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Review: Sound FX Sensation
Bohus Blahut - Modern Filmmaker firstname.lastname@example.org
Sound FX Sensation-
A CD rom brimming with 15,500 files including sound samples, MODs, and
even a clever IFF player program.
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When I got my first Amiga 500 in 1989, I walked out of the store with not
only the computer, but the FutureSound 8-bit audio digitizer and Audio
Master for sample editing. At the time, I was experimenting with music and
I knew that sampling was in the stars for me. I have amassed floppy after
floppy of fun samples that I've captured from television, music, and even
swapped and downloaded with others through BBS access.
Those days are long gone, but I got the same electric charge when we
received the SoundFX Sensation here at AR for review. Hundreds upon
hundreds of samples of instruments, movie quotes, and yes the CD represents
the venerable MOD in the form of 230 of them, and a number of players.
Epic Marketing has destined this CD for both Amiga and PC users. Each
platform uses its own file format for sounds. The PC commonly uses the WAV
format, while Amigas use IFF. Included on the disc are several utilities
to convert between the two standards.
Epic Marketing has created a sample player expressly for the Amiga called
BeatBox. The full-screen interface allows you to pick out ten samples that
you can trigger using the keyboard's function keys. The interface seems
aimed at AGA machines. When I tested the program on AR's 4000T, it worked
fine. While I could get it to work on my '040 2000, I couldn't read the
program's display. There was no end to the fun that I had playing with
these sound FX in the office.
In the root directory of the CD, there are lots of categories of IFF
sounds. Categories like: aliens, alarms, bass, beats, breakbeats, breaking
(including the Dave Letterman shattering glass sound), cartoon, creature,
horror, human, sci-fi, movies, naughty, speech, and several
sub-directories. The instruments sub-directory has lots of MOD-ready
instruments sorted alphabetically by sample name, but it makes me wish that
these samples were also sorted by instrument type. There's also a WAV
directory with alphabetical listings of countless WAV samples. These are
also only sorted in alphabetical order.
As with any compilation of this size, some of the items are good, others
are bad. Some of the samples must be recorded at 4k or lower because they
sound terrible. Others seem to have been created with great care. This
disc is great for you if you're a musician who's looking for a seemingly
endless stream of instruments for your next killer MOD. However, if
you're a creator of multimedia, or perhaps games, you should also look into
The problem comes when you consider that many of these samples aren't
really in the public domain. While it's unlikely that a big film company
is going to come after you for creating a Scala presentation for your user
group using a quote from a movie, if you're creating the next DOOM clone,
then you'd better license your effects elsewhere.
Let's not forget the most important factor in choosing this disc. It's
just fun to play around with samples. While I'm tempted to blow the dust
off of AudioMaster IV, perhaps in the future I'll poke around Aminet and
find the latest and greatest in shareware sample manipulation. I'll tell
you right now, AM4 will be hard to beat. This collection is hard to beat
too, so pair it up with your favorite sampling software and have some fun!