I examine hundreds of new software apps every year. In going through all the apps in recent memory, here are 15 apps that represent some of the most useful audio tools I’ve found I can’t live without for various reasons.
Album Art Fixer
Album Art Fixer helps you find album art for albums that have either no album art or generic album art. It also fixes things like “no album artist” and file locations of items that are not residing in the same folder. Very helpful if all your albums don’t show up in Media Center (MCE) or in Media Player (WMP).
Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Use Audacity to create podcasts; record audio up to 24-bit 96kHz; convert tapes and records to MP3 or CD; edit OGG, MP3 and WAV files; cut, copy, splice, and mix sounds together, change the speed or pitch of a recording. Import sound files, edit them, and combine them with other files or new recordings. Export recordings in several common formats.
AudioShell is a freeware MS Windows Explorer shell extension pluggin which allow you to view and edit music files tags directly in Windows Explorer. AudioShell support mp3 (all ID3v2 tag versions), wma, asf and wmv, Apple iTunes aac (m4a and m4p) and mp4 files, ogg, flac (vorbis comment tags), mpc , mp+, monkey’s audio, wav pack, optim frog ( APE and APEv2 tags). AudioShell include full Unicode support.
AV Media Copy
AV Media Copy transfers songs from your playlists to any selected location. Copy to networked drives, CD or DVD media. Keeps album art and folder structure for Windows Media Player intact. Copy media files for playback on a second computer or backup. Copy an existing playlist or create one on the fly. Plugin requires Windows Media Player 9 or higher and .NET.
Desktop Album Display
Desktop Album Display allows you to place the covers of your favourite music albums on your desktop, and use them to launch Winamp Player. Desktop display of your favourite music albums. Automated search of covers on folder album or over internet. Profile creation and management for multiple users (or multiple cover collections). M3U Playlist support.
EAC Exact Audio Copy
EAC Exact Audio Copy is a CD ripping solution for making almost perfect copies of your CDs by ripping them using either PCM Wav format or the Windows Audio Compression Manager for ripping directly to MP3. Normilization, hidden sector synchronization, and automatic speed reduction on error correct leads to better sounding files with no skipping. Auto rename MP3 files, CD-Text support, CDDB support, CD playback, pre-track gap detection and more.
An easy-to-use music manager / jukebox for serious music collectors. It catalogs CDs, OGG, WMA, MPC, APE, FLAC, WAV and MP3 files, and looks up Album Art and data via Freedb and the web. It includes a tag editor & file renamer to organize your music library, a CD ripper & audio converter to save music, and a playlist editor to create music mixes. Plus, it levels volume, supports Winamp plugins, burns CDs, and syncs with iPods and MP3 devices.
MidiMeow converts MIDI files to MP3, OGG or WAV. Conversion options include 11025, 22050 and 44100 sample rates and Stereo or Mono audio. Software relies on Lame and OGG Vorbis conversion DLLs for audio file processing.
Mixxx is DJ software for mixing MP3, OGG, WAV and AIFF files. Mixxx supports key DJ requirements including beat estimation and matching, parallel visual displays, and support for multiple DJ inputs. Flange controls provide music effects. Multiple routing options send music to headphones or out through speakers. Crossfading makes for easy track switching and DJ tricks. Drag and drop for speeding up or slowing down tracks. Play songs backward.
Monkey’s Audio is a fast easy way to compress digital music. Unlike traditional methods such as mp3, ogg, or lqt that permanently discard quality to save space, Monkey’s Audio only makes perfect, bit-for-bit copies of your music. That means it always sounds perfect – exactly the same as the original. Even though the sound is perfect, it still saves a lot of space. You can decompress your Monkey’s Audio files back to the original files.
MP3Gain does not just do peak normalization, as many normalizers do. Instead, it does some statistical analysis to determine how loud the file actually sounds to the human ear. Also, the changes MP3Gain makes are completely lossless. There is no quality lost in the change because the program adjusts the mp3 file directly, without decoding and re-encoding.
MP3 Tag Tools
MP3 Tag Tools is an ID3v1.1 and ID3v2.x mp3 tag editor. Important features include mass ID3 tagging, writing ID3 tags from filenames, renaming files from ID3 tags using customizable formatting, copy and synchronization of ID3 tags, scrubbing file names and correcting text case, creating tags from directory formats, and organizing MP3s based on ID3 tag data. In addition to text tagging the app supports lyrics and album info.
Streamer P2P Radio
As the name suggests, this is software for streaming your own internet radio using P2P technology. The software uses each additional listener’s Internet connection to balance bandwidth used, allowing the number of potential listeners to grow as the number of actual listeners grows. The pirate component works by disguising the stream’s point of origination.
Videora iPod Converter
Videora iPod Converter is a free video conversion application developed by the creators of Videora. It allows you to convert your regular PC video files (avi, mpeg, wmv) into the proper video format that your iPod understands. Combined with Videora, Videora iPod Converter allows you to download, convert and copy video to your device, automatically using BitTorrent and syndication technology.
Voice Mail Compressor
Voice Mail Compressor allows you to record and send voice email messages to anyone with an email address. Voice Mail Compressor generates compressed .wav files reducing the size by 10 to 16 times. The recipient doesn’t need any special software to listen to messages; they simply click on the file and listen in their default audio player. The app also supports file compression as GSM or MP3 files.