There’s an increasing trend among software publishers to lump a set of applications together and tack on a label such as ‘Suite’ or ‘Studio’, no matter how well or poorly those applications interact with one another. That was certainly our initial fear with X-oom’s Podcast Studio, and at first it looked like our worries were well-founded.
After you go through the straightforward installation process and launch the product for the first time, you come to a menu with a choice of seven different applications on it. That’s when our alarm bells started to ring.
But those applications – Podcast Director, Podcast Manager, Audio Recorder, Audio CD Ripper, Audio Editor, Audio Converter and Transfer Audio Files – each spring to life quickly enough and shoot you back to the aforementioned menu when you close them. Our nerves started to calm as a result.
The two programs where you’ll spend most of your time, though, are the Podcast Manager and the Podcast Director. The former allows you to manage subscriptions to the podcasts of your choice. It’s not hugely user-friendly, as the onus is on you to go and find them all first, and the fact that elements of the program’s GUI are still in German is also an oversight that should have been corrected. But once over those obstacles, this is a functional tool that does quite a useful job.
Podcast Director is also a useful tool with a few factors holding it back. It does, with an optional wizard (again with occasional lapses into German), allow you to put together your own ‘cast relatively easily, replete with jingles, direct recording and useful editing options. It assumes you have somewhere to upload and host the finished product, although it will help with an RSS feed. In short, while there’s a distinct lack of spit and polish, it gets the job done and it’s possible for all but novice users to follow its way of working.
The supplementary applications that make up the Studio again lack much in the way of sophistication, but they do work well enough to satisfy most users, although the Transfer tool does little that any user with reasonable knowledge can’t manage quicker through Windows.
And in spite of our fears outlined back in paragraph one, the Studio does hang together as a selection of applications that work to some degree in concert with one another.