Audials – Tunebite 8 Platinum review

An audio and video conversion utility that's capable of DRM removal
Photo of Audials – Tunebite 8 Platinum
£19.90

Tunebite 8 is a simple audio and video conversion utility designed to remove DRM protection from files. It also boasts a number of other features, such as the ability to record video off the web, or capture any audio which is passing through your sound card.

On the Tunebite web page, Audials proudly proclaims that the product is the number one legal way to remove DRM copy protection from music and audio books.

Upon hearing this, we’d imagine you’re pondering – just as we did – how come it’s legal to strip away copy protection like this? The answer is that Tunebite isn’t actually ‘cracking’ or interfering with the DRM in any way – all it’s doing is simply re-recording the music file inside the program, minus the digital rights protection. This workaround doesn’t technically break any laws, although some do view it as a slightly grey legal area.

Tunebite 8 supports all major audio formats, converting the likes of WMA and M4P files to unprotected MP3, OGG or whatever format is your poison. You’re then free to transfer these DRM-free files onto your PMP or other devices for your listening pleasure.

The good news is that the re-recording process doesn’t diminish the quality of the music file – we found no discernible difference whatsoever. Not only that, but recording is seriously quick, so it’s a big tick in the performance box here.

Tunebite will perform the exact same DRM escapology act on WMV or other video files – and, indeed, it can actually be used to transfer a DVD onto your hard drive. Just pop the DVD in the drive and click a button to start recording.

The only downside is that it’s not possible to multi-task or use your machine for anything else while the process is taking place. Again, Audials stresses that the utility plays back the DVD and records the screen, and isn’t actually cracking or copying the DVD data. The company also points out that this feature should only be used to back up purchased DVDs to the user’s hard disk, but the potential for abuse is obvious.

Tunebite can capture video and audio streams, too. When it comes to recording web video, one click turns the function on, and the program will then record any video that’s played within your browser. It handled YouTube and a number of other video sites that we tested it with, capturing without fuss, and maintaining the quality of the footage in very impressive fashion, even with High Definition material (although it takes some time to save HD files, as you’d expect).

All controls are kept nice and simple via a clean, easy-to-use interface. The whole experience is very much hassle-free, with any media plug-ins that might be missing from your PC automatically downloaded and installed by Tunebite.

A basic media player is integrated into the right-hand side of the program window, for handy listening or viewing purposes, and in addition to the two main ‘Capture’ and ‘Convert’ tabs, there’s a third: ‘Organise’. This reveals a simple media browser that can be used to sort your media files by artist, genre and so on.

Company: Audials


Verdict
Tunebite is a punchy little solution for those users whose digital music collections are shackled by DRM issues. Its functions are pretty basic, but what it does - audio and video conversion, minus the DRM, and web recording - it does quickly, efficiently, and without any noticeable degradation of the media in question.