For many people, the audio functionality of their Mac is something that just works – there’s no need to mess with it, and no real requirement for anything more advanced. If you’re willing to spend a few minutes looking at what’s on offer, however, you may well stumble upon a few apps which can really enhance your experience of music and radio.
This roundup will take a look at a variety of different tools allowing you to better record audio, try an alternative to iTunes, listen to satellite radio, have your Mac speak to you, or stream music around your house.
Essentially allowing you to record any audio you can hear on your Mac – whether from iTunes, Skype, Online Radio or a Microphone. Great for digitizing old analog music or creating podcasts. Loads of features for manipulating audio once it’s recorded as well.
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4.0 or later
Developer: Rogue Amoeba
Not an application, but a really useful tip (and one we’ll probably expand upon here in the future). Your Mac is able to do a really good job of speaking any text you select, upon typing a pre-defined key combination. Very useful for listening to an article whilst doing something else.
Requires: OSX 10.5 for the ‘Alex’ voice
Provides a very simple and relatively inexpensive tool for converting wma, wmv/flv audio, real media, asf and ogg vorbis files to aiff, mp3, m4a or wav. A huge range of formats are dealt with, and it’s a solid tool for moving all your music into a consistent iTunes compatible format.
Requires: Mac OS X v10.3.9 or later
Developer: Patrice Bensoussan
With Pulsar and an XM or SIRIUS online account, you can access a bunch of online satellite radio for free. If you prefer a live stream of music to a podcast, it’s a great app to have a play with. You can try it out for an unlimited number of 20 minute periods for free.
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5.0 or later
Developer: Rogue Amoeba
Songbird is a fully fledged iTunes alternative, complete with a music store, Last.Fm support, inbuilt web services, and iPod support. If you’re looking for a more customizable experience with your music library, Songbird provides a decent option.
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Developer: Open Source
I hope that the list of apps above show you a range of new tools which you haven’t come across before. The umbrella of ‘audio’ is absolutely huge, and I fully appreciate that there are hundreds of apps which could be featured here. It would be brilliant if you could leave your thoughts and application suggestions in the comments for use in a future article.
Have fun, and enjoy the music!