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Group test: what's the best audio and music software?

The best audio software packages you can buy

PC Advisor reviews the best five audio and music software you can buy in the UK right now. Updated 4 March 2011.

5. SRS Audio Essentials

All in all, I consider SRS Audio Essentials a must-download. If you use WMP for playback, you don't need it, but VLC lovers and users of other players should grab it. One warning: Sound enhancement can be addictive. Plain ol' playback may never again suffice.

4. Traktor Pro 2

Traktor 2 is available in a wide variety of price points and feature sets. You can find the comparison chart at Native Instruments' site. There's a lot of DJ software out there, and a lot of its significantly cheaper than Traktor, but you won't find any with more features, FX, or better hardware support. It has features galore, and I've only scratched the surface here (pun intended).

3. Apple GarageBand '11

Were Apple GarageBand ’11 a standalone product, this largely evolutionary version might have merited a .5 release rather than a bump to a new version number. But where iLife goes, so goes GarageBand. All the changes that have been made - expanded lessons, How Did I Play, the greater variety of guitar amps and effects, and the addition of Flex Time and Groove Matching - are useful for those who take advantage of them. As both a musician and podcaster, I’ve found GarageBand to be an invaluable tool. And it remains so. If you’re one of the many people who have never bothered with it, perhaps it’s time to dig out that old keyboard or guitar and give it a try.

2. AudioTool

Audiotool has a comprehensive range of instruments, mixers and effects and you can save your work online. It slows down when creating bigger projects though, and there’s not much documentation. But as free creative tools go, Audiotool is about as good as it gets.

1. Bootstrap MediaWidget

If you have MediaWidget on your PC, your iPod or iPhone becomes as much of a backup for your PC's media files as the PC is a backup for your gadget. It may be limited, but it's dead easy to use and works well. That must be worth £19 of most iPod users' cash.

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