Review: The Big Mix

Create, mix, listen and edit all day (March 18th, 2005)

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Product Manufacturer: Allume Systems, Inc.

Price: MSRP US $59.99

The Good

  • Fully licensed versions, fun tools, good overall value. Good mix of software.

The Bad

  • Spark LE discontinued (but still currently supported). Some links on The Big Mix updates web page were dead.

The Big Mix is a low cost bundle of nine surprisingly useful and fun audio and music tools. All the programs are Mac OS X 10.3 Panther compatible and require a Mac with at least a 200 MHz G3 processor or better and Mac OS X 10.1 or higher, except for iPodRip which requires 10.2 or higher. Installation consumes at least 35 MB of hard drive space, and as much as 500 MB if all of GrooveMaker's songs are loaded. The bundle includes:

Audio Hijack (Rogue Amoeba Software) - Record audio from any program or streaming Internet broadcast in real time or schedule recordings to occur at specific times.

Disco (Disco Software) - Mix your next house party with this virtual DJ software. It Provides options to mix music manually through a virtual two-source mixer or Disco can do the mixing for you.

Doggiebox (Zygoat Creative Technologies) - A versatile digital drum machine to create professional sounding rhythm tracks.

GrooveMaker LE (IK Multimedia) - A loop-based, real-time electronic dance music mixer and generator. GrooveMaker is a fun tool for creating audio backgrounds for iMovie, iPhoto, or Keynote.

iPodRip (The Little App Factory) - Transfers music from an iPod or saves Mac disk space by playing songs directly from the iPod through iTunes.

iTunes Publisher (Josh Aas) - Sort, format and export iTunes playlists to a number of file formats including HTML or text. Perfect for tracking your music in Excel or FileMaker Pro.

MP3 Rage (Chaotic Software) - The versatile Swiss army knife utility for tweaking MP3 files.

Making More Music (Viva Media) - Learn the basics of music theory and composition while creating songs.

Spark LE (T.C. Electronic) - High quality audio recording and mastering software.

No bundle fits everyone's needs, but the Big Mix is a good mix of tools and a terrific value at $60. (If bought individually, the price of the software packages total over $200.) The programs work well with Apple's iLife suite of applications. The standout tools for me are Audio Hijack, GrooveMaker, and iPodRip. Audio Hijack adds whatever it records right to iTunes or an iPod and GrooveMaker makes it fun to create loop-based music. iPodRip recovers songs and restores playlists if your iTunes music library is abducted by aliens, plus supports all major audio formats.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by James Alguire, Apple Certified Trainer


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