So, I want to make everyone of you try out this little tool that I use quite a lot for my Thai learning. But at this moment it’s only released for iPad tablet (and maybe iPhones). It is called Comparative Audio. Here is a little review.
When it comes to finding an app to work on your audio skills, it can be quite challenging. It is even worse when the language you are learning is not one of the « big » languages. I was looking for a really long time, without any success until I got my hands on Comparative Audio. This is an application that I find absolutely unique and, even in the most recent version, this is a powerful tool for anyone who wants to work on studying a foreign language.
Note : I have no connection at all with the developer.
Comparative Audio is a true mini language lab on iPad.
I will bring my own resources : audio and video. This is ideal because the Internet is full of free files for almost all languages, You just have to look carefully for it using search engines such as Google or Bing.
So all it takes is loading up a file in Comparative Audio in any of the native iOS audio and video formats (mp4, m4v, mov, mp3, m4a and wav) from iTunes on a Mac or a PC with Windows installed, or maybe from an FTP connection (but the implementation seems a bit limited). Once the files are in the library, they can be used very easily, Comparative Audio is very simple to use. There is no need to prepare the files in any way.
The principle is as follows : Comparative Audio will play the audio or the video file as any normal player will do, with all the classic keys that are on the left of the interface. But the most important buttons of the app are on the right side. The first one is called “Voice Insert”. When you press it, the application knows that it is likely that the other button will be used from time to time as it serves to record the user’ voice. So the playback of the audio or video file is suspended and a blank, white space is created in which I will record my own voice. Then I touch the record button again for the playback to resume and so on. At the bottom of the interface, the blue ribbon reveals the content, and the red ribbon the voice inserts. Above, another ribbon represents the original recording in which I may jump from place to place.
Once the session reaches its end, the user can just save the original recording and the inserts into an another file that I can listen to anytime with any audio player. I can also export it to “read or send to a tutor” who can listen and make appropriate comments. I can keep recordings of several sessions of the same course in order to make comparisons over time.
If an audio file already incorporating while available, it is not necessary to activate the Voice Insert function, I will simply record my voice in the existing blanks. However, in this case, the application also captures in « background noise » behind the audio of the original lesson, which is a bit disturbing when listening the file later.
Comparative Audio is a good app for iPad, quite ergonomic and very easy to use. If you learn a language only at school or via a specialized school, but not living with native speakers, this application is a good complement.
I just regret that the developer seems to not make the app progress or update any further. I did contact them some months ago and they had many interesting ideas. But we didn’t get any new version since many months. Anyway the app works great.
It is a mere 9 euros buy on the iOS App Store (iOS 6 and 7).
(TEDInc LLC | www.comparativeaudio.com)