Archive for category Software

Hit’n’Mix music-editing software

Editing a song in Hit 'n' Mix

There are a number of audio programs available that allow users to import and edit MP3 music files on a computer.

These programs generally display a ‘waveform’ on the computer screen that represents the soundwaves of the music itself. Users can then modify the sound in various ways. However, such programs don’t allow users to isolate and edit individual notes.

Hit ‘n’ Mix is an innovative new application that attempts to go much further than previous products. The program can import existing MP3 or WAV audio files, or copy songs straight off a CD. It then analyses the recordings and attempts to isolate every single note within each song or track.

This conversion process took a while – about six minutes for Queen’s four-minute long Another One Bites The Dust on our reasonably powerful test PC – but once it’s done, Hit’n’Mix displays every single note. The screen display can be a bit confusing at first but the notes are colour-coded to help you out, with vocal lines coloured yellow, guitars in blue and other instruments in other colours.

You can select and play notes and phrases just by clicking on them with the mouse, then copy and move them around within the recording. Moving a note higher up the screen raises its pitch (making it sound higher) and there are a number of audio effects that can be applied such a touch of vibrato to a guitar solo, or using harmony to create a more layered vocal sound.

The Instruments panel in the lower-right corner of the screen provides extra help by listing the names of the various instruments within a recording and clicking an instrument’s name in the list will isolate it so only its notes are shown.

This aspect of the program isn’t perfect – it sometimes labelled Brian May’s guitar as a violin (which in fact may have been what the guitarist was aiming for) – but you can correct this in the Instruments panel if you need to. The audio quality suffered sometimes when we were picking out notes, although the developer has told us it is working on a free update that will significantly improve audio quality.

These rough edges mean that Hit’n’Mix isn’t precise enough to use as a professional editing tool.

However, it’s fascinating as a music fan to watch your favourite songs being deconstructed on-screen, and to experiment by picking out favourite parts.

To download this software visit

www.hitnmix.com

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Myfax online fax service

myfax

Send and receive faxes from an email account

Despite being overtaken by faster, more efficient and more environmentally friendly methods, fax machines still exist in some homes and offices.

But people who need to send or receive faxes don’t have to buy a machine any more, with the advent of computer-based services such as

www.myfax.com

Registering for the service was fast and it’s fairly cheap at £5 per month for 100 sent and 200 received pages.

Once we’d registered we received an email confirming our new fax number and account setup details.

Setting it up involved following a simple step-by-step procedure to send a test fax, creating a password and viewing an optional demonstration video, making it extremely easy for even total beginners to get started.

The online account page shows current fax usage and allows users to send and receive faxes, but the service also integrates with email applications such as  Microsoft Outlook, if you have a compatible one installed.

To send a fax, the fax number and country code are entered into the To line of the email with ‘@myfax.com’ at the end.

For emailed faxes, the subject line carries the name of the recipient and any body text forms a cover sheet. Up to eight attached documents then form the fax message itself, so sending faxes through Myfax really was as simple as sending an email.

Received faxes, on the other hand, arrive in your email inbox as attached PDF documents, from where they can be saved, printed or sent on.

If you do have trouble during any stage of the process there is documentation available along with a quick-start guide and freephone support number.

We were impressed by the straightforward setup and operation of the service and, though it took a while for faxes to arrive (between 30 seconds and one minute per attached page), it is still going to be more convenient than dealing with reams of paper.

At £5 per month for the basic service, this is a cheap and convenient way for home users and small businesses to remain fax-capable without having to shell out for new machines and more paper.

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