The FezGuys
Placing Your Song On The Web (part 1)
[ No. 3 - Jan 1997 ]

Things That Are New

LiquidAudio is here (albeit in rather beta form--be warned) and is Windows only at this time. For you Windows users, test drive it at their site. URL: . Give them feedback. We'll get more in depth later.

Also: RealAudio 3.0 is now in beta for supporting encoding on Macintosh and UNIX platorms. For those of you who have been waiting because you don't use Windows, salvation is at hand!

Hello again and thanks to all of you who contacted us and made it to the secret site and the secret message! Sorry, but budget constraints dictate that the secret decoder rings we had earmarked for you all be sent, instead, to Time Magazine for their in depth qualitative analysis of RealAudio files. In an article (12/2/96) on web audio they described these selfsame files as: "tinny." That's better than "tiny." Us FezGuys immediately considered throwing in the towel in recognition of the cogent and superior nature of their research. Then we changed our minds.

If you didn't see last month's column; get Netscape, get RealAudio, go to <>, click on the fez and follow instructions.
NOTE: This has been superceded by the existence of

Let's begin. We're going to walk through the process of putting your music on the web, split over two columns. Will your file be on-demand or stream-enabled? On-demand means the user will download your file and then play it. Stream-enabled means that they will click on your file and it will play in real time, while they are online.

As there are multiple formats that one can record in (ADAT, 4-track cassette, DAT, minidisc, hard disk, etc...) there are even more methods of creating and encoding audio files for use in the ether of the Internet. Be patient. The learning curve is, at first, slow. However, once you familiarize yourself with a particular format you will discover that all formats follow similar principles, and it is the finer points of hardware, software and bandwidth limitations that will determine, for you, the most appropriate application (app) for your uses.

Take a piece of music. We suggest starting with a small piece, say, ten seconds worth. This way formatting and experimenting will take less time. Any audio source format will do, but choose music that is as clean as possible. Recommended audio source formats are those from the digital domain (DAT, CD, etc...).

Your hardware requirements are: an audio input, a soundcard of some kind (recent Macs have this built-in, PC users please check that your machine is holding one) and some speakers or headphones for playback.

A note here: older computers may not have an audio input. That means your computer will not work for our purposes. If you are unsure as to your computers' guts, ask your salesperson or your geek friend (everybody has one these days). For the purposes of this column we're going to assume that UNIX users do not need these guidelines.

Plug your audio source into your computer. Familiarize yourself with your computer's audio inputs. It is probably either an 1/8 inch stereo minijack or two RCA jacks. Run the appropriate cables from your audio source into your computer.

Now, on to the software requirements. This is where it gets interesting. You are required to have an app to convert your music into digital form on your hard drive. For the sake of simplicity we can suggest the following:

For Macs, (to purchase) SoundEdit 16 (URL: or (as shareware) SoundHack (URL:

For Windows, (to purchase) Sound Forge (URL: or (as shareware) Cool Edit (URL:

Start your app. Set the levels from your audio source within the app. To do this you will need to make some choices about what kind of audio file you want to create. Audio editing apps give you options. You will choose the sample rate, bit rate and mono/stereo format. Discussions of the exact definitions of sample and bit rate are readily available, but can be verbose so we will not go into full detail here. For our purposes it's useful to think of these figures as a trade-off between file size (read: manageability) and audio quality. The higher the figure (44.1kHz as opposed to 22kHz, and 16 as opposed to 8 bit) the better the sound but the larger the file. From the dialog box in your app; set sample rates, bit rates and stereo or mono. Since you are working with a ten-second clip, experiment and check the files' size (and sound quality) after recording. You won't go wrong with a 44.1kHz, 16 bit stereo file but it will take 10 MB of diskspace per minute of audio. Check your available disk space!

Tweaking the EQ and varying certain settings at the audio source stage can increase the fidelity of your end product (a topic for another column). For now set the record level as high as possible without peaking and use your app's "normalize" filter, if it has one.

Press play. Record. Press stop. Save.

Make sure to choose the correct file format to "save as" for your platform. Macs will record to AIF. Windows will record to WAV. These designations will show up as three letter suffixes on the files' default name. They can be converted back and forth but, for now, leave them as they are in preparation to encode them for placement on the Web.

If we've done our job correctly and you have paid attention you now have an audio file in your hard drive. Play it back and listen closely to it. Headphones are useful here. Experimentation will yield practical information you can put to use in the next column, where we will compress and place the file, discuss different apps that do this and differentiate between creating a file that is on-demand or stream-enabled. For now, we're going to continue to use RealAudio as our example case to do this. Their encoder does both across standard platforms, and it's free.

So, to wrap up, we're going to take that audio file in your computer, encode it and place it on the Web. Somewhere. Do you have a place to put it? Talk to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about their capability to provide space and support for these common technologies. Most ISP's include a small amount of space (usually 2MB) on their webserver as part of your account. Thus you will have a location on the Web to place your file in and a web address (URL) so that you (and others) can access it.

We'll close, for now, with an email

Dear FezGuys,

Thanks for your column. Any demystification of the Internet is a good thing. I have one question: is anyone making money by doing this? Keep up the good work.

Signed, TD.

Dear TD,

We were hoping you had an answer to that!

Signed, The FezGuys.

See you next month! May the Fez be with you.

We welcome your comments.



About the authors:

Jon Luini is a working technophile, a musician (bass player/singer) with full-blown facility and extensive experience on the Web and no free time. He is a co-founder of IUMA and MediaCast, co-creator of Addicted To Noise, and runs an Internet and music consulting and technology company, Chime Interactive (formerly Evolve Internet Solutions). <>

Allen Whitman is a working musician (bass player/singer/producer) with a keen, real-world interest in the practical use of the Web. Music credits include: The Mermen, "Brine-The Antisurf Soundtrack, biL, Deep Field South, Doormouse, Delectric and Drizzoletto. He has written for the San Francisco Examiner, Wired, EQ, Revolution, Yahoo Internet Life, Prosound News, Surround Professional, Replication News and others. <>

©1996-2003 The FezGuys™