Putting it to the test
Installing the software was easy and I encountered no problems with the installation procedure on a Dell laptop. The audio editing software that I have used in the past has never recognized or allowed me to use my internal sound card, making me entirely reliant on an external audio interface. Music Morpher Gold recognized and utilized my internal card with no problems whatsoever.
I really prefer it when Windows software is designed to use the standard interface and system colors. I really dislike it when software has some fancy skin on it with buttons that aren't where I expect them to be. I was disappointed when I opened Music Morpher Gold and found it to be skinned in an unattractive brown. After using the software for a while I can say that the ugliness is only skin deep -- menus were laid out logically, and functions were generally where I expected them to be. Despite the theme, I found the interface quite nice until I really got into the software and started editing.
The Music Morpher Gold interface has 7 tabs across the top for performing various functions. They are: Morpher, Advanced, Editor, Cover, Grabber, Burner, and Organizer.
With the "Morpher" tab you can quickly load audio files and apply 65 different audio effects to them. Not only is the effects library vast, but it allows you to add more via VST or DirectX. Some of the more interesting effects include: Alien, Chewed tape, Bullroarer, Techno World, and Snake. I'm at a loss to describe what these effects sound like, but they are pretty wild, and if you enjoy messing with audio, then they can undoubtedly give you hours of entertainment. That said I don't really know what I'd use them for once the novelty wore off.
The "Advanced" tab looks pretty much identical to the "Morpher" tab, but it contains all the usual effects that one might expect from audio editing software, Reverb, Delay, equalizer, chorus, etc. And it doesn't just have one type of reverb, or one equalizer, but several of each. I've never been particularly good at evaluating the quality of effects like these -- they generally sound very good to my ears, but I can't say whether or not they would be good enough for professional applications.
|Music Morpher Gold 3.0 (click to enlarge)|
The "Editor" tab is, as one might expect, for editing audio. One of the more useful features in Music Morpher Gold 3.0 is found here -- the "Voice Remover." As the name suggests, it allows you to remove vocals from tracks. In practice it works fairly well, but results vary depending on the song, and it takes some tweaking to get songs sounding good and with minimal vocal remnants. The editor has a pretty standard appearance, and is similar to Sony's Sound Forge and the like, but there's an interesting twist: Music Morpher Gold also has a multi-track editor in which you can put several audio files and adjust their locations. Although it's cool that they added this feature, it's very basic, and in my experience not particularly useful. I was unable to apply effects to individual tracks. Essentially the only two functions you can perform on tracks in multi track is to adjust their timing and to choose whether or not to loop them. The omission of a mixer to adjust the volume of individual tracks is extremely limiting. As a workaround you can adjust the volume as an effect on an individual track, save it, and then open it in multi-track. This is time consuming and can lead to degradation of audio quality.
Twice during testing the software became unresponsive in multi-track view, with only two tracks playing, and I had to terminate the program using the Windows task manager. By comparison, the multi tracking software that I use for my own projects regularly handles 20 or more tracks running at over double the sample frequency and one and a half times the bit rate.
The "Cover" tab is used for creating CD labels and jewel box inserts. It worked fairly well and I was able to successfully print a CD label with it.
The "Grabber" tab is used for ripping audio off of CDs. It worked well in my testing, but unfortunately it doesn't utilize an online database like CDDB. Because of this, all tracks you rip will need to be hand-labeled. If you're only ripping a couple of tracks for editing that's fine, but I would not use it for ripping whole albums.
The "Burner" is a basic CD/DVD writer. It can write audio CDs, data CDs, and data DVDs. I successfully made an audio CD, but my high-speed NEC burner was only recognized as being 4x, so it wasn't a particularly speedy process.
The "Organizer" can be used to keep track of files you're working with, but it's basic and not up to the task of organizing an entire MP3 library.
Summary and conclusions
The list of Music Morpher Gold's features is quite long but many of those features are really only mediocre in terms of functionality. If it were priced at $50 I would say it was a good value. As of this writing, its price is U.S. $99, which is more difficult to justify. There are many other options out there, some of which are free.
I struggled for a while trying to figure out exactly whom this software would be valuable to and useful for. For anyone who's into audio editing or multi-tracking (or aspiring to do so), I would not recommend it. It's not professional level software, and its interface is different enough from most high-end programs that the experience gained wouldn't really be transferable.
I also wouldn't recommend it for someone who needs a burner, ripper and audio editor and wants to save money and buy this instead. The lack of automatic labeling of ripped tracks, and lack of burning options preclude it from doing that well.
The one application which Music Morpher Gold would be great for is for aspiring singers. A couple of years ago I performed in a showcase. It was last minute, they didn't have facilities for my band to play with me, and my own material didn't really suit the show. I ended up having to take the tracks I wanted to perform, rip them from CD, rerecord the songs one instrument at a time omitting the vocals, burn the tracks to disc, and then label it with a magic marker. If I'd had Music Morpher Gold at the time, I could have achieved similar results in a fraction of the time. Even though I already own professional software and equipment, this is still a compelling option.
|Purpose||Audio ripping, recording, mixing, encoding, and CD writing|
|Architectures and platforms||Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP for the x86 architecture only|
|License||Proprietary, restrictive in all the usual ways.|
|Price (retail)||U.S. $100|
|Previous version||AV Music Morpher Gold 2.0|
|Product Web site||Click here|