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Special Considerations When Using Sound

This section briefly mentions some special issues that you may need to address when making or using sound recordings with the Java Sound API.

TTS and Announcements

Here in Ireland, as in some other countries, text-to-speech (TTS) is an interesting application used by one of the national phone providers. Here’s how it works:

  1. You send a text message from a mobile phone to a landline number.
  2. Rather than getting lost, the message is translated into a voicemail message, which is pushed into the mailbox of the recipient.
  3. When the user checks voicemail, the original text message can be heard (or read).

It’s easy to see that the Java Sound API and TTS have a relationship.

Sound and Cultural Issues

The use of sound effects in programming needs to be controlled carefully, particularly if your product is to be sold internationally. Certain cultures are more sensitive than others when computers make unexpected noises. For example, one or more beeps may cause embarrassment to Asian computer users. This issue is similar to the use of graphical elements where you want to direct or warn users. In the western world, a common graphical element warning users about certain actions is that of a gloved hand, signifying a policeman or traffic cop. In Asian cultures, this symbol may produce an adverse reaction because it might indicate corruption. For these and other reasons, sound-effects software needs to be used judiciously.

Podcasts

Let’s assume that you want to make a recording and create a podcast. Can’t you just make a WAV file and post it on a website for download? In theory, yes, but such a scheme has a fatal flaw: file size. The WAV format is bulky, too big for users to download—or probably for you to upload, for that matter! This is one of the reasons why sound recordings generally need to be edited. As I remarked earlier, the Java Sound API provides no facilities for such editing, so we must turn to third-party tools.

Another reason for needing to edit sound recordings is for the removal of pauses or external noise in recordings.

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