Fission v1.0.0
Company: Rogue Amoeba Software

Price: $32

Think !! quickly !! of the most life-altering third-party software tools you have that are affordable, easy to use, and that instantly enhance your computing experience. For Nemo this list is short: Roxio’s Toast, Micromat’s DiskStudio, Prosoft’s Picture Rescue, Netopia’s Timbuktu, SuperDuper from Shirt Pocket Software, StuffIt Expander by Allume, and Senuti by Whitney Young of Did I forget any of your favorites? Let me know in our Article Discussion area below, please.

Wait — what about Audio Hijack Pro from the talented team of six engineers and designers at Rogue Amoeba Software? uses Audio Hijack Pro every week to record segments of our podcasts. If you are not already a podcast listener, you can obtain info and links here.

Rogue Amoeba just released Fission, to help users edit sound files, without any loss of audio quality. Let’s say you download our latest MiniPodcast, and you want to get rid of one of my All Over the Mac segments or No Snooze Reviews, but leave the rest of the show intact. How to do it?

You open the “.mp3” audio file of our podcast into Fission, use its Select feature to determine the timing of the section to delete, highlight that section’s wave form, and press Fission’s Cut button. In reality it takes a minute or two to figure out where any given internal timing begins and ends, but the process can happen veryveryvery quickly once you are familiar with the interface.

Quick detour — why does it matter that lossless editing keeps files in their original formats? Paul from Rogue Amoeba explains:
“In almost every other editor, John, if you edit an MP3 or an AAC file, it decodes the compressed audio to AIFF to let you edit. Then, when you save it, it will re-encode to MP3 (or AAC) again. This causes a generational loss in quality, just like saving a jpg from a jpg, or making a copy of a copy on tape (or almost anything, really).”

While David Weeks and I were recording a conversation about iTunes 7’s new features, David paused to collect his thoughts, but didn’t press Audio Hijack Pro’s Pause button soon enough, leaving a space of dead air in the middle of our chitchat. Afterward I navigated to that part of his commentary, cut out the gap, and David sounds brilliantly coherent, without any clicks or pops as giveaways. A similar technique can be used to get rid of commercials for seamless content audio playback.

I record Dick Buckley’s three-hour jazz radio program from Chicago Public Radio every Sunday. See my blog on this subject. If I only want to keep the final hour, in which he features one jazz artist, I can do so using Fission, and then put that hour onto a single audio CD for future listening and archiving. If I make a major goof, Fission allows users to Revert to Original, thankfully.

If you are unfamiliar with the look and details of audio wave forms, Fission has an extensive manual to get you started, with tutorials that will make sense sooner rather than later. Topics include: Cutting Audio (Removing Commercials), Splitting A File, Using Smart Split, Editing Metadata (ID3 Tags), and Creating Ringtones. That last one will be popular, I predict.

You are either a person who wants to fade, split, and edit audio tracks or you aren’t, so if you’re scratching your head and yawning, I’m not offended. But if the opportunity to trim your trax gets your pulse racing, you are not alone. Fission is a blast.

This is our first look review of a version 1.0.0 release. As Rogue Amoeba adds features and functionality to Fission, we’ll come back for a deeper examination. Meanwhile, I’ll be tidying up self-created and recorded audio files until they are so clean they could reside in my grandmother’s underwear drawer.

Highest praise to Fission 1.0.0, with thanks to our friends at Rogue Amoeba for such great shareware utilities and help files.

Our rating is 4.5 out of 5 because there is always room for improvement. But not much with Fission!


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