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Resource Posts With Tag <em>Audio</em>

Resource Posts With Tag Audio

July 26th, 2011

Detailed examples of how to play audio from a web page

How to play sound from a web page - UCL. From a website devoted to speech, hearing & phonetics, this is an excellent rundown of the various ways webmasters can add an audio file to a web page. Great examples and clear code for each of the 10 methods.
February 14th, 2007

SoundConverter: Convert Audio To And From A Gazillion Formats

February 4th, 2007

Tangerine!: Smart Playlist Maker Can Set The Right Mood

Tangerine! Create Magical Playlists Tangerine! Music Playlist MakerOriginally downloaded February 4, 2007. From the creative Mac developers who brought us Voice Candy and Podcast Maker comes this recent addition, which apparently gets your music from iTunes, analyzes it, and creates playlist that match certain criteria you specify. For example, it can do dance tapes like nobody's business, since it can analyze beats-per-minute and get the timing just right. As the site says, perfect for workouts! Presumably it can also do candlelight dinner moods with your new date... :-) This I've gotta try! Of course, at $25, it's an expensive course for dessert...

Version as tested: 1.1.

January 26th, 2007

MP3 Trimmer: Updated Software Slices/Dices and Fades MP3 Files

MP3 Trimmer - edit your MP3s fast and easy MP3 Trimmer Audio Slicer/EditorOriginally downloaded January 26, 2007. Hmmm... this isn't something I need, but I'm interested to see how it compares to the free AudioSlicer tool. From the screenshot, it's clearly a more visual approach, but functionally it sounds very similar. Still, at $8, it's not bloat-price-ware like Fission. It seems to understand its limitations and is priced accordingly.

Version as tested: 2.7.

January 23rd, 2007

Postino: RSS Reader That Also Handles Audio/Video Podcasts

Postino - RSS/Atom Reader for MacOS X Postino Audio/Video RSS ReaderOriginally downloaded January 23, 2007. The hype was a little much when Postino was released last year, and most people took a look at the price tag and at their own favorite, free RSS readers, and went, "Huh?" Still, Postino is still being developed and does have some unique features... if you want to have one news reader that incorporates support for web, video, and audio, it might be worth the $18 for Postino.

Version as tested: 1.6.

January 22nd, 2007

OnAirRecorder: Record Audio or Video with Free Timer

OnAirRecorder: Timer & Audio/Video Recorder OnAirRecorder for Audio and Video on a TimerOriginally downloaded January 22, 2007. As is the case with all JS8 Media software, OnAirRecorder is freeware up to a certain point... the manual only says that you need to register to be able to use it for "full length... sessions," but I'm not sure what that means yet. In any case, this looks like a very simple, handy tool for accessing the recording features in QuickTime Pro, while also enabling use of a timer for doing so. Even at full price, its $12 is a lot less than QT Pro, so it might be worth it for some users.

Version as tested: 1.5.

January 17th, 2007

Amadeus Pro: Highly Rated Audio Editor Remakes Itself in Cocoa

Amadeus Pro: The swiss army knife of sound editing

AmadeusPro Audio EditorOriginally downloaded 1/16/07. I’ve tested the older version of Amadeus (Amadeus II), which is still available from HairerSoft for $10 less than AmadeusPro, and although it’s come a long way over the years (I also tried Amadeus I), I’ve never been impressed enough to pay for it. That may change with AmadeusPro, which happens to be on sale today for $25 instead of the usual $40. Compare that with $30 for the anemic, overrated (by MacWorld) Fission, and it looks like a real bargain. After all, AmadeusPro is a real, full featured audio editor, whereas Fission can’t do much at all and will require you to still purchase a raft other tools to complete the job. Not only that, but what I didn’t realize until installing it just now, is that AmadeusPro is a gorgeous, modern Cocoa application with all the beauty and grace that comes with that framework. (Amadeus II is a relatively clunky Carbon app, as is its legacy.) Clearly, HairerSoft rewrote the book on Amadeus’ interface, and it’s now even “prettier” than lesser tools like Fission. AmadeusPro was just released on January 13, 2007.

