BOOT CAMP 539 (26/08/08)

Freeware Top Tens part 3, Audio and Multimedia


Audio and multimedia is the focus of this week’s rummage in the freeware and shareware goodie bag. Unless you have some very specific needs this is one area of the PC software market where you really don’t need to spend a penny because the freebie offerings are so good.


These programs have been thoroughly tested on XP and Vista PCs; however, as usual you install them at your own risk. If you have any problems ask the author or check the website not us, and please don’t forget to pay the licence fee or make a donation if you find a program useful and continue to use it. It’s the right thing to do and helps sustain the vibrant and resourceful freeware community.



Audacity, XP & Vista, 2.6Mb

It’s the audio equivalent of a word processor. Basically it’s a multi-track recorder that records any sound passing through your PC. That means you can record from the web, from files, from CDs and DVDs, external sources, microphones and so on. In other words if you can hear it on your computer’s speakers, you can record it. Now here’s the good bit. Audacity lets you edit your recordings. Cut and paste sounds, make them go backwards, add special effects, surgically remove clicks, split long recordings into tracks and much much more. There are virtually no limits and when you have finished you can save the recording in any of the most popular audio formats for copying to disc, media player or web upload. 



Babya iGrab, XP & Vista, 310k

iPods are great but they can be infuriating, especially when it comes to moving tracks from the player to a PC. Babya is the answer; you can a copy single track or an entire library. There’s no software to install on the computer, just download the program and copy two small files to your iPod and it instantly becomes PC friendly. No changes are made to the player so it is perfectly safe to use.



BBC iPlayer, XP & Vista, 6Mb

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past year you’ll know that the BBC iPlayer lets you download BBC TV and radio programs from the last 7 days on to your PC, to watch straight away, or later, on your computer or a TV. As they say, unmissable…



Free Hi Q Recorder, XP & Vista, 3.14Mb,

This versatile recording utility has hidden talents. First and foremost it’s simple way to record streamed audio content from Internet radio stations and podcasts and turn them into MP3 files, It also records from CDs and DVDs and you can use it to make ring tones and create podcasts but here’s the twist, you don’t even have to be there because it has a built-in timer.



Media Monkey, XP & Vista, 6.6Mb

New and improved, Media Monkey is one of the most sophisticated audio file managers available. It doesn’t matter how large your collection is, it can handle 50,000 files without batting an eyelid, and if your library is in a mess it will sort it out. Media Monkey organises your music according to almost any criteria or genre, create playlists, sync your sounds to iPods, media players, phones, convert tracks from one format to another on the fly, normalise volume levels, delete duplicates and play a huge range of popular and obscure formats.



Media Player Classic, XP & Vista, 1.6Mb,

It seems like MPC has been around forever but don’t let that fool you. This compact media player plays files that many fancy programs just can’t handle, and if it can’t there’s bound to be a downloadable codec that will make it compatible. Needless to say it can also play CDs, DVD, avi, QuickTime, RealPlayer etc. (with suitable codecs), but it’s the obscure stuff where it excels. If you have an obstinate movie clip, from a phone or digital camera that won’t play on your PC then let MPC have a crack at it.



Switch Formats, XP & Vista, 395kb

Convert multimedia files from one format to another, if it’s on the list, Switch can do it: wav (PCM, ADPCM+, aLaw+, uLaw+, and others), mp2+, mp3, mpga+ (MPEG Audio), au, aif/aiff, gsm, dct, vox, raw, ogg, flac, amr, wma, wmv, aac, (not aacPlus), m4a, mid+, act/rcd/rec+ (latest version not supported), rm/ra/ram+, dvf+, msv+ (some versions not supported), dss+ (SP Mode only), sri+, shn+, cda+, mov, avi+, mpg/mpeg+, m3u+, .pls+, and there’s more, but we’ve run out of space….



WildVoice Studio, XP & Vista, 24Mb,

Create your own Podcasts; WildVoice turns your PC into a well-specified recording studio, just add a microphone. It has everything you need, including mixing facilities and there’s even a built-in sound effects library



Winamp, XP & Vista, 8.6Mb

One of the oldest but still one of the best free media players, compatible with most audio and video file formats and famous for its highly customisable interface and the thousands of distinctive skins and plugins.



Yamipod, XP & Vista, 4.5Mb

Yet Another Manager for iPods or Yamipod frees you from the tyranny of iTunes. It provides full control over your player, what goes in and what comes out, it can even run directly from your iPod so there’s no need to install any software. Your iPod it is instantly recognised as soon as you plug it in; you can read, write, and copy mp3, AAC and id3 files to and from your iPod. It has fully featured playlists, two restore functions, duplicate track remover, lost file finder, PC to iPod synchronisation, create and edit notes ratings edit, to name just a few…


Next Week – Freeware Top Tens part 4





Compression/decompression (or coder - decoder) software utility or add-on used to process digital data



Audio recording (usually mp3 format) downloadable from websites



Add-on to change the cosmetic appearance of a program




MP3 My MP3, XP & Vista, 5.7Mb

Here’s another audio recorder, and it will capture anything you can hear through your PC’s speakers, but this one is quick and simple to use, and it only does mp3, so there’s no messing around with file formats.



Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at



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