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Part V: Unleashing Multimedia: The Sight... > Windows 98 Audio Features

Chapter 25. Windows 98 Audio Features


Most people have ears, but few have judgment; tickle those ears, and depend upon it you will catch their judgments, such as they are.

Lord Chesterfield

When I put together multimedia presentations, videos, and animations, the graphics are what make the audience “ooh” and “aah” during the playback. However, I've often found that what most people comment on after the show is, surprisingly, the soundtrack: the music and sound effects that accompany the visuals. It seems that adding bells and whistles (literally) to multimedia makes a big impact on people.

I'm not certain why this happens, but I'm sure that part of the reason has to do with our ears. The ear is a fine and sensitive instrument, attuned to nuance on the one hand, but shamelessly craving novelty on the other. How else do you explain, in a society supposedly in love with the visual image, the relentless popularity of radio after all these years?

I'm guessing that another reason audio is such an important part of multimedia is that most people are used to their computers being, if not voiceless, at least monotonic. Most mainstream applications are content to utter simple beeps and boops to alert you to an error or otherwise get your attention. Multimedia, however, with its music and unusual sound bites, can provide quite a jolt to people who aren't used to such things.

In other words, there's no reason to think of sound as the poor cousin of flashy videos and graphics. To help you get the biggest bang for your sound buck, this chapter examines audio fundamentals, Windows 98's sound features, and a few troubleshooting procedures, just in case you're hearing the sound of silence.



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