Thanks to computer-led audio recording, mixing and editing of multi-tracks, adding effects, budding bedroom musicians or DJs needn’t just dream of being top of the iTunes charts – packages like NCH Audio Essentials aim to bring professional quality at a fraction of the cost of a conventional recording studio.
NCH Software has built its reputation by producing a number of audio packages that are easily accessible for beginners, whilst offering greater depth for those in the know. Many of these come as basic downloadable freeware with additional paid ‘Pro’ versions. Audio Essentials bundles the best of these together in one package at a street price of less than £30.
Convert, switch, record and edit
The suite consists of six main elements, with a logical selection of extra add-ons. If you’re hunting through your old LPs, 45s and music cassettes, then simply connect your record deck or cassette player to the PC and use the Golden Records Vinyl Converter to transform them into CDs or MP3 files.
You can then call on the Switch audio file converter to convert singly or in batches over 20 audio formats (including Ogg, Vox, AIFF, Raw and AAC) – although there are no settings for GSM files.
The RecordPad sound recorder lets you capture voice material in WAV and MP3 formats, and CDs can be ripped on to the WavePad sound editor which as well as allowing you to cut, copy and add a range of effects (such as reverb, echo and normalise), also gives you access to a sound effects and music library with 1,000 free audio clips.
Once in place, you can turn to the MixPad multi-track mixer which lets you import or create over 100 tracks to play with, varying the volume, panning the audio and fading in or out. Finally, you can polish the remixed tracks for the included Zulu DJ software, which uses automatic beat detection and then saves the results on to the additional Express Burn CD Burner.
The interfaces used throughout are extremely user-friendly and designed to get you into action as swiftly as possible. If you need further instruction, a paper user manual is supplied that will walk you through every stage with simple clear instructions. Seasoned audio pros might find some of the software not challenging enough – but for newcomers to home audio recording, this is a bargain too good to miss.
- Interconnectivity between software packages; very user-friendly.
- Sound effects and supplied music library are a bit limited.
Whether you've sampled any of NCH Software's audio range before or not, this is an exceptionally well explained and user-friendly bumper pack that lets you convert, record, edit and mix to your heart's delight at a very reasonable price.