Tag Archives: audio

Review ~ Logitech MX Sound system

Logitech’s MX Sound speakers bring Bluetooth audio to the desktop. MX Sound can deliver stereo audio from computer, smartphone or tablet.
These new speakers appear like greater and lesser pods fused together; the greater houses a forward-facing 70mm speaker and the lesser houses the rear-firing bass ports. The two pods make for a surprisingly stable platform thanks to weight distribution and two rubberised strips on their undersides. The right-hand speaker has the ports, power supply and controls on the back, and the left speaker has an attached cable that goes into one of the ports (only fits one) on the back of the right one. The other ports are headphones, power, PC (any stereo minipin connection, actually) and Aux, which will also take a signal from pretty much any source, again via stereo minipin, effectively giving you two swappable wired connections as well as two swappable wireless (thanks to Bluetooth switching).
With tailored drivers and rear-facing port tubes for bass (better bass tends to come off the backs of normal speakers, so if you port it out properly from the rear of a cabinet, bass response is improved).
A 10° backward tilt when their sitting on a flat surface is designed to point the speakers from a desktop position upwards towards your ears.

Control — Logitech has gone all minimal with these speakers, using a motion-activated and backlit touch-control interface to keep surfaces unblemished. Wave your hand about 5cm or less in front of the right speaker and three backlit controls appear: Bluetooth (press it to make it discoverable for pairing), and a plus and minus sign for volume volume up and down. This means the speakers stay discrete until you need to change the volume. The units self power-down after 20 minutes of non-use, by the way, to conserve power use.

Sound — Audio is well defined, rounded and surprisingly full, especially if you position the two speakers so the bass emanating from the speaker backs is unimpeded and, perhaps, can reflect back to you off a wall or something.
But very bass- and sub-bass-heavy tracks distort at higher volumes. For example with Rihanna’s Shut Up and Drive, bass surges can stop the trebles coming through. Normally, you won’t notice this, but since the highs roll off at a comparatively low 20MHz, what passed for definition at medium volumes suffers accordingly at higher. A song like Public Image by Public Image, with that wonderfully expansive Jah Wobble bass technique, sounds fine at medium volumes and not so god at loud. If you’re a painful twit, like me, with audio stuff, you will also notice the limitations of having one speaker in an enclosure at full extension: for example, in the sublime System Virtue by Emma Paki, at full volume, when the speakers have to produce a swell of that lovely bubbling bassline, the mids and highs will momentarily drop out. If you’ve ever wondered why bigger speaker enclosures have different drivers for different jobs, it’s partly to avoid this, and to produce a wider spectrum from low sounds to high.
Honestly, though, if you want music at high volumes, you should not be looking at a 12W system. For serious music listening and Logic work, I switch my sound through to a Rotel stereo amp and two-driver ELAC speakers, since Macs and iDevices certainly can and do deliver high quality sound.
I also tested it out delivering video soundtracks. The Western series Godless on Netflix certainly gave them a good workout with an extended gun battle that sounded extra convincing with better speakers. The expanded sound stage was very welcome on a holiday trip, although this pair of speakers is nowhere near as portable as some other solutions, including some excellent products from Logitech.
The other way to use speakers is, of course, for games. My current obsession, the World War Two shooter called Day of Infamy, is a good test. You need to be able to hear things to the left and right: you should be able to tell if an enemy is stalking you on the other side of a wall. You learn to identify Allied versus Axis weapon sounds so you can ‘stage’ where things are happening, which can be crucial to playing well. The speakers kept up well, and definitely made the game sound a lot better, and the staging was good, although you can’t beat headphones for truly dedicated play.
Here’s a tip, though: if game sound is too good and too loud, you might find you’ll be less distracted and rattled if you it down a bit, as games like this spend a lot of development on authentic and immersive sound stages.

The ports on the back of the right speaker (click the picture for a large view)

Switcheroo — Listen via Bluetooth and/or a wired connection, and seamlessly switch between to previously-connected devices thanks to the Logitech Easy-Switch feature, which stores details for two devices. It’s easy to use – pause music on one, press play on the other … however, it’s possible to have a wired connection playing at the same time as a Bluetooth one over the speakers at the same time since there’s no input switch to select one over the other, and one input doesn’t automatically cut out the other.
Apart from playing a playlist, say, from an iPad and then an iPhone, it also means you can have them connected to your Mac (or PC) yet have them play a selection direct from your smartphone.