Update 1/17/07. When I have to move quickly, I certainly can. In the case of AmadeusPro, buying it at the discounted price of $25 turned out to be a no-brainer. Although I did find a few minor quibbles that I’ll pass on to the developer, by and large AmadeusPro far exceeded my expectations. It has just about everything I want and need in an audio editor, and I’ll start using it instead of Soundtrack for recording and editing my precious vinyl immediately.

AmadeusPro's Main Window Showing Repair Centre and Markers Palettes

Prior to using Apple’s Soundtrack Pro software, which has some terrific features but is also resource-heavy, doesn’t support many audio formats, doesn’t support track metadata, and has a complex interface that takes some getting used to, I had been a dedicated Sound Studio license-holder. However, I became disenchanted when Sound Studio’s developer went into extended hiatus and the software languished. Trying version 3.0.5 this morning, it doesn’t appear that much has been done to advance the software since version 2, though it still appears to be a very solid choice in this category. I’m pretty sure Sound Studio only cost about $50 when I purchased it, however, and today it’ll set you back $80. (Of course, the software has also changed hands since then, having been purchased from FeltTip Software and now offered for sale by Freeverse.) Sound Studio has a few features that I hope HairerSoft will build into AmadeusPro (most of these are included as “cons” in the table below), but Sound Studio is also missing some core functionality that AmadeusPro provides, such as:

  • Support for ID3 tag data for saved files
  • Support for Apple Lossless, FLAC, or Ogg Vorbis audio formats
  • Ability to “automark” files, detecting and marking individual tracks in a long audio file (e.g., a recording of 5 songs from an LP)

Considering that Sound Studio is now twice as expensive as AmadeusPro, I’m pretty safe in declaring AmadeusPro to be the best choice for anyone who needs an audio editor for Mac OS X. Its capabilities and interface are appropriate for everyone from beginners to pros, and clearly Martin Hairer, the owner of HairerSoft, is dedicated to advancing his tool’s abilities without trying to gouge consumers in the process. Judging from the technical and editorial quality of the PDF manual that comes with AmadeusPro, Hairer is a guy who really knows audio. Judging from the way AmadeusPro performs, he also is a master at utilizing the best features of Mac OS X to build a modern audio editor that lets users create, edit, and manage their audio files easily and appropriately.

AmadeusPro's Sonogram Audio Analyzer

One final note before leaving you with the list of pros and cons: Avoid Rogue Amoeba’s Fission software, despite Macworld magazine’s continued promotion of it. (If you’re a Macworld subscriber, you’ll discover that Christopher Breen, the Macworld Senior Editor and Playlist.com Editor-in-Chief who’s been promoting Fission, made the software his sole choice as best Mac OS X software of 2006. It appears as one of the 29 best Mac products of 2006 in the Editor’s Choice awards list in the February 2007 issue.) Fission is a neat little tool, but it should be freeware since its capabilities are so limited. Or, Rogue Amoeba should build its functionality into Audio Hijack Pro, which does other parts of the workflow and is the same price as Fission. To charge $30 for a tool that does nothing but split audio files and normalize and add fades to them represents the worst kind of developer greed, since it will lead unwary consumers into thinking it does other things they’ll need from an audio editor, such as:

  1. Record audio
  2. Cut and paste bits of audio
  3. Merge audio files
  4. Apply basic effects, or do other basic audio filtering
  5. Support basic pop-and-click filtering.

In other words, if you buy Fission, you’ll still need AmadeusPro, Sound Studio, Audacity, or some other full-featured audio editor. And there’s no gain in a workflow such as this…

  1. Record audio in application A,
  2. Save audio
  3. Open audio in Fission to split file into segments
  4. Save audio files
  5. Open each audio file in application A to do touch-up (yes, this will be necessary if you’re working much with older vinyl records)
  6. Save final audio.

… When you could do all of these things in the right application A to begin with. The only additional software I recommend for vinyl audio enthusiasts is ClickRepair, which is simply the best tool available for eliminating pops and clicks (and even crackle) from recorded audio without noticeably degrading the audio quality. (For more information, see my extensive review of ClickRepair from October 2005.) I’ll be using ClickRepair with AmadeusPro, since it’s much better than the denoising tools AmadeusPro provides.

