…
What is Project Shasta?
Project Shasta is an Adobe Labs project. It’s experimental and not yet part of the Adobe suite of creativity tools. In short, the engineers are still working on it, and it may or may not ever see the full light of day.
However, I think it would be a shame if Adobe didn’t fast-track this one and give it the attention it deserves because it’s really good!
Shasta is an online audio tool that lets you record and edit audio with ease. It’s powered by Adobe Premiere Pro’s speech-to-text technology and lets you edit recorded audio by deleting words on the screen. It also comes with a variety of filters that optimize the quality of your recordings.
Here’s how it works.
Recording Audio in Project Shasta
Before you start recording, you should try out the Mic Check tool. It can be found by clicking the Quick Tools menu at the top left of the screen. This handy tool will listen to a recording of your voice and let you know how to adjust your mic or your surroundings.
Once you have that taken care of, it’s time for a new project. This is where the magic happens. It is here that you can start your first recording. Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy microphone or can’t find the perfect quiet spot. Just record your audio. Shasta will take care of the rest.
Here’s an example of my raw audio recording without any editing or special effects added. As you will hear, it is pretty rough. Few people would choose to listen to this if an audiobook or a podcast sounded like this.
Once you have finished recording, you will see a transcript of the words you spoke in the editor. You can click on any of these words and press the delete key on your keyboard to remove that part of the recording.
You can also click the Filters button to turn on the Enhance Speech filter. This takes your recording from blah to hurrah in just a few seconds.
So, how much better is your audio when you turn on the filters? Judge for yourself. Here is the same audio after Project Shasta has processed it. The difference is noticeable.
For some added drama, Adobe has included a selection of built-in audio tracks you can use before, during, or after your audio recording. This is a popular technique that you often hear in podcasts. You can recreate the same effect with minimal effort.
All you have to do is click the Music button and find a track that suits the mood of your recording. If you can’t find one that works, you can upload your own audio. Then, drag it before or after your recording.
Here is an example of the recording I made before but with background music from Shasta’s audio library.
More Tips for Adobe’s Project Shasta
If you want to split your audio so that you have some music in between a longer voice recording, simply drag and drop the music track to the word on the transcript where you want the music to begin.
A recording is more fun with friends and Project Shasta makes it easy to collaborate and record multiple voices at the same time. Simply click the Share arrow and send an email invite to your co-hosts. When your friend clicks the join link, you will be able to talk to them and record together inside your project file.
The Share menu is also where you can create reusable templates or download your finished audio as a .WAV file.
In the future, you will also see more filters being added. Upcoming filters include the ability to automatically remove filler words, and 3D Audio filter or a more immersive sound stage.
Lastly, you don’t need to record all your audio in one sitting. Although the cadence and energy of your voice may change with multiple recordings, Shasta allows you to make multiple recordings over multiple days.
You can even add notes in the form of placeholders to remind you what to record next. Drag and drop a placeholder from the sidebar to get started.
It’s hard to pass any real judgment on a tool that Adobe admits is firmly in the Alpha phase (aka. pre-beta). However, there’s no denying that Shasta is a very promising start.
Would I like my enhanced voice to be a little brighter? Absolutely. I feel like the processing is a little bass heavy and the mid-tones could do with a lift. At least for my voice. Your results may vary. Perhaps in the future, we will see two or three options for what your enhanced voice could sound like.
I also think it would be amazing to have the option to download the transcript. Podcasts are not typically an accessible medium, so adding a transcript could be a great accommodation for those that need one.
So, if you like to record podcasts, podcast ads, or even audiobooks, you should definitely try Project Shasta. If it’s this good now, I can’t imagine what the beta or the final release will be like.
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