Lights, camera, action with Iomega's Buz multimedia...

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November 23, 1998|By Andrew Sasaki

Lights, camera, action with Iomega's Buz multimedia software

It's not often that a product comes along that makes you feel instantly old. That's what happened when I got Iomega's Buz Multimedia Producer ($199 for PCs, $299 for the Mac). I became an old geezer, telling kids how much more difficult things were "back in the ol' days" of pre-digital editing.

With Buz, anyone who has a computer can be a video producer - of sorts. If you're thinking of buying a Buz and going into business, forget it; this is a consumer-grade product. But if you want to clean up and edit the footage you shot at Mount Rushmore last year, Buz is your tool.

Buz hardware consists of two parts: a circuit board that fits into a PCI slot in your computer and an external breakout box that connects to the card to communicate with audio and video sources.

The box has S-video and RCA-type connectors for video, plus a pair of RCA stereo connectors for audio. It can capture video at up to 6 megabytes per second, significantly faster than most hard drives, or up to 20 MB per second if you have an UltraSCSCI drive.

The Mac version comes with a "lite" edition of Adobe Premiere editing software, while the PC version uses MGI VideoWave SE.

You young whippersnappers have it so easy. When I was your age, computers were powered by steam and we had to edit video with a hacksaw and a pointy stick! With this newfangled Buz, you can just pop some hardware into your computer and start editing like some kind of ... a ... um ... what was I talking about? Anyway, I have to go now and soak my dentures.

Information: 800-446-6342 or www.iomega.com. One of the most anticipated features of Universal Serial Bus (USB) technology is its theoretical ability to deliver digital audio without requiring a sound card. Altec Lansing's ADA-305 computer speaker system ($142) does not go that far (you still need a sound card), but it does use the USB advantageously to manage the sound that comes out of your speakers.

The ADA-305 system comprises two desktop speakers and a subwoofer that goes under your desk. The USB-based audio-management software lets you tweak the room's sound image and trigger Dolby Prologic for faux surround sound.

Each desktop unit has two 3-inch speakers, one directed toward you and one that's angled away to create the three-dimensional effect. The ADA-305 software lets you control the speaker's volume, switch from stereo to Prologic sound and trigger preset configurations for music, gaming, movies and other types of programs.

The sound is impressive when playing games and watching DVD movies, less so when listening to music - but still good enough for all but the most finicky ears.

If you want audiophile sound, you probably shouldn't be listening to PC speakers, anyway - certainly not speakers this reasonably priced.

Information: 800-258-3288 or www.altecmm.com.

You can find full reviews of these and other gadgets at www. streettech.com.

Pub Date: 11/23/98

Gareth Branwyn

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