Pros

Cons

  • Beautiful interface, extremely flexible and configurable. You can adjust the opacity of the interface colors as well as their HSL characteristics.
  • Controls are immediately intuitive, and it’s very easy to navigate even very long audio tracks using the zoom slider.
  • Amadeus can set markers for you to split up tracks, although as with any tool like this you’ll need to make some fine adjustments if you don’t want dead air or truncated audio on either side. The process of setting up markers and delineating tracks was reasonably intuitive and didn’t take long. Amadeus has a Markers palette you can bring up to verify and fine-tune markers if need be. I haven’t used it, but I noticed there’s a command that will let you automatically split the file into tracks for a CD.
  • Amadeus has a wealth of audio analyzing tools that are as much fun to use as they are informative… assuming you know what you’re looking at. :-)
  • Once you have a selection made, there’s a “cut to new file” command that’s quite convenient for making individual files… much easier than what I’ve been doing in Soundtrack.
  • Amadeus can save to virtually any audio format, including AAC and Apple Lossless, and it can open any format natively as well.
  • In a surprise feature, Amadeus lets you set metadata for each file, including an image, that gets brought with the file into iTunes. This will save me from having to remember to set all of this up in iTunes, and it’s nice to have the option.
  • Amadeus has full support for audio unit plugins for effects processing, and the software found all of the ones I had installed by earlier applications such as GarageBand. In addition, you’ll find VST plugins, Denoising filters, Equalizer filters, and of course an excellent Normalization function that’s even more flexible than that offered by the much more expensive Soundtrack.
  • I was again surprised and pleased by the intuitive ease-of-use of the built-in “Repair Centre”, which finds blemishes in the audio and lets you repair them one at a time in a gorgeous translucent window. For each blemish, you can audition the before and after sound. Not sure how well this works if you have huge amounts of repairs to make, but probably the batch operation can help there.
  • Speaking of batch operations, Amadeus has a powerful-looking batch station that you can use to set up specific jobs using a wide array of possible controls. I haven’t fully tested this yet, but it’s nice to know it’s there.
  • Amadeus has a powerful fade tool that again is much more flexible than the one in Soundtrack. It reminds me of the one I used to use in Sound Studio, which let you define custom curve s for a given fade, or use one of several built-in options. Sound Studio’s tool still has Amadeus beat, but you can’t win them all! It turns out that Amadeus has something even better, though… you can use the volume envelope to create a custom fade, which is implemented when you save the file to another (non-Amadeus) format.
  • Amadeus can record directly into all of the formats it can read from or write to, making it extremely flexible for the kind of work I’m doing. The process of setting up recording parameters was straightforward, and Amadeus has a nice interface for monitoring the progress. You can set timers for the recording, but I would prefer a solution that would let me define start and end by the number of tracks and a certain db level, so Amadeus could start and stop automatically.
  • Amadeus is also a multitrack recorder, with a nice interface and excellent controls for adding new mono or stereo tracks. It also lets you split both stereo and mono tracks into separate tracks. You can define a separate 5:1 style location for each track, and use Amadeus as a mixer. It has tools for flattening all tracks to a single stereo mix in the end, and also for joining audio files into single tracks.
  • You get a nice, detailed PDF manual when you need help. It’s linked to the Help menu, or you can download it separately. I often really appreciate the ability to print out entire sections rather than having to read the thing online… especially for software as complex and powerful as Amadeus Pro.
  • The actual waveform editing tools are excellent, and zooming in and clipping or cutting/pasting bits of audio are very easy to do.
  • The single biggest usability problem for me is that I can’t use the Delete key or Cmd-X (cut) to delete a segment of audio. The Edit menu shows the delete key as the designated shortcut, but it doesn’t work. I have to use the menu selection every time.
  • A related suggestion to the developer is to consider adding more options to the toolbar. For example, there should be a “Mark selection” tool there, as well as a “Delete selection” tool… at a minimum
  • I wish Amadeus Pro had a “snap” feature so you could easily snap the playhead to a marker. There’s a menu function for this, but I’d like something more intuitive and simpler.
  • I’d also like to be able to easily select the content between two matching markers with a single click, and I’d like to be able to define meta data for such a selection as if it were a separate track. (Note: Using the Markers palette, you can select the audio between two markers using the “Modify selection” checkbox.)
  • When I define a track name or a song name (in the meta data editor), I’d like Amadeus to pick up that name and offer it as the default file name when saving.
  • The Repair Centre’s operation is a little too opaque, as well as being unreliable and iffy in its results. Most often, the “preview before” and “preview repair” snippets sound identical, and the waveform almost seems to skip to a different portion of the track when you click Repair. It’s too hard to tell what’s going on or whether it’s effective or not. A few times, I could swear that Amadeus was pasting the wrong file segment over a corrected section, so that the end result sounded really odd. I’ll stick with ClickRepair for this kind of cleanup, I guess. However, it’s nice that in Amadeus—as in Sound Studio—I’ll be able to do one-off manual cleanups if time permits.
  • I hope AmadeusPro will adopt Sound Studio’s trick of being able to start and stop recording based on the decibel level of the audio, with an option to create separate tracks for each recorded segment from a single session. This would minimize the amount of editorial cleanup required after recording.

