Voyetras Sound Suite Review
By Fred Kagel
Sound Suite is a collection of Multimedia tools replete with a variety graphic images and video clips, audio wave files, and midi song files. The suite is made up of three main packages: Multimedia Productivity Pack, a set of multimedia utilities; Midi Music Gallery, a MIDI song file library; and Midi Orchestrator Plus, a bare bones MIDI sequencer (recorder and player). They latter requires an external MIDI keyboard and MIDI interface.
The Productivity Pack essentially consists of mixers and controls to get the most out your digital audio wave files, CD audio, graphic and video clips. All popular file formats are supported. With these utilities one can create a nifty audio calendar, embed voice annotation into other programs, or replace the standard window "tada" events with your favorite .WAV files. Midi music can be added to your screen saver. The Orchestrator can be used to reassign different instrument sounds known as a patch number. The Orchestrator Plus is a step up and gives one a few more editing abilities than the basic Orchestrator, but it is not for the serious MIDI musician. Voyetra produces, Sequencer Plus, a professional level sequencer for DOS.
My favorite part of suite was the MIDI Music Gallery. Over 400 songs cover a wide range of classical, show music, patriotic, and 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s signature styles. While not, the original songs themselves, the styles very closely imitate the originals and are easily recognizable by knowledgeable musicians or music aficionados.
The minimum hardware requirements are a 386 multimedia PC with 4 MB of memory and about 10 MB of available disk space. I used the suite of two different 486sxs with 8 MB RAM, 16-bit sound SoundBlaster and another compatible sound card, and double speed CD-ROMS. Neither system used a video accelerator, VESA, or PCI bus. This perhaps would have been helpful as would a quad speed CD-ROM as the video was choppy and choked when coupled with audio.
The MIDI songs demand a sound module or external keyboard to be appreciated. Someone buying a multimedia system today should be sure that they are getting a 32-bit wave sound card. Anything less, even 16-bit FM cards dont cut it.
I used the Orchestrator Plus to change the MIDI drum channels and maxd the volume parameter, and then saved the resulting standard midi file on a 1.44 disk. The disk was then fed into a Roland E-86, and out a 100 Watt amp, and finally through dual 15" speakers. Stevie Wonder never sounded good in my living room!
The suite is aimed for the average computer user. Most programs within the suite are intuitive. Manuals are included, but are not needed. The serious musician and multimediaist might get ideas from the suite, but go elsewhere for pro output. Street price is under $100 and it may come bundled with soundcards since Voyetra is a leading supplier of software for soundcards.
[Copyrighted 1999, Fred E. Kagel, Freehold Computer Training Center. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to republish in non-profit publications provided this notice appears in its entirety.]