Preview: Microsoft Plus Digital Media Edition test and review

Each of the eight modules of Microsoft Plus Digital Media Edition is in a different aspect and enjoys its own level of usability. However, generally, all are relatively simple to use.

The three major programs are Sync & Go, Analog Recorder and Photo Story. Sync & Go is enough to justify the purchase of the program if you want to glean news and other audio and video clips on the internet to transmit your PocketPC. You choose, for example, playlists or news and reviews online on Euronews, LCI, iTélévision, USAinformations and other then with a click of a button, Sync & Go sends the audio file in question to an iPaq or other ActiveSync 3.5 is compatible device.

For an audiophile with a collection of LPs and cassettes, Analog Recorder is the real jewel of Plus Digital Media Edition. This application allows you to create digital audio files from analog tapes or LPs, and this in automatically setting optimum sound level. It then separates the various tracks once the recording session. If it does not detect a transition between two songs, simply insert a separator at the location of the cut and press a button. Then you enter the track names, album titles, etc., that Analog Recorder turns into WMA files and automatically stores in the Media Library.

This tool also removes pops and crackling scratched vinyl records, and background noise cassettes. It also allows you to compare the before and after versions, so you can abandon the filtering if you wish. This technology was licensed proposed Syntrillium Software, which publishes CoolEdit 2.0, professional grade software.

More or less useful tools

Finally, Photo Story is just a video slideshow to record your own comments on a series of images to superimpose music and to make it a Windows Media video. This is perhaps unnecessary, but is designed to be relatively simple in this step by step program, like Analog Recorder automatically sets the levels of sound recording.

You can take or leave more Dancer (American Bandstand style effect, in which the dancers with a very realistic appearance whirl, twirl and dance hip hop on your spreadsheets). Party Mode is useful, it uses Windows Media Player to play your music to the attention of your guests, but prevent them from using other software and interrupt the festivities. You will also have CD Label Maker, database type of tool for creating labels and CD covers, but each page has a Microsoft Plus label. On the alarm function with Alarm Clock that plays your favorite track in Media Player. And converter, Audio Converter, which converts MP3 and WAV files in Windows Media files (and vice versa if you have a third-party MP3 plug) according to various compression.

The results from one or two modules of Plus Digital Media Edition have been less impressive than we had hoped. During our test series Audio Converter failed to convert Wav files encoded ADPCM or some MP3 files. Worse, he introduced some irregularities on coded tracks, during a session of multitasking with other applications. This was a surprise to a system that, apart from this, is relatively strong (this is the HP Pavilion, released last year, with a 1.4 GHz processor and 480 MB of memory Ram available). With Plus Audio Converter, consider the implementation of WMA files from MP3 as a delicate process as burning a CD.