Version as tested: 1.0.

December 16th, 2006

Audio Companion: Audio Recorder Designed for Vinyl Lovers

Audio Companion is a sound recorder that will automatically split input into songs

Audio Companion SoftwareOriginally downloaded 12/16/06. How has this intriguing application gone under my radar screen all these years? The first version was released in August 2004, and it’s been upgraded continuously since then. Audio Companion is a simple tool that gets rave reviews for its performance at recording audio from vinyl records and automating the conversion to digital files. With Audio Companion, you can save files to AIFF, MP3, AAC, or any audio format QuickTime can make. It has three specialized tricks that if reliable could be pretty cool. First, it will automatically split a recorded input into separate files—useful for recording many 45s or LPs in a row. Second, it includes a built-in click- and crackle-suppression tool (the company sells it separately as an audio plugin). And finally, Audio Companion has a unique tool that will let you record, say, 78s at 45 rpm speed! Or 45s at 33 rpm. This technology is presumably derived from the developer’s other main product–The Amazing Slow Downer. More about Audio Companion when I’ve had a chance to try it out.

Version as tested: 1.2.4.

December 12th, 2006

TextParrot: Listen to or Record Text with New, Affordable Computer Voices

TextParrot: Listen to your documents with natural sounding voices Computer Reading ProgramOriginally downloaded 12/12/06. I haven't tested the accuracy of these new computer "personalities," but I can definitely testify that they sound more natural than any of the native Mac voices. (Not counting "Alex," who comes to the Mac in Leopard and is a big improvement.) TextParrot can read any random document or text, and has built-in functions to record and ship the audio to iTunes. Earlier in the year, I was sorely tempted by the Cepstral voices, but they're more expensive than I was interested in. TextParrot is one of a series of new "assistive" apps for Mac OS X announced today by AssistiveWare, several of which look tempting. Another unique feature of TextParrot besides its price and high quality voices is the availability of a variety on non-English-language voices.

Version as tested: 1.0.

December 5th, 2006

UltraMixer: Pro DJ Mixing Has Free Edition

UltraMixer | Professional Digital DJ Solution for Windows, Linux and MacOS(X) DJ Music Mixing SoftwareOriginally downloaded 12/4/06. I already have a couple "free" DJ mixing software packages waiting to try out... and here's another to add to the mix. Unlike the others, UltraMixer has two higher-level (and quite expensive) older brothers you can move up to if you outgrow the free version. (Or if you want to start mixing for money.)

Version as tested: 2.0.