Conclusion — A good offering at a reasonable price that will give you expanded stereo separation, more detail and much warmer midtones than built-in speakers for music, soundtracks and games at low-to-mid volumes.

What’s Great — Easy Bluetooth connection and a wired option; understated interface that only appears the you need it; subtle design which means they don’t draw too much visual attention.

What’s Not — If you’re playing Bluetooth audio and also send sound via wired, they’ll just both play at the same time. Strains at high volumes (as you’d expect from a 12 Watt system and single speakers).

Needs — Anyone who has room on a desk for speakers this big (about a hand’s length across for an average male hand) for a much better quality audio experience. They also sound good with TVs and their understated form is a bonus for this use, if you have the rom for them and just want better TV audio than stock, yet don’t want to go up to a full audio-visual sound system, for example in a small room or apartment.

Logitech MX Sound speakers, RRP NZ$169
System — Total Watt (in RMS) 12W with a Total Peak of 24W, connects via Bluetooth 4.1 up to 25 metres in line-of-sight range plus two 3.5mm inputs (a 3.5mm audio cable is supplied) plus a headphone jack.
Frequency response is 75Hz-20kHz (good headphones will go down to 12Hz, and subwoofers lower still, plus up to 25KHz).
160mm high (6.30 inches) by the same width and 83.4mm deep (3.28in). Weight: 1.72kgs (3.90lbs). Works with Bluetooth enabled devices and any device with a 3.5mm input including televisions, computers, smartphone, tablets and music players

Availability — The Logitech MX Sound system is available via Logitech.com and from selected retail stores for a suggested retail price of NZ$169 (I’ve seen them on Mighty Ape for NZ$139).

Review ~ Elmedia Player for Mac

Lindybeige is a YouTube channel run by an entertaining and informative English militaria geek.

With the demise of QuickTime Pro (some people still have it, but if you lose it, it’s pretty hard to rediscover) and the migration of QuickTime into ‘just’ a video Player with a few extras like clips copying and pasting (after you choose Show Clips from the View menu) , third parties have come up with other media players for Mac that offer more features.
One of the best of these is Elmedia Player.  This multifunctional free media player for Mac supports a wide range of common (AVI, MOV, MP4, MP3, MPG ) those for Flash (FLV and SWF) plus Windows media (WMV) and not-so-common audio and video formats like DAT, FLAC, M4V, MKV and more.

Playback — For HD (high definition) video, Elmedia Player has hardware accelerated decoding which helps to avoid video slowdown and sound-sync problems. Like QuickTime, the online controls disappear for clutter-free viewing until you put your cursor back over the video (but you can turn this function on and off). You can drag this control around too, for better viewing. An AirPlay icon (Pro version only) lets you direct the video immediately to Apple TV, and Open Online Video lets you watch YouTube videos in player without ads; these abilities are enhanced further in the Pro version (see below).

Extra tools —  Elmedia Player also offers quick aspect ratio change and allows adjusting the speed of playback. The usual controls are there (play, pause, volume) but you can also flip or rotate video, which can be quite a mission in iMovie and even Final Cut. This is available from the View menu.

The Pro version — Paying US$19.95 (about NZ$28) gets you the more sophisticated version which lets you save videos, including RTMP streams, and external resources required by SWF animations.
You can download videos and soundtracks from YouTube, too – Elmedia Player Pro has a built-in web-browser and Open URL option to allow you to watch online videos from within the Player’s app window.


The Open Online Video option lets you access YouTube, Vimeo and Dailymotion videos directly from the app, meaning you can avoid the ads that plague YouTube these days – just find the video in YouTube (or wherever), copy the link and paste it into the Open Online Video option from the File menu (the shortcut is Command U). Elmedia checks the link and seconds later, the Open button becomes active and the video appears in the Player window. This also bypasses the option of paying for a YouTube Red subscription, which also lets you play videos without ads. There is no obvious way to ‘save’ videos you find online to your Mac, but Elmedia adds them to your Playlist and it stays available here; it’s a sort of transparent saving. To download and keep a video, select the file you want to download from the list under the video, then click Download.
Elmedia can download a video with its subtitles, but it also lets you set up encoding, font, size, font colour, and border colour for them. In case subtitles are not in perfect sync with the video, you can use Increase/Decrease Subtitles Delay. You can load the subtitles file automatically (.srt, .ass, .smil, etc.) or manually with Elmedia, a feature that might be very handy, for example, to educators.
You can grab a still from a video or make a set of images (your Mac has this anyway, of course, with Command-Shift-4)  and convert Projector EXE files into SWF format. It has AirPlay support so you can stream music and videos from Elmedia Player to other devices with AirPlay support and vice versa, and extra Playback options including A-B loop, 10-band audio equalizer with presets (in the Window menu, strangely, rather than the Audio menu), and video and image layout adjustments.
You can run this player in English, Dutch, German, French, Spanish, Czech, Chinese and Russian.

