Aviary already has an established web presence with its fantastic suite of image and graphics tools (all named after birds – go see!) and this is a welcome diversion from them. It’s getting to the stage where they are seriously challenging the likes of Adobe’s Photoshop Elements and Illustrator for the education market.
The interface is intuitive if you have used loop-based audio editors before and is reasonably straightforward for neophytes as well. It certainly looks more engaging than Audacity which, athough a thoroughly excellent tool, isn’t the friendliest-looking thing.
The Garageband-like functions are interesting. You can create pieces of music quickly and easily without much musical know-how using intro’s, loops and endings. The production values on the original clips are high so the results are highly listenable.
You don’t have as much flexibility to mix instruments as Garageband. Essentially, they’ve chopped up ready-made pieces of music and you just reassemble the chunks in the order you want. For most uses that’s as much flexibility as you need.
I did have problems trying to record audio using a mic because I couldn’t get the server to respond when I tried it. It may be to do with being behind a proxy server at work. I used the feedback tool in Myna to flag it up but haven’t received a reply yet. I’ll update the post when I know more.
At the other end, saving and publishing work is a breeze. You save your work as you go then select Mixdown when you’re ready. It gives you an option to save the MP3 or copy the URL and embed code of the finished audio. A lot more painless than getting a class to export an MP3 using Audacity with it’s Lame encoder complications.
The possibilities are huge with this. It’s easy for a class to create podcasts in the classroom or at home, flex their creative muscles and then share what they’ve done. If you have class blog or use a VLE then htis could make homework very interesting indeed.
There’s no cost to set up an Aviary account but a pro subscription is available for $25 a year and there’s education pricing too which isn’t clarified on the website.
See Danny Nicholson’s earlier blog post for another review…