Do you hear that!








Sound
Tutorial

Finding
sound files

Creating
sound files

Modifying
sound files

Sound
Software

Sound
links

Haunt
Hardware


Halloween Jukebox

Top Ten on the Halloween Tombstone Party Charts

1. Monsta Rap--Elvira

6. Time Warp--Rocky Horror

2. Zombie Jamboree--Rockapella

7. Hex Girls--Hex Girls

3. Monster Mash--Bobbie "Boris" Picket

8. Haunted House--Elvira

4. Twilight Zone--Golden Earring

9. They Don't Scare Me--Mickey Mouse

5. Thriller--Michael Jackson with Vincent Price Rap

10. Grim Grinnin' Ghosts--Bare Naked Ladies

Vote on the top ten in your Neck of the Woods

Tutorial

No haunt would be complete without sound effects. It sets the mood for your haunt. Music, screams, hearts pounding, breathing, growling, howling and sometimes just silence all add to the effective haunt. So where do you get all these cool sound effects and music? Well you can buy them, but that can get expensive. You can get them off the internet, (beware of copyright infringement,) or you can make them yourself. Although there are many available software programs that can probably do everything that we're going to do, they can be expensive and therefore cost prohibitive, and sometimes require extensive computer training, remember we have a very strict budget. 

If you can read this page then you should have all the tools you'll need. What we'll be using: a computer using Windows equipped with a sound card, music software, mixing software, an audio tape player/recorder and/or a cdwriter.

Ok, first a quick tutorial on sound files.

Computer sound files are divided into four main types, Wav, Midi, MP3 and Realaudio. There are others, but for the purposes of this discussion we'll only be talking about these four.

WAV files-The format for storing sound in files developed jointly by Microsoft and IBM. Support for WAV files was built into Windows 95 making it the de facto standard for sound on PCs. WAV sound files end with a.wav extension and can be played by nearly all Windows applications that support sound. Programs that write music to CDs normally require a WAV format.

Midi files-Pronounced middy, an acronym for musical instrument digital interface, a standard adopted by the electronic music industry for controlling devices, such as synthesizers and sound cards, that emit music. At minimum, a MIDI representation of a sound includes values for the note's pitch, length, and volume. It can also include additional characteristics, such as attack and delay time.

MP3-Is the file extension for MPEG, audio layer 3. Layer 3 is one of three coding schemes (layer 1, layer 2 and layer 3) for the compression of audio signals. Layer 3 uses perceptual audio coding and psychoacoustic compression to remove all superfluous information (more specifically, the redundant and irrelevant parts of a sound signal. The stuff the human ear doesn't hear anyway). It also adds a MDCT (Modified Discrete Cosine Transform) that implements a filter bank, increasing the frequency resolution 18 times higher than that of layer 2. The result in real terms is layer 3 shrinks the original sound data from a CD (with a *bitrate of 1411.2 kilobits per one second of stereo music) by a factor of 12 (down to 112-128kbps) without sacrificing sound quality. Because MP3 files are small, they can easily be transferred across the Internet. Controversy arises when copyrighted songs are sold and distributed illegally off of Web sites. On the other hand, musicians may be able to use this technology to distribute their own songs from their own Web sites to their listeners, thus eliminating the need for record companies. Costs to the consumer would decrease, and profits for the musicians would increase.

Realaudio-The de facto standard for streaming audio data over the World Wide Web. RealAudio was developed by RealNetworks and supports FM-stereo-quality sound. To hear a Web page that includes a RealAudio sound file, you need a RealAudio player or plug-in, a program that is freely available from a number of places. It's included in current versions of both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Streaming isA technique for transferring data such that it can be processed as a steady and continuous stream. Streaming technologies are becoming increasingly important with the growth of the Internet because most users do not have fast enough access to download large multimedia files quickly. With streaming, the client browser or plug-in can start displaying the data before the entire file has been transmitted. For streaming to work, the client side receiving the data must be able to collect the data and send it as a steady stream to the application that is processing the data and converting it to sound or pictures. This means that if the streaming client receives the data more quickly than required, it needs to save the excess data in a buffer. If the data doesn't come quickly enough, however, the presentation of the data will not be smooth.

The trick to all of this is being able to convert whatever file type you have into the file type that you need and then adding effects or modifying the file to do what you want.

Finding sound files

There are some great places on the internet to get creepy sounds, effects and songs. Here are just a few:

Halloween Master

The Pit

Soundamerica

Ladywing Wavs

Halloween

Spooky Sounds

Vincent Price Rap

Witch's Cackle

Background Horror

Graveyard

There are also commercially available halloween CDs and tapes available at any discount store. Wal-Mart also has a slue of these, some good some bad. Remember, even the bad ones can be modified. Some of the better CDs can be found on the web.

Party Music and Special Effects:
Elvira is still the Mistress with the Mostess. Her collections of Monster Hits is of the best. Halloween staples like Monster Mash are here but Elvira's chillin', Madonnaesque Monsta Rap is worth the price of the CD.
No Party would be complete with the soundtrack to Scooby Doo and the Witches Ghost. Musical treats includes "Hex Girl" and "Earth, Wind, Fire, And Air"

Two of the best collections of scary sound FX, Scary Sound Effects and Son of Scary Sound Effects. Different FX include Julie's Nightmare, Phantom Ghost Ship, The Seance, Dimension X...Paranormal Audio Activity, Sorry, Everyone Is Tied Up... , We Don't Accept Calls From The Living, You Want To Speak To Who? , We're Out Grave Robbing, This Is Count Dracula. Dying To Hear From You, Dr. Frankenstein Is Busy...

