In the last few years we have seen a major evolution in the computer industry especially in multimedia.
Multimedia and Internet are two of the dominant trends in the field of high technology equipment, software and telecommunications. Both subjects are represented more in Windows operating system, which contains very well known multimedia features. Another major trend is the explosion of computers on the PC households. Most computers sold on the market now include at least DVD-ROM unit.
In addition the sound boards market accept additional advanced audio performance, such as MIDI, which saw a spectacularly growing. With this technology evolution it is no wonder that Windows operating system includes a lot of multimedia features. Until few years ago multimedia features usually included only the sounds of closing windows, opening windows, programs, etc and some warnings and a kind of “music” – electronic music. In the beginning electronic music was composed of combined sounds that could reproduce some musical and even some vague melodies which was extraordinary because it was easier to use than a audio cassette. After ’95 when the Windows 95 operating system appeared, special software and hardware was created to convert music from tapes on audio CDs. Conversion was not total, but a transfer from the CD audio on the PC. Slowly things began to evolve appearing more advanced systems and more efficient components. Today music is used mostly in compressed MP3 format, but it is heading to different types of media. In the past, computers tended to offer users a range of poor quality media, text and graphics. But the improved performance of hardware components in the industry have led to a wider range of products which use intensively the CPU, graphics functions, the sound and full-motion video. To benefit from the advantages of multimedia components you need additional hardware, more RAM (16-32 MB of RAM) and probably a bigger hard disk on which to store video and sound files that you use. Today, music and sound on the computer has become something vital. It should be process and compress in many ways but anyways quality should be provided. That’s why some musical instruments started to be provided with the factory plugs (MIDI) Musical Instrument Interface. MIDI is a protocol which allows data transfer of digital music between electronic devices, whether PC or keyboard. Without the necessary hardware such as PC card with MIDI playback options, you will not have sound from MIDI data. So MIDI data contain only instructions that allow the desired musical sound to be reproduced. One of the advantages it has MIDI, compared to a normal WAV file is the file size. WAV files recorded all the sound and therefore can have huge dimensions. MIDI files contain only instructions for reproducing the sounds, and therefore are much smaller.
As the number of multimedia and games, including MIDI, grows, the number of sound cards that are sold with these possibilities (such as a standard MIDI port for connecting MIDI instruments) grows too. In addition for example you can use MIDI to emphasize the effect of multimedia presentations, which can sound realistic to emphasize visual presentation, which appears on the screen.
Still to record an album of quality music is not an easy process. You need computer processing. But the technician can not work without a good musician and a musician can’t work well without a technician.
Windows offers several ways to use multimedia audio, including the ability to play audio compact disks and customizing the sound recording and playback. Playing audio CD on a CD-ROM installed on your computer is possible using the CD function Player. If you have a card, inserting the CD in the drive is enough to launch the CD Player: 1. Open the Start menu and choose the Accessories. 2. Select Multimedia and then select the CD player. 3. Access the CD Play.
Windows can also recognize automatically compact audio discs, when placed in the CD-ROM. Then when you start the CD audio is enough to click on CD Player. Since the CD Player runs per background, you can listen to audio CDs while working on other applications on your PC.
From the sound of old boards that were limited to beeps from a small speaker on the motherboard, towards the end of the ’80 when sound cards have begun to work, multimedia and computer games led to a computer completely different level. Today these systems are more complex when it comes to high professional standards. Motherboard and the sound and the interface have more diverse features. Computer motherboard, also called the main board, is the most important component in the computer case. On it, there are applied following components: microprocessor, memory and other cards inserted into special slots: sound, modem, network card, etc.. In addition, there are installed parallel and serial ports used to connect to peripheral devices such as mice – the printer, modem.
Usually sound cards are installed in the PCI slot, while the older ones were usually installed on the ISA bus. Many computers today incorporate sound chips directly on the motherboard. That leaves one slot free for other peripherals. Sound cards can be connected to:
* Speakers with amplifier
* A source of analog input as a microphone, a radio, a deck with a box or a CD player
* A source of digital input as a digital audio tape (DAT) or a CD-ROM
* A source of analog output – with cassette deck
* A source of digital output as DAT writing a CD (CD-R)
Some sound cards provide through a socket a very efficient output for 4 speakers and a digital output interface. For audio, there is a new generation of digital sound card. A sound card is practical for digital applications that require digital sound. The digital sound cards have digital sound inputs and digital outputs, so you can transfer data from DAT, CD or DVD directly to hard disk in the computer. Normally, a sound card can do more things with sound:
– to reproduce recorded music (from CDs or audio files like WAV or MP3), from games or from DVDs,
– to record audio in various media formats from different external sources (microphone or tape deck to)
– to synthesize sound.
The DAC (digital audio controller) and the ADC (analog-digital converter) bring the transmission into and out of the sound card while the DSP (digital sound processor) oversee the process. The DSP also deals with any other sound alteration as an echo or 3D sound. Because the DSP focus on sound processing, the processor of the computer can deal with other things.
Sound cards used old synthesizer to create FM sounds. Synthesizer takes tones of varied FM frequencies and combines them to create an approximation of a certain sound, such as a trumpet. While the FM synthesizer has developed to the point that sounds very realistic, it does not compare with Wave Table synthesizer which works by recording a small part of the actual instrument sound. This is continuing to play a sound exactly like the one made with incredible accuracy. Wave Table synthesizer has become the new standard for most sound cards, but some brands still use more cheaply FM synthesizer. Few sound cards include both of them. Sound cards have a very sophisticated support higher for MIDI instruments. Using a program of music, an instrument equipped with MIDI can be attached to the sound card to allow you to see on-screen musical notes to your song.
Some people so-called “musicians” produce music using computer programs that produce sounds and rhythms and with the help of synthesizers . The music made by these methods is quality music even if it sounds real and it is clear. It is made by the tool itself. That’s why classical music and the live music is superior because it’s made by real musicians (professionals).