Magix – Music Maker 12 Deluxe review

16-track recording software with loads of features
Photo of Magix – Music Maker 12 Deluxe

Digital composers of the world rejoice, because Magix’s latest music making suite is now available. The question is, does it sound sweet or sour? Is it a symphonic piece of software or the programming equivalent of chopsticks? And will we drop the oriental cuisine motif before you go prawn crackers? We’d better, really…

Music Maker 12 Deluxe operates in the same manner as every music composition program these days, with sixteen tracks laid out at the top of the screen (though only six are visible at one time). The file manager sits on the bottom left, and you can drag and drop music samples from here into any track, where they’ll be played. Building a basic tune is simply a matter of picking out some drum, guitar, bass and keyboard samples, and perhaps some special effects.

It’s all very easy, and each sample that comes with the program is recorded in seven different pitches numbered one to seven, so you can select matching pitches to ensure your song doesn’t sound messy. A panel on the left of the track window lets you adjust the overall beats per minute and apply one-click effects to any sample, such as heavy distortion on a guitar piece.

On the whole, the interface is very slick and the program well presented, plus it makes a sterling effort to introduce beginners to its various functions via a range of tutorial videos (although some of these are a little too much fluff and not enough substance) and well organised help topics.

Music Maker 12 Deluxe comes with some 3,000 samples to play with. These are drawn from a range of instruments – and vocals – and ten musical styles, from rock through to hip-hop and techno. There’s a good range here, although it leans towards electronic music quite heavily, as you would expect.

However, you needn’t stick with the pre-recorded samples, as there are synthesizer modules which can be used to create new sounds. There are thirteen synths in total, and a variety of drum, keyboard and electronic sounds can be constructed here, plus there’s a vocal synth too; you can even record yourself via a microphone and edit your own warblings.

The “Vita” synthesizer also offers an array of highly realistic instrument samples which can be played in real-time via an on-screen keyboard with your mouse, or a midi keyboard if you have one.

The depth here is staggering, and it’s the same story on the effects front. The audio effects rack features a graphic equaliser, compressor, reverb, sound warping and distortion modules. There are vintage effects on offer, too, which emulate the old style analogue flanger, distortion pedal and so on, simulating a warmer sound than the digital processing effects.

And if all that isn’t enough scope for you on the sound front, there’s an online Magix content library which contains various samples and even complete tunes or albums to download. Unfortunately you have to pay for most of these, although there are a few freebies to be had here and there.

Music Maker 12 Deluxe contains so many other features that it’s practically impossible to list them all. There are selections of video clips which you can edit to produce a visual accompaniment to your music, you can burn tunes to a CD from within the program, import a song from an audio CD and then edit it, create a podcast, mix in 5.1 surround sound, there’s a one-click button which constructs a random tune to (hopefully) inspire you… it just goes on and on.

On top of the program itself, bonus copies of Magix Music Manager 2006 and Photo Manager 2006 are included, which is a thoughtful touch. However, the installation process didn’t ask us if we wanted them, it just went ahead and installed them, which is less than thoughtful for those of us who already have our media management bases covered.

Company: Magix

Contact: 01242 633644

There's an almost bewildering array of options and features built into Music Maker 12 Deluxe, but the novice composer can work on a basic level and easily fashion some palatable tunes, while the expert can go to town on the multitude of twiddly knobs and effects. It's quite reasonably priced given the sheer musical power under the bonnet.