capsule review

Discribe 5.0

At a Glance
  • Charismac Engineering Discribe 5.0

    Macworld Rating

The newest version of CD-burning program Discribe has many improvements--including support for Mac OS X and many more drives--but just doesn't stand up to the stiff competition posed by Roxio's Toast 5 Titanium.

With version 5.0.5, Discribe now runs natively in OS X, as does Toast 5 Titanium. The installation disc comes with separate versions for OS 9 and OS X, but the OS 9 version is a bit tricky to install--it requires you to choose among SCSI/ATAPI, USB, and FireWire installations rather than just installing any drivers you may need.

Earlier versions of Discribe lacked expanded support for USB and FireWire drives (see Reviews, July 2001). The program now supports about 250 CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, and DVD-RW drives, as well as drives that use the lesser-known DVD+R and DVD+RW standards. It even includes a generic driver for those drives not in its database. As a result, we were able to burn media successfully on a variety of CD-RW drives and an internal SuperDrive.

Discribe 5.0.5 also adds the ability to burn DVD movies--but only if the files and disc structure were created elsewhere--and data discs in the Universal Disc Format (UDF) on both CD and DVD media. And Video CD (VCD) burning has been improved to accept more types of MPEG-1 files. However, unlike Toast 5 Titanium, Discribe still can't encode QuickTime files for making VCDs.

When it comes to audio, Discribe 5.0.5 can burn AIFF files directly to CD and DVD media and can convert WAV, MP3, and SDII files for making music CDs, as did Discribe 4. It supports Disc-At-Once (DAO) burning and pretrack gaps of between zero and nine seconds. The standard version of AudioScribe, Charismac's application for recording music to your computer from LPs and cassettes, is still included--but it works only in OS 9.

Macworld's Buying Advice

Discribe 5.0.5 covers the basics well, but even with its various improvements over the previous version, we can't fully recommend it: Toast includes more options for burning and is the better value.

At a Glance
  • Macworld Rating

    Pros

    • Improved format and drive support
    • Simple interface

    Cons

    • Somewhat complicated OS 9 installation
    • No VCD encoding
    • No AudioScribe in OS X
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