Is it really only a year since the last incarnation of Adaptec’s comprehensive CD copier/creator was launched? You’d have thought it would be far too soon to launch a successor, but in Easy CD Creator 4 Deluxe, Adaptec has come up with a winner. Apart from a slicker interface, step-by-step guides and a daft Microsoft-Office-paperclip-style character to help the new user through the CD creation process, there’s quite a lot that’s new to this version of the software.
On the audio side, the ability to take music from sources such as record and tape, ‘clean’ them to remove crackles and hiss, and then store them as CD audio is still present, but it’s been enhanced with the inclusion of MP3 support and access to Liquid Music Web-based audio. Disc-at-once and session-at-once operation is supported, as is write verification, to ensure that all your data has been copied properly. The audio CD creation section supports CD Text, as well as numerous clever tweaks such as gap length control and fade effects. There’s also enhanced support for photo CDs and video CDs, along with a jewel-case insert creation program and a collection of labels.
Also new to this version is the ability to back up your hard drive to CD, so that you can recover the backed-up image in the event of a major hard drive disaster. This tool, called Take Two, supports compression and disc-spanning, and makes use of DirectCD access (basically drag-and-drop file storage on newer CD-R and CD-RW drives) to provide users without tape or removable storage drives some peace of mind. Other bits and bobs included with the Easy CD kit include PhotoSuite II SE and VideoWave II SE by MGI, along with a selection of sample MP3 titles, an audio file player and a cable to connect your PC to your stereo.
We only had one complaint. During the installation process, the program screamed that “Microsoft Internet Explorer is required. You do not have the correct version of Microsoft Internet Explorer installed”. Not strictly true – we didn’t have any version installed. This shouldn’t bother you too much if you have Windows 98, but users of earlier operating systems will have IE5 dumped on their hard drives whether they want it or not. The justification for this is rather tenuous, and we could have lived without it.
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