Conclusion — The free Elmedia Player is an attractive, capable video player with some great features, and that’s even in the Free version. For those wanting more, the Pro version gives you extra conversion features making wither one a handy jack of all video trades. It’s also a robust player that runs on most Macs, and it can play most if not all of those weird video formats that strange PC people sometimes send you, or that you find with Eltima’s Folx software that lets you find those things (not strictly legally, sometimes, so don’t take this as an endorsement!).

What’s Great — Even the free version gives you a lot. Nice, smooth, high-definition playback of good-quality video.

What’s Not — A few interface quirks include having some of the audio controls, like the EQ, in the Window menu instead of in the Audio menu.

Needs — Those a bit miffed by the limits of Apple’s gratis QuickTime Player and who want something to dive into fast (i.e., not iMovie) do carry out some quick, effective video tasks.

Elmedia Player by Eltima Software, free or cNZ$28/US$19.95 from Eltima, and the Pro version is currently cheaper in the Mac App Store (NZ$18.99).

System — OS X 10.7+

Contact — Eltima Software.

Review ~ Jaybird Freedom Wireless buds


These wireless earbuds are designed with active people in mind. You sure get a lot for your money. In the box there is a cable with earbuds at each end and a control pod near the right ’bud, then various types of earbuds, a charge dongle, weird wingy-things … OK, I’d better use the proper terms. There are three pairs of silicone ear fins (does that help?), three pairs of silicone ear tips (small, medium large), three pairs of ‘comply memory foam sport ear tips’ (small, medium, large), a micro USB charging cable, two cord management clips, a cord clip, a charging clip for charging and extra battery power, and for good reason there’s even a cute little bag included to keep all this clobber together.
The first thing to do is charge. When you turn the buds on, they announce their average battery level, and pressing the volume plus or minus button on the control pod without music playing triggers this announcement, so you can check level any time.

To charge — the charging clip presses onto the back of the control pod, then insert the micro USB cable into the pod and the other end into a 5 volt, 500mA charger (5V-1A works too, but nothing above 5.5 volts will damage the buds and void the warranty – in my case, inspecting the small grey print on my iPhone charger revealed it was 5.1 volts 2.1 amps so I decided the USB port on my MacBook Pro was a safer bet, at 5V 900mA).
This charges the buds and the clip at the same time – the clip can be charged separately and carried as a portable battery pack: clip it to the pod for some extra juice. The LED on the clip and pod is red while charging, and green when charged. To remove the control pod from the clip, you lever it apart at the end nearest the earbud – don’t pull on the cord itself. Each component carries a four-hour charge, so you can have eight in total. It takes 2.5 hours to charge both to full capacity; a 20-minute charge gets you about an hour of play.

Pairing — Enable Bluetooth is enabled on your iPhone (or iPad or Mac) and position the buds within a metre of the device you want to pair with. Press and hold the middle button on the controller for at least four seconds. In my case, with my iPhone 6, the pairing worked immediately, but if a passcode is called for, it’s 0-0-0-0 (four zeroes). You can actually pair with two devices at once, like a Mac and your iPhone, so you can listen to music on your Mac but still hear an incoming call from the iPhone. You can also share with another pair of Jaybird buds so two people can listen to the same music at the same quality, played on one device. This is accessed via the Share feature of the Freedom app.
I found that if I walked out of range of my iPhone, they just reconnected (and told me ‘headphones connected’ in a bright and cheery voice) once I was back in the zone.

Watch — You can sync music to a smartwatch and sync that in turn to the Jaybirds and listen to music that way (I didn’t have a smartwatch to try this with). Actually, the Jaybirds remember up to eight devices, so you can use these as your primary listening devices in all modes you listen to stuff, providing they are Bluetooth-equipped.

