Magix debuts music software upgrades

Music novices and home-studio pros alike have new song-creation tools at their disposal with the Monday launch of Magix's new versions of its Music Maker and Music Studio software programs in the U.S.

Music Maker 2004 Deluxe, priced at US$59.99, is designed to let beginners create songs and background music for videos, while the Music Studio 2004 Deluxe, priced at $79.99, is aimed at more experienced home studio musicians, according to company officials. Both programs run on Windows.

Australian availability is yet to be announced.

The Berlin-based company has its U.S. headquarters in Miami Beach, Florida, and puts out slightly different versions of these products for different European countries and the U.S., according to Caroline Soper, director of brand management.

"In the U.K., for example, we might have more techno loops while the U.S. might have a few more hip-hop loops," she said.

Music Maker lets non-musicians create their own songs and video soundtracks by integrating different sound loops. Video editing functions let the software double as a home-vido editor. However, with 96 tracks and more than 5,000 content files (including video files), more experienced music and video editors can put together fairly sophisticated pieces, Soper pointed out. New features include: on-the-fly arranging; click-and-drag object looping; MIDI editor for custom editing; and time stretching, to vary tempo.

The Music Studio 2004, like earlier versions, offers a range of editing functions such as a mixer with up to 48 effects inserts; well over a thousand royalty-free samples, 14 real-time effects; and the ability to import and burn CDs and project data.

New features include: 54-stereo-track arranger; 24-bit file export; four-stereo-output support; four drum machines (in rock, acoustic, techno and hip hop flavors); and new piano sounds.

"Demand for music and video editing and creation software has risen as people have become more interested in creating their own music and sharing it, and burning or editing files of others," Soper said, though she was quick to stress she was talking, specifically, about hobbyists and home-studio musicians swapping non-copyright material.

Software companies are trying to feed the appetite of a growing number of music lovers to create songs of their own. Magix products compete with products including Sonar, from Twelve Tone Systems (better known by its Cakewalk brand name), and Acid from Sonic Foundry (which has an agreement to sell its desktop music software family to Sony Pictures Digital).

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Marc Ferranti

IDG News Service

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