- Solid performance
- powerful CD-R burning options
- low price.
- Poor online support
- limited documentation
- PC only.
Adding a CD burner to your system can prove both productive and fun if you have the right recording software. We suggest RecordNow Max 4.0 (£36.45 ex. VAT; £42.83 inc. VAT), which is sure to please beginners and experienced users alike. This powerful program can burn everything from data discs to VideoCDs (VCDs) -- and if you have a DVD recorder attached to your system, you can even use RecordNow Max 4.0 to create archive copies of your favourite DVDs. Although we found RecordNow's documentation and online support weak, the program's easy-to-use interface and flawless performance made it a joy to work with. If you burn CDs or DVDs on a PC, you should use this program.
One of the first things you'll notice after installation is that RecordNow Max 4.0 provides separate interfaces for casual and power users. On start-up, you’ll see the RecordNow Max Wizard interface, which guides you quickly through basic CD-burning tasks. Using the RecordNow Max Wizard, you can copy CDs or make music and data discs with just a few clicks. However, if you close this window, the underlying interface comes to the front, offering access to much more powerful tools. For example, using the advanced Warp Drive feature, you can set up multiple CD-recording tasks using up to 64 CD-R drives -- effectively turning RecordNow Max into a low-cost CD duplication system.
When it comes to CD formats, RecordNow Max 4.0 can record just about anything. It burns CD copies, data and bootable CDs, discs from a live audio source, VideoCDs, and even -- with a DVD burner -- DVDs. However, although RecordNow Max 4.0 can record DVDs, it is not a DVD-authoring program. You'll still need a separate application, such as Ulead’s DVD Workshop or DVD Movie Factory, to create and format your video files for playback on DVD players.
We especially like RecordNow's ability to adjust sound resolution. This program lets you rip MP3 files at bit rates of up to 320Kbps, for pristine MP3 recordings, or set the resolution lower for recording longer-duration audio. We burned an MP3 disc and played it without a hitch in everything from computers to car stereos. In addition, RecordNow Max's DJ Burn tool lets you record sound sources directly through your PC's sound card. It's not studio-quality recording, but DJ Burn could be a fun way to capture a family sing-along on the spur of the moment.
RecordNow Max is good on features, but its documentation and online help could be better. The 28-page manual provides some help with basic functions, but lacks detail on more complex functions such as setting up multiple CD recorders to work in tandem. Distributor Softline/Orlogix’s Web site doesn't offer much more information, either, just a basic FAQ page and a list of supported drives. Given the power of the program, we're disappointed that RecordNow Max doesn't come with better documentation. Softline provides telephone technical support at no charge for the first 30 days of product ownership. After that, paid-for telephone support is available at 20 euros per incident.
Despite somewhat weak documentation, RecordNow Max remains one of the most impressive CD-burning software packages available for the PC. The Wizard interface and advanced features make RecordNow Max a great tool for both beginners and advanced users.