Today there is going to be an app review of Snowtape, the developers bought an advert (in the sidebar) so I decided to try the app out and see what it was all about. In a nut shell it is an application for listening to practically any radio station that is on the Internet. It also goes a bit further than that and it allows you to capture and edit sound bits and songs for personal use. As with any Mac application of this quality it is easy to use, well built and looks beautiful. I’m going to review the main features of the application.
The application is split into two main areas, the radio station directory and the recording editing suite. The radio directory has hundreds, if not thousands, of radio stations to listen to. This include the popular ones as well as the lesser known ones. If it has a URL available, it is probably in the directory, if not you can add your own. As you would expect it also has a search option and play back controls.
Clicking on any radio station entry allows you to view more information about that stream. Information includes, location, language, who added it when it was last updated plus links to the website that runs the radio station. Although I haven’t tested all of the features relating to Snowtape there is the ability to add your own streams (from sources that might not be that common). You do need an account (which is free), this gives you the ability to store you own radio stations and share them, with other people.
Listening to music in the app couldn’t be easier. If you like to listen to a lot of music this app is a great way to find new stations and share, and organise what you listen too. It also includes features such as integrating with Safari and Firefox, this allows you to quickly and easily start playing radio stations which you come across. It has support for WMA music stations so you don’t need to worry about compatibility. It also boasts a well designed mini controller and the ability to stream to Airport Express devices.
The ability to listen to different radio stations and the way it is organised is pretty cool in this application. I would be happy with that functionality on its own. However SnowTape takes it a step further an allows you to record the music and sounds bites you hear. Gone are the days where you have to remember to stop the record at the end of the record, SnowTape can do this for your (it can even cut out commercials).
Depending on the complexity of the radio stream, and how many features it has installed will depending how automatic your recording can be. Nowadays most streams come with information saying which track they are playing, such as the track name, album name, album art work etc. This can be gleamed from the radio stream (and access to the music database which iTunes uses), as a result you set it record and over the period of an hour it will generate plenty of music files from the tracks played on the radio station. Snowtape can also go a step further and guess where the commercials are removing the tracks.
The capabilities of the record do vary on which station you are listening to. If you are listening to a radio station which doesn’t give the track name the resulting recording is simply one long track. You can however add album art work, name, album etc. So if you are hot on your music you can add these yourself. I also think the app is great for recording shows or interviews which appear. If you enjoy a comedy show on your favourite channel your can record it and save it for later.
If you have found that your recording has some extra bits of sound you can cut the track (at the beginning and end) so it is just the right length. The editing options aren’t that powerful, however if it has some talking at the end, its a great way of getting rid of it.
Once as you have finished editing you can export the tracks to iTunes. There is some options in the Preferences which you can change which allows you to set the quality etc. If you have found the tracks you have recorded aren’t that good, and the quality is poor, there is links to the iTunes copy where you can download a better quality version.
The application, as you can see, has a clear path through. You pick your station, listen to it and if you find a bit of music you like you can record it and edit it. You can then but it on your iPod or store it for later use. Overall I think this app is well designed and if you like listening to the radio a good way to go about it. The application is a little difficult to get your head around when you start however after twenty minutes of playing around you get used to how it works. There isn’t millions of functions but what it does, do it does really well.
Try this application out and see what you think. If you do decide to purchase this app and you go through the banner add on the right hand side, in the sidebar (RSS and email subscribers will need to visit the site) you can get 30% off. Otherwise the app is $29, a reasonable price for what it does.