December 2nd, 2006

Cycling ‘74: An Amazing Non-Company And Its Amazing Creative Toolsets

Cycling '74: Max/MXP and Jitter and More I've just spent an hour or so reading through the Cycling '74 website... led there by a new $10 software product I had downloaded, which was including the Cycling '74 Pluggo runtime. I wanted to know what Pluggo was... and learned more than I expected to! Cycling '74 is also the source of the free Soundflower extension, which iShowU utilizes to let you record system audio. It turns out that Cycling '74's main products are Max/MSP and Jitter, which together form an environment for visual, interactive programming of audio, visual, and multimedia instruments, music, and art. Yes... their products appear to enable those inclined to tinker with audio and visual arts a broad set of tools to unleash their creative urges. The tools aren't cheap... a bundle of Max/MSP and Jitter costs $850... but if you're a student, you can access the entire range of Cycling '74's amazing utilities for only $59 for 9 full months, and the regular student price is about half that for everyone else. I'm going to encourage my son to give that a try and see if he can figure out how all this works. If he does, $39 of that amount can be credited towards an eventual license purchase.

I've downloaded a range of these tools but a not going to attempt to "review" them. Each can be used freely for 30 days and comes with demos and documentation. Max was originally developed for the Mac, and Cycling '74's entire product line now runs on Mac and Windows. Besides Max/MSP and Jitter, I also downloaded the full Pluggo software as well as Hipno, another set of audio effects plugins.

One of the things that intrigues me most about these products is the company itself. When asked in their FAQ's what their mission statement is, here's what they say:

Our mission is never to have, or need, a mission statement. "The software is the mission statement," is the mission statement we might have, but since we don't have a mission statement, it isn't our mission statement.
Now, that's a company that's going to make great products... you just know it!
November 25th, 2006

Ubercaster: The Final Word in Mac OS X Podcast Tools?

Ãœbercaster: Podcasting, appealingly easy!

Ubercaster Podcasting SoftwareOriginally downloaded 11/24/06. Well, it never fails… compile a list of podcast tools and review and rate each one, and no sooner are you done than a new one comes out of the blogosphere. In this case, Ubercaster would rank as the most expensive of the tools I reviewed in my November 2006 article, at $80 (you can get it for $70 during the beta period going on now), and it appears quite different from those by emphasizing the actual creative tasks involved in making your audio file, rather than the mechanics of publishing your podcast and creating the RSS feed. In that way, it’s similar to the role GarageBand plays in the podcast world today. Since that functionality is irrelevant to my particular requirements (since my audio files are mp3 “snippets” of tunes from the Classic 45s inventory rather than spoken narratives or narrated music… as was my first podcast), I don’t think I’m going to get personally excited by Ubercaster, but I am curious to see how it would handle the actual podcasting functions I require.

Update 4/21/07. Ubercaster recently came out of beta testing, so I’ve downloaded the version 1.0 product now.

Version as tested: 1.0.1.

November 12th, 2006

All About LAME - History, Recommended Settings, Versions, and More

LAME - Hydrogenaudio Knowledgebase

LAME logoHere’a a great page from the Hydrogenaudio website wiki that has essential information for users of the LAME encoder, which by all accounts is superior to the one bundled in Apple’s iTunes software. LAME is used by the freeware Max software for Mac OS X, for example, and it’s also available from Blacktree as an AppleScript for use within iTunes. (See also this guide for updating Blacktree’s script to use the latest, best version on LAME, currently 3.97.)

September 27th, 2006

Fission: New Mac OS X Audio Editor Is A One-Trick Pony

Fission: Break It Down

Fission Audio Editing SoftwareOriginally downloaded 9/19/06. Well, this is cause for some celebration! I remember when first moving to Mac OS X back in 2001, finding a decent audio editor was tough. Fortunately, a newcomer called Sound Studio was a brilliant piece of work, simple enough to be fast and powerful enough to be useful. Over time, work on Sound Studio stagnated, though, and it just got more complex without adding useful features for a very long time. Eventually, I started using Apple’s Soundtrack and have stayed there ever since. Fission catches my attention because it looks a lot like Sound Studio did (and probably still does), and hopefully has the same ease of use. While Soundtrack is great for many things, it’s not as easy to quickly edit a file as Sound Studio was. Just as important, Fission can handle MP3, AAC, and Apple Lossless formats as well as AIFF! This is huge, and I can’t wait to try it out. $32 will be a bargain if it’s any good.

