Ashampoo's Burning Studio 14 is more than just a disc burning solution that can burn data on CDs, DVDs or Blu-Rays for you. While that may be enough for some users, others may like the additional features that German software company Ashampoo has integrated into the burning software.
It is for instance possible to author movie discs, design your own audio covers, copy existing discs for backup purposes, or create photo slideshows and burn them to disc.
As far as new features go, there are quite a few that found their way into Burning Studio 14. It is now for instance possible to burn encrypted discs or use a new cover application that will retrieve cover art for you while you are ripping music on your system.
The burning software is available as a 10 day free trial version that you can extend with your email address. Installation itself should not pose any troubles to you, and the setup is clean from any third party offers or other nuisances.
The program starts up displaying its main interface to you afterwards. Here you find the features that it makes available neatly sorted into a sidebar on the left.
Here you can burn data to disc, or use the backup and restore functionality instead. When you hover your mouse over an entry, you are presented with the available modules.
Burn Data for example provides you with options to create a new blank disc operation, create an encrypted disc instead, one that spans over multiple discs, or continue an existing project by burning additional data to it.
Once you have made your selection here, say burn crypted disc, you are taken to the configuration window where you can add files and folders to the disc. Use the add button to add files or folders to it, or drag & drop them directly to the interface from the system's file explorer.
Once you have added files, you can export the file list to a text file, which can be useful if you use disc archiving software or just want a searchable record of what you put on the disc on your PC.
The lower right corner of the screen indicates the disc types the data fits on. This changes dynamically as you add or remove files from the disc.
The only other option provided here is to change the title of the disc before you click on next to proceed.
You are then asked to set a password for the disc, before the burning dialog appears. Here you can select the writer that you want to use, the write speed, and the number of copies that you want in total.
Advanced options become available once you have inserted a blank or rewritable disc into the drive. Options on this screen include shutting down the computer when the burning process completes, burning in Disc at once mode, to copy all data to an image file first, or verify the files and folders after the recording.
The program displays next step suggestions after operations finish. This includes verifying the DVD, writing the same disc again, or printing a cover for it.
Data on the encrypted disc can only be encrypted under Windows, as you need to run an executable file to do so. The data itself is not accessible when you do not run the program, as it is stored as a single image file on disc and not with its original file names and folder structure.
If you run the tool, you are asked for the password set during setup of the burn job. If it is correct, the folder and file structure is displayed to you, and you can either extract data from disc, or open it right away.
The Backup and Restore feature works in a similar fashion. There are some differences though, First, Burning Studio displays the computer's folder structure right away when you start the process, and it is up to you to select the files and folders -- local or network -- that you want to back up.
Here you can also add file exclusions, of which Burning Studio comes with a lot. Once you have made the selection, you need to select whether you want to burn the data to disc -- or multiple discs using the split size feature -- or hard drive in form of an image. The only other options provided are to encrypt the data, and to compress it.
Ashampoo supports the burning of disc images as well, but you won't find it under the burn group but under miscellaneous instead. The program supports ISO, IMG and CUE disc images, as well as the program's own ashdisc format.
The very same menu enables you to create disc images as well from non-empty discs, or to browse existing images without extraction or mounting.
The media options are divided into music and movie & slideshow. Music offers options to rip audio CDs, create new audio CDs using local music, or burn audio files to disc.
This works pretty much as you'd expect it to work. A new audio CD is created in a few simply steps for example. You select the module, add music to it -- supported are several audio formats like mp3, flac or wav as well as playlists files such as m3u, xml or txt --, change normalization settings, or preview individual audio tracks.
As far as movies and slideshows are concerned, they work in pretty much the same way. You select the module, add files to them, for the slideshow various image formats for example, select output formats such as Pal or NTSC, or 4:3 or 16:9 screen formats, before you can add movie files or create movies or slideshows in the next window.
The slideshow window looks different than the other windows. While you can drag and drop images to it, you will notice that other options are displayed on it that let you customize the slideshow.
And when you add images, you get options to define how they are sorted among other things.
You can pick a theme here, logos and subtitles, change the order of pictures, add text to individual images, or add shapes to the slideshow.
Several effects like zooming in or out are available to modify how images are displayed, and about a dozen transition effects define how the slideshow transitions from one image to the next.
As far as video file support is concerned, Burning Studio 14 supports several important types such as mp4 or avi, but lacks support for others such as flv.
Ashampoo Burning Studio 14 is an easy to use burning software for the Windows operating system. It supports a wide variety of features, from burning standard discs to advanced uses such as the burning of photo slideshows, and does a great job at guiding the user through the whole process.
The program could use support for additional video and disc image formats though. While the most important ones are supported, support for formats like flv or dmg would go along way.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.