If you find the media players and related software designed to turn your PC into a multimedia machine a little underwhelming, then check out our favourite 15 video and audio applications, all of which can handle just about any job you can throw at them. Visit PC Advisor Downloads for hundreds of great software downloads.
Your PC's bundled audio player has plenty of limitations. For starters, it can't help you create your own music or turn you into a DJ, and it probably can't play a large variety of music formats. The following downloads will fill all of those gaps, and they can do more than a few other tricks, too.
Tired of merely listening to music, and itching to create it as well? This free, open-source software (download Audacity here) is both a sound recorder and a sound editor, so you can record your music and then edit it. The editing tools are exceedingly sophisticated - in fact, they're probably more sophisticated than you need. You can add any of several dozen sound effects, use a powerful mixer, and more. The app handles MP3, .wav, AIFF, and Ogg Vorbis file formats; you can also use the software to convert files between formats.
Through the powerful editing features you can cut, copy, paste, and delete portions of a recording; use fades; and mix an unlimited number of tracks. You can also generate special sounds and mix them, and create your own ‘soundscapes'. Most people won't need all of Audacity's capabilities, but it's good to know that they're there.
If you're looking to create your own music mixes, normal media players can't help. Instead, you need a program like VirtualDJ (download it here), which will let you mix and 'scratch' audio files and create remixes. It offers numerous effects and music samples, and employs a turntable-like visual metaphor to do all of your work. Near each virtual turntable you can see your samples, effects, and other tools for assembling your mix. Since the interface has two turntables, you can easily combine and mix two pieces of music. The program will also rip music and burn your mixes to CDs. You can create your own customised video mixes, too.
This software comes in two versions, VirtualDJ HomeEdition, which costs $49 (£30) and VirtualDJ Pro, which is priced at $299 (£183). Most people will want the less-expensive HomeEdition; it offers all the features of the Pro edition, except that it can't interface with external hardware such as a mixer or a turntable.
NEXT PAGE: Foxy Tunes and Zune Media Player
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