DJs need to create their own custom continuous-mix CDs. Burning programs that come with your computer work for tracking separate songs, but the pause in-between tracks kills the groove on any mix CD. You need your mix CD to have both continuous flow and track markers to navigate through the CD. Shop for a program that can add track markers without interrupting the audio, and youre looking at 400 to 500 dollars. Not anymore. CD Architect 5.0 from Sonic Foundry has set a new standard of value and performance for CD burning programs- Red Book specification CDs, full PQ code editing, hidden tracks, compatibility with Direct-X plug-ins, audio editing capability, crossfades, layering, multiple audio file support, unlimited volume envelope points... All at a price well below the competition. Value aside, this program does everything you need and more to make a pro quality mix CD. Its one software program that everyone from bedroom DJs to post-production engineers can appreciate.
Ease of use is important, and the CD Architect 5.0 interface is clean and visual- plenty of icons and online help mean you need not crack a manual. Audio files can be placed using the simple drag-and-drop method. As you place them, CD index markers and PQ codes are automatically generated, of course you can tweak and edit the PQ code in detail. Moving tracks around on the timeline is easy as sliding them around with the mouse. If you need to trim a little from the beginning or end of a track, just slide the edge of the file. Here you can create instant edits of longer tracks, make looping segments, hone in on a vocal snippet- you have plenty of editing power. If a track needs EQ, effects or volume adjustment, click on the plug-in chain for full access to all of your Direct-X plug-ins. If your CD is going to be a DJ-style mix CD, just drag the file onto the timeline, place your track markers where you like, and youre done. Naturally you can still use all the editing and processing features if youre a tweaker.
One handy feature of Architect is its ability to layer two stereo tracks. Radio programmers can use it for station IDs and sound effects, and anyone will appreciate having that extra track for creative ideas. If youre working with ultra-high quality audio, Architect automatically converts files up to 32 bit 192 kHz to CD quality audio (16 bit 44.1 kHz)- in the background and on the fly. In fact it does a great job of converting all audio file types automatically, so you dont have to spend time converting files from one type to another. When youre ready to burn, automatic clipping protection keeps your CD distortion free, and buffer underrun protection works flawlessly with CD burners that support the feature. Architect will print out your tracklisting and a full PQ code list. The CD you take out of your computer will be industry standard Red Book compatible, ready for the CD duplication plant. In my experience, I didnt have a single crash or glitch. The CD played back smoothly from start to finish. All CD track markers changed while the audio kept playing and all audio processing sounded exactly as it did in the software.
Its nice to know that even if I dont plan on mass-duplication, the CDs from Architect 5.0 have all the qualities of major league production.