Introduction to Sonor Jnr.

Sonor Jnr. is a sound editing package, designed as an introduction to the world of sound manipulation.

Using Sonor Jnr., you are able to:

If you have used the more advanced Sonor, then you should find Sonor Jnr. fairly similar in operation. Towards the back of this manual, there is a list of differences between Sonor and Sonor Jnr.

Installing Sonor Jnr.

Sonor Jnr. is very easy to install on a hard disc or a network drive. Simply create a directory on your hard disc or network drive, and drag the !SonorJnr application from the floppy drive to the hard drive (or network drive) window.

A brief description of samples

Samples are the computer's equivalent to sounds. When you speak into the microphone, then the computer records the sounds into its memory. The sounds are called samples, because of the way that the computer records it. Where you see the word "sample", you can substitute "sound".

Just like a video recorder's long play/slow play, you can record sounds at high, medium or low quality. Low quality sounds are similar to a telephone line. You can understand pretty much what the people are saying, but if they say the letter ”F•, you might get it confused with ”S•. Medium quality is more understandable, and high quality sounds very clear indeed.

Also like the long play/slow play on video recorders (where a long play will allow you to record more on a tape, and a slow play won't fit as much on a tape, but it will be much clearer), you can record longer low quality sounds, and shorter high quality sounds.

Loading Sonor Jnr.

As in any application, just double-click on the !SonorJnr icon, and an icon will appear on the right hand side of the icon bar, which looks like:

If you press MENU on this icon, a menu will appear. This is called the "icon bar menu". It looks like:

From this menu, you can find information about the program, record a new sound, and leave the program.

Creating a sound

If you click SELECT on the Sonor Jnr. icon, the following window will appear:

This is the Sonor Jnr editing window. The window's title indicates the sound's name (in this case "<Untitled>" because it has not been saved), the length of the sound (in this case, 5 seconds), and what zoom percentage the screen is set to (in this case 2.3%).

Underneath the title is the save and play toolbar. The icons are (from left to right) save, play backwards, stop, play forwards, loop play, record and zoom. If you open the window further, there are some more icons displayed. These are the "signal level" icons, which show you what is being "heard" by the microphone. If you speak into it loudly, then the icons will light up to show that there is a signal being heard.

At the bottom of the window is the sound display. This is a pictorial representation of the sound. Currently, there is just a black line across. This indicates a silent sound. If you play it, no sound will be heard. The bottom of this window shows the time. The left of the window is the start of the sound, and the right of the window is the end.

Recording a sound

Turn the microphone on, and speak into it. You will see the signal level icons light up depending on how loud you speak. If you light up the red icon, then you are speaking too loudly - you can either move the microphone away from your mouth, or speak quieter. If you speak too quietly, then the yellow icons do not light up - either move the microphone nearer to your mouth, or speak louder.

It is perfectly safe to record loudly, or quietly - you will just loose some quality.

When you are ready to record your sentence, move the icon over the record icon (the red circle), and click SELECT. This will depress the icon. While you are recording, the mouse pointer will not move, but when the sound has finished recording, the record icon will be released, and the pointer will move.

For example:

When the sound has been recorded, the window will be updated to show the graphical representation of the sound. A loud section will be tall, whereas a quiet section will be smaller.

You can also play the sound - click SELECT on the play icon (the green triangle pointing right). A red bar will move across the window - this is the sound as it is being played. When the bar reaches the end, then the sound will stop playing. If you want to stop while the sound is playing, click on the stop icon (the yellow square).

If you want to try a special effect, click on the reverse play icon (the green triangle pointing left).

Saving a sound

Once you've recorded your sound, you can save it to a hard disc, or a floppy disc, in much the same way that you can save a text file from Edit, for example.

Open up a filer window where you want to save the sound, and then click SELECT on the save icon (the icon which looks like a floppy disc). The following window will appear:

Type in the filename you wish to the sound to be called, and drag the icon to the filer window where you want to save it. If a file of that name already exists, you will be asked if you want to overwrite the file with this new file.

Don't worry about the icons at the bottom - they can be used to save files in different formats. We'll save this sound as an Armadeus sound, which can be used by many Acorn programs, such as Genesis, Magpie, Talking Canvas Junior and Genesis Pro.

Loading a sound

You load a sound in the same way you load a text file into Edit. Simply double-click on the sound, and Sonor Jnr. will load it. For example, double-click on the file called "Welcome" provided with Sonor Jnr., and the following window will appear:

You can play the sample, if you wish, in the same way that you played your recorded sample.

Selecting and removing a section of a sound

When you recorded your sound, the chances are that you paused just after you clicked on the record icon, and you finished what you were saying before the recording finished.

Load the file called "Example" provided on the floppy disc:

In the example, there is a pause of just under a second before the sentence was spoken, and the sentence finished just after two seconds.

Using Sonor Jnr., you can remove these parts, as well as other sections (such as individual words).

The first section to remove is the left hand quiet section.

Press SELECT to the left of the beginning of the sound, and drag the mouse left. This will cause a black bar to be displayed, indicating what area has been selected. Release SELECT at the left hand side of the window:

Press MENU to produce the editing menu, which looks like:

Then, move to the right of "Select", and choose "Remove selected area". This will remove the area you have selected from the sound:

The sound will resize itself to fit the window - notice how the zoom setting has changed from 2.30% to 2.72%.

