Listening to Web Audio

There are a number of elements which must be installed on yuor computer in order for you to listen to audio on our Web site:

1. Do you need a sound card?

A sound card is an add-on board for your computer which processes audio signals in the same way the components of your stereo receiver do. If you have a Macintosh you have built-in sound capabilities, unless yours is one of the oldest models. If you are using a Windows machine, you must have a sound card installed in your computer. (If you're not sure whether or not your computer is equipped with a sound card, consult the person who set up your computer or check the manuals which shipped with your computer. If you've never heard anything but a system beep from your computer, chances are you do not have a sound card.)

2. About sound formats.

Although there are many digital audio formats (designated by .au, .ra .wav., .voc, .snd, etc. appended to file names) they all fall into one of two categories:

  • STREAMING AUDIO begins playing after only a small amount of the file has been downloaded and buffered. The audio continues to play as more information streams in. Although fast, the fidelity may not be high.

  • DOWNLOADABLE AUDIO must be saved in its entirety to your disk before it can be played. The quality is usually very high, but it can take a long time to download: 30 seconds of audio can take more than five minutes to download over a 14.4 connection.
3. Obtaining the software you need to play your file.

Software needed to play audio files is available on the Internet. You will need to download it from one of the software providers' sites. We recommend the following software for playing our streaming and downloadable audio files:

Streaming Audio: RealAudio (.RA)

When you click on a RealAudio link the sound file will begin playing immediately, with only a short download lead to get it started. Real Audio Player 2.0 will even allow you to pause, rewind, and fast-forward.

A 14.4 Kbps or faster Internet connection is required. The quality on a 28.8 or faster connection is significantly better than that of a 14.4 connection, although the player does its best to optimize the sound for your connection speed.

Download the latest version of the RealAudio player, for Macintosh, Windows, or UNIX, from Progressive Networks at

Downloadable Audio: NeXT/Sun (.AU) or Microsoft (.WAV)

Windows: Wham 1.33
Handles .wav, .au, aiff, .voc, and more. Opens, records, converts, and edits.

Macintosh: SoundApp 1.5.1
Plays and converts .wav, .au, .aiff, .voc, .snd, .mov (soundtrack only), and more. With QuickTime 1.6 or later, SoundApp also converts audio CD tracks.

Note: The most recent versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator come pre-configured with their own .au players.

4. Using your audio software.

Your Web browser can be configured to launch the appropraite audio player automatically whenever you access an audio file. In the case of downloadable audio formats, this is optional: you can save the audio file to disk and play it later using your audio application. In the case of streaming audio, you must configure your browser in order to process the stream as it arrives.

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