Wear — Well, we haven’t even tried these on yet. Back to that bewildering array of thingies. Jaybird clearly wants you to have the best possible fit – there are two ways of wearing the buds, and then all those various cushion-tips, not to mention those silicone wingie thingies. This is very sensible, at least compared to the Spanish Inquisition solution of one large tip size and an awl to enlarge your own ear passage to make ’em fit. I can tell you as a dedicated historian, iPhone listening during the Spanish Inquisition is quite different to iPhone listening now!
The under-ear fit option is where those wingie thingies come in. The comply Memory Phone tips are applied to the bud-ends by pushing them on (Jaybird recommends starting with the mediums) and then you roll the foam sideways between your fingertips before popping them into your ear-holes. You hold them in your ear-holes (there’s probably a better term for these) for 30 seconds and the foam expands to form a custom fit which always fits, and creates a seal excluding outside sounds.
I like the way the medium-size Comply MF tips are colour coded to your earbud colour (the large are grey, the small white). All this choice is good – I know a couple of people with different-sized lug-oles so they could have a medium in one and a small in the other.
If you don’t like this memory foam stuff, though, you can always use the standard silicone tips – they also exclude external sound to some extent.
The controller pod is a little heavy. If you’re active, it’s mostly likely this bouncing up and down that will upset you, rather than the cord. The cord should be set snug across the back of your head. If it’s not, it can bounce and this sound of the cord hitting your body can transfer as a bump through the earbuds.


Those wingie thingies — This is for an even more secure fit, to ensure your earbuds never pop out (my Apple In-Ear Speaker silicone tips always work their way out when I’m cycling). These are what Jaybird calls the Patented Secure Fit Ear Fins, so I’m going to stick with my term. Each fin is marked L for left, R for right, plus M, S, L or XL for Medium, Small, Large and Extra Large.
They certainly worked, but I found them unnecessary. Possibly if I was snowboarding or paragliding … Here’s a tip though: get someone to help you fit them the first time.
The buds themselves are worn around the back of the head, but they can be fitted over or under-ear, depending on your preference. Over the ear, it means the controller sits behind the right ear instead of beneath it, so I guess it depends if you wear a hat, helmet or other headgear.

Kathleen Tesori, IFBB Figure Pro, wearing Jaybirds (from the Jaybird site)
Kathleen Tesori, IFBB Figure Pro, wearing Jaybirds (from the Jaybird site)

To get the cable to the right length – at least, to shorten it – the two clips let you wind cable through in an S pattern or a loop – using both clips lets you get it even shorter – a snug fit is important for the active. The alligator-style clip is for securing cable to your collar, should you wish.
If all of this sounds daunting, Jaybird have produced excellent – indeed, indispensable – tutorials on the company’s site.

Controls — Volume up and volume down do as you’d thing. The middle button turns your earbuds on if they’ve powered down – hold it in for one second. This button, with a short press, simply stops and starts music and podcasts. Disconcertingly, a double-press doesn’t advance to the next track as it does on most controllers, but redials the last person you phoned! If a call does come in, this button answers and there’s a mic in the controller so you can just talk. If no music is playing, a click-and-hold on the middle button activates Siri. Holding the middle button in for four seconds turns the buds off. To advance a track, you press and hold the volume up button for a second and to go back one, the volume down. Pressing and holding the minus button for a second mutes a call. It doesn’t take long to get used to all this.

img_5648Sound — Unfortunately, flat, the buds sound a little scritchy to me. There was enough bass but the overloading of high ends was not pleasant to my ears. Luckily there’s a free app called Jaybird Mysound. You simply have to get this. It turns just-acceptable sounding buds into excellent-sounding buds. With Bluetooth enabled on your iPhone (or whatever device) and the buds connected, you open the Mysound app and your buds will show you they are pairing with your device – you can also check charge in this app.
This is a clever app as it actually saves the profile to the buds themselves, so they sound good whatever you pair them with. There had to be a good reason for that weight in the controller, right? There must be some circuitry in here. Whatever profile you select in the app is loaded into the buds, and you can customise profiles that come as presets, just use them, or start from scratch, dragging around the easy-to-understand EQ handles in the touch interface.
The frequency range is 20Hz–20kHz, pretty standard for earbuds and I’d prefer more in the bass end (Apple’s In-Ear Speakers go down to 12Hz) , so tweaking the bass end up will be preferred by most people, and it makes a big difference.

