In a year when more than 60 million CD recorders are expected to ship worldwide, it seems there will be plenty of “room” for expansion of recording software vendors.
By introducing its latest offering, “CD Maker 2000 Professional”, NewTech Infosystems (for short NTI) has entered a stiff “battle” against competitive recording application programs such as Ahead’s “Nero 5.5”, Roxio’s “Easy CD Creator 5” and Prassi’s “Primo CD”.
At a time when Microsoft intends to offer built-in basic recording capabilities in its future operating systems (a.k.a. the Windows XP family), the competition is expected to become even more fierce. A usual practice followed by many recording software manufacturers is to have their programs be offered in the form of 2 packages, a simple basic features offering, provided usually through the channel of OEMs and large retail vendors, and another “professional” version aimed at more advanced users needs. This second type of recording applications, sold through the regular software distribution channels, is what mainly differentiates full-featured CD recording software from each other.
NTI CD Maker 2000 Professional aims at this specific target group of users. And it promises to cover most of their needs in an easy and hassle-free manner. Our group of reviewers rigorously tested it both under regular and advanced mode user requirements.
In the following sections we present a basic operations description of the program to help you acquaint yourself with its use, along with our test findings and a set of rules (best-practices) which must be followed when using a CDR application seeking optimum performance at no expense of achieving advanced requirements.
Any user can download a full-featured 30-day trial version of the product from NTI’s website and make his own opinion out of our findings and tests here.
Sammy Volos, Lead Reviewing Editor, DigitalDrives Inc.
Assessing a recording application capabilities
When a user decides to make a recordable CD should first ask himself about the intended purpose and use of the disk. His needs define a series of tasks he will have to perform using, in our case, CD Maker 2000 Pro as the software of his choice. The application itself should be able to assist him to define these tasks and offer, as well, an intuitive menu-driven user interface, helping him accomplishing them. Many recording applications these days try to hide the unnecessary technicalities from the casual user and encourage him to feel he has the full control over the details of the actions the software will have to carry out.
Recording details are usually hidden into menu-driven windows, were the fine-tuning options should be logically arranged for easy setup and retrieval by the advanced user or professional.
We have found that in many cases this, essentially sound and correct, practice is the source of both user-frustration and induced bugs.
According to the purpose of each disk, there are defined CD formats that have evolved during a period of 20 years, since the introduction of the audio format in the red-book standard by Sony and Philips (CD-DA, digital audio). Newer formats are built upon the basic encoding and error correction features of this original “standard”. The types of disks that mostly concern consumers and always find their way as the tested disk-formats in web reviews are:
- CD-ROM, for regular recording of user data files from a hard disk or another storage medium
- CD-DA, for custom audio compilations of songs extracted from music CDs and user-created or downloaded MP3 files, and
- VCD, for VCR-quality playback of video/audio streams onto a consumer DVD player.
In the next few sections we offer an introduction to both the basic and advanced features of NTI CD Maker 2000. Our own view on this program and our criticism is presented along the main text and the accompanied photos.
Anthony Doros, Reviewing Editor, DigitalDrives Inc.