Your Computer
Roy Dictus
Utility: Sound/Speech
ZX Spectrum 48K

Jon Bates
Chris Bourne

Sound Master is a software driven sound sampler which has already appeared as a listing in another magazine. It enables you to input sounds without any additional hardware. Once sound has been input, it is then converted to digits, which may be shuffled about by the software, and played out again in analogue form. Up to 4 seconds of sounds may be input, which can be played back at 8 different speeds.

The program gives you several options as to how you wish to hear your sampled sound played back including changes of speed, echo that can disappear, appear or speed up and so on. So far so good, but it does have some built in problems (what do you expect for £2?). Sound samplers, rather like computers, work on the principle that if you put rubbish in, you get rubbish out. Problem number one is that the input achieved via the ear socket on the back of the Spectrum does not really match up to the audio signal that you put into it from cassette. Despite several attempts by your reviewer to plug in alternative microphones or other cassette decks, the resulting playback quality of the sound sampled was, to say the least, a bit noisy.

Problem number two is that the sample sound is played back via the Spectrum's internal speaker which, as we all know, does for music what myxamatosis does for rabbits!

This is a shame because the program itself is quite good. Other problems occur with the initial recording mode. It appears that you may only enter 4 seconds of sound - it will not adjust to anything shorter. In other words, if you wish to enter one short note then you have a gap afterwards as the program doesn't give you any possibilities to chop up the sound that you have put in. This means that you are quite powerless once the sound has been loaded into the program. However, Roy Dictus is in the process of constantly re-writing his program - we received Version 7.0, an update on the listing - and in the well-documented instructions he says he is open to all suggestions, comments or criticisms.

To sum up briefly: it is quite a clever concept that requires no additional hardware but the program badly needs editing facilities as well as a better method of inputting the sound.

John Bates

SOUND MASTER is available from:
Roy Dictus
Apostelstraat 8