Conclusion — Having no cord dangling down and flapping around (I normally have to route mine under my shirt and through a belt look when I’m cycling) is a boon. Sound is not really good enough until you set an EQ profile with the app, but this is an excellent, and required, feature. Good on Jaybird for making the app very good, and very free. There’s a lot of fiddly setup and a lot of fiddly bits and pieces to deal with, but once you have done so, you have a tailored, customised device that won’t fall out of your ears. What more could you ask for?
The earbud ends, by the way, are magnetic. I don’t really know why, as the tips are plastic and slip-fit.

What’s great — wireless freedom. Great fit. Great sound once you use the app to set a sound profile. Lots of cool extra features like sharing and multiple device connectivity.

What’s not — Fiddly to set up and get right, but you won’t regret it.

Needs — Active people who love good sound.


Jaybird Freedom wireless earbuds, NZ$299/Australian $244.95/$US$199.95 in black, red, gold and white and ‘ocean’ (as pictured, above)

System — In-ear 16-bit Stereo with 6mm drivers. Impedance 16 Ohm, speaker sensitivity: 96+-3dB at 1KHz, output 5mW nominal, 10mW max, Total Harmonic Distortion <3% (1KHz, 1mW), Codecs AAC, SBC, Modified SBC.
Response Bandwidth 20Hz–20kHz
Bluetooth Version: 4.1, Multi-point,  2.4 GHz with profiles Handsfree , Headset , A2DP , AVCRP and SPP.
Freedom is compatible with any Bluetooth device including iPhone (3, 3S, 4, 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6 Plus), Apple Watch, iPod Touch, iPad, iPad mini, the new iPod nano (and Android, Windows, Blackberry, Android Wear Smartwatches, PC, and with Macs and gaming devices.)
MySound App Compatibility: iOS 9+ (except iPad 2), Android 4.4+

Available from — Selected tech and electronics retailers

Contact — Jaybird Sport


Review ~ Anytune for Mac

(You can click on these pictures for a zoomed-in closer view)

New software for Mac helps you learn tunes like nothing ever helped you before.
Visually Anytune is something like the music playing part of of Tunes but it has extra features to help you learn existing songs. Now the Mac version is here (some of you may be familiar with Anytune Pro Plus for iPad) and it’s a little like the longstanding – and much simpler – Amazing Slow Downer updated for 2016 with many improvements.

Get a track in — You can import a music file by dragging and dropping it onto Anytune in the Dock, or let Anytune access iTunes to access your iTunes library and playlists directly.
To do this, you need to quit Anytune, open iTunes, open iTunes’ Preferences. Click the Advanced tab, and turn on the option to Share iTunes Library XML with other applications. If it is already clicked, you need to turn it off and on again, launch Anytune and a confirmation will check that you want to give Anytune permission to open these files.
Double-click a song from the iTunes media (or, if you’ve drag-and-dropped a track from elsewhere, this will display the same) and a wave form view appears in Anytune’s main window. There’s a Play button at bottom centre (the Spacebar start/stop from iTunes, GarageBand, QuickTime etc also works to do this) and the song starts to play. A square button at top right (it has a musical note in it) lets you hide or reveal this waveform view – hiding it shows the iTunes lists and playlists again.
Load up a few songs to learn, and then you can work on them as a playlist, one after another. You can flick through these at top left. Anytune picks up the Beats Per Minute (BPM) value that’s recorded with iTunes – if no value is recorded there, Anytune works it out.

Interface — AnyTune is for serious users, and the developers recommend you learn some of the keyboard shortcuts to help you learn songs more easily. These are listed in the Help Menu, luckily. They open in Preview so you can print them out, which is a thoughtful touch.


Above the central transport controls at the bottom there are two little panels with plus and minus signs either side of them (above).  The one on the left is for speed faster and slower, and the one on the right is for pitch, which means you can adjust a song to suit your tuning, the key you sing in or whatever. The value it lands on is displayed in the centre of this little panel, and you can Control- or right-click on this to choose a value yourself, or select Set Tempo and type in the value you want; this functionality works the same for Pitch. Any value you set here is remembered next time you open AnyTune with that song.
At top right there are three view buttons with choices Wave (which shows a zoomed-in section of the song), EQ and Lyrics.
Along the bottom, there are controls for marks you set to help you navigate, volume, transport controls and a cluster for controlling looping. Between these controls and the main view is a bar which shows the playhead’s position in the song, and on the left is displayed the time position of the playhead, and on the right, the time remaining. There are also semi-transparent A and B sliders which you can use to define the section of the song you want to work on, and/or loop. You can side-scroll with your cursor in the main window, of click-and-drag in this smaller, full-song view below. You can also just double-click anywhere in the full-song view to jump the playhead to that position. The transport control lets you also click to move forwards or backwards either side of there the current playhead is at.