Disney has a monster hit of it's own with Halloween Songs and Sounds. Six great songs for the kid in all of us and six sound effect tracks that only Disney could master. Mickey's rendition of "They Don't Scare Me" is classic Disney at it's best.
Dead Air: Over an hour of horrific background ambience for your haunted home. Just let this CD spin to create the ultimate atmosphere for Halloween





 

Creating sound files

1. Using a Microphone-The simplest way to create sound files is with a microphone plugged into the Mic jack on your sound card. This was the way radio and TV SFX people recorded all sound effects in the old days. This is somewhat limited but files can be modified to add depth and richness. Simply plug in your mike and use the recording software that came with your sound card.
2. Connect Outside sources to your computer with Line In/Line Out - The other jacks on your sound card. Most sound cards will just have a line-in jack. This is what we want anyway. To get started you'll need a special cable. You can make one or buy one. You'll need a stereo mini-jack, cable long enough to reach your boombox, VCR, stereo system or TV, and a single to duplex RCA adapter. Radio Shack, Best Buy and most electronics stores sell these cables. !!!!!!!IMPORTANT!!!!!!!When using a stereo or TV ENSURE that the volume is set at no more than 25% or you'll risk blowing your sound card. I also Do Not recommend doing this if your computer has integrated sound!!!!(As with all experiments at Ghoul Skool we make no warranty or accept no responsibility for experiments conducted at home. Know the limitations of your system) Set your recording software for Line-In, start the recorder and hit play on whatever you're recording from. Remember, a 5 minute record can take up to 20 meg of hard drive space if recorded as a wav. Want to record it as an MP3? Use Real Jukebox available for download at Real.com or use MP3 Studio to create MP3s from any sound on your sound card, available for download at ZDNET.com.
3. Easy Recorder - record any sound that your sound card plays without losing quality, .available for download at ZDNET.com.
4. Within the Realm of Cybersound. OK so you really wish you could keep that WAV that you just played but couldn't download. If you're using Internet Explorer, Never Fear, You've already downloaded it. Everything you view or listen to on the Net is stored in your Windows directory in the Temporary Internet Files. Don't close your browser! Use Windows Explorer go to the Windows directory then to the Temporary Internet Files. Any non-streaming audio file, MP3, WAV or Midi will be there. Just copy them (right click) then paste them to a directory of your choice somewhere else on your hard drive. Voila, you've downloaded without knowing it. This also works for all image files as well. If you want to try it, follow the directions and look for the file labeled VPRICE.WAV

Modifying sound files

1. Converting Sound Files: Sound files are easy to convert, modify and change with the sound recorder program that comes with windows. Under program menu, click on accessories, entertainment, sound record. Open the file you want to modify. Here you can change the length by deleting part of the file, mix to files together, (mix 1 at a time and save as another name. You can also add echo, increase volume and more. You can also change the codec to make the file smaller in size (at a loss of quality. Edit, Mix and Master, Experiment, have fun, it's free.

2. Free or Shareware Software
a. Easy Recorder - record any sound that your sound card plays without losing quality. I use the software that came with my "soundblaster live" but Easy Recorder does the same thing. Great for converting Midi to wav(then onto a cd)
b. WAV to MP3 Encoder 1.8 - Create MP3s from any Wav file. This is a great tool for taking those great big wav files and compressing them to MP3.
c. MP3 Decoder-decompresses MP3 files to wavs.
d. Real Jukebox- allows you to record CDs to wav, MP3 and Realaudio, just changes the preferences the way you like it.


Sound Software

So you want the best sound that a computer has to offer, with programs that will do unusual feats of symphonic delight? My personal favorite bar none has to be the software that comes with a Soundblaster LIVE or LIVE Value sound card. Equipped with Environmental audio Experience, the software allows you to change the sound to mimic different audio environments, like auditoriums, alleys or tin cans. The recorder software allows you to record any sound the computer produces, allowing Midi files to be saved as Wavs and then mixed with other sounds (like voice). There is also a keyboard program that you can produce some serious halloween effects. The card is equipped with two jacks for speaker output, line-in, line-out and mic-in. A host of add-ons is available making this the ultimate computer sound system. Check it out at Creative Labs.

Sound Links

Places to find free or shareware software on the Net


ZDNET.Com


Shareware.com

Haunt Hardware

1. CDs...Sound sets the mood for your haunt, A simple, muffled "I see you" followed by a scream can scare even the bravest of souls. Background sounds followed by a moment of Silence will keep the guests guessing at what will happen next. A truly Haunted mansion may have hundreds of voices and sounds each recorded on a CD and allowed to play in a sequential or random order. Computer CD burners are especially useful for producing a scripted series of sounds.

2. Self Contained Sounds...The simplest way to have a self-contained ranting for a specific display is a continuous play cassette available at Radio Shack or most electronic stores. These cassettes cost about 3-5 dollars. Simply conceal the cassette recorder within the display, turn it on and let it run. We use this in our witch display with a simple version of "Toil and Trouble" followed by a cackle.

3. Electronic Triggers... These can include mat switches, infrared (IR) motion detectors, lightbeam switches and sound generated switches. Most of these are discussed in detail by better people than me at the Monster List of Halloween How-to.

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