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Dragon Burn 4

One stop CD and DVD burning tool for Mac OS X By John Virata

Dragon Burn 4 is a $40 CD/DVD burning application for Mac OS X that features all the tools in one interface to burn your media. The premise behind Dragon Burn 4 is to be the one stop CD and DVD burning utility for the Macintosh. While you can burn data discs via the Finder and burn music via iTunes, and your DVD movies via iDVD, Dragon Burn promises to give you a bit more flexibility in your burning sessions, in one convenient location. Dragon Burn 4 also supports 8.5GB  DVD+R DL media for large capacity projects and also supports CD and DVD burners that might not work with Apple's software.

When you first launch Dragon Burn 4, you are greeted with the main window, which is basically the project selector. The nine icons in the Select Burning Type window are Audio CD, MP3 CD, live Audio, Data CD/DVD, CD/DVD Copy, Multiple Copy, Video, Picture CD, and Custom CD. All of these have the same look and feel and perform essentially the same functions.

Audio CD enables you to burn audio CDs for playback on a CD player. When you click the audio CD icon, a layout window opens. From here you just drag and drop the audio files that you wish to burn to CD.   The supported audio formats include AAC, AIFF, SD2, WAV, and MP3. The software enables you to set the pause between audio tracks as well rearrange the order the tracks are recorded onto the CD. You can also import an iTunes playlist and export the playlist in plain text, unicode text or XML formats to retain the name artist and album CD text information. 

MP3 CD enables you to burn MP3 CDs from a variety of different audio file formats. It offers the same window as Audio CD, where you just drag the audio files that you want on the CD and click the big red burn button. When you add audio files to the layout window, Dragon Burn calls it a Layout. You can then burn the layout, save the layout for future updating, and then create a new layout. Dragon Burn keeps track of the files and space used that you add to the layout in the upper right corner of the window. It details the number of files added to the layout as well as the total physical file size of those files. Each individual file in the layout also has its own physical size as well. This helps you to plan out your layout as you reach the maximum size of the media. When you've exceeded the size that the media can accommodate, Dragon Burn will tell you how much you've exceeded, and you can then remove files accordingly. After you finish adding the files to the layout, you push the big red burn button and the software proceeds to burn the data to disc. Really simple stuff.

Live Audio

The next button brings up the Live Audio tool. This tool enables you to capture live audio, on the fly, with a mic attached to your Mac. This tool enables you to capture audio such as meeting minutes or even someone playing a musical instrument, or any other sounds, and burn it to CD. The Live Audio tool offers functions to channel the audio to your speakers and arrange the order in which you wish the audio files to be burned to CD.

The Data CD/DVD utility enables you to burn data to CD or DVD. It offers the capability to burn to the following data formats:  Mac OS Extended HFS+, Mac OS (HFS), Joliet, MS-DOS, Hybrid (HFS+Joliet, HFS+MS-DOS, HFS/MS DOS, and HFS/Joliet), USF 1.5, UDF 1.02, and DVD Movie. The process here is similar to that of the Audio utility. You simply add the files and select the burn button. When you click the burn button, another window pops up with options. If the options are not grayed out, you can adjust the speed of the burn session depending on your recorder, select buffer under run protection, verify and simulate a burn session, and burn to disc or burn to session.

Data such as file size is highlighted in blue. Number of items and total physical size of those items are in the upper right corner.

CD/DVD Copy is a simple utility that enables you to make duplicates of your CDs and DVDs. There are two ways that Dragon Burn enables you to do this. You can insert the disc that you wish to copy, select which drive that disc resides in, and if you have just one drive, have Dragon Burn create a disc image, select the recording drive, insert a CD/DVD, and click Burn disc. You can then specify what options you'd like to add to the disc, such as session at once and buffer underrun, and simulate a burn session (a remnant from the early days when people were creating coasters instead of useable media).  Multiple Copy enables you to burn multiple copies of the same disc if your system has multiple CD/DVD recorders. This is a new feature that gives your Mac the capability to act as if it were a disc duplicator. You insert the media that you wish to copy, or the disc image file, specify the drive(s) that you wish to burn to and click the burn button.

Video enables you to create VideoCD, SVCD, or Video TS files with MPEG-1 or MPEG-2-files for use with DVD media. For example, to create a VideoCD, all you need to do is open the VCD window and drag any Video CD compliant video files to the VCD window. If the file is not in VCD format, the software won't accept the file, so you will have to convert the file in iMovie, Final Cut Express, or any of a number of file conversion tools that can output VCD video files. The same is true with the other formats.

Picture CD enables you to create a Picture CD. To do this, you simply drag the JPEG pictures that you want to burn to disc and click the burn button. Custom CD enables you to create a mixed mode or CD Extra CD. The Picture based CDs are also compabitle with DVD players that support the JPEG image file format.

Dragon Burn 4 is a very simple utility that enables you to have all your burning tools in one location. While some of these functions are already built into the Mac OS, or ship with the Mac, the Dragon Burn premise, to have all the functions in the same location, sharing the same interface, makes it very easy to get in, complete your disc burning chores, and be free to do other tasks. A tryout version is located  here . For more information, visit

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at [email protected]
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