PulldownMarks and jumps — There are two types of marks you can set: Audio and Loop. To set a mark, just tap the M key on your keyboard at any time (as the music plays), or click the Mark button to the left of the central transport control. Marking adds a vertical blue line onto the track with a large number tab at its top, which you can drag for more precision. The Marks List button at top left (shown above-left) lets you display all the marks you have set, and you can click on the names of the entries in this list to change them and give them names (Intro, Verse etc) as you wish. Rather than type the section name yourself, a pull-down menu appears under a disclosure triangle with suggestions (and you can edit these in Preferences). You can add text notes to these marks too, in the Marks list part.
The Mark-jump button to the right of the main Play button at bottom centre lets you jump mark to mark, or you can double-click entries in the Marks list, if you have it displayed, to jump your playhead to that position. The marks are saved automatically, and even backed up to iCloud, and can be shared with other Anytune users.

Loops — Anyone who has ever learnt someone else’s song by listening knows you have to listen to it over and over again. With Anytune, you can get those tricky sections repeating. Just drag the A on the left and B on the right sliders (they’re brown, with draggable tabs at the bottom) to the section you want, and click the Loop button; you can also click the Loop Play button without any section marked to just have the whole song playing repeatedly. There are all sorts of extra loop controls to nudge the loop section, extend it slightly, wipe the loop and more. To set Loop Marks, press the Loop Mark button or, more easily, the S key on your keyboard.

Once you have a loop section defined, try the ‘Step-It-Up Trainer (I kid you not, that’s what it’s called – it is as above). You can choose this from the Loop menu or, quicker, hit Command-U. This has its own settings to, for example, start slow and speed up on successive plays by increments that work for you. Get to this settings pane from the item just below the above mentioned: Step-It-Up Settings and set it up to suit the speed at which you learn.

Handy features — Ever tapped Play and by the time you have your fingers on your guitar, the song’s already past that critical point? Shift-spacebar gives you a few seconds grace before Anytune starts playing.
Autoloop (it’s in the Marks List View) lets you tag any marks you have set to automatically create loop sections between them.
You can decide whether to copy the song files into Anytune or let it play them from iTunes, which will save space on, say, a MacBook Air.
You can adjust the gain, balance and pan of any track right within anytune, and turn on Enable Livemix from the Livemix button to track music through a live input through Anytune. The balances of these can be controls with rotary knobs at left and right below the main window, above the transport controls.
You can re-EQ tracks too, in the EQ view, to compensate for bad recordings or to help accentuate the part you need to learn (bass, lead guitar, vocals etc) by boosting the relevant frequencies or cutting those of parts that make hearing your part harder. You can create presets for these: for example, one that accentuates vocals, to use with other songs; any EQ setting you make is stored with the song in Anytune (not on the original track – that remains pristine.)
In Lyric view, any lyrics stored in the song file are displayed, or you can add your own. You can even set ascii tabs for these so they scroll with the song (tap the little gearwheel icon at the left of the transport display) and set what colour the type is displayed in, and its font and size.
Say you have Anytune but your student doesn’t? You can export half and 3/4-speed versions of songs for them.

In use — You can set up playlists to hold songs you want to learn, or songs your teacher wants you to learn. You could rank songs in the order you are going to play them in, say for a live set – of course, since you can use this as a practice setup for original music, assuming you have your own songs recorded, you can drag and drop them into Anytune as well, and practice to your heart’s content at home, with or without headphones.
Check out the Anytune video, which is great both for an overview and also as a sort of Quick Start manual once you have the program, and there’s a free 30-day trial available at the website.

Conclusion — Anytune works really well to help you learn any song, and with the looping, pitch control and EQm it’s easier than ever to really decipher those tricky parts of those weird songs you want to learn. with its ease of importing and impressive feature set, it’s sure to answer practically all your music learning needs whether you’re working out some classical piano or some shredding metal guitar.

What’s great — Works as promised: slowing music down really helps nut out those important bits that have been defying you. It’s also great for practicing solo.

What’s not — Quite a learning curve, but the astute will appreciate the power, flexibility and control this gives them.

Needs — anyone who can’t read, or find, music for tracks they want to play.

Anytune for Mac NZ44.99 (US$29.99) from the Mac App Store.
System — macOS 10.9 or higher, 64-bit processor
Contact — Anytune.