Techno Ejay 4 - PC

We didn't get off to a good start with Techno Ejay 4: It crashed twice, once when searching for an automatic update, the second time for fun. We persevered and found a reasonable amateur dance music creation package underneath.

A percentage of the 850MB full install has gone on audiovisual samples for you to play with. The interface will be familiar to anyone using a previous incarnation in the series, but at a street price of £30 it's not like you're going to get something that looks like Cubasis. In spite of the esoteric interface you do get a virtual synth, vocoder, 48 tracks to lay down your epic mixes with and the Time and Tune function lets you import your own samples and play around with the pitch.

Feeling shy about singing? Then generate lyrics from text strings and then grab your own CD tracks to have a go at remixing if you think you can do better than the original producers. The Bass Generator will let you start with the bassline which you may have had running through your head.

Although it's rumoured to be the last in the series there's still a place for the music- making package for total amateurs starting from scratch. Small problem is, main sponsor Numark make real turntables and the cost of this package may end up going on the altogether cooler and physical decks and a mixer, which would have better resale value for those who were serious about becoming a DJ. Budding music producers may opt for a real keyboard instead and use demo studio software until they can afford it the real thing.

Verdict

Techno 4 would make a good present for the kid who might want to start from scratch, but that's about it other than the fans who'll already have a copy. It needs time and then the rewards will show themselves in great music- it all depends whether you leave it there or grow into mid-range production software tools as a result of cutting your teeth on Ejay. If you choose to cut out the middleman then save a little more for a keyboard and Cubasis if you're dead keen- although Techno Ejay 4 could get you used to having to change proprietary interfaces with every new piece of software, which would be good preparation for modern music making.