This page will be in a state of fairly constant development, especially as new formats become established, and information on more soundcards reaches me.
last modified: 3rd June 2001
HEALTH WARNING: this page has links to some non-'standard'
They may cause problems to either or both your browser, and your soundcard, if they are not clever enough to reject them, but not clever enough to play them either.
At worst, they might crash or hang your system. If your doubt is stronger than your curiosity,
DO NOT CLICK ON THE WAV LINKS! All files are also available in zip format for downloading.
What can I do with a multi-channel device?
Added a 32bit floats AIFC example.
Test WAVE files.
Mono and stereo files:
Soundfile 1: a basic minimum-header standard
mono WAVE file. Should be safe.
22050Hz, 16bit, 2.58 secs, 113,748bytes.
Zipfile 99,216 bytes
Soundfile 2: the same, except in TYPE-3 32bit
22050Hz, 16bit, 2.58 secs, 32bit floats, 227,452 bytes
Zipfile 209,316 bytes
Soundfile 3: a standard 16bit stereo WAVE
file, but with a long header. Should be safe.
22050hz, 16bit, 1.32 secs, 118,168 bytes
Zipfile 79,796 bytes
Soundfile 4: the same, but in TYPE-3 32bit
22050hz, 32bit floats, 1.32 secs, 234,246 bytes
Zipfile 99,914 bytes
a basic enveloped sinewave, 440 Hz, TYPE-3 floats
44100 Hz, 32bits,1.85 secs, 328,458 bytes.
Zipfile 299,546 bytes
Soundfile 6: a minimum-header mono 24bit
22050hz, 24bit PCM, 2 secs, 131,682 bytes (created with Cool Edit Pro)
Zipfile 112,303 bytes
An AIFF-C Example:
Soundfile 7: same as Soundfile 4, but PEAK
Zip File (95K)
(NB: the Quicktime plugin seems not to like this file!)
Multi-channel files (all with long header) (created with CDP):
Soundfile 8: a quad (4-channel) file. Three
channels have boring sounds.
22050Hz, 16bit, 1.98 secs, 352,288 bytes
Zipfile 165,108 bytes
Soundfile 9: a six-channel file. A mono sound,
reverberated into 6 channels.
(The direct sound is written to channels 1 and 2 only)
22050Hz, 16bit, 2.36 secs, 626,812 bytes
Zipfile 351,869 bytes
To play a multi-channel file on a PC, a soundcard must have a Windows MME and/or DirectX* driver offering a single WAVE device with the required number of channels. On the Mac, since the Sound manager only supports mono and stereo, you will need to rely on ASIO drivers. Users of SGI machines can usually enjoy at least 4-channel audio; newer machines include an 8-channel ADAT port. Refer to their audio page for more details.
The following cards should be able to play all the multi-channel files:
Sonorus STUDI/O (the most flexible
driver support I know of : drivers are also in development for Linux and
(almost certainly also the new MEDI/O card; includes Windows2000 WDM drivers)
Creamware PULSAR (V1.1 update provides 16ch WAVE modules), and TDAT-16 (presumably using theSonorus drivers)
Frontier Design WaveCenter (single 8-channel device)
Soundscape Mixtreme (twin TDIF ports)
RME DIGI96/8 (ADAT port + SPDIF/AES-EBU port; supports 96KHz, 24/32bit audio)
Terratec EWS88MT (8ch analog I/O, 24bit, 96KHz, SPDIF I/O and MIDI, includes NT4 driver)
There are probably others; I will list them when I have confirmation. As new drivers are introduced for Windows2000 (and Win98 SE), many more cards can be expected to support multi-channel files.
The following cards definitely cannot play these files at present:
Creative Labs SB-series**
Gadget Labs WAVE/4, and WAVE/8.24
*Although it is possible for a DirectX/DirectShow audio driver to accept more than two channels, as for MME, a majority of DirectShow plugins will probably not. The general situation regarding DirectShow remains less than clear!
**the NT version of the SB16PnP driver (MME and DirectX) will
in fact accept a quad file, and play it in stereo, at half speed!
The following software products are known to read multi-channel files:
Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro,
with the v1.1 update, loads as multiple mono, cannot save a multi-channel
Sonic Foundry SoftEncode (5.1 version) (known up to 6 channels)
Composers Desktop Project (CDP) (can create files with any number of channels, WAVE and AIFF)
Csound (can read and write quad and 8-ch files)
The Yamaha 'Tiny
Wave Editor' for the Macintosh will (apparently) read in a multi-channel
file, and even save it.
Unfortunately, the Windows version I tried crashes when it attempts to draw the fourth channel.
I have been told by one of their UK reps that the Sonic Solutions DVD authoring tools will read and write 6-channel AIFF files in 5.1 format.
the following applications are known to read and write Type-3 floating-point
Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro
Composers Desktop Project (CDP)
Again, there are probably others.
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