Now, click SELECT to the right of the sound, and drag to the right hand side of the window:

Use the "Remove selected area" option again, and you have successfully removed the beginning and end pauses:

If you click play, you will hear the sound start at the start, and end at the end. The same will happen if you play backwards.

Removing from the middle of a sound

Another effect you can perform is selecting an individual word. In the above example "This is a sample" was the sentence recorded. Since words are normally separated by quiet sections, you can identify what words are being said at what times. If it is difficult to see the gaps, you can either zoom in (which is described later), or play, and follow the red bar as it moves across the window.

In the above example, the words are arranged as:

The words have been shown with bars separating the words. If you wanted to make the sentence just "This sample", then you can select "is a", and remove the selection. Click SELECT just before "is", and drag right to just after "a", and release SELECT. The following will be shown:

Before you remove the selected area, click on the play icon. You should hear "is a". If you can hear parts of the other words, then press ADJUST near the point you need to move, and release ADJUST at the new points.

Choose "Remove selected area" option as before, and you will end up with "This sample":

Moving sections of sounds

Using the same example, you can perform other special effects, such as moving words around. For example, if you want to make the sentence "is this a sample", then you can do it.

Select the word "This":

Now, press SELECT in the middle of the selected area. If you drag to the right, a bar will appear:

This bar is used to show the current drag position. Move to the right of "is", and release SELECT.

The selected area will be move to the drag position indicated by the bar. Now the sentence will read "is This a sample", and will look like:

There is one problem with this sentence - it doesn't have a question at the end, but that can be modified...

Recording a selected area

In the same way that you can move a selected area, you can record a selected area. Select the word "sample", and click record. You'll have to be fairly quick as the recording will start immediately. When the recording has finished, double-click ADJUST to remove the selected area (or choose "Select whole sample" from the Select icon), and play the whole sound.

Saving a selected area

If you click on the save icon while you have selected an area, the following will appear:

Note that the file name has been changed to "Selection", and the "selection" box has been ticked. If you want to save the whole sound, untick the "selection" box. This will cause the correct name of the sound to be displayed in the filename box.

Loading sounds other than Armadeus sounds

Sonor Jnr. can recognise several different sound file formats. The most common formats have their own icons, and Sonor Jnr. can load these if they are double-clicked on:

Sonor Jnr. can also recognise a number of other formats. These have to be loaded by dragging the file onto the Sonor Jnr. icon. These are:

If you load one of these files, and subsequently save them, Sonor Jnr. will save them in the same format as they were loaded. This can be overridden in the save box.

Technical note: Since Sonor Jnr. only uses 8-bit linear mono sounds, then the sounds will be saved in an 8-bit linear mono format of the sound, if one exists. If the format does not exist, then Sonor Jnr. will save it in the nearest format to 8-bit linear mono.

Inserting, overwriting and merging sounds

If you drag a sound from a filer window onto a sound editing window, then the sound being dragged will be inserted into the sound being edited. The sound is inserted where it is dropped.

If "Ctrl" is held during the drag, then the sound being dragged overwrites the sound being edited, starting where the sound is dropped. If the editing sound is not long enough, then it will be extended by the amount necessary to hold the whole of the sound being dragged.

If "Alt" is held during the drag, then the sound being dragged is merged with the sound being edited. Like overwriting, the sound will be extended if it is not long enough.

Changing the length of a sound

If the default of 5 seconds is not long enough, or you want to make a sample longer, then press MENU on the editing window, and move to the right of "Edit". Choose the "Change Length..." option. This will produce a window which looks like:

You can either type in the length you require, or you can click on the increment and decrement icons to the right of "secs". These will increment the length in seconds.

Since sounds use the computer's memory, it is possible to enter a value which will consume too much memory. If this happens, you will be told that you cannot do this, and the sound's length will not change.

Looking in more detail

As hinted before, using Sonor Jnr., you can look at the sound in great detail. Clicking SELECT on the zoom icon will zoom into the sample, whereas clicking ADJUST zooms out. The maximum zoom is 200%, and the minimum zoom depends on the length of the sample.

For example:

Normal zoom

Minimum zoom

Maximum zoom

You can use the maximum zoom for selecting areas of sounds to a very high accuracy.

Recording sounds in higher and lower quality

By default, Sonor Jnr. will create sounds in medium quality. This is fine for speech, but if you want to record music or effects, then you will need to record in a higher quality. Alternatively, you may want to create sounds which use less memory. You will need to record in a lower quality to do this.

If you press MENU on the Sonor Jnr. icon, and then select the "Record new..." option, then the following window will appear:

Here, you can enter how long you want to record your sound for, and underneath is the quality. If you click SELECT on the text that says "Medium", you can change it to "High". If you click SELECT again, it will change to "Low". Clicking SELECT for a third time will change it back to "Medium".

A low quality sample will use 8,000 bytes of memory for every second of sound recorded.

A medium quality sample will use around 10,000 bytes of memory for every second of sound recorded.

A high quality sample will use around 21,000 bytes of memory for every second of sound recorded.