Thursday, 15 March 2007

Free Audio Tools

is the Open Source application that is free and quite powerful enough for most needs. It gets better with every version. Be sure to use the latest stable release.

Read about it.
Download it for Windows, Mac OSX or Linux
Download the Manual
The Manual in printable PDF Format
Follow some tutorials
the emtech tutorial

Output can be a stereo mixdown of a wav file for burning to CD, or exporting to MP3 (this requires a Lame Encoder to be downloaded. This is explained in the documentation).

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Download it here
Listen/subscribe to EdtechMusician Podcast
(created on Podproducer)
Downloadable pdf manual

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Developed by Adam Curry - the Podfather of podcasting who helped develop Castblaster which has abeta version that is free for a four-minute show (enough for most school takes)
Download it here
Watch the 20 minute flash tutorial here
The Levelator
The simplest way to optimize a sound file for uploading

Download it here
The ultimate tool for stage shows - it can trigger sound effects in real time from a computer keyboard - storms, explosions, creaks and rumbles, phone rings and footsteps...

Download it here.
I like to load all my files and save everything in the same folder (no installation needed in Windows). Then I copy it onto an USB key and the only thing necessary is to update the keymap file in a text editor such as notepad - this is well explained in the FAQ.

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Karaoke is something I use constantly for class rehearsal and online support. The kids get really into it. Isn't that how commercials sell soap powder?

The stuff below is FREEWARE and has no virus or spyware risks (except for any third party sites you may travel to - see below).

The best program for running files on the fly is Vanbasco (not a chile sauce). It takes a bit of tweaking to stop Quicktime from highjacking all your music if that's also on your machine. But the difference is awesome. Vanbasco has resizeable text, and allows realtime control over pitch and speed. A child can run it (and usually does in my room). It can be set to automatically interpret any files received through a web browser and if the file attribute is renamed from kar to mid it'll play just as well, but on machines without a karaoke reader files will still play under the default midi player.

Before I leave this program, it has one of the best search engines for midi or karaoke files out there. Beware of using the search in front of students unless you have extensive pop-up and ad blocking. This is because of the target sites, not Vanbasco's own code. Search and you shall find.

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Karakan for Windows permits editing of lyrics to existing kar or mid files. So when we sing Avril Lavigne or Green Day the 's' or 'f' words can be replaced. So far nobody has busted me for changing the lyrics, and the kids are cool about respecting the difference.

This basically means you can record a simple melody on a MIDI sequencer, then associate the lyrics (oops I mean syllables) with the melody track. Students look up at the screen instead of down into their scores. Who actually needs sight-reading of notation during rehearsal? There's no bouncing ball, but enough anticipation of text to make reading a pleasure.

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