UPDATE: Sadly, Aviary has discontinued this wonderful series of products. The links below are no longer available.
Today I got word that Aviary.com has released a new online audio editing tool called Myna. This joins Aviary’s growing collection of online tools with bird names, including Phoenix, the image editing program, and Raven, a vector graphics program. Myna is a loop-based editor, and has many of the same functions as Garage Band or Acid Music.
I’ve only had a few minutes to play with the program, but so far I’m impressed. There is an extensive library of existing audio files. These are categorized not only by style by also by keyword. The samples are further broken down into files that would make good intros, files for loops, and ending files. You can also record samples directly into the program with your computer’s microphone, or upload your own files.
The user interface is very much like Garage Band or Acid Music. There are multiple tracks, and each track can contain multiple audio files.
Each file segment can have effects such as reverb and various filters added.
When finished, the file undergoes a “mixdown” process, then can be downloaded as either an MP3 or WAV file. There are also embed codes for blogs and other popular social networking sites.
So far I found two problems with the system. First, you’re limited to 3 minutes. I don’t know if that would increase if you upgrade your account from the free version to the pro version or not. While 3 minutes may be fine for a pop song, it’s not enough time if you’re doing a podcast or reading a story.
Secondly, the embed codes on the library page are incomplete. There is a great set of codes for an embeddable MP3 player, and links to MySpace, Facebook, etc., etc. However, the only page one finds these is on the Mixdown page. You have to go through the editor, then click on the Mixdown button just to see the codes, which is a pain.
To test the program I put together a simple audio track with nice, relaxing piano music. I then found the text to Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee, and recorded each verse separately. Since I was recording my voice on a cheap microphone, I was able to edit my recorded files with a low pass filter to take out hiss from air conditioners, etc. Since each verse was recorded separately, I could place it where I wanted for most dramatic effect. Here’s the result:(Click on the blue triangle to hear the audio.)
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE; And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea; But we loved with a love that was more than love- I and my Annabel Lee; With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling My beautiful Annabel Lee; So that her highborn kinsman came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in heaven, Went envying her and me- Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of the cloud by night, Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride, In the sepulchre there by the sea, In her tomb by the sounding sea.
I hadn’t done much with Aviary in the past. The free version of their image editors places a small watermark on the image, and the only way to remove it is to sign up for the pro version. However, at only $25 a year, this is a pretty good bargain.
Between Aviary, Google Docs, and the multitude of other services that are coming online, I wonder why anyone bothers purchasing software anymore.