Review: Acoustica Mixcraft 5

Acoustica’s Mixcraft 5.0 is a multi-track recording studio that allows you to record audio, use pre-defined loops, create videos, and more. They like to call it a kind of “Garage Band for Windows”, and it certainly does let you do a lot. Anyone familiar with multi-track editing won’t be intimidated by this, but even if you’re new to the party, you should find the learning curve to be reasonable.

The musician in me wanted to delve into a new song right away. Fortunately, this was not a problem. The Library tab at the bottom contains about 2000 sounds, ranging from your typical acoustic guitar, bells, and strings, to vinyl, vocals, and even bagpipes. You can preview each one without adding it to your project, while a double-click will create a single track with a single beat for your sound. There is also a mixer where you can set the lows, mids, and highs of each track, as well as a nice set of effects that you can use , like compression, distortion, reverb, and a set of DirectX effects.

Since the sample sounds won’t always match the pitch or tempo of your project, it’s actually quite simple to set each one to match the settings for your project. You can record directly to a track, either with a microphone or other input device. This works well, and it’s nice to be able to start editing and adding effects as soon as you’re done recording.

The only real problem I had with managing my project was with the scrollbar that spans the length of the tracks. Unlike Acid 7.0, there is no way to click the edge of the scrollbar and expand or compress it, which would allow you to get a more detailed look. You can use the plus or minus signs on your keyboard, which technically does the trick, but there’s a little less flexibility here.

While you can add video tracks to your projects, and mix projects down to create AVI or WMV files, there didn’t seem to be a lot of things you can actually do with the videos, other than adding a soundtrack. An assortment of video effects would have been nice.

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