In the prior article I ... the fact that MIDI is the best choice when adding ... music to autoplay on your web site. Choruses of ... songs can be looped to play while images and tex
In the prior article I discussed the fact that MIDI is the best choice when adding background music to autoplay on your web site. Choruses of favourite songs can be looped to play while images and text are loading. MIDI is the best choice as it takes up very little space on your web space(2-7k bytes). Other types of sound files that are useful on web sites are MP3, au, wave, real audio(.ra) to name a few. These are not practical as background sounds due to their large file size but do have some unique features that make them useful .
MP3 MP3(Moving Picture Experts Group1Layer3 Audio) is a type of sound file used to compress large sound files. The most common use of MP3 files is to compress a CD album. A complete CD album can be compressed into a file size of 50MB. This has sparked a great deal of illegal copying on the web as people can copy Cd albums into a MP3 and send it to others on the web. Nevertheless, a good use for MP3 is as a 'download' on a web site. If you have an audio speech or song album you want people to listen to, MP3 is the way to go. Many musicians put their songs as wave files on their sites for download which take just too long to download. A typical song might take 35-50MB in wave form but saved as an MP3 would take only 3-5 MB. The amazing thing about this type of compression is that it replicates the quality of the wave file as well. However, even though a song in MP3 format takes only 3-5MB in file size, it still may take 15-20 minutes to download for most people on a 28.8 modem line. Although with faster lines this is becoming the best way to give downloads of music. There is a faster way to broadcast your songs that will play a large sound file almost immediately . This is the Streaming Audio File (.ra). Many web sites wisely give the visitor a choice between a streaming audio or a MP3 download.
Real Audio There are many types of streaming audio on the web but Real Audio seems to be the most popular. A Real Audio file will play in seconds. The reason for this is that the real audio file plays as it downloads. This is true of even a very large audio file. The quality of real audio file can be poor though on slower modem rates (28.8). It is excellent for talking but not for showing off a musicians album unless you are using a faster line. In which case the sound quality is quite acceptable. Many radio stations keep archives of broadcasts so the visitor can go back to programs to hear a certain person talk. Sometimes when there is net congestion a real audio file will cut out and then come back which can be frustrating to a listener if the net congestion continues. The other problem with real audio is that it can cost the web owner to use it. Anyone using real audio can go to someone owning a real server. They are given a text file on their server(.ram) that connects to the real server. This in turn connects to the real audio file(.ra). Most real servers charge about 5$ to$40 US/month depending on the amount of space you need. This same process can be done on your own server if it is configured correctly. This is obviously cheaper but you will need large amounts of space for the ra files. Many of the real audio options are not available on your own server also. Real Audio Files compress well but still take up a large amount of space if you're putting albums etc on your web space. Many servers that offer free space limit the amount of streaming audio files on their server. There are many competitor's software available for the streaming audio but Real Audio seems to be the most popular. Some you might look at are Playstream, Beatnik, Quicktime and Windows Media Technology.
Wave Wave files, although large in file size, can still be used on web sites. A web designer may want to person to speak"Hello" or some phrase when a button is pressed. This can done with a wave file. Provided the wave file is less than a second this may provide a file size of about 10k. You can download a free demo of programs like Cool Edit Pro or Cakewalk to record the wave file. (The demo will not save nor print though.) After recording the file, you need to change the sampling rate to about 11khz and use an 8 bit resolution in mono. This greatly reduces the file size but compromises a bit on quality. Songs can alternatively be saved in the real audio format as an'.ra' file as mentioned above. There are other ways to record wave such as Beatnik, Windows Media Technology to name a few but I have focused here on the most popular.
Sun's ".au" Files Many web designers are now using java applets and scripts on the web. Most applets use the .au format to put sound files into the applets. There is often a chance to customize sounds in the applet's parameter tags. It is important though in many applets to use a sampling rate of 8k when saving the .au file. Otherwise the sound will not work in the applet. The new swing jar java is opening up new sample rates. I will talk focus on making MIDI for your web site next.
John Rickey is an experienced MIDI arranger. He graduated from University of Toronto with a degree in music and has worked from studio recordings to Movies with his arranging. You can contact him at email@example.com or visit his MIDI Design Site at http//www.scugog-net.com/room108/midi/container.html