by Rick Smith (March 1993)
This article is the first in a series of articles which will discuss the various hardware and software components needed when developing a multimedia or interactive project, along with some interesting interactive titles currently on the market. This month, I will be discussing software sound sources that simplify the licensing issue.
Sound is probably the least expensive portion of an interactive or multimedia project to physically "computer generate". Full CD quality sound is quite easy to produce on average PC's at remarkably low cost, unlike real-time full screen video or photo-realistic rendering.
Designers of multimedia presentations have had problems with sound and music because they are not composers or even musicians. Designers generally have an idea of what they want, but don't know how to create the needed sounds and music. If this music is "borrowed" from commercial broadcasts or CD albums, there is the great risk of legal complications.
Prosonus produces a product called MusicBytes which features a quality source of original music and sound effects, ranging from rock to classical, without the legal hassles. It consists of software and a CD which contain sound files (22k and 11K wave files for PCs and 22K and 11K AIFF files for MAC), MIDI files and standard CD-Audio which can be played on a conventional audio CD player. These sound files can be used as is (they are pre-edited in 60, 30, 15 and 5 second clips) or they can be customized and edited with a product like DigiVox Corporation's Sound Impression, a full featured desktop recording studio that manipulates sound files much like a word processor manipulates a document. If further modifications are desired and a high quality MIDI synthesizer (sound card or externally connected) is available, the MIDI files contained on this CD can also used to create the same music or can be changed and modified as needed. This music is "100% license free".
Killer Tracks offers a high quality series of 3 CDs specifically produced for multimedia production. Each CD contains over 60 minutes of sound effects, production elements and music. The eight musical styles of rock, urban, hi-tech, comedy, semi-classical, mellow, industrial and new age available on each CD allow the designer great flexibility. This library is available in both 22K wave files for the PC or 22K AIFF files for the MAC and is licensed exclusively for non-broadcast multimedia productions.
© 1993 Rick Smith All rights reserved.