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To hear sound on the world wide web you need several things:
Your computer must have a soundcard
(and/or working sound driver.) If you
do not have a soundcard, a good 16 bit one can be had for about
50 bucks, however; you should also have at least 8 Megs of RAM and
a 14,400 internet connection. Sound files often hold 1-2M and can take 2-30 minutes to
download with your viewer ... ouch!
If you buy a soundcard, it should come with software that makes it
work. If your computer came pre-installed with a soundcard,
it may or may not have a reasonable software package. Good shareware packages,
such as Gold Wave, are available at most
The software package you use should allow you to do
what you want with sound... like play it back in
stereo (.16M)... or play it
other effects... or let you record
your own sounds.
The main problem with sound on the internet is
the size of the files. The little stereo clip labeled .16 Megs may take
you several minutes to download if you are running on a slow connection.
Most browsers allow you to see what kind of file you will be "clicking
on" (and the size of the file.) It may be prudent to look before you leap.
At this web site, we convert most sounds to mono to keep the size down.
Sound clips over .1M (100,000 bytes) are labeled.
Types Of Sound
The software package you
use will determine your ability to hear different types of files.
Some examples of file types include:
.ra (Real Audio)
You can click here to further test your systems ability to hear.
A wav file can sound better than an au file. A wav file also sounds better
than "RealAudio". A 16bit wav file will sound better than an 8bit wav file.
There are several other factors that determine the quaility of the sound.
You will need to experiment to see what works with your system and software.
MP3 .wav files offer the best quality sound with the fastest
download time. Click here for more
information on MPEG files.
To hear Real Audio you need to verify whether your browser
has the proper "Plug-In". If you don't have Real Audio on your computer,
you can click here to download it.
players usually work with several different types of files,
such as .avi and
.wav. You can configure most browsers (viewers) to play all types of files.
A Configured Viewer
The part most people have trouble with is getting their viewer to get
the software to talk to the soundcard. Almost all viewers available
today have the ability to activate your sound software, but you
must tell the viewer where to find it.
If your viewer has an "options" or "preferences" choice,
click on it. There should be a
choice like "helper applications", click on it.
(In Netscape, you will
get a box that has a drop-arrow. After you click on the arrow, the last
choice is helper applications.) The box that appears will say something
like "mime type", "action" and "extension". There should be at least one
line that talks about .wav files. Highlight that line by clicking on it
once. If the action space has ???? in it, your browser doesn't know
where to find your sound. The "browse" button
will help you find the executable (.exe) file that will activate your sound
driver. Should you be running windows, chances are the basic sound
recorder is located at c:\windows\soundrecorder.exe. Make sure to click
OK. If you have upgraded software, you need to find out which .exe will
start your sound software. You can try
looking in the manual.