Tunebite Review: A Program That Removes DRM Copy Protection

A review of Tunebite 6 that removes DRM from music and videos

Tunebite 6 main screen
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Platinum Version Reviewed

When Tunebite 5 was reviewed a while ago it proved to be a versatile program for not only removing DRM copy protection but also for providing an essential set of audio tools. RapidSolution Software AG has now released Tunebite 6 (also part of the Audials One software suite) which has new features. Find out in this review how Tunebite 6 performs, and if it's really worth the upgrade.

Pros:

  • Improved user-interface
  • Good file format support and conversion speed
  • Excellent set of media tools

Cons:

  • User-manual needs improving and updating
  • Perfect Audio mode is slow

Getting Started

System Requirements:

  • Operating system: Windows XP / Vista
  • Minimum Processor: 1 GHz
  • Memory: 512 MB RAM
  • Software: Windows Media Player 9+ / iTunes 6+
  • Video: Minimum resolution 1024 x 768 pixels

Interface: Tunebite's graphical user-interface (GUI) has been improved since version 5 by the reorganization of existing controls, the addition of new features such as Perfect Audio, an external player synchronization icon, and a switchable conversion interface for either default or advanced mode. Overall, the cleaner appearance makes using Tunebite 6 more intuitive and easier to use than before.

User-Manual: The user-manual lacks detail in certain areas and could do with an update. For example, there isn't any guidance on installing the virtual CD burner; this has to be manually installed via a shortcut in the Programs menu of Windows.

The manual also refers to the old 'Capture Streams' feature that has now been replaced by 'Surf and Catch'. Essentially the manual is still useful but falls down on its content in certain parts.

Converting

Media file Conversion: Tunebite 6 makes it easy to convert media files by providing a drag-and-drop area, or via clicking the Add button near the top of the screen.

A new feature introduced in version 6 is a drop-down menu on the add button that gives you the option to either add single files or entire folders. During testing Tunebite was able to convert a mixture of music and video files (copy protected and DRM-free) without any problems and produced good results.

  • Output Audio Formats: M4A, MP3, OGG, WAV, WMA, WMA Pro
  • Output Video Formats: 3GP, AVI, MPEG4, SONY PSP, WMV7, WMV9, XVID

Perfect Audio: A new feature in Tunebite 6 is the Perfect Audio mode which guarantees, as the name suggests, a perfect reproduction of the original copy-protected file. It does this by creating two simultaneous recordings and then comparing them to check for errors. The downside to using this new feature is it takes significantly more time to convert files; if you've got a lot of DRM-protected files then be prepared for a long wait!

Conversion Modes: Another new feature for version 6 is being able to choose what technical level you want to work in. The default mode is aimed at the beginner who needs a simplified interface to quickly convert their files. For the more advanced user, a change in mode will reveal more options for bitrates and custom configurations.

Conversion Speed and Quality: Tunebite 6's conversion performance has been improved since the last version; up to 54x speed is now possible.

The quality of the converted files is also excellent.

Additional Tools

Surf and Catch: Originally named 'Capture Streams', the new 'Surf and Catch' (also a component of MP3videoraptor 3) tab is one area of Tunebite that has really been enhanced since its last incarnation. You can now record both audio and video streams from popular streaming websites like, Last.fm, Pandora, iJigg, SoundClick, LaunchCast, MusicLoad, YouTube, MySpace, and others. There's also...ahem...a few erotic sites that are listed in Tunebite 6 - there's a parental control feature to hide these if needed.

Virtual CD Burner: An excellent new tool to convert files from within a software media player such as iTunes.

Instead of burning to a physical CD, you can choose the Tunebite virtual CD burner as your device to use. Similar to Noteburner, it employs a virtual device that can be used to remove copy-protection. Unfortunately, it took a while to figure out how to install this additional tool as there isn't any guidance in the user-manual. Once installed, Virtual CD burner automatically used Tunebite 6 to convert the test DRM'ed tracks.

Ringtone Maker: The ringtone maker hasn't changed since the last Tunebite version but still offers a great way to make ringtones from your digital music files and CDs; it can also strip out the audio from a video clip and record sound from an alternative source such as a microphone. You can generate MP3, AMR and MMF ringtones which can be transferred via WAP or downloaded as a file.

DVD/CD Burner: Tunebite 6 now has the facility to write data to DVDs as well as audio and data to CDs; useful for creating backups of your media collection.

Conclusion

Is it Worth Buying?
Tunebite 6 is certainly an improvement over previous versions with additional benefits such as faster file conversions, support for more streaming media sites, and the Perfect Audio feature that guarantees error-free replication of your original DRM'ed files. However, having to manually install the Virtual CD burner is a downside; the shortcut to install this is hidden away in a sub-folder in the Windows Programs menu. The user-manual is also not as detailed or up-to-date as it should be. Fortunately these minor problems don't overshadow how good Tunebite 6 is to use.

It's a solid performer that's got a great selection of additional tools that go beyond simple DRM file conversion. Tunebite 6 is certainly recommended if you're frustrated by the restrictions of DRM or need a media toolbox that can convert, record, and backup your music and video files.