By David Hurd
Issue: April 1, 2002

REVIEW: Digital Juice's Backtraxx music library

Review: Digital Juice BackTraxx Music Library

Finding the right music for your project can be a time consuming and costly venture, especially for longform projects. When I first started editing, I went to needledrop libraries and would spend a small fortune on music for a large project. This practice went on until I discovered SonicFire Pro at NAB last year.

 The SFP interface allows me to view my video in a small window and set in and out points for my soundtrack changes. SFP has its own sound libraries, which can be looped and are very nice. The tracks are also royalty free, so once you purchase them, you can use them as many times as you wish without paying any extra royalty fees. But wait, you sayÃ-this review is supposed to be about the BackTraxx Music Library. Let me explain the reason for my digression. In this business you learn that usually it takes more than one product to do everything that you need done. Soundtracks are no exception. Digital Juice has come out with BackTraxx, a 28-CD series, which is also royalty free. I like the SFP interface, and soundtracks, but I believe that there is no such thing as "too big" a music library. I get the feeling that adding an extra 1100 or so songs will help me find the perfect track for that last minute, 4 a.m. edit, whose deadline is set for 8 a.m. The BackTraxx CDs come packaged in an attractive display case that you can set on your desk or shelf. No more searching for the "lost CD".

The CDs come packaged in boxes of two, with the name of the title on the spine, for easy viewing. Once you find your title, you simply slip the box out of the case and select the track that you want from the list on the back. Each track is listed and numbered for easy reference. The BackTraxx set also comes with an Audio Index CD, which gives you all of the information that is written on the back of each CD box. I think this would be very handy for locating the tracks if you were to put the whole collection on a hard drive somewhere for instant access. Having 28 more CDs of music from which to choose really helps me to find the perfect track when Iím working on a project. I was doing a :30 spot for Encryptex Pro, an encryption software company, and needed something special. The visuals were of a police car with lights flashing, a newspaper clip of cyber-terrorism, and a Digital Juice Jump back clip of the American flag. I found a track in the BackTraxx library which had the energy that I needed, while adding the dignity necessary to keep the spot from sounding like a scare tactic. The client loved it. There are many styles of tracks to choose from on the 28 CDs. The two Classical CDs have a nice mix of symphonies, overtures and waltzes cut to fit in standard lengths. The William Tell Overture, for example, has both a :30 and a :60 track, as well as a 3:22 track for longform work. The BackTraxx series also includes Country, Corporate & Industrial, Atmospheric, Mellow, Nature, Piano, Sports, Urban, Hi-Tech, Rock, Suspense, and the specialty CDs: Christmas, Wedding, and Miscellaneous. Also included are Bonus re-mixes, and three CDs of "Cool Stuff", which contain Circus, Game Show, and other unusual tracks that you may need. I could go on and on about each one of the CDs. Letís just say that I listened to them all, and found them to be very well suited for video production work. SFP lets me import the tracks and mix them with other tracks for my longform projects, but you could just rip them, and put them directly on your timeline. As I listened to the CDs, I tried to find flaws such as large level changes, or noise in the tracks that would cause problems. Happily, the set seems very solid, well recorded, and a good value for the money. When I did the math, (1101 tracks for $399.99) I found that I was only paying about 36 cents for a track that I could use royalty free for any of my future projects. Thatís hard to beat in my book. After reviewing this product, I think that the BackTraxx Music Library would be a great addition to anyoneís sound library. Itís a wide selection of good sounding music, at a reasonable price.