Music Software: MAGIX Music Maker 17

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‘Music Maker 17' is the latest edition of the ‘make your own music production' programme from the software publishers ‘Magix'.  The latest ‘Music Maker' comes in three different packages:-  ‘Music Maker 17' (£43.99), ‘Music Maker 17 Premium '(£89.99) and ‘Music Maker 17 XXL' (£159.99).

The difference between the three packages is mainly that the ‘Premium' and  ‘XXL' programs share the same expanded software package, and that the ‘XXL' also comes complete with USB keyboard designed to ‘plug and play' and interact directly with the programme.

To explain the difference between the packages offered in ‘Music Maker 17' and that in ‘Music Maker 17 Premium' is quite difficult without giving a false idea of the simpler programme. Basically the premium version is exactly what it says, it's the racetrack version, the one that the musical ‘techies' and the really up to speed musicians will want to have because it has all the extras! The ‘XXL' is just the same racetrack version with a keyboard included in the package.

Magix say the Basic ‘Music Maker 17' programme enables you to:-

Make music yourself' - Yes it does, and you soon get used to using the ‘sound pools'  provided.

magix_music_maker_17

‘Record and remix' - They claim you can record and add samples and remix. You can - but it's still complicated and will take more than a bit longer!

‘Mixing is child's play - mix down like the pro' - mmm!  Not quite child's play - achievable - with time!

‘Export and publish' - Yes ok, not much trouble with this one.

Magix list the following tools:-

Import files (samples) as WAV or MP3, and then remix.

OR - from Microphone, guitar and MIDI.

Create melodies with the MIDI editor and develop your own sound. Add videos and export them.

Publish online (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Myspace and Soundcloud etc.) with one click.

Music styles supported are ‘Hip Hop', Rock Alternative, Techno Trance, Dance Electro and Chillout. (Although, when you become more adept you can try Crossover and other styles of music).

As can be seen in the illustrations, the composer ‘drags and drops' blocks of a certain sound sample into place on the racks and gradually builds up a track of music - a bit like building a wall!

There is an ‘easy' mode for the beginner and this can be taken off to gain the full benefit of the programme when the user is ‘up to speed'.

One very good aspect is that you can play and record instruments by selecting the ‘keyboard' key. You then have a keyboard to try out various sounds as illustrated below.

magix_music_maker_17_keyboard

There is a contextual ‘info box' to help you with tips and information you may need to put tracks together, or edit anything you have recorded.

The whole programme runs smoothly, is well illustrated and leads the newcomer on with good, helpful and informative notes. The sound you make is good and, with practice and a little time, even professional!

We reviewed the previous version on this website and said it was good value for money and would stimulate the musician in anyone and this hasn't changed. We did however complain that it had a number of buttons that didn't work and sections that were decidedly erratic! We can now report that these ‘technical hitches' seem to have been sorted out and the interface is excellent, Magix seem to have put a lot of work in on this.

Despite this, we still have a problem with the ‘Ask' Toolbar!  Whenever you load a Magix programme now you are confronted by having to ‘uncheck' the ‘Ask Toolbar' box, otherwise you find yourself with unwanted toolbars and options on the screen!  Very irritating and not what you might expect of a decent software house? One last problem, maybe carping too much, we seemed to experience problems when reloading the programme: at times the software appeared to have difficulty loading the soundpool sounds and making them available for playback!  It did eventually sort itself out each time with some coaxing, although this could have been down to the testing platform we used.

Above all, however, the programme is fun! It has the potential to cook up some good music and at £43.99 (at the time of writing) beats equivalently priced software hands down!