When it comes to burning and ripping CDs and DVDs, there are a lot of free tools for creating and mounting discs. A lot of them are even pretty good and get the job done, but they can be hard to learn, have confusing interfaces, and sometimes botch up an otherwise normal operation. Ashampoo Burning Studio 12 is a professional solution that focuses on a shallow learning curve and ease of use.
If I’m going to be completely honest, I have to say that when I first downloaded this particular program I wondered to myself, “Do people still burn CDs and DVDs?” Maybe it’s only my social circles that have moved on to being entirely digital. Maybe you were never into the whole burning or ripping movement to begin with. Nonetheless, if you still like to create and clone optical media, then Burning Studio will be your one-stop shop.
Burning Studio 12 is available for $49.99 USD on Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 and it requires administrator privileges for installation. But for you, we’ve got a great offer that you just won’t be able to pass up: we’re giving away 10 copies of Burning Studio 12 worth a total of $500 for FREE! Keep reading to see how you can take advantage of this sweet, sweet offer.
Burning Studio 12 Review
Burning Studio 12 has a simple dashboard-like interface that actually looks pretty good. It doesn’t suffer from an overly cheesy or outdated feel like a lot of dashboard-based interfaces tend to sport. In fact, Burning Studio 12 looks positively polished and complete with animations. I’m a big stickler for interface (it can make or break a program) and Ashampoo Burning Studio 12 has done well here.
The navigation is split into four sections:
- Burn: You can burn data to a disc (and choose certain options like autorun) or you can backup/restore files to/from a disc. Backups are essential for preserving data and making physical copies is one way to protect yourself from loss.
- Create + Burn: I think this section would be better titled as “Media” or something along those lines since these options are all about music and movies. Here you can burn music CDs or rip audio off of existing music discs and create DVDs from files on your computer, including movies and slideshows.
- Miscellaneous: These are utility-based actions for management of your physical discs. For example, you can copy one disc’s contents to another disc or extract the contents of a disc as a disc image file. If you have a rewritable disc, you can also clear them here.
- Design + Print: Here you can take source image files and edit them so that they’re printable as disc covers. Supports formats including jewel cases, slim cases, DVD cases, Blu-ray cases, and disc covers.
The process of creating a data disc is immensely simple. Instead of adding various files and folders manually – which has been my experience with other burning solutions – Burning Studio 12 uses an intuitive two-paned window with checkboxes to determine which folders and files you want to include.
When selecting a folder, Burning Studio 12 will select all subfiles and subfolders therein. However, by editing the “exclusion rules,” you can set how Burning Studio 12 will treat various file types based on a set of rules. You can change or delete these rules and even add some of your own if you want.
For burning music, Burning Studio 12 reverts to the “add files one at a time” system, but it drastically increases the convenience factor by keeping open the browser window even after you add a file. It’s a small tweak that noticeably improves the experience.
One great feature with burning music here is that you can actually apply an equalizer effect individually to each track. Maybe I’ve fallen behind on quality burn software, but this is something that I’ve never seen or heard about before. Per-track equalization? That’s pretty awesome.
As an alternative to the regular dashboard mode, Burning Studio 12 also has something called the compact mode. In this mode, a little window sits on your desktop with an area to which you can drag-and-drop files. Burning Studio will then start the burning process with those files as a source. Switching between dashboard and compact modes is as easy as clicking a button.
Other features that may prove useful to you:
- Disc Spanning: Burn a single data disc project across multiple discs easily.
- Audio Formats: Supported music formats include FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV, and WMA. Supported playlist formats include M3U, TXT, WPL, XML, and XSPF.
- Password Protection: For your discs that contain sensitive data.
- Video Editor: When burning video discs, you can easily add subtitles, transitions, and audio tracks. If your videos are too long, you can trim or split them.
Again, we’re giving away 10 free copies to all of our loyal and beloved MakeUseOf fans and readers. Please be reminded that Ashampoo Burning Studio 12 only runs on Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 and requires administrator privileges for proper installation.
How can I win a copy of Burning Studio 12?
We have a new giveaway procedure in place, which will hopefully make participating much easier. You may enter using your Facebook credentials (which will require you to sign into Facebook) or by submitting your name and email address. You’ll receive one entry simply by doing so.
After that, you’ll also be offered various methods to earn additional entries. They range from sharing a link to this giveaway on social networks; to commenting or visiting a specific page. The more you participate, the higher your chances of winning!
This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, June 7th. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.