Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Audio editors: Hindenburg Journalist for desktop, Monle 4 track editor for iPhone

I came across two interesting new audio tools recently. One is a multitrack digital audio workstation for Windows and Mac, while the other is a mobile app designed for the iPhone and iPod touch. Both tools were designed with journalists in mind, which means that they give you the tools you need to produce radio news stories without all the bells and whistles you get with tools built for musicians.

Monle four track mobile audio recorder

Monle (pictured above) is a four track digital audio editor and recorder for the iPhone and iPod touch. You can use it to record audio using the iPhone's built in mic, a headset mic, or a higher quality external mic like the Blue Mikey or Alesis Pro Track.

The app isn't quite as powerful as a desktop multitrack digital audio workstation. For instance, you can't undo most actions. But you can drag and drop files on the timeline to arrange them, split audio files, and mix down a session to a WAV file that you can export -- and then upload to your newsroom's FTP site from within the app itself.

For more screenshots and a video overview, you can check out my review of Monle at mobiputing.

Monle is available from the iTunes App Store for $9.99.

Hindenburg Journalist Beta

This app is available as a free download for Windows and Mac computers while it's still in beta. Eventually the developer will start charging, but word on the street is that it will sell for around $50, which makes it pretty cheap for a digital audio workstation.

Hindenburg Journalist has an intuitive and easy to use interface for anyone who has ever spent time working with audio on a computer. I'm guessing it wouldn't take long to pick up if you've never edited a WAV file in your life. Basically you can use Hindenberg to record or import tracks, arrange them on a timeline, adjust the volumes, add fads, and split tracks.

It's a non-destructive editor, which means that you can make all the changes you like to the sound files in your timeline without affecting the source audio stored on your hard drive. This also means that if you crop a file and then later decide you didn't mean it, all you have to do is grab the edge of the file and pull to restore the missing audio.

You can adjust volumes either by adjusting the volume of the whole track or by grabbing the little rectangle at the top of an individual file and pulling it up or down. To add a fade, just grab the square at the top edge of the file and pull it toard the center.

Hindenburg Journalist has basic features such as cut, paste, save, and export. But there are no digital effects. There are no compression or filter options. And you can only save project files or export your audio as WAV files. If you want an app that saves to MP3, AAC, FLAC, or another media format, you'll either need an external app or a more complex digital audio editor.

Update: A new version has just been released that adds the ability to export audio as an MP3. Apple users can also export files as AAC and Apple Lossless. 

To be honest, for my needs, Hindenburg Journalist does 90% of everything I'd ever need a desktop audio editor to do. An equalizer would be handy, since I occasionally need to edit phone tape, which usually requires reducing the high and low frequencies to eliminate extraneous noise.

The team behind Hindenburg Journalist also offers a mobile app for the iPhone and iPod touch. It costs $29.99, although there's a free version that limits recordings to 1 minute.

Update: I just heard from the developers of Hindenburg journalist, and eventually the software will have pretty much every feature on my wish list, including:

  • Export to MP3
  • Equalizer
  • Compressor
  • Support for third party plugins
Sounds like Hindenburg Journalist is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

via Jeff Towne


meerkatsandmongeese said...

I saw the iPhone app, and thought it looked good, so downloaded the free version, and the desktop client. Only problem is, every time I try to send from my iPhone to my computer, I click import from mobile on the desktop client, and it freezes and begins to not respond. What am I meant to do to get it to work? Email me at: meerkatofficials@hotmail.com if you have any clue what I need to do? Thanks.

Anders Kallenberg said...

The .wav-files that are "mixed down" in monle wont play in any media
player. I first have open the .wav-file in audacity, then export it as
mp3 (it can export as another format too but havnt tried) and then
finally itunes, vlc and media player can import them.

It also states
that .monle can share the files with other apps, but that doesnt
include the first audioplayer on iphone, namely ipod, or any app I have
heard of for that matter.

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