Update 9/27/06. Sadly, Fission is only a one-trick pony app, not the real thing. Although it’s easy to use, its functionality is so limited, I’m quite surprised Rogue Amoeba is asking anything for it… it should just be a giveaway, frankly.

All Fission does is split audio files into smaller chunks. That’s it. It doesn’t put them back together again, and you can’t rearrange the bits or even drag them to a new window. it doesn’t have any capability to filter the audio, do noise correction, normalizing, or any other post-processing audio editing you would probably want. Heck, Fission doesn’t even include a basic equalizer! The only thing that comes close to actual audio editing is that you can add a fade to the beginning and/or end of each strand of audio. That’s also about the only thing you can’t do using QuickTime Pro, which Fission uses to enable editing and saving in different audio formats. Of course, QuickTime Pro does about a gazillion things besides split and crop audio files, yet it costs about the same as Fission.

Actually, Fission doesn’t even appear to let you intelligently save audio in different formats. For example, I couldn’t save an AIFF file in Apple Lossless format, nor in AAC. However, I was given the option of saving in Windows Media format! Also Flash video. How about that!? Oh, but that’s because those are the options you get when you export from QuickTime. Ah, of course. I guess I was expecting options that made sense in an audio editor rather than a video editor… silly me.

Did I mention that Fission crashed every time I closed it? Not a big deal, since I was done anyway, but still it’s an extra click to get rid of the unexpected dialog box. And how about customization? Nope, there is none to speak of. Unlike most other Mac audio editors, you can’t even control the colors displayed in the waveform panes.

I don’t usually question the value of Mac shareware, but in this case, the great package I was expecting for my $32 turns out to be almost empty. This is definitely not cause for celebration, I’m sorry to say.

Version as tested: 1.0.

Fission main window

May 16th, 2006

Sony Gives In To AAC

Sony to support AAC audio format As one of the comments on the iLounge site indicates, "It's about time!" Why no one but Apple acknowledges that MP4 is the logical successor to MP3 is beyond me. If they had called it MP4, perhaps there would have been less reluctance to follow Apple's lead. After all, a lot of people were confused in the first year or two (and many still are!) by the acronym AAC, referring to it as the "Apple Audio Codec" or some such. Of course, it's not. It also has nothing to do with Apple's Digital Rights Management (DRM) encoding scheme... AAC is entirely independent of Apple, except that it's the standard audio format Apple chose when developing the iPod and iTunes. AAC is "Advanced Audio Coding", also known as MPEG-4 Part 3, or even MPEG-2 Part 7. Ya gotta admit, none of those has quite the ring that AAC does. Read all about it at Wikipedia.
Posted in:Apple, iPod & iTunesTags: , , |
May 4th, 2006

Voice Candy: PhotoBooth for Your Voice!

Voice Candy: A Fun Recorder for Your Mac Voice Candy SoftwareAnother great idea... Can't wait to show my son this one. He's gonna flip! According to the site, "You get 8 different effects to play with." Hope it's as fun to use as the website page is to look at. :-)
April 5th, 2006

Ocean Waves: Everybody Needs A Nap Nowadays

Ocean Waves Generates Simulated Ocean Wave Sounds Ocean Waves SimulationSo, this isn't earthshatteringly wonderful software... Its goal and function are pretty mundane. Still, it makes a heckuva lot more realistic ocean sound than the $100 sound generator I bought from Sharper Image a few years ago. That thing is so awful it's almost better to leave it off! Besides generating customizable ocean sounds at your computer, you can also write out an AIFF file of varying lengths (starting at 15 minutes) and synch it with your iPod. This way, I can have soothing night noises everywhere I take my iPod! And that's definitely worth 5 bucks to me.
March 27th, 2006

Creating a Compressor Droplet

Final Cut Pro Power Tip: Creating a Compressor Droplet >Tutorial on Making Droplets with Apple's Compressor Software Compressor comes with several of Apple's professional video and audio tools, since they use it to convert video and audio to various lossy formats for publishing on the web, CD's, etc. I didn't realize you could make droplets with Compressor and will look forward to learning how!
Just Say No To Flash