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Part III

At a somewhat higher level, you can use various text-mode utilities that include play in their names, such as play, esdplay, and vplay, to play and record sounds. These utilities include the capability to process a wider array of sound file formats than is possible by copying the file directly to an audio device file. When recording, these utilities can set options such as the bit size and sample rate.

For the easiest to use and most flexible playback and recording, though, it's best to use GUI utilities such as those included in the GNOME and KDE desktop environments, or standalone programs such as Sound Studio, shown in Figure 10.9. Programs such as these typically include controls that are easy to understand. The more sophisticated such utilities, including Sound Studio, include extensive editing features. These enable you to remove segments of a sound, paste one sound into another one, zoom into a small section of a sound, reverse a sound, and so on. Such programs are indispensable if you want to do serious sound editing— for instance, to manually remove pops from an LP record you're transferring to CD-R. Simpler utilities, such as KDE's kmedia, provide a subset of these features, which can be plenty if you just want to sample some sound files from your hard disk or record a quick voice memo.

Figure 10.9

Sound Studio is unusually complete; many GUI sound applications provide much simpler controls—and less functionality.

Figure 10.9

Sound Studio is unusually complete; many GUI sound applications provide much simpler controls—and less functionality.

Most general-purpose audio playback and recording utilities can handle simple sound formats such as Sun's .au and Creative Labs' .wav. More complex formats exist, however, many of which incorporate some form of compression. These formats generally require their own specialized players. For instance, Real Networks (http://www.real.com) supplies a Linux player for its popular RealAudio Web sound format. Various utilities exist to play the popular MP3

Chapter 10

compressed music format. Kmp3 (http://area51.mfh-iserlohn.de/kmp3/) is a typical GUI MP3 player, but text-based utilities to play MP3 files also exist, such as mp3blaster (ftp://mud.stack.nl/pub/mp3blaster/).

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