Audiofile Engineering Triumph 2 audio editor (review)

A wave editor Triumph 2 is not. A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) it is not either. Triumph 2 is an audio design application, according to its developers, Audiofile Engineering. It is probably the best way to describe this innovative audio app for Mac OS X.

Triumph 2 is pretty unique in audio editing terms. It doesn’t offer multiple tracks, yet you can export tracks in the supported audio formats. It doesn’t work with modes or rooms, yet you get all the functionality you expect from an audio editor. Triumph 2 can be compared with Sony’s Sound Forge for Mac, but it has a completely different user experience.

IT Enquirer rating

9/10

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Pros
  • Workspace with Layers concept
  • Ease-of-use
  • iZotope powered
  • AppleScript support
  • Rendition capabilities
  • Metadata support
Cons
  • Needs some getting used to
Price (approx.): €47.00

Triumph 2 is a 64-bit application with iZotope’s MBIT+ dithering capabilities, a FHX Headphones Processor, effects automation using shapes, full Retina display support, support for Multi-Touch gestures and Mountain Lion’s Notification Center. Triumph 2 also allows you to save iXML metadata with your files, to analyse sound, and to simulate analogue audio. Files can be exported to SoundCloud, Mail or Dropbox. Finally, a number of Spectre’s gorgeous meters are available in Triumph 2 as Effects, as is iZotope’s Declick, Denoise, Declip and Dehum.

Triumph 2 supports Red Book CD burning and DDP (Disc Description Protocol) 2.0.

Audio editor Triumph 2

Triumph 2 uses layers instead of tracks. Layers are stacked on top of each other. That could quickly become a mess, but due to a cleverly designed interface, it remains very manageable. Each layer can have effects, fades and actions applied. Actions are AppleScripts — if you know how to program you can write your own actions, which is another unique feature of Triumph 2.

Generally speaking, with actions you can do more than what you can do with built-in tools of other sound editors. Triumph 2 also supports multiple workspaces — a workspace is a project. I used two workspaces to hear the difference between two edits of the same sound file.

Each layer can be edited by itself, meaning you can split them and have the parts partly or completely overlap, individually per channel or by channel pair. What Audiofile Engineering calls SmartEdits are parts of a layer that have additional properties including fade in and out, fade length and shape, name, colour, and more. SmartEdits are analagous to magnetic tape editing, but they can be resized, dragged and moved. With an included Action you can even create a new asset (a file) from a SmartEdit.

Audio editor Triumph 2 with effects

Markers are the last component in a Triumph 2 project. They can serve many purposes. For example, one type of marker is a track marker. Dragging such a marker to an area in a layer adds two markers to the layer: one start and one end marker. You drag them apart to designate a track. Clicking on the marker in the Details sidebar will automatically select the area within the markers, allowing you to render the track to a file.

The Triumph 2 audio editor has a dazzling array of options that are available as context menu item, or as flyout/popover window. Learning the interface and what you can do with it took me two days. Triumph 2 is not hard to learn, but there’s so much to try out that it takes time to work yourself through it all.

Once I had become familiar with Triumph 2’s many capabilities, I started experimenting. Three things stood out:

The user interface is really gorgeous; it makes you want to try out things. In other words: it stimulates creativity.

The number of layers you can process is limited. On my 2011 iMac/i5 with 16GB of RAM, four layers with two effects each was about the maximum I could get the application to handle without delays. Oddly enough, I found there was still plenty of memory unused when the app started paging memory to disk.

The third thing I noticed was there are a few minor glitches (bugs?) that I think need ironing out. For example, sometimes the popover arrows at the right of effects don’t show when you hover over them with the mouse. Minor — as I said.

Triumph 2 audio editor: exporting

Triumph 2 supports up to floating point and 192 kHZ renditions of your audio. There is one Effect that intrigued me: FHX for headphones. This is an effect you’ll drag to the master layer right before you render. It will create a more spacious, natural soundstage over headphones. I tried this out and found it certainly changes the listening experience. As a purist classical music listener I don’t really know what to think of it, but as most of you who are going to use Triumph 2 will not be rendering Beethoven’s 9th, FHX probably has greater appeal than it has to me.

To round up, I can only say to those of you who have never used Triumph before: download the demo and try it. The least it will do is change your mind about audio editing. Personally, I think it will make you want to have it on your disk beyond the demo period.