The beauty behind the software is that almost everyone should
be able to operate it with a slight learning curve involved. I would recommend
that if this is your first time using the software that you take a few minutes
to read the manual that will give you a brief rundown on the product and use the
Nero Express interface until your confidence is up to using the standard Nero
menu system. One of the faults with this software is that it leads you right up
to the point of no return in some cases and then you are wondering what to do
next. Take your time with the software and explore the menu options. The Express
interface will alleviate some of these problems for users, but robs you of the
ability to use some of the more powerful options provided.
Nero provides .mp3 encoding from audio cds as well using
mp3pro or standard mp3 encoding. This is locked to encoding only 30 times to
give you a feel for that part of the software however you may purchase the
plugin from www.nero.com to
unlock this functionality. Australian users should be delighted to know however
the Comm-Unique, being the good sports that they are have included the full
encoder in the box for you to use immediately which I thought was outstanding
service from this company. Some users may not understand why it is locked
however Nero do not own mp3 encoding technology, it is licensed to them for a
limited use by their customers. So when you purchase the plugin you are merely
paying the royalty for that part of the software. Perfectly understandable.
However, I do repeat that if you are an Australian user of this software, then
there should be an extra disc in your box with the full encoder.
I must confess that this was my first time playing with the
mp3pro format and I was impressed by it. For those not in the know, mp3pro files
are the next generation of encoding music files. As a rule of thumb, standard
mp3 files are 1/10 the size of the original music file, normally recorded to the
hard disk as a .wav file. It's a great way to store multiple albums on a single
cd. mp3pro files take that to the next level and are able to lower the bit rate
again on the mp3 file to almost halve it from the average mp3 file size. As a
rule when backing up my music however, I do encode at a minimum of 192kbps, so
even with the advances made with mp3pro, I was too fussy about sound quality and
won't be using it too much just yet. For those of you who are happy with
128kbps, make sure you do invest in mp3pro as it does create music files at
64kbps that you would swear were encoded at 128. Even now they are working on
supporting higher bit rates which is excellent news indeed.
A nice touch with Nero when converting the other way (from
mp3 to cd audio) is that you can highlight your selection, right click, select
properties and then change the amount of silent time between tracks (you can
also do this with .wav files) to 0 seconds so that the music flows from one
track to another. I've found over time that many cds actually have the start of
a song on the end of the track before it. This method of allowing 0 seconds
between tracks means no hiccups. It's useful for making backups of cds that you
play constantly so that you don't risk scratching up the source material. I make
backups of my cds, then put the original someplace safe where the kids can't get
it. Having access to both a car stereo that plays mp3s and standard cd audio,
this is perfect for me.
Nero also helps you make Video CDs (VCD) that you can view
home movies on either your PC or a compliant DVD player. Using this function is
ridiculously simple: Tell Nero that you want to make a VCD, choose add files and
then drag and drop almost any media file into Nero. It will then be encoded into
VCD format for you, it is the sheer simplicity of this procedure that is a joy
to use. There is also the option to make Super Video CDs which are greater
quality again and the average movie will span two of these CDS to account for
the greater quality. To access this part of the software you will need to
purchase the SVCD plugin from Nero.
During this process I must confess that I had problems with
my home videos and converting them to VCD. I had transferred them to my PC as
PAL mpeg2 files and when I dropped them into Nero, it flipped them and also
mirror imaged them on the final product so everything was back to front which
was most annoying. This may have been something I was doing however, as I have
put a number of other files that I have downloaded from the internet through the
process and they worked out just fine. I have sent a CD with the problem files
to Nero in California, USA and when and if we get some results with those
problems, I will be sure to update this review.
Nero also has the ability to produce hybrid CDs that will
work with both Mac OS and PC's. Whilst this was not tested in depth, the few
discs that we did produce worked just fine on both machines and certainly could
be read by both operating systems.
Windows XP Home
Edition / Professional
- 25MB of available hard
- DVD or CD-ROM drive
Whilst Nero has many other wonderful features such as it's
own media player and label designer, for the sake of this review I am covering
only those areas in which we thought you, our readers might have questions. I
thoroughly recommend Nero as my personal burning software of choice for now,
although there are a number of areas in which it is a bit amiss. One of these,
and this feature is widely requested, is the ability to record from cassette
players and turntables, which Roxio Easy CD Creator certainly does. This is the
only part of Nero where I am lowering the score on the product as I have had
such a blast using it and have found it to be almost perfect in every other way.
I have heard user complaints with Nero where the consumer had
received the software with a burner they had purchased. This is not the full
version of Nero, it's more of a courtesy version to let you use the software and
actually utilise the burner you have just bought. I am not certain if these
versions allow you to use Nero customer service or not, however for the record,
I am pleased to state that I found the team at Nero, especially Craig to be
excellent to deal with. They were fast, efficient and polite, and it was at that
point that they did not know I was writing a review on the software. I was just
Joe Public asking for some help with a full version of the software.
If Nero did have the ability to burn from turntables and
cassettes, I would seriously considering scoring it at about 9.9 or even a 10.
As it stands, this is outstanding software that I am very pleased to recommend
to you for almost any burning application and am scoring it 9.6/10.
- Tory Favro
The Final Say!
Nero 5.5 reviewed by
20 March 2003
Review Score: 9.6/10
Copyright ©2003 www.impulsegamer.com