CD/Spectrum Pro - FAQ
By far, the most common issues revolve around sound card and driver problems. Please, before sending email with a problem report, be sure your system is in a state where you can record and play back CD audio using only the Win95/98/NT CD player and the Win95/98/NT Sound Recorder. CD/Spectrum Pro requires that your system be able to do this. All multimedia systems should be able to do this with no trouble. However, some drivers exist that can't handle this task properly. If you are unfortunate enough to have one of those drivers, you should contact your computer or sound card manufacturer for a replacement driver.
CD/Spectrum Pro uses the same resources and functionality as the combination of the Win95/98/NT CD player and the Win95/98/NT Sound Recorder. Once your system is in a state where those two applications can be used to record and play back CD audio, chances are *very* good that CD/Spectrum Pro will work flawlessly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many sound cards/drivers do not support what is known as 'full-duplex' WAV operations.
This means that they do not allow you to record WAV data at the same time that you
are playing WAV data. CD/Spectrum Pro uses the WAV recording mechanism to digitize
the music. So, while CD/Spectrum Pro is running, if your sound card/driver does
not support full-duplex mode, attempts to play WAV sounds will fail.
To test to see whether or not you have a full-duplex driver, please perform the following steps:
If you can record the WAV file while it is playing (or if you can hear system sounds while recording), then you have a full-duplex card/driver. Otherwise, you do not. Keep in mind that many drivers are not full-duplex, even though about 97% of cards support it in hardware.
If you have a full-duplex driver, yet still can't hear system sounds while CD/Spectrum Pro is running, there is one more thing to check. Most full-duplex drivers will operate in full-duplex mode only when the input and output formats are the same. For example, if you are recording at 44Khz 16bit and try to play a 22Khz 8bit sound, it won't work. Since most system sounds are 22Khz 8bit, you may wish to use that as the recording format in CD/Spectrum Pro. To do so, right click on the spectrum window and choose to "Configure WavIn Engine".
There are six common causes for this.
Some CD-ROM drivers (usually real-mode drivers) can cause CD/Spectrum Pro to
have very poor performance. On systems equipped with those faulty drivers, other
applications become extremely sluggish whenever CD/Spectrum Pro is running. Admittedly,
CD/Spectrum Pro is a demanding application. But when running on good drivers, reasonable
performance should be expected even on high end 486 machines, or low end Pentiums.
Some "off-brand" sound cards do not permit simultaneous listening and recording of sound. When recording starts, they stop sending the sound to the speakers. CD/Spectrum Pro uses the wave capture, or recording mechanism to determine what the sound looks like. Therefore, on these substandard cards, the sound will go silent when the spectrum is engaged. Although there is nothing I can do about this, there is something you can do - complain to your sound card manufacturer and ask for updated drivers. It is possible that they have a driver that will fix the problem. Also, keep this in mind the next time you buy a sound card - is it *really* SoundBlaster compatible? SoundBlaster's are :)
To test for this condition, perform the following steps:
If in step 5 the music stops coming out of the speakers, you have one of these poor drivers.
Some sound cards reduce the volume to the speakers when recording begins. We've tried to work around this as much as possible, but remember that the Mixer module is available to allow you to adjust the sound volumes if needed.
The color you see (usually in the left-most bin) is simply the baseline noise that your sound card is putting out. We don't make the sound, we just FFT it :)
Start->Settings->Control Panel->System->Device Manager
and make sure your CD player and sound card are configured properly with no resource conflicts.
Some people with lesser known sound cards have reported cases where the computer
will lock up when running CD/Spectrum Pro. It is important to note that in Win95/98
and NT, applications (like CD/Spectrum Pro) need help from poorly written drivers
or faulty hardware to lock up the computer in this way. Therefore, if you experience
one of these lockups, the only way to fix it is get better drivers from your computer
or sound card manufacturer.
No, CD/Spectrum Pro is not an equalizer. It is a spectrum analyzer. This means that it simply displays the frequency spectra without giving you any opportunity to adjust them. We may add equalizer capabilities when more sound cards support full-duplex wave I/O, but that remains to be seen.
We've had many requests for information regarding how to write code to do some of the things that CD/Spectrum Pro does. We regret that we don't have the bandwidth to answer programming questions, but we do offer the following:
Yes. If your sound card/driver supports digitizing a source, then you may use that source to drive the spectrum and/or the screen saver's) visuals. In other words, if you can record the source using the Windows Sound Recorder, then CD/Spectrum Pro should be able to use that source when it is run. The Mixer module in CD/Spectrum Pro exposes whatever standard functionality your sound card/driver might have to allow you to select which source(s) is/are being digitized (press the Record button).
The Media Files module in CDSPro will play WAV and MP3 files and the spectrum and/or screen savers will respond automatically. For the other file types, the answer is "maybe - if you have a full-duplex driver". Use you favorite player for these file-types, and if you have a full-duplex driver *and if it can record WAV out*, then CD/Spectrum Pro will be able to digitize the sound. (You need a full-duplex driver since most player software uses WAV output to play the sounds. For more information on full-duplex drivers, see this other FAQ item.)
Windows mixer settings include the system volume, system bass and treble settings, and line settings such as which lines (CD, WAV, mic, etc.) are being digitized, which lines are routed to the speakers, etc. These settings are usually retained by Windows from one session to the next, depending on your sound card driver. Some applications, like the Mixer module in CD/Spectrum Pro, provide the ability to modify these settings. In most cases, the changes you make while CDSPro is running will stay in effect even after you close CDSPro - this is expected behavior. In some cases however, they will not - this is completely driver-dependent, there is nothing we can do to change this.
For some drivers, when CDSPro opens up communication with the mixer portion of the driver, the driver changes some mixer settings. The most common manifestation of this is when someone installs CDSPro, runs it, and then their microphone is turned on, or some other mixer setting has changed. This is completely driver-dependent, and does not happen on most drivers. (The Yamaha DS-XG driver causes this most frequently.) Still, it's just a user setting - you can modify it using CDSPro or the Windows mixer. To run the Windows mixer, double-click the speaker icon in your taskbar.