Make music the easy way

Magix Music Maker 16 offers a robust, well-laid-out tool for amateur and professional musicians.

If you consider yourself even mildly musical, a good piece of audio production software is a worthy addition to your arsenal. One such tool is Magix's Music Maker, a digital mixing tool with a slick interface and plenty of features for serious musicians. First time users will need to spend considerable time learning the ins and outs of the program, but don't let that stop you; Magix provides plenty of interactive tutorials and online forums for guidance.

This version of Music Maker adds plenty of new tools to an already robust feature set. You can still access preloaded instrument loops as well as pull up BeatBox, the built-in drum machine. The Infobox feature teaches you about music as you're producing it, and Sound Vision reorganizes your sounds into a visual scheme. And there's the option to publish directly to MySpace or YouTube. The program also offers extended sound effects, authentic guitar and amp sounds, and a Microscope Mode for even more detailed editing on the sound wave of objects.

If you've used other music production software that employs looping and sound effects, chances are you'll be able to catch on to Music Maker pretty easily, but there are definitely differences that will take some figuring out. The online tutorials are useful for everyone, not just novice users. You'll definitely want to check those out if you really want to dive into the program for all its worth. Also, if you're itching for more virtual instruments, consider upgrading to the premium version.

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