Sound formats

Ken Norris pixelbird at
Sun Sep 25 16:54:16 EDT 2005

On Sep 25, 2005, at 5:26 AM, use-revolution-request at 

> Date: Sat, 24 Sep 2005 23:54:42 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Judy Perry <jperryl at>
> Subject: Re: Sound formats
> I and my students have encountered numerous problems using WAVs (of
> course, _we're_ not professionals!) as opposed to AIFFs.

Not at all surprising. Why? See below.
> Aren't some of the WAVs compressed?

Not the main issue.
> We've seen WAVs that worked in Rev fine on one platform but not 
> another,
> and vice-versa (no apparent pattern, but, then, given that the WAV
> solution appeared to be 'no worky', we didn't look, either).
> FWIW...

Here's the problem: WAV files are so common, especially in the PC 
world, that many programmers have used them as a base to come up with 
their own bastardized versions specific to their software. There are 
very many of these. Different headers, layered versions which contain 
bundled data used for multi-track recording, etc.

The result is that some playback venues simply won't recognize some WAV 
files, because of those shaded differences from what you might call a 
'standard' WAV file (not entirely sure there actually _is_ such a thing 

Example: I needed a particular very broad string orchestra synth sound 
for my Roland SPD-S synth pad (which loads WAV files as well as sampled 
clips), to use in a Easter Contata concert (along with a plethora of 
real instrumentation) looking for a very effective overall final result 
that would work. I transferred a Melody Assistant file into GarageBand 
so I could use the effects AU's to get exactly the sound I wanted, 
which, of course, creates an AIFF file, then passed through Sound 
Converter to make it into a WAV.

It took maybe 15 -20 tries to get the Roland to recognize the files. 
Eventually, after rebuilding the files in different sequences, trying 
several different renaming techniques, a few different types of WAV 
files, etc., I eventually got it  to work.

None of that converting stuff was much fun, I must say. I had to give 
up one evening because I was just too frustrated to go on. The next 
day, after a good night's rest, I was finally able to get it. Over 6 
hours total time, for _one_ long note (well, actually two, a 'D' and a 
'C', but they were the same type of sound, played at different times in 
the intro).

The result in concert, as simply a part, together with the live 
instruments, was absolutely awesome, worth all the effort. Sometimes 
that's how it is with music, isn't it?

All the best,
Ken N.

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