Tech Reviews: New products (November 2022)
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Dr Jonathan Savage reveals what's new this month
Exciting news! Audacity, the world's most popular audio editing software, is finally introducing Audacity 3.2, transforming the free audio software into a high performing end-to-end audio editing platform.
Delivering on long-requested features, Audacity 3.2 creates the most powerful digital audio editor available in the market for free. Launching alongside Audacity is audio.com, Muse Group's new audio sharing platform. Available for free for Audacity users and creators all around the world, http://audio.com offers a reliable and quick option for creators to share high-quality files with their community, hassle-free.
Audacity has been a longstanding favourite free audio editor for many music teachers and students over the years. It is great to see this piece of software being updated with new features and, of course, it is equally at home on either Mac or PC platforms.
Cities and Memory
I stumbled across Cities and Memory while researching sound maps for a recent project. There is a huge number of captured sounds from across the globe and navigating across the map to discover them is easy. It could be fun to group students together and task them with creating music or soundscapes from different continents, or maybe having them use at least one sound from each. In addition to the global map, the ‘sound projects’ drop-down menu reveals some great curated sounds from around the world presented in clickable slideshows, and different projects with crossover elements between different art forms. It's a brilliant resource to explore and discover remixes of sounds from across the world.
Uberduck.ai is an AI-powered text-to-speech generator with over 5,000 voices to choose from. There are voices modelled from many different film characters, which can provide a lot of entertainment and could be used as a basis for sampling in other projects. Alongside just creating text into speech, you can even upload reference audio as a basis for the voice to follow. So, if you want famous voices singing the melody to a song you or your students have written, this is the way to go! The processing is a little hit and miss (often based on the amount of data available for each voice) – but it's a brilliant experiment and a great opportunity for cross-curricular learning with the topical nature of AI in technology.
Price: From £22.50 for 3 pairs - S, M, L
The need to protect our hearing in loud environments is crucial. Happy Ears is relatively new to the hearing protection scene but offers a good long-lasting solution to the problem. The ear plugs fit comfortably and can be used for a mixture of applications, loud sounds from music included, with recycled and ocean plastic options for the environmentally conscious. The plugs should last you more than a year with weekly use, so a small price to pay for good hearing in later years.
A special mention to the Help Musicians hearing health scheme which continues to provide custom hearing protection and hearing checkups to professionals at a discounted price.