ICED AUDIO AudioFinder 4.5.7 (Mac)

An audio-file browse, search, and edit utility.
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AudioFinder''s one-window GUI includes a Library panel, a dual-format browser, and an audio-file viewer and player.

A lot has changed since Iced Audio AudioFinder ($69.95) won an EM 2005 Editors' Choice Award. That was version 2.4.4; version 4.5.7 sports a different look and a host of new features. These include a basic sample editor ideally suited for beat slicing, a detachable player window that tracks your selections in the Mac OS X Finder, and much-improved browsing, scanning, and searching tools. Many other features have been improved in one way or another.

First and foremost, AudioFinder is about finding and auditioning audio files on your hard drives. When launched, it presents you with its own browser, which is similar to the List view of Mac OS X Finder windows. You can toggle an optional Columns view above the List view that automatically interacts with the List view to give you the best of both worlds. Whenever you select an audio file in a recognized format (just about any format you can think of, including MIDI files and Apple Loops), the file is displayed and played in the AudioViewer window, which by default is docked below the browser. You can defeat automatic playback and limit the size of displayed files.

By Any Means

To the left of the browser views, you'll find a Library panel with a variety of navigation options. One of the most useful is Finder Selection. That makes the AudioViewer follow your selections in the Mac OS X Finder rather than in AudioFinder's browser. To make things even more convenient, you can detach the AudioViewer, making it a floating window, and then close the browser.

However you go about finding and auditioning files, AudioFinder maintains two handy temporary bins: Playback History and Session Favorites. You populate Session Favorites by dragging-and-dropping audio files onto it, whereas Playback History contains every audio file you've selected during the session (whether played or not). You can add either bin to the permanent Library.

Browsing files can be tedious, and AudioFinder has a variety of search tools to streamline the process. First, it supports Spotlight searching, restricting the results to audio files. Then it offers keyword searching within the current list of found items, and you can search in folder names, file names, and Finder comments. Once you've entered a search word, you can use it to refine the current search to items including or excluding the word.

AudioFinder's best search trick is its ability to scan for audio files nested at any level below the selected folder. For example, you can scan your entire hard drive or a single loop library. Furthermore, you can limit your search by file extension — excluding certain types of audio files as well as including nonaudio files. You can create Scan Sets including combinations of folders not within the same nested hierarchy. Scanning huge nests of folders takes a while, but you can save the results for instant access later.

And Then?

Finding and auditioning audio files is usually a means to an end. AudioFinder supports full drag-and-drop from its various browser displays, and that's often more convenient than using your DAW's or sample editor's browser. You can freely add your favorite audio-processing applications to the Tools menu, which lets you instantly open selected files in those applications. You can also copy, move, or alias files to bookmarked locations with a single mouse-click or key command.

For DSP you get the typical set of sample-editor options such as normalizing, swapping and mixing channels, trimming, cropping, phase inversion, pitch-shifting, and so on. You can apply your favorite AU plug-ins (one at a time) and bounce the results, and you can batch process all selected files. You even get a plug-in manager for creating and managing AU, VST, RTAS, and Digidesign plug-in sets.

A basic sample editor, called the Sample Tool, offers quick trimming, fading, cropping, and beat slicing. You can export slices as individual audio files or save the file, converted to AIFF, with embedded slice markers. AudioFinder can randomly shuffle the slices for you. That's especially useful with percussion loops.

AudioFinder is a great utility for file conversion and renaming. With Power Rename, you can find and replace text, add or strip text at the beginning or end of file names, and serialize the names of any selected batch of files. You can convert files to any format supported by iTunes; you can directly convert between PCM formats AIFF, WAV, and SD2; and you can encode files in MP3 or the lossless FLAC format. If you have a Mac and lots of audio files, AudioFinder is a must-have utility.

Value (1 through 5): 5
Iced Audio