NUGEN Audio Jotter lets you collaborate from within your DAW

Nugen Audio’s just released Jotter, a stand-alone app and plugin for your DAW that enables group workflows by adding a comments capability to your audio’s timeline. Jotter is very simple to use and makes post-production of audio a lot easier.

Jotter is an annotation tool for your audio’s timeline that streamlines collaboration on sound projects. It automatically locks your comments to the timecode of your DAW when used as a plugin, and to its own timecode when used in its stand-alone capacity. Jotter doesn’t require a live connection between participants as you can export its annotations to a .csv file and send it by email to another Jotter user.

If need be, that .csv file can even be used barebones if you have a collaborator who doesn’t want to install the tool. They lose out on the ability to instantly jump to the comments in the timeline, of course. At 44 EUR/USD, Jotter isn’t going to break the bank, though, so why would they?

I tested Jotter both as a stand-alone app and plugin to Logic Pro X. The stand-alone app requires you to load an audio file — it will even open FLAC files — and then you can start annotating. Obviously, Jotter has all the transport buttons in addition to a macro wave form view, scrollbar, etc. The app and plugin allow you to create notes, either globally or at specific moments on the timeline. Global notes do not carry a timecode and they are the easiest; you just switch the Global section of the interface and start typing.

The most useful, however, are the timeline based notes. Those really allow you to pinpoint problems or other comments to specific parts or notes on the timeline. And it’s well thought out how you can add those time based comments. There are two ways. Either you start playing the audio and when you hear something you want to annotate, you simply click in the top area of the wave form display on the note or part of the wave form where you had your “aha” moment. An empty note will appear in the sidebar and you can instantly type your comment while the audio keeps playing.

This is a method that might work with, for example, interviews or presentations. It will be less likely that you’ll want to keep the audio playing with music, though, as you might easily lose track of other moments where you want to comment. In those cases, you simply stop the playhead and insert the note, then resume playing.

And here I have a minor problem. Normally, the playhead will follow until you explicitly click the auto-follow icon, but when you stop the playhead and insert a note that icon and its auto-follow functionality will automatically turn off. That is disturbing because when you resume playing you expect the wave form to scroll and it doesn’t.

When you have a bunch of notes, you can jump to previous comments by clicking on the timecode. That works well if you accurately click the timecode numbers. If you’re even a fraction of a millimetre next to one of the actual numbers that make up the timecode, nothing happens. Again, mildly frustrating, but easily solved with an update that makes the entire timecode zone click-sensitive or at the very least uses bold text. These two quirks are the only criticism I have.

In your DAW, Jotter works mostly in the same ways, except for two things. Obviously, there’s no File open button and playback controls aren’t shown. There’s one more thing that is not available when Jotter is used as a plugin, at least in Logic Pro X: the automatic jump to the note’s timecode when clicked. According to the developer, this isn’t allowed by Apple. I do know it’s a pity Jotter doesn’t support this when it’s a plugin to Logic Pro X — it would certainly make it a lot more efficient.


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