Adaptec’s investment in Toast, the standard in CD-burning software, continues with its release of version 4. Given that its predecessor supported all CD standards, it was difficult to see how improvements could be made. What Adaptec has done, is to make Toast into a more comprehensive product – through the inclusion of two ancillary programs – and with its support for MP3.
In terms of looks, Adaptec has taken a leaf out of the various MP3 players, by adopting the use of ‘skins’, or ‘look and feel’ as it’s referred to in Toast.
Little has changed with the user interface, though the format can now be selected from the main window, and CD names can be typed in without needing to double-click. However, the biggest change – and one that doesn’t appear to be mentioned anywhere – is that Toast now functions in the background. Adaptec should shout this from the rooftops. This is a major selling point.
Select Audio CD for the format, and MP3 makes its appearance. Files can be drag-&-dropped, building up a CD’s-worth of music, with Toast handling the file translation automatically. Adaptec makes noises about using only “authorized” MP3 files, but any MP3 will be accepted. Another new feature is Disc-at-Once recording – a complete audio CD can be burned in one pass, rather than as a succession of tracks. Also, Toast users have access to CDDB’s disc-recognition service, to save typing in track titles.
Included in the package is Arboretum Systems’ CDSpinDoctor, which uses Steinberg’s VST plug-in technology to optimize old tapes and vinyl offerings. Noise and pops can be banished, and bass and top-end re-introduced.
Adaptec has not sat on its laurels. Toast 4 Deluxe is excellent. With around 500 CD-R and CD-RW writers supported, this is a must for anyone who burns CDs.