Audio, Reviews

Want to batch process audio files at highest possible quality? Try Myriad

Myriad interface

Myriad is an audio batch processor. It has been for some time, but version 4 has been totally redesigned. It has beautiful looks and processes files at blazing speeds. Myriad has a large number of processing actions you can combine and save into workflows. It will simultaneously export to multiple formats, sample rates and frequencies giving you advanced configuration options and dithering algorithms.

Myriad interface

Myriad is an Audiofile Engineering application for the Mac. It allows you to process and convert multiple audio files. Processing is done with the help of workflows. These are sets of individual actions. A workflow can be made up of a dozen actions or just one. The workflow concept allows audio engineers and enthusiasts to simultaneously convert files in one format to any number of other formats. For example, if you have a collection of AIFF files that you want to convert into MP3, FLAC and WAV files, each with their own bitrate and sample frequency, you can do that using one workflow. You would set up the different formats and different folders to export into.

Audio batch processing: how many files in 1 minute?

Myriad is fast too. I converted 999 WAV samples of 60sec on average to AIFF while processing the mono files to stereo. It took my mid-2011 iMac i5/3.2GHz no more than 2min 10sec.

Myriad audio actions

Except for converting audio into different formats such Ogg Vorbis, FLAC and MP3, Myriad also supports the processing of the audio itself. For example, you can batch process files for a different panning setting than the original. And why stay with one panning setting? It’s as easy to set up a workflow that exports the same files to different panning settings as it is to do this for a single setting. The workflow and action concept is user-friendly and allows you to create your own workflows.

Most audio engineers will have a whole collection of AU, AAX or VST plug-ins. There’s an action that lets you use any of these, so that you’re not bound to the standard collection delivered with the app.

Myriad allows you to process and export files that are Red Book compatible (CDs). This includes converting and downsampling, which is done at the highest possible quality. Audiofile Engineering does not develop their own dithering and sample rate converting algorithms. Instead, it uses a third party technology developed by Goodhertz. The Goodhertz SRC has virtually zero aliasing with performance better than -192 dB.

And compared to some long-standing dither algorithms, Audiofile Engineering claims Goodhertz Good Dither produces better noise reduction without excessive noise shaping. Good Dither also has a wider, flatter noise reduction region which contributes to higher performance in the most critical areas. However, most companies don’t use Goodhertz technology, but instead rely on iZotope’s MBit+ technology. I have nothing but praise for MBit+ dithering and the quality it allows for, so I decided to put this claim to the test.

Myriad waveform window

Downsampling quality

I tested the output of a number of 48kHz files to three formats with decreasing quality at 44kHz, 16kHz and 8kHz. I then auditioned the results using my Duet iPad/Mac and my Sennheiser 650HD headphones. There was no audible difference between the 48kHz and 44kHz files. The 16kHz file had a barely audible noise in areas with high frequency sounds. In the 8KHz version this noise was audible but not frustrating. From this highly subjective test, I conclude Goodhertz’s dither technology is about as good as Mbit+. Let me rephrase that: if I were to listen to two dithered samples, of which one was converted using the Good Dither and the other the Mbit+ algorithm, I wouldn’t know which was either.

Myriad being a professional tool is further made obvious from the advanced conversion capabilities to FLAC and Ogg. The FLAC Advanced action for example, lets you access QLP, mid-size encoding and order models.

Myriad processing feedback

Intelligent Stereo to Mono is another action that clarifies the tool is aimed at professional sound engineers. It converts stereo files to mono but only if the file fulfils the condition you have set in the Channel Similarity checkbox. For example, if you set this to “Identical” the file will only convert if the channels are indeed identical.

Myriad contains about 100 of these and similar actions built-in, including ones that allow you to process and prepare movie soundtracks. It costs about €72.