The latest version of Easy CD Creator’s many features and souped-up interface make it a hot pick of 1999. The question I get most often from those just jumping on the CD burning bandwagon is, “How do I convert MP3s to music I can play in my car?” Well, the Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe ($99) package answers that question and a whole bunch of others.
The hottest feature for MP3 fans is the ability to create an audio CD directly from MP3 files. Literally, all you have to do is drag and drop MP3 files into the CD layout and hit the record button – 4 Deluxe does the rest. As you drag and drop files, it provides a running tally of how much time is left to fill on the CD. It is a simple matter to keep adding MP3 files until the 74-minute cap is hit.
The MP3 conversion on the fly also helps to save space on your hard drive because it is not necessary to convert MP3s to WAV files before burning the CD. They are converted to the universal CDDA audio format directly. This is very, very cool.
It’s also very easy to make mix CDs with no dead air between songs. I just completed a dance mix for my sister’s wedding in Vegas. (This should be interesting.)
For each song you can specify how many seconds you would like the song to fade into the next track. This provides a constant stream of music and people can dance till they drop. I’ve been having so much fun downloading MP3s and burning CDs that I haven’t even touched the included CD labeling software. I did open it up, however, and could tell it’s an improvement over the old version.
4 Deluxe also has a very nifty backup feature called Take Two, which lets you back up your entire hard disk(s) to as many CDs as required. With the price of blank CDs hovering around $1, this is an affordable and durable option for those in need of a backup system.
Adaptec added a little agent character that walks you through common tasks in the software. Perhaps some folks find them helpful, but I would rather have a good manual and a better product.
For example, for my mix CD it would have been nice to be able to select all my tracks at once and choose a common fade duration of four seconds. I had to open the properties of each track and set each one individually. That’s not very user-friendly.
All in all, Adaptec Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe is packed with features and works well. It includes lots of extras but lacks some of the power in packages that are designed just for CD burning, such as Sonic Foundry’s CD Architect. The direct MP3-to-CD feature is hot and is sure to become a standard feature for all CD burning packages. For anyone new to CD recording, Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe is a great place to start.
Contact: Adaptec at 800-442-7274.