Ashampoo Music Studio 6 : A first spin - Review Almost any music lover or even a non-enthusiast will have a couple of albums in the nook and cranny of his house or if it's a soft copy his/her pc system. Music has been part of humans even when the savages were still, well savages! Music will ease the pain and relax our minds especially after a hard days work, a breakup with the girlfriend, a frustrating moment after a game loss, tame a weary heart..weary soul that needs rest and beer, etc., Now as with life sometimes we need tools to organize ourselves, what we do and all. The same goes with our music/audio files and CD's. The right tools we use will help us get more of what we have and later on help us enjoy it more. Come in Ashampoo Music Studio 6. This program promises to rip, burn, cut, convert, mix, organize, print covers and create playlists for you. The possibilities with this program is as diverse as your music compilations. Ashampoo Music Studio 6 will: Smooth burning and converting of iTunes songs Ultra-precise song mixing, cutting and editing with up to 3 tracks Split audio books or live concert recordings with smart splitting technology Create playlist for any device Solid sound converter with individual format and quality settings Audio disc ripping with powerful automatic features Easily create and design individual covers with various templates or use custom motives Convert audio tracks from videos into single sound files. I have never used Ashampoo Music Studio 6 (and it's predecessors though I have Ashampoo Music Studio 5) before because I have other programs that does the job for me. Have been accustomed to them and they NEVER failed me! Yeah! But then again, why not try Ashampoo Music Studio 6 and see what it is (taste what it's like --like a new beer or burger), check out what it can it offer me and perhaps TBT members also. This is a review of Ashampoo Music Studio 6 - AMS6 (first time spin etc) in line with our upcoming Ashampoo Official Giveaway sponsorship. The Interface Running the software you will see that the gui has a Windows 8 interface look with large buttons for the different tasks that you are offered to select. "What would you like to do?" it says there and just click on the boxes there and you will be guided accordingly. So...."What would I like to do?"....Let's get it on!!!! Rip Audio CD Ashampoo Music Studio 6 - AMS6 makes it easy for you to rip audio files from any of your audio CD. You just have to load the CD you wanna rip, select the source drive. AMS6will display all the tracks in that particular CD. Placing a "check-mark" inside the check-box at the end of each track signifies you want that particular track to be ripped. Editing music tags (lay in the information of the track#, title and the artist) can be done by clicking the "pen icon" at the end of each track. Likewise you can also edit album information via just typing what you want for that album you just ripped. See image below. You will also see an "Extended Setting" button which you are given two options, (1) Choose to eject the CD after reading, or (2) create you own playlist. Select the type of output format and quality options you prefer for the rip. From the interface you can select output formats (codec) mp3, aac, wma, ogg, wav, flac and opus formats. For the quality, you are presented with either, Medium, Good, CD or High Quality (--Sample Rate and Bitrate differences are shown as sound type --Mono or Stereo). See image below. Select destination where you want the contents to be ripped and you are good to go. For a 23 track audio CD of Jim Croce Greatest Hits it took around >5 minutes to rip the whole album into a folder. That was MP3, High Quality>Sample Rate 48000Hz / Bitrate 320kBit/s. For a 19 track James Taylor Greatest Hits album (MP3, High Quality>Sample Rate 48000Hz / Bitrate 320kBit/s ) took about >4 minutes. Pretty good! Burn Burn function is simple with pretty straight forward instructions even a kid won't err in this parts. So if you are still into burning your music to CD's this is for you. The "Create MP3 Disc and Create WMA Disc" adds a select output quality option(Medium, Good, CD or High Quality --with Sample Rate and Bitrate differences are likewise with sound type --Mono or Stereo). After you have added audio files take note of the "gear icon" which will show the "extended settings" for the "burn function". Burn settings are shown in the image below. The "Create Mix Format Disc" and "Create Audio CD" in contrast does not show additional options for "quality". You get a pretty much straight-forward shot instructions to (1) Select files for your CD (2) After files are added --set preferred burn settings (3) Select target drive for burning and then boom burn it! Creation is pretty much fast also. Please see images below for the burn-step creation I tried. Modify AMS6 allows you to modify your audio files. Let's check out some of these functions. Analyze Files This function in AMS6 checks the integrity of your audio files based on available metadata and provides on-the-fly editing capabilities to correct any errors. AMS6 analyzes your audio files for the proper information that each audio files needs. Proper in the sense that AMS6 determines an audio file to have complete information for the user. How are the audio files verified? Versus what or how..? Zit zero..no explanation there. Ripped audio files from original audio CD's gave a constant "Fail" always pointing to the "Edit File tags" stating -- "One file does not include all important file tags" To check again I loaded another original audio CD and ripped a track. Tried to analyze it again. Lo' and behold' the verdict was the same. 'Fail' and it again points to the "Edit File Tags". Now this I do not understand, the information is complete and "IS" from the original audio CD itself! AMS6 creates a verdict of FAIL even when the file tags are correct. Checks the "metadata" and "integrity of your audio files" Shades of Windows Media Player behavior here... I have an inkling I will need to allow AMS6 to connect to the internet in order to get a "PASS" verdict. But this is a "fuzz" so you can disregard the 'Fail>Edit file tag'. And then it hit me...AMS6 may be telling me to load the Album Art of the audio CD of James Taylor's Greatest Hits. Now I did not have that so I tried to load one from Colbie Caillat. Then suddenly all was well. AMS6 will honor the user preference given. It will let suffice whether a correct album art is attached as a "tag" or not --as long as the "user" defines his/her "own" complete tag data. Convert Audio Files As self-explanatory as it gets this function helps you convert your audio files to whatever codec you prefer. You just have to load the audio files you want converted and select output formats (codec --mp3, aac, wma, ogg, wav, flac and opus) and output quality either Medium, Good, CD or High Quality (--Sample Rate and Bitrate differences are shown as sound type --Mono or Stereo). See image below. Normalize Files It has always been observed that audio files sometimes do not have the same volume level. Sometimes you come from a hard day's work, lay back have a beer and listen to your soothing compilation and then 'boom' out of nowhere there it is the sound is so low you can't hear properly! So you'd get up the remote adjust the volume right then and there. Then later when your sipping that ice cold one 'BOOM" the volume turns into a loud one! This AMS6 normalize files function will help you 'normalize' the volume of your audio files to a standard level --to a standard level (select from 79dB to 93 dB) you prefer. Doing so will hinder you from changing the volume level all the time and let you sip that ice cold one to the max!