Sound advice. (use of sound cards in PCs)
by Jill Champion
If you own a PC, adding sound will enhance your experience. People who have sound report that it adds excitement and humor to using their computers. A few special sound effects can take the edge off your most serious applications. And adding sound doesn't have to break your bank: Some of the newest products retail for less than $100.
If you don't own a sound card and aren't yet ready to spend the money for one, try Sound Explosion from Programmer's Warehouse. It's software that lets you customize any Windows-compatible program by adding giggles, squeaks, footsteps, explosions, or any of more than 500 sound effects, whether or not you have a sound board. Add the clicking of an electric typewriter to your keyboard, set an alarm clock to ring as a reminder, or customize your word processor to play a motion picture theme. Machine noises, crashes, horns, buzzers, human noises, animal sounds, bells, swishes, zooms, whistles, laser zaps, creaks, splats, dozens of movie themes, and many more effects are included in the Sound Explosion library. Available directly from Programmer's Warehouse, the software is priced at $49.95. Contact Programmer's Warehouse, 8283 North Hayden Road, Suite 195, Scottsdale, Arizona 85258; (800) 323-1809, (602) 443-0659 (fax).
If you're considering adding a sound card, the new Soundmaker and Sound-Maker Plus digital sound cards from Best Data Products offer top-quality sound for digital composing, arranging, voice-control applications, and any use requiring high-fidelity sound. Both models of Soundmaker can vocalize in up to 32 synthesized stereo voices simultaneously. Soundmaker Plus is equipped with a powerful voice recognition capability for voice controlling your PC and features an, isolated word recognizer and speaker-independent vocabulary. You can have 50 to 125 active words or phrases and create your own vocabulary that's limited in size only by disk space. Suggested retail prices are $169 for Sound-Maker and $197 for Sound-Maker Plus. For more information, contact Best Data Products, 9304 Deering Avenue, Chatsworth, California 91311; (818) 773-9600, (818) 773-9619 (fax).
Aristosoft's new version of Wired for Sound Pro system-enhancement software is designed to take full advantage of your current sound card. Using the new talking applications, sound effects, icons, and cursors, you can personalize your desktop visually and audibly. The, new release adds 200 sound effects, 100 MIDI music files, eight movie screen savers, 400 designer icons, and 100 easy-to-see cursors that improve the look and clarity of any Windows desktop. New sound applications include Talking Calendar, Talking Clock, Talking Calculator, Sound Editor, Talking System Monitor, Talking File Graveyard, Intruder Alert alarm, and add-ins that make talking games of Minesweeper and Solitaire (the games that come with Windows 3.1). For those who like to take extra-long work breaks, the Job Saver gag feature re-creates the sounds of someone hard at work by faking keyboard typing, coughing, and other work-related noises. Suggested retail price is $79. For a product demo and more information, call (800) 551-4547, or contact Aristosoft, 7041 Koll Center Parkway, Suite 160, Pleasanton, California 94566; (510) 426-5355, (510) 426-6703 (fax).