How to export audio between Cue Markers in an Audition 3 multitrack session

This has taken me a little while to figure out, but it’s something that I’m surprised Adobe didn’t do with Audition 3.

The problem arises when you make a multi-track session in Audition 3, and you have put all of your markers on the session, where your exports should be.

The question remains for some people though, is why would you put your markers in a session, and not in the final mixdown? Well, that’s exactly the question that should have been asked a long time ago, but the other way around. Why would you put markers only in a mixdown, when you are working in the session?

I look at this this way, if you are working on a big multi-track session, you need to have those cue points and markers in them, but you also need a way to automate them all for export. If you have to go and change the processing on a track, you have to mix down the entire project again, and if you have short snippets of audio that need multiple exports across a session, it’s a waste of time and resources. So, now, you can do this properly and quickly.

You just need to make sure your markers are labelled correctly.

In theory, you should then be able to go to the markers tab, and hit export cue markers as MP3 (or wave etc)…

Well… it doesn’t work like this. The markers are only useful as metadata, and are not for exporting files. To export cue markers, you have to do this in a mixdown file or single file, and then the marker export will be active.

As seen, in the single audio window, the ‘Batch Process Marker Regions’ button is active and available.

However, in multi-track, this button just isn’t there.

In later versions of Audition I think this is the case and works, but if you’ve done all the monkey work, you may find yourself in this problem, then the follow solution should be helpful.

Basically, you need a couple of programs to solve your problem.

While you are getting these programs, go and mixdown your entire session in Audition, as it may take a while.

You’ll need 2 programs. ffmpeg, and AATranslator.

You can get FFMPEG from here: https://www.gyan.dev/ffmpeg/builds/

If you are using Audition 3 and still want to work in the modern world then I highly recommend getting AATranslator from here: https://www.aatranslator.com.au/ (paid program)

Next, you will need to open your session file from Audition and choose Save As, it to an Audition XML file

AATranlator will convert the session file, but for this task, it’s not required. But, it is worth getting for other conversions.

I have just written a tool to do the calculations and processing automatically, but so you know the maths behind it all, this is the manual way of doing it.

See the bottom of this post for more details.

This will then give you a long XML File. Open the XML file you just made in NotePad, or in our case, Visual Studio Code (VSCode for short)

To make life easier, you may wish to reformat the file, and paste it’s contents in a site like this to make it easier to read:
https://www.freeformatter.com/xml-formatter.html

Now that our file looks good, we search for our the cue point name, in my case I typed in “Why”

Now we have a list of all of the cue points we need, we just need to export them, to help automate this task a little.

With ffmpeg extracted in our working folder where we saved our mixdown, we can create a simple batch file. I’ve named mine test.bat, you can call it whatever you want.

For fun, I’ve only got 3 files listed here, but the full file is listed below.

test.bat
ffmpeg -i Mixdown_4.mp3 -af atrim=start_sample=0:end_sample=27601109 "Why Israel - EP 1a.mp3"
ffmpeg -i Mixdown_4.mp3 -af atrim=start_sample=48510000:end_sample=75562001 "Why Israel - EP 1b.mp3"
ffmpeg -i Mixdown_4.mp3 -af atrim=start_sample=84672000:end_sample=118703339 "Why Israel - EP 2a.mp3"

So, the question is, what are these values, and where to they come from… I’m glad you asked.

The FFMPEG trim function works like the following:

ffmpeg -i input.mp3 -af atrim=start_sample={qiOffset}:end_sample={qiOffset + qiLength}  output.mp3

So, in our case, we have one input file, called mixdown_4.mp3, and the output files, is what we want to automate.

You can then basically copy and paste everything you need to.

For our example, and the values we get from the XML file, it’s the qiOffset value we use as the IN TIME, and the qiLength we use as the OUT TIME value.

This is what we have to set manually, and note the ‘s’ at the end of each value.

When you’ve saved all of your cue points, try and run the batch file.

Basically, when you run the test.bat file, you’ll get a list of entries, and that’s when the processing begins. I had a few warnings, yet the files still loaded and the newly created files saved fine.

You should then, after that, have a list of files, according to your batch file.

I hope this helped. It may save you time from the monotony of batch work, and help you get the job done faster. I tried using SOX, but it just didn’t work properly, and it, turns out that ffmpeg is faster to trim the files.

Another tool worth looking at for metadata specifically for Audition is also this one http://www.stefanbion.de/cuelisttool/index_e.htm which is good for sharing metadata as well that has been baked in to files. Not related to this project/idea in anyway, but another interesting tool.

The easy solution…

To save all of that manual calculating, I have created a program which will create and run the batch file automatically. I may release this publicly in the future.

I’m planning on giving it some more options in the future. Is this a tool you’d buy?

I basically wrote this tool, because I’m not aware of any others like it out there. If you know of any, I’d like to know…

Another example.

Here’s the beginnings of another project that will contain a lot of audio in it. The only downside to this process, is that if you don’t check correctly, and have any markers with duplicate names, you’ll only find during the batch file extraction phase. It’s not a big issue, but something to be aware of.

As you can see, you just label everything with markers, save the session as an XML, mixdown the entire session as a wave or mp3, and run the xml and new audio file file through my program, and you’ll get all your files split correctly.

Here is the full mixdown/export.

Time to generate the batch file

Time to Run batch file

And, here’s the results – a folder full of files.

So easy. 🙂

Something very important I discovered is that you must make sure that the audio mixdown you do gets the entire session from sample 0 to the end of your project. If you don’t you will have problems with trimming and syncing, as the entire project will be offset and nothing will be in sync.

And, the progression of this application continues.

Checkboxes will eventually be the thing that triggers what files are processed or not.

The search box also filters the files. This will not effect those files that are checked or not, it will just be a way to find files easily.

I’d also like to put a play button in there (if possible) to play the specific area of the audio so you can hear what you are going to export.

Eventually, the batch contents text area will probably go. It’s not needed, but it’s a nice way of seeing what is being processed. You can look at the output batch file at any time in Windows Explorer anyway.

20210707
Here’s another update to the UI. The batch file is now created from content from the grid view, with the selection coming from the check boxes. The batch file is located in the mixdown folder, so it really doesn’t matter if there is a button to view it. I’d still like a few status settings, to know how many are selected and things, but also want to have a button to invert, or select all for the check boxes too. The play buttons also need to be connected and working.

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