Here’s a list of software that we have found to be extremely useful in making our day to day lives easier, faster and more reliable. See what you think and we hope you find some new things that work for you. We’ll keep adding to this list, so come back and check it from time to time.
1 - Freeze - Amazon Glacier Storage App
Archiving data can be a laborious task, and coupled with the cost of hard drives to store it on can get a little pricey. Not to mention the hassle of the much too regular failure of an archive drive that has been sitting around in a cupboard. Average rates for Hard Drive failure rates for many of the top manufacturers can be between 4 and 10%, with this rate being higher for portable drives, and has, for us become something we would prefer to avoid relying on. If you figure that 20% of hard drives don’t survive to their 4th birthday it is even more concerning
Sure, you can use services like Google Drive and Dropbox, but it is going to get expensive pretty quickly (especially as you won’t need many of the functions those services provide). This is where Amazon Glacier can come in for archiving. Glacier is the really really really safe way to store your data (and much much cheaper than on a hard drive as well) with a failure rate on data estimated at 0.000000001%
Generally Amazon Glacier is a tool for those who are more computer nerdy and happy with a bit of scripting. Luckily for those who don’t want to go down that path or want something a little more like the standard Finder/Explorer windows the good folks at Volland Software Development have created a nice basic app that makes saving and retrieving from Amazon Glacier pretty much as simple as drag and drop.
2 -Meter Plugs [particularly Dynameter and Perception]
Meter plugs have some really cool plugins in their line up that have really sped up some of our work flows this year and are particularly important if you are considering putting any of your stuff on streaming services.
We were introduced to Dynameter by Ian Shepherd last year from his handy site http://productionadvice.co.uk/, and since then it sits permanently in our metering chain. We love the looks of it and it’s so intuitive to read, plus it helps you understand how your music is working dynamics wise compared to other tracks and how the you can have your music sound its best on the various streaming channels.
Meter Plugs also do great plugins like Perception. If you are doing any mastering this plugin should almost be a compulsory purchase. The clever thing about this plugin is that it matches the loudness levels of your audio before processing and after processing file. As you are doubtless aware, unless something is loudness normalised it is really hard (nigh on impossible) to make an accurate comparison as to whether what you are doing is making it better or worse (e.g. anything slightly louder will be perceived as ‘better’ - which would run you into problems once it goes onto e.g. Spotify). If you haven’t tried this plugin just do it, it will enlighten your understanding of audio, EQ and compression in ways you never expected and honestly make you a better, and more ‘magical’ person at mastering.
For more info, videos etc, and to get your own copy check out the site links above.
3 - Automator
Comes as part of OS X (sitting in your applications folder).
Automator unsurprisingly lets you automate all types of tasks you do on your Mac by using built-in actions to create workflows, it is pretty much drag and drop so you don’t need to know any coding. We use it for all sorts of tasks, changing large numbers of file names in particular, and most general boring tasks you really don’t want to do can be significantly sped up by getting automator to use it.
4 - Google Drive File Stream
Kind of a boring one to include as you probably have it already, but worth a mention as we do use it most days...Google drive is just handy, and they have recently updated it, so just in case you haven't updated it.
Having multiple parties editing documents and spreadsheets all at once
Backing up files
Gone are the times of losing pen drives and having failing hard drives.
5 - Time tracking software options
5a - Timeular ZEIº
Not the cheapest option on the block, but it looks cool and is fun to play with. Zei allows you to just flip the eight sided timer to switch from project to project quickly and easily. Hooks up via bluetooth and the rest is pretty similar to your standard time trackers after.
5b - HOFA 4U Project Time
Thanks HOFA for this free and super useful plugin you just drop into a slot on your DAW and away you go. Get it, if for no other reason to let you know how much time you spend on a mix (which is a really handy thing to help you estimate for future project rates and time to set aside per track). If you are charging by the hour it is always useful to have an accurate and easy way to keep everything on track. And here it is.
5c - Cube Anywhere
Access Cube Anywhere through your browser which makes it nice and easy if you move around a bit or use other people’s setups. You can also spit out reports (the best of the three time tracking options here) and track your budgets (super handy if you are a producer). Lots of features to make life easier so you can focus on the creative side more.