With the rising tide of audio and video files in our lives, from digital photos to music libraries, it’s become all but essential to have an application for burning files to CD or DVD. In addition to providing an easy and efficient backup method for our media files, programs such as Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 now have useful tools for organizing, editing, and transferring files to portable devices.
The first thing you notice about Creator 9 is the clean, intuitive interface, with all of the applications neatly broken down by type in drop-down menus: Audio, Backup, Copy, Data, MyMedia, Photo, Video, and Tools. The core of the program— DVD and CD burning tools—has been enhanced with support for Blu-ray disc creation, which will come in handy if you have a high-definition camcorder. New tools for capturing and editing audio, such as the Audio Capture Widget, allow you to record audio from the Internet, and video editing/output tools let you create menudriven DVDs. If you want to transfer files to your iPod, cell phone or PSP, the Media Manager application converts files for each, so you can create personalized ring tones out of MP3 files, or convert AVI files to MPEG-4 for playback on an iPod. One interesting new feature is called AutoMix, and it automatically generates playlists by analyzing songs in your library and creating a complementary mix based on any single track you select. In my test, I used Bad Brains’ “Sailin On” [Bad Brains, Roir] as a reference track, and gave the program 1500 tracks to choose from. The mix it created was fairly credible, including tracks from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arctic Monkeys, and Franz Ferdinand, among others. In terms of performance, Creator 9 worked well in most applications, but I did have problems with the Media Manager, in particular, which automatically finds and loads your digital audio tracks into a unified interface. It took way too long to load all the tracks and album art (a one-time event, I should note) and sometimes froze up in the process. When I clicked on menus or tracks, the response time was too slow on my Dell Dimension 5150. In the end, I have mixed feelings about Creator 9. While it’s loaded with useful applications and a clear, well-designed interface, some of the applications and features I tested were sluggish. A soupedup PC might do better. TPV