Magix A/V Studios Help You Make Magic
By Jim Bray
The digital revolution has brought the recording studio to the home PC,
as well as the movie editing room. Theres little that once was done
in professional environments that cant now be done in the home studio
or office, and this is opening up new opportunities - and new challenges
- for creative people.
Magix, which makes the terrific Audio Cleaning
Lab software reviewed here, has also released a couple of excellent
products designed to help creative people unleash their powers. Movie
Edit Pro is a simple and powerful desktop video editing suite, while
Music Studio Deluxe is a complete 64 track recording midi studio.
Were more comfortable in the video world, so had an easier time
figuring out Movie Maker, but based on its ease of use we imagine that
Music Studio is equally user friendly for users who know what the heck
the softwares talking about.
Movie Edit Pro is the easiest to use such product that Ive tried
to date - not that Ive come anywhere close to using them all. But
this program is very straightforward and easy, and its a simple task
to assemble a movie without even cracking the manual.
Which is a good thing, since I wasnt a big fan of the manual
It also has pretty good built in help, though.
One area in which I could have used more help was in creating video for
streaming over the Internet. The software offers many filters for exporting
such video, but it would be nice if there was a better explanation of the
benefits from each method and other points to consider about streaming
media. Still, if you dont care about the more arcane ins and outs
of it, you can do it easily.
Once youve loaded your video footage you can add transitions (including
3D ones), build special effects and even create your own soundtracks. Once
youve finished all that you can burn a DVD or CD from the footage,
or output it to a VCR if you have the hardware to do so.
It even comes with a module for creating the menu structure and title
screen look for DVD authoring. It isnt by any means industrial strength
DVD authoring, but itll work easily for consumer applications.
Getting footage into the program is drag and drop easy, and its
about that easy to apply transitions between shots. You can have the shots
butt up against each other, which is a nice way to edit continuous shots
together, or add preset (and customizable) transitions such as wipes, zooms,
cross fades and the like. Each shot is represented by a thumbnail, whether
in storyboard or timeline view, and includes its file name and length.
You can adjust the volume or add a title to individual or multiple shots
Besides VHS, CD and DVD, the program outputs to Video CD, Super-Video-CD,
and the Web.
There isnt space to talk about everything this program will do,
so heres a list of some of the more interesting or useful features:
16-track Video & Soundtrack Editing
Virtual VCR Function with Timer
MPEG2-Encoder and Restoration Tools
Adjusting mode for cleaning up video footage
add you own musical soundtrack
Real-time compression, batch-capture and full-screen capture monitoring
Two storyboard modes: Standard linear storyboard mode plus essential multi
scene overview mode.
16-track (stereo) timeline mode
Simultaneous PC/TV view: Cut scenes on your PC; view the results on your
TV or dub directly to VCR
Title screen designer
And thats only the beginning. Theres a voiceover function that
lets you put your own voice over the music, kind of like a karaoke thing, and
of course you can add audio and video effects including chroma keying.
Want to steal audio from a CD? You can, of course, import CD tracks, MP3
and MIDI files.
Speaking of MIDI files, that brings us to Music Studio Deluxe 2004
This is where the rubber meets the road, so far as really creating that
soundtrack to the above movie presentation. Its a complete MIDI music
studio where you can build your own musical compositions.
You can use the software to help you compose, as well as recording, controlling
MIDI instruments, and eventually burning your symphony onto CD if you want.
This makes it ideal not only for home enthusiasts, but for musicians
and producers as well. Is it as good as the industrial strength products?
I have no idea. This is the first product like this that I tried, and I
felt really out to sea when it came to the MIDI stuff. The studio part,
on the other hand, was pretty easy to figure out (of course it doesnt
hurt to have experience in radio studios, which gave me a leg up), and
its a very flexible and powerful product.
And get this: the program has built in tube amplifier simulation as well
as powerful audio tools to let you manipulate sounds to your hearts
One thing thats nice is that theres a demo project to help
you get up to speed; it certainly helped me.
Heres a list of some features:
64 audio channels + 2,000 track MIDI sequencer
10 instruments (incl. sampler, E-piano, synths, 4 drum modules)
23 High-end effects, 4 stereo outputs, score printout
Direct-to-CD, professional mixer
Sequencer with 2,000 MIDI tracks and 48 audio tracks
4 Stereo Output support
4 ready-to-use drum machines (rock, acoustic, techno, hip-hop)
E-piano sounds with EZpiano2
Sample Editor: time & pitch, groove machine, audio energizer
Mixer (up to 48 effects inserts, 2 master inserts) with automation option
14 real-time effects: reverb, delay, distorter, chorus, filter, pitch-shifter,
15-band graphic EQ and much more
Groove quantizer, song rearrangement with editors
Notation: Print detailed scores with lyrics
Video (avi) integration feature, cross-fades
Import and burn music CDs and project data backups
Internet publishing (songs, info, photos, lyrics and much more)
Send MusicM@il from within the program
CD Burner Plus Automatic Track Marker Function
And if that isnt enough (and, really, were just scratching the
surface here), you get more than 1,500 extra samples & MIDI loops on the
The virtual synthesizer lets you can create your own sounds (Keith Emerson,
move over!), theres a substantive mixing console you can bring up on
screen, and of course you can mix and master any audio source you can capture
to your computer.
New in this version of the app are four drum machines
One of the great things about doing all of this stuff digitally is that
you can correct your mistakes, or just experiment with wild abandon, before
committing the project to its final form, all without messy tape. Its
also a lot of fun.
Despite making me feel totally inadequate musically, Music Studio Deluxe
is a heck of a program and Im looking forward to learning it better.
Ive always wanted to dabble in musical composition, such as this
allows, printing out my own scores, so this is a wonderful opportunity.
So don t just Roll over, Beethoven. Move over!
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