Software for Both Solos and Sing-Alongs

March 8, 2012 12:00 am

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That's important for Glee's other big feature -- namely, collaboration and sharing your songs with the world. (This feature, too, is available only for songs you obtain through the app.) If you tap on the "World" button, you see a globe with icons showing other Glee users who have sung a particular song, with audio from one of those performances.

You can comment, or, if you'd like to earn tokens, collaborate by laying your vocal atop those other singers.

If you're feeling more competitive than collaborative, Sing Sports is an entertaining option. You use it with two or more people who take turns singing a song (without accompaniment), then compete to see who can best match the first singer, note for note.

The app is made by TC-Helicon, a specialist in software and hardware for vocalists. The company's other app, VoiceJam, is more sophisticated, and is suited to hobbyists and more serious singers alike.

VoiceJam is simple to use, partly because it includes a great, step-by-step tutorial that is sorely lacking on many other sophisticated music apps, like VocaLive.

Think of it as an a capella studio that lets you record loops and build layers of beats and harmonies over the existing recording. For $4 you can add a vocal processor with note correction, and $2 buys you a "reverb" effect.

If you like your recording, you can export it to programs that follow the AudioCopyPaste standard, which is well known to audiophiles.

VocaLive is more fully featured than VoiceJam, but it's also more complicated as a result. I opened the app on my iPhone and counted more than 25 buttons I could push. While a video tutorial explains all the things you can do with the app, it fails to show you how exactly to complete those tasks, step by step. The company's text-based manual is helpful, but not nearly as efficient as video.

If you take the time to learn, though, you can create professional-sounding tracks with a wide range of vocal effects, and add instruments as well. The app also lets you record over iTunes selections, though it failed to fully mute the vocals of some songs in my collection.

If this sounds too ambitious, GarageBand has a limited selection of vocal effects in addition to its simulated instruments, but it is simpler to use than either VoiceJam or VocaLive.

First Published 2012-03-07 23:01:23

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