JoeSoft's Hear is a sound-engineering tool that can alter any audio playing through your Mac. It has many different ways of doing this and is easy to use.

The source of the audio could be any application - a song playing through iTunes or something streaming via Safari. Hear works with your Mac's hardware to change the sound and not individual apps.

Array of tools

You get a broad range of effects and features inside Hear. You can quickly apply a preset configuration under titles such as Action, Large Hall or Romantic and when you do, audio instantly changes, perhaps with more echo, reverb, or some similar effect depending on the preset.

You can also mute Mail, so if an email arrives it doesn't disturb your film-watching. It holds limited appeal for improving sound coming from iTunes or other apps with their own inbuilt EQs.

The software can also help when using Skype, which is prone to thinly recorded headset-generated signals. Also botched recordings made years ago can be polished to make them more presentable.

Unfortunately, you cannot save changes to individual files, as this is not an editing tool, only a playback tool, though JoeSoft tells us that this kind of feature is being considered for a future update.

Limited appeal

The problems we had with the app had nothing to do with its build or stability, which struck us as first class, but more to do with a lack of pressing need for it.

We listen to many different sources of audio everyday on our Mac and, frankly, we just can't be bothered to change the profile of all these files throughout the day, especially as preset configurations can't be saved for individual apps as you go along. And the price seems high for software that lacks these functions.

That said, it's the first such app we've seen so, for some, it might be useful.