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Snapper review

Verdict:

Review Date: 15 Feb 2008

Price when reviewed: (about £44)

Reviewed By: Giles Turnbull

Our Rating 4 stars out of 5

Snapper, from Dutch software house Audio Ease, is a tool for managing, manipulating and generally messing about with audio files.

It is not a sound editor (although it can edit sounds in a manner of speaking), nor is it a sound library manager (although it can help here too).

Snapper works with all sorts of audio files, including split stereo, 5.1 surround, and video files with audio, and just about every professional audio format you can think of. It also integrates neatly with Pro Tools.

Once installed, Snapper appears whenever you click on an audio file in the Finder, appearing just below your active Finder window. The 'magnetic' preference makes sure that the Snapper window stays with you as you move around in the Finder or move Finder windows around on screen. This is a nice touch and makes Snapper feel much more like part of the system and your work flow. The info panel on the left of the Snapper window displays embedded metadata and is very customisable; so too is everything else right down to the colour scheme used to show waveforms.

Once a sound file is selected Snapper can do a number of useful things aside from playing it back. First is simple editing, with the emphasis on 'simple'. Select a chunk of audio, drag it out of Snapper and a fresh sound file is created (either as an MP3 if you install the Lame codec yourself or as AAC if you stick with the defaults). Click on the Mail icon and your snippet is exported and added to a new outgoing Mail message.

Unlike audio asset management apps it assumes that you are organised already. The problem it tries to solve is that of finding the right file within a folder, then acting on it both quickly and easily.

If you have Pro Tools installed, Snapper will send files - or selected snippets - directly to your current cursor position there. For good measure, it recognises peak regions saved in files that have been previously edited elsewhere, and points out the loudest sample in each channel. Zoom controls let you get close enough to pick out individual samples if necessary.

There's not much inside Snapper that you can't do with existing software already. What's appealing about it is the way it puts simple, useful functions within easy reach; it's not so much what Snapper does, it's the way that it does it.

Snapper won't appeal to everyone, but we can see circumstances where it will come in very handy such as when you might wish to quickly email a sound file to a colleague, or grab an extra snippet for a larger, more complicated Pro Tools project. Ultimately it's a niche product and rather expensive. But the generous 100-day demo time gives anyone a decent chance to see if it suits them.

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