Samples of Marimba Quest's music are available for listening via the Internet in three formats: .WAV, .AU, and Real Audio®.
As a point of reference for the more technical types, a Compact Disc is recorded at 16 bits and a 44,100 Hz sampling rate.
.WAV files are generally the highest quality sound sample (although those on this site are recorded at 8,000 Hz / 8 bits to minimize size). The entire sample must be retrieved by the browser before it begins to play. This format should be readable on computers running Windows / Win95, using standard Windows or browser software (downloading new software to play it should not be necessary)
.AU files are a lower quality of sound (these are also recorded at 8,000 Hz / 8 bits, but the format is less precise) - for which, like .WAV files, the entire sample must be retrieved by the browser before it begins to play. This format should be readable on most computers with the standard software available on those computers.
Real Audio® files are a compressed format, and begin to play while being retrieved. Because of the compression, they may seem to be a lower sound quality than the .WAV or .AU files. To play the RealAudio samples, you must have a RealAudio Player or RealPlayer installed on your computer. Current versions of the RealPlayer(s) are available for free download on the RealAudio site, together with instructions on installing the player. There are versions for use with various Mac and PC operating systems.
Because of the way the RealPlayer "buffers" - or stores up part of the sound file and then begins playing that stored memory while retrieving the next part of the file, the quality of the Real Audio samples can depend on telephone lines and
time of day. If you experience interruptions in the sound because of
"network congestion", you might want to let the clip complete playing and then re-play it - or try or one of the other (.WAV or .AU) formats.
One of the challenges of providing sound on the Internet is finding a mix between files that are long enough to provide a good idea of what the artist's music sounds like -- yet are small enough to not take forever to download by listeners with 14.4 or 28.8 modems -- yet also provide accurate and clear reproduction of the original recordings - and can be enjoyed on various computer types. Unfortunately, technology hasn't provided one, single solution to this dilemma.
The Marimba Quest web site has chosen to provide three formats of samples, of varying quality and requiring various amount of time to retrieve and listen to. .WAV and .AU files make use of less compression - and so are fairly large relative to the length of music sample they contain. RealAudio files use compression - and are smaller files than .WAV or .AU files containing the same amount of music. In some cases, we have included slightly longer excerpts of music in the RealAudio format than the larger files.
Be aware that the quality of the sound you hear depends on many things - including the kind of soundcard and speakers in your computer, how fast your modem is, the quality of your connection to the Internet (including your telephone line), and even the time of day or night when you are connecting (attempts to listen during peak Internet usage time may encounter sound interruptions).
If you have trouble either downloading a sample or getting it to play on your computer, please write email@example.com, and describe your type of computer, what browser you are using, the file you are having a problem with, and what went wrong.