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Roxio Toast TitaniumCD/DVD burning software
When Apple introduced its burner software as part of the OS, many people thought that it meant the end of Toast. That couldn?t be farther from the truth. Apple?s burner is very easy to use but it imposes some serious limitations. The worst, in my opinion, is the inability to burn multi-session CDs. It also limits the DVD author because it doesn?t let you create mixed-mode DVDs, only video or data ones. Mixed-mode DVDs can be very useful in many ways. From a production standpoint, they let you include extra features that may be accessed by computers such as bonus screen savers, links to web sites, etc. From an archival standpoint, they allow you to save the raw files used to create a DVD project on the DVD itself. That makes it a lot easier to find your files later, in case you need to update the project.
Toast 5 Titanium is more than just a CD/DVD burning program. It?s a suite of applications that includes Toast Audio Extractor, CD Spin Doctor, iView Multimedia, Qdesign MVP, and Magic Mouse Discus. Also included in the product box is an audio cable to connect analog sources to Macs with analog audio inputs and a BurnPak sample kit consisting of one blank CD-R disc, one sheet of CD labels, a tutorial on CD, and access to free, downloadable authorized MP3 music. In addition, the package comes with a Getting Started guide and a very comprehensive manual.
Toast 5 Titanium is great for burning DVDs. Unlike Apple's built-in burner, it does a very good job of handling DVD-R/W discs. It?s also perfect for burning DVDs from images stored in your hard drive. DVD-RW discs can save you some money because, instead of burning several test DVDs on DVD-R discs, you can use the same re-writable media over and over. Toast has two options for re-formatting the discs. The first one is very quick and is to be used only if you?ll be utilizing Toast as the burning software. The second one takes much longer but it?s necessary if you are re-formatting the disc for use with other burning applications.
The ability to burn DVDs with Toast can be a real lifesaver because Apple?s built-in burner has failed me a few times. Just recently I had to burn a DVD in a hurry for a client?s presentation. I was using DVD Studio Pro and the Apple burner failed to recognize the blank DVD media properly. The problem apparently was caused by an extensions conflict and it would have required me to diagnose it and then reboot the computer. Instead, I just saved an image to the hard drive and Toast burned it immediately, without any problems.
I also rely on Toast when I want to use DVDs to store data. Because of their larger storage capacity, DVDs are ideal to save projects that include lots of processed footage, rendered 3D and 2D images and other space consuming files that would normally require several CD-Rs.
As I mentioned before, one of the advantages Toast offers to the DVD author is the ability to burn mixed-mode DVDs. This is impossible to do with Apple?s burner and it?s often a requirement for commercial titles and corporate promo pieces. The process is very simple. You create an image of the DVD on your hard drive and then drag the VIDEO_TS and AUDIO_TS folders onto the Toast interface, along with any data material that you have. The resulting DVD works just like an ordinary one on set top players, but the extra data can be read when it?s used in a computer DVD-ROM drive.
In addition to burning DVD media, Toast 5 Titanium also records to DVD-RAM and DLT drives, making it even more useful for DVD mastering applications.
Toast 5 Titanium has been very reliable and so far it hasn't produced a single coaster. The re-designed interface is a vast improvement over the previous versions, which I must confess I wasn't the biggest fan of. It looks much nicer and it's easier to use, with only the most frequently used functions taking up screen space while the others are available by a mere click of the mouse. Toast looks and works the same under OS X and OS 9.X, meaning that if you must switch back and forth between these OSs, you'll have the same functionality at your disposal.
The program interfaces very well with other Mac applications, too. Creating Video CDs (VCDs), for instance, couldn't be easier. You can do it from within iMovie, which will export the movie directly to Toast for VCD standard compression and proper format burning. Or you can just import any QuickTime movie directly, as long as the audio tracks and video tracks are not multiplexed. You can also use Toast to burn CDs directly from iTunes.
Besides being a great professional tool, Toast 5 Titanium has all that's necessary to take care of your personal entertainment needs. It can automatically create standard audio CDs from MP3 files or it can burn CDs with MP3 songs that are guaranteed to play correctly on most CD-based MP3 players. It also rips your audio CDs, converting the songs into MP3 files.
The CD Spin Doctor utility lets you digitize music from analog sources such as vinyl albums and cassette tapes. It includes functions to clean the audio up, removing hiss, pops and other noises. This way you can preserve all those rare, out-of-print recordings by turning them into audio CDs. CD Spin Doctor also lets you perform some basic editing on the sound files and enables you to split a long recording into tracks, manually or automatically. Thus, when you digitize an album as a continuous file, it will let you turn it back into the original separate tracks.
Magic Mouse Discus is a label creation program that allows you to design professional looking labels for your CDs. It offers lots of options as far as font styles, text placement, backgrounds, colors and types of labels to print on. It also lets you import images to be applied to the CD labels, so that you can use your graphics software of choice to design them. If you are printing labels for music CDs, the program is capable of importing the track names from Toast, Jam or iTunes. You can also use Magic Mouse Discus to design and print jewel case inserts and even booklets. It's a very well designed and easy to use application.
iView Multimedia is another neat utility that helps you organize, sort and store digital photos and multimedia files and then burn them on CD.
Toast 5 Titanium is more reliable than previous versions when burning CDs and it can now work in the background, freeing you to continue working instead of forcing you to wait for the program to finish. It supports virtually all USB, IDE, SCSI and firewire CD recorders, allowing the user to burn CDs simultaneously on multiple units.
If your Mac has a CD or a DVD burner, including the Superdrive, Toast 5 Titanium is a definite must-have addition to your toolset. It is very reasonably priced at $89.95, especially considering all the goodies that the package includes. For more information, visit Roxio's site at http://www.roxio.com.
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