If there were ever a program ubiquitous for CD recording, it would be Roxio’s (a division of Adaptec) Toast. Available for Mac-based systems, Toast 4 Deluxe ($99) combines the right features at the right price with ease of use. This release adds more than a dozen new functions to the program.
Burning CDs could not be easier. Simply drag-and-drop your files onto Toast’s main window. The program automatically picks the correct format. Choose the recording speed and hit the Write button. That is it.
Toast writes a variety of formats like Audio CD, ISO 9660, CD-Interactive, Video CD, Multitrack CD-ROM XA and Enhanced Music CD. The program can even combine data and audio in the same session. To test the integrity of the burn, Roxio provides a Simulation Mode. There is nothing worse than going through a box of disks trying to troubleshoot a problem!
Roxio added a CD labeler as part of Toast 4 Deluxe. Included in this package are a hardware labeler, software and several CD labels. Unfortunately, the labeler mechanism by Hewlett-Packard is a bit flimsy in comparison to others I have seen, but it works. Magic Mouse Productions provides a 30-day demo of the labeling software. The easy-to-use program includes tons of cool images. After the 30-day trial period, you will need to shell out $39 for the full program. Additional labels and case inserts are available from Hewlett-Packard.
Users who want to organize and view multimedia files will find Toast’s new PhotoRelay option useful. Graphic images, photos, movies, sounds, fonts and illustrations can be organized into different catalogs. For example, one catalog might include artist photos for a new CD project, while another could have images from your vacation to the Fiji Islands. Each catalog can contain up to 8,000 files. Images may be viewed individually, as thumbnails or as a slide show. PhotoRelay also provides a sort function with searchable tags.
Another handy feature is Audio Extractor, which enables tracks from audio CDs to be saved as Mac soundfiles. The advantage of Audio Extractor is that it is much faster than playing the audio track directly into a computer. File formats include AIFF, WAV, SoundEdit 16, QuickTime Movie, Sound Designer II and Jam Image files. The only thing missing from this list is an MP3 format „ Toast can, however, record existing MP3 files to CD as standard audio tracks.
New to Toast 4 Deluxe is a hard disk recording function called CD Spin Doctor. Before you throw out your dedicated DAW, realize that Spin Doctor uses the Mac’s line-in or microphone jack for A/D conversion. The program also has noise and pop filters, along with sound enhancement features like bass, exciter and width. For the teenager in your household, Spin Doctor will be a lot of fun.
Other new features in Toast include a Disc at Once (DAO) mode, expanded AppleScript functionality and support for IDE and USB devices. Even if you do not use Toast for anything else, use it to back up system files. Simply drop the Mac’s System Folder into the main window and write it to disk. Now you have a bootable Mac CD.
Roxio Toast 4 Deluxe is one handy program at a great price. It is perfect for all your bread-and-butter software needs!
Contact Roxio at 408-259-7694.