|The days of the simple CD-burning utility are seemingly over, and in the case of Roxio's Toast 5 Titanium, it's a good thing. Lately we've been seeing CD-burning software that attempts to do everything but clean the kitchen sink, with varying levels of success. In the case of Toast 5, the proverbial sink is spotless. Plenty of useful features like CD labeling, audio extraction, and data storage provide meat-and-potatoes satiation. The ability to remove hiss and crackle from old LPs, and Toast's new OS X-influenced interface, is like the cherry on top of the dessert. And, of course, the bread-and-butter feature is Toast's delicious burning options.|
Roxio has kept the functionality of its drag-and-drop window intact from the previous version, only now the design is reminiscent of a funky '50s diner jukebox. The window is resizable, with simple buttons specifying the type of CD you wish to burn. Click audio, data, copy, or other, and the button turns blue. Pop a blank CD-R into your drive, drag your files into the window, hit that big red glowing record button in the corner, and you're cooking. Toast 5 continues to support all major CD formats (like the previous version), and additional formats including MP3, Mac/ISO hybrid, and VideoCD (playable on many DVD players). If that was all there is to this package, we'd be done right here, satisfied, and ready for a nap.
But, as we've mentioned, Roxio has loaded plenty of goodies onto the Toast 5 CD-ROM, some of them frivolous and fattening, (isn't that what goodies are for?) some of them extremely useful sides. We particularly like iView Multimedia, which lets you catalog all your images, building a thumbnail library for easy organization and retrieval. Also cool is CD Spin Doctor. Although we love our vinyl here at Amazon.com, we've yet to see a device that will play records in the car. CD Spin Doctor is a simple application that will digitize and create a waveform of your old LPs and cassettes, then let you add simple filters to improve the audio. Remove hiss, clicks, and pops, and then burn the result to audio CD.
There's plenty more on the table. Magic Mouse Discus is a basic labeling kit for your CDs. Or you can export included templates to Freehand 9, AppleWorks, or Quark for more complex graphic design for your labels. New in Toast 5 is the useful background burning capability, allowing you to work in other applications while Toast is cooking up your discs. Make sure you have plenty of RAM for this function. You even get folders filled with excellent digital photographs and free music from popular groups and musicians.
We could go on listing savory features, yet will contain ourselves and simply admonish the Macintosh users among you: There's no reason not to buy Toast 5 Titanium. It's a well-balanced, nutritious software program that will slake your ravenous hunger. --John Bosch