Make music magic

If you've got the talent, Magix's Music Maker can provide you with a digital mixing tool that rocks.

If you've got the talent, Magix's Music Maker can provide you with a digital mixing tool that rocks. Expect a fairly steep learning curve if you're new to the program, but don't let that intimidate you: along with a robust feature set, Music Maker comes with tutorials and direct links to the help forums.

The new features are robust additions to the already loaded feature set. The built-in drum machine, BeatBox, has been overhauled and is more flexible. The Infobox feature teaches you about music as you're producing it, as well as displaying long-form tooltips for advice on how to use the program. Sound Vision reorganizes your sounds into a visual scheme. Music Maker also comes with 1,500 sounds to get you started, and musicians can now publish directly from the program to YouTube. When you register the program, you get additional features that we couldn't test, like a vintage-style analogue compressor and MIDI step recording.

Check out the tutorials, because without them, navigating the program is like trying to play Bach before learning "Chopsticks." The interface is manageable once you know what features do and how to use them, so taking the time with the tutorials will pay off. Magix Music Maker is several steps beyond comparable freeware music-editing programs, but at a price that even a professional musician should be able to afford.

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