An introductory question: Was this really necessary?
Well, I guess that the Nero developers would have themselves at least some doubting moments before trying to say "yes, it was". Why? Because... just because. I mean, among the so many sound editors and mixing softwares out there on the web, one more is not such a big deal, especially when it does almost the same thing like the rest... well with some minor "changes" which are in fact adaptations of old functionalities, put in a new graphic shape.
What has made me suspicious about the new Nero suite was the fact that they hoped to come up with a complete multimedia solution that should solve pretty much most of the problems one home user would encounter in the domestic environment; and obviously not every application was as serious as the acclaimed Burning Rom or as convenient as the brand new Wave Editor.
The SoundTrax 3 wants to be a mixing software that will forever answer your multitracking needs, creation of 5.1, 7.1 or surround plus LFE soundtracks for home movies or the like. It does this indeed, as the Nero SoundTrax 3 can manage a good deal of such processing needs... but at a rather basic level, more suitable for children or individuals with minimal computer skills. In case the Nero SoundTrax 3 has been designed for such targets, then it's almost cool; in case you are a person who has seen a bit of Audition, Reason or even the good ol' Cool Edit Pro things go astray. What's on?
Basically, Nero SoundTrax 3 can handle pretty much any circulating format for audio, video, image, metadata and disc formats; you name it, it will work with it and this is one good point - at least there are no silly restrictions, as I have met in other softwares. Nero SoundTrax 3's purpose is to let you edit soundtracks in most common formats from plain stereo to 7.1, mix in scratches, loops, panning and volume envelopes. Once the Nero SoundTrax 3 is started, the neat Wave Editor becomes available in instants when you need it and this is a truly workflow-saver feature; so, if you feel like creating some interesting soundtracks for your holiday movies, please do.The Looks
You know what they say, if you've ever seen a multitrack GUI, you've seen them all. The interface of the Nero SoundTrax 3 sports the classic look of any simple audio processing piece of code: menus, buttons and toolbars in the upper part, the left side is dedicated for the individual tracks' volume, playback, effect chain and stereo/surround field visual positioning, while the rest of the desktop area is dedicated to the waveform tracks. Of course everything can be easily resized so that you can set up your workspace as you wish for the best efficiency.
The GUI theme is rather XP than Vista, and thank god, there are no "wow" things such as transparent windows, useless color schemes and other futile crap. The buttons are simple, well-designed and most intuitive so after a few uses you'll most likely find your way around with ease. Each track's waveform
is colored differently for a pro-look and for less efforts in discerning what goes where. The menus and dialog boxes also sport the XP-native theme and are as readable as possible, let alone the fact that the info contained within is very accessible and correctly structured on long-time proven algorithms.
One cool thing I wasn't quite expecting was the fact that you can modify the size of the viewed tracks like in any professional application and this helps a lot if you've decided to use the Nero SoundTrax 3 to have your things done with reasonable precision. The scroll is also triggering the zoom function for quick and effortless navigation through a track down to the most intimate details of the recorded data.
Overall, even though there is nothing special to the GUI and its functionality, the Nero SoundTrax 3 sports very efficient looks; rather than insisting on lousy image artifacts ending up in excessive and completely futile CPU/RAM load, this interface manages to remain clear and clean, easy to understand, customized and used by newbies and the more skilled as well.The Works
Believe me or not, there is nothing much to be said about what the Nero SoundTrax 3 does: in a couple of words, it will allow you to prepare soundtracks for either burning down to and audio CD containing the mixed songs, or more complex sonic endeavors in 5.1 or 7.1 surround, to be later added to different video sequences.
The Nero SoundTrax 3 allows you to load, arrange and playback multiple tracks, regardless of the fact that you are about to mix in WAV files with MP3 and so on; the outcome is decided by the user to suit better the immediate needs. A thing that brings Nero SoundTrax 3 somewhat closer to professional-grade softwares is the presence of two additional applications, the Nero SoundBox and the Nero ScratchBox, not to mention the Wave Editor reviewed earlier. For example, the SoundBox will allow you to create, edit and mix in custom audio clips you can make by using a beat editor (a drum machine-like unit), a piano-roll sequencer and a (still imprecise) text to speech engine. The ScratchBox needs no detailed explanation as it consists of a DJ double "vinyl deck" in which you drag tracks and start DJ-ing.
Other neat features of the Nero SoundTrax 3 are the possibility to apply "curves" to the tracks being already loaded in the multitrack; these curves are what panning and volume envelopes are in let's say Audition or Sonar - unless there is no accurate fading and their editing must be done point-by-point. Nevertheless, as you zoom in, the Nero SoundTrax 3 re-spaces the time bars so you get a very consistent view of the time line and can adjust the mix with increased accuracy; the time bars are of course drawn according to the tempo and measure you specify for your project, so have no fear about working with "weirder" tracks .
You can record in Nero SoundTrax 3; just choose your source from a list and have the recording level adjusted, and there you go. I'd even dare say that you could use Nero SoundTrax 3 to do some home demo-recording for your future rock band: do the recordings, then grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and start processing your tracks: the SoundTrax 3 benefits from the same extensive list of tools and effects in the Wave Editor, so if you are into such things you can really do some interesting job.
One thing that's also missing in the Nero SoundTrax 3 as well as in the Wave Editor is a proper tool to cut and move tracks and blocks; this lack becomes especially nasty when you're all zoomed out and have to move a small block while still having a panoramic view on the project. No, don't try this at home folks, because you won't succeed. At the same time, a neat feature was implemented: the Align function; unfortunately it works in one way only, I have not seen any difference of aligning the blocks according to the selection order... and again... since you decided to go for an align feat, why not make it auto-stick like Audition and others do?
Well, there is no point in comparing the Nero SoundTrax 3 with the pro-grade softwares as it has never been developed to replace them, nor posed any threat to their market spread. From the point of view of a home user who is really into making his/her own soundtracks, the Nero SoundTrax 3 is one good tool to start with. Especially when coming for a few bucks you're spending on a bundle of other Nero software.The Good
The good thing about Nero SoundTrax 3 is that it has been launched and it sells bundled with other few useful (and less useful) pieces of code that can make your small, domestic "home entertainment industry" more fun and interactive. Its strongest points are by all means: the clean and intuitive interface with well-structured info, the fact that it is not resource-hungry and the huge list of supported formats. Of course, there is a lot to improve in the next versions.The Bad
There aren't bad things in Nero SoundTrax 3, but rather things that do not work as expected, even though having them working the pro-way would not have required too much of an effort. Block splitting and alignment, slide-section control and some more carefully-designed GUIs for SoundBox are things that I still miss. Anyway, time will tell.The Truth
For those who want to learn or to get acquainted better with multitracking, multi-channel audio editing and other similar stuff, the Nero SoundTrax 3 could indeed be one very useful tool for a while. For users with more extensive audio processing software knowledge who happen to buy Nero SoundTrax 3 while actually spending some bucks on the Burning Rom, I guess it will prove rather useless, unless they don't have another software solutions on the fly. Another good thing is that the actual price for the Nero SoundTrax 3 is very small, due to bundling.
Proceed to Nero BackItUp
, Nero BurningROM
, Nero CoverDesigner
, Nero Express
, Nero Home
, Nero PhotoSnap
, Nero PhotoSnap Viewer
, Nero Recode
, Nero ShowTime
, Nero Vision
, Nero WaveEditor
, Nero StartSmart
, Nero Scout
, Nero InfoTool
, Nero RescueAgent
, Nero DiscSpeed
, Nero DriveSpeed, Nero BurnRights, Nero ControlCenterHere are some snapshots of the application in action: