Every aspiring re-mixer has dreamed of this software. Plug mixed music – an MP3, a CD track, a WAV file – in one end, watch as it's broken into its component parts (complete with unnecessarily flashy graphical effects), then muck about with the track's individual instruments to your heart's content.

Move notes, change chords, remove parts you don't like, or extract the vocals for mixing into another track. No fuss – just one-click remixing. At least that's the theory.

Unfortunately, MP3s run through the Hit'n'Mix mangle end up bruised beyond their initial beauty. They're split, yes, but only into vague approximations of their main instruments – about 50 per cent of the theory in action – and a selection of tracks consisting of compression artifacts and essential harmonics. Instruments are rarely, if ever, sorted into proper groups, which means the individual volume mixers are difficult to use without a lot of manual work.

Off key

But poor grouping is the last of Hit'n'Mix's worries. The individual notes are the real problem; clicking to play them on their own reveals them to be ugly, washed out, and unworkable outside their original context.

Move a single muscle of the track and you'll hear the jarring glitchiness left behind; change its overarching style – from major to minor, or even to 'summer' – and the whole thing ends up a peculiar mess. This is true of everything from MP3s to 320kB/s WAV files, and it's true of every style we tested, from electronica to heavy metal to single-instrument classical pieces.

We can't fault the concept, and the manual is very apologetic about the things Hit'n'Mix can't do. But when changing even the cleanest recording turns it into a garbled mess, it's not unfair to suggest that this should have stayed on the drawing board a bit longer.

Try the free version before dropping £80 on the full thing; you might get more out of it than us.

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