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Review Amplitude Xtra Review

Added on 4/1/2001



Required Xtras:
Amplitude Xtra


Author: MediaMacros (website)

The Amplitude Xtra allows Macromedia Director™ movies to respond in real time to the amplitude data derived from sound cast members. The Xtra sends a continuous stream of amplitude values to Director while a sound is playing. This means that, amongst other things, you can, • control sprite animations and properties by synchronizing them to sound • draw sound waveforms using normal Director sprites in real time at any resolution • achieve basic lip-sync between animated characters and spoken dialogue • change inks and blend properties in time with sound and music • change sprite colors based on amplitude intensity The Amplitude xtra is not intended as a replacement for cue points in Director sound cast members. The information sent to Director from the xtra is continuous rather than point based so animations driven by the Amplitude xtra that reflect the continuously changing nature of sound are extremely effective. The Amplitude xtra, • works with internal sound cast members (including SWA and MP3) • works with externally linked WAVE, AIFF, SWA and MP3 files • works with Director 7 and 8 • is safe for use with Shockwave • works with streaming Shockwave audio

As many times as I have seen people wanting to plot waveforms, test audio levels, and generally get better control over graphically displaying end-user’s audio information it is very exciting to see this Xtra hit the market. Now, with the Amplitude Xtra you can receive real time amplitude information from almost any audio format Director supports. From this data, you can plot real time waveforms, change color, create graphical displays, and more. Let your imagination run wild.

Need a few ideas? Check out the demo Director file to get an idea of some of the possibilities. Best of all, the price is definitely right!! At under $50 for a cross platform, and Shockwave safe version, this Xtra is a steal. The documentation is very thorough and easy to follow and the included behaviors in the demo will have you up and running almost instantly. Technical support is good and provided via email with prompt replies, but with such complete documentation it will most likely not even be necessary.

The only changes I would like to see in future version would be the possibility to plot separate sound channels or possible track time points in a sound file. Admittedly, this would be to compensate for Director’s poor implementation of these features, but could add to the overall usefulness of the Xtra. In our stress tests it preformed flawlessly on both platforms in authoring, projectors, and in Shockwave (Auto-downloadable version available soon pending Verisign certificate.)

Overall it is a great Xtra and with Flash 5 support coming soon it provides a great cross platform and cross solution to all of your audio visualization needs.  



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