Symphony in sampling

20th October 1995 at 01:00
ReSound!

for the Acorn A-series and Risc PC, Pounds 42.SEMERC, 1 Broadbent Road, Watersheddings, Oldham , Lancs OL1 4LB.

Real-life sounds can now be captured for use with the classroom computer thanks to the advent of software which digitises speech and sound for use in resources such as talking books, interactive multimedia, adventures and matching activities.

Children find the digital speech issued by talking word processors like Phases and Pendown very amusing and research (by the Somerset Project) has shown there are advantages to this approach. However, the opportunity to add "real" speech to software andor children's own files is too good to miss.

ReSound! allows teachers and pupils easily to collect noise, speech and sound effects, edit and alter them if necessary, and save them to disc for use later on. The package comprises a microphone, sound sampler "dongle", disc of software and handbook.

Simply insert the sampler into the printer port, plug in the microphone and run the software. Then select record and you can utter your first dulcet tones into the mike for the computer to store. The sample is displayed as a visible oscilloscope pattern and from here on it behaves like any other item of computer data to be selected, deleted, added to and edited. It can be enhanced with echo, merged, resampled and can be faded in or out.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to create quite a complex sample using a mixture of recorded speech, pre-recorded samples and effects. Reproduction is very good. The limit of creativity and the length of the sample is governed only by your computer's available memory. Be warned, this is memory-hungry stuff!

However, ReSound! does not stop here. The sampler dongle has a second socket to take an additional sound source like a cassette recorder, television, compact disc player or camcorder, allowing pre-recorded music, speech and sounds to be used. It would be useful if an information technology or teachers' centre wanted to produce a library of samples for schools to tap into when they don't have the time to create their own. The ReSound! software makes it easy to cut-and-paste and edit samples, so a resource bank makes sense.

There is no shortage of software which can use your sound samples: Ultima, Optima, Speakeasy, Informax, Clicker Plus, Compere (all SEMERC), Magpie (Longman-Logotron) and Genesis (Oak Solutions). ReSound! represents Pounds 42 well spent.

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