Music Software: MAGIX Music Maker Hip Hop Edition 3, Music Maker Dance Edition 3 and Music Maker Rock Edition 3

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From ‘Magix’ software publisher we now have the latest versions and extensions of the Music Maker programmes, ‘Edition 3’ of ‘Hip Hop’, ‘Rock’ and ‘Dance’.

All three programmes follow much the same format as the less specific ‘Music Maker’ programme in that they have a reasonably similar screen format to the one seen here:-

magix-musicmaker-15

Quoting from our previous review of ‘Music Maker 15’:

"..tracks are built up from a series of ‘musical building blocks' which can be clicked and dragged into position on the major track. They can be lengthened, made to die, increase in volume, mix and match with other sounds, and the programme always keeps the pitch and tempo 100% correct. It does it all for you! You can pick and choose the style you wish to create i.e. Hip-Hop, Techno, Chillout etc and then choose from the many different styles and types of instrument available in that selection. You can record and input your own sounds, and also import your own favourite music, but be careful about copyright law."

All three programmes feature:

1) The Magix ‘BeatBox 2: Industry standard drum computer'.

2) The ability to record and edit your own music samples or record your own vocal or instrumental track and edit and save it to the sound archive.

3) An archive of over 1000 sounds. (Some of these sound remarkably similar in each of the programs although intended for different music genres!)

4) Each has a ‘remix' facility so that you can import from other sources , including ‘YouTube', edit it and reuse it for your remix.

5) You can export your music to the web, and download tracks to MP3 players and burn CD's.

Well, these are the claims on the box, how do they stand up to the test? Previously we complained that the ‘info-boxes' didn't highlight when the pointer ran over them, this seems to work much better now.

There are limited electronic manual files available online (PDF) but we did not find these well organised or terribly helpful. The ‘Help' file (press F1) was a bit more interesting.

Those coming new to the programmes can start almost immediately having fun putting together their own tracks, with or without the ability to read music, which is great. However, for those who have experienced the larger Music Maker these three items of software seem rather a ‘cut-down' economy version of the original Music Maker 15. Presumably these are produced for a targeted customer base that hasn't experienced the larger Magix MM15 and don't know what they are missing.

One last gripe! The programs are not too bad really but once the user becomes more proficient, the sound pool really lacks variety. You can indeed import and record your own tracks but most people tend to have expectations of being able have much more to choose from when they see ‘over 1,000 sounds and loops from internationally successful producers'! This seems a little more irritating when they are regularly reminded that it is possible to purchase a DVD from Magix with 6,000 or so extra Soundpool items for another £20!

The Magix DVD ‘ Sound Essentials' comes in at about £20, with 10 music styles and ‘6,000 brand new sounds, loops and samples'. It has more than 6GB of licence-free samples. Why not include these sounds in these Music Maker programmes? Add the cost of the two together and it's still less than Music-Maker15!

Those who are more practiced and want to make a wider, fuller sound are going to be frustrated when they discover the limited soundpool. However there is a wealth of gadgetry to try out and to manufacture your own sounds and also to import from your other sources.

Our final opinion is that with these programs, priced at about £30 each (at the time of writing), Magix are just about offering a fair deal to the user. The software does deliver what was promised and those who are new to music composing and editing are really going to enjoy and have fun with them, and what's more they will make a reasonably professional sound.

So, on the whole, more plus's than negatives, but if you can afford it, definately go with MAGIX Music Maker 15!

Available from:

Amazon: Magix Music Maker Dance Edition 